One of the most anticipated albums of this years is the collaboration between members of ISIS and Chino Moreno of Deftones, forming the group Palms. Their self-titled debut is out on Ipecac records and Bryant Clifford Meyer (guitars, keyboards), Jeff Caxide (bass, keyboards), Aaron Harris (drums, electronics), continued more their work together from their classic run from one of post-metal’s most celebrated bands. The album is as good as advertised and Ghost Cult caught up with Cliff Meyer to learn how this band came together, how the album was made and what the future holds for them.
How did the band come together?
Well the three of us, Jeff, Aaron and myself obviously, just after ISIS ended and everything, Mike moved and Aaron moved. We still have the room at the practice space. We were figuring out what we were going to do. Me and Aaron had talked about still working together. It seemed like we took a long time to figure out if we were going to do a whole new band or something else. It just took time to do its work and it probably was a year, year and a half later and we had a handful of songs. And they sounded pretty good, or we thought they did. We just kind of went from there. It was a pretty organic situation. Once we had some songs, we were trying to figure out who we could get to sing, and Aaron knew Chino from before. He had been drum tech-ing for Deftones and he had gotten to know Chino a little bit. He played Chino the songs and he dug them. And we ended up finishing the record together. It ended up pretty cool.
Was it a foregone conclusion that some of the ISIS guys would come together and make music again?
I wouldn’t say it was a foregone conclusion. Nobody ever talked about it or anything. Especially Aaron, Me and Jeff too, had a really easy time making music together. I knew we would still play, whether it would be a band or who knows what it would come out to be. It’d be silly to not play together. We’re all still pretty good friends and everything. It was a pretty natural thing for us. The three of us especially. Even when ISIS was still around, the three of us played together more than anyone else and wrote tons and tons and tons of stuff together. I was glad we didn’t have to go through all that bullshit. Once everything was sorted out, the music part came, not easy, but, we appreciate that it’s good.
I saw that the recording spanned over a year. How did the writing and recording come together once Chino joined?
Chino came in… we would demo stuff at the practice space all the time. So we had already had demos to send him. Deftones tour constantly, so he was working on stuff on the road. We went in and recorded all the songs record last February or March at a real studio. But we knew he already had some ideas to add in. Once we recorded him, maybe a few months later, like six months later it was nearly done. I wouldn’t say he worked on it with us really, but he definitely heard his ideas come through and you can hear ours after he came in. It was more of a together writing experience than you might think. He did a great job of adding stuff. It all worked out. And then once he added stuff, we added stuff on top of that. It was a pretty communal writing process.
Is it fair to call Palms a super group?
Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t think so. (laughs) A super group is like that Paul McCartney and Dave Grohl thing something like that. And we are certainly not the Paul McCartney and Dave Grohl thing. It’s nice that people are saying nice things about us. We’ve been extremely fortunate, but we’ve been very appreciative of everything that has come our way.
There seems to be a cinematic element to the music like a score. Is it a concept album?
Not anymore than the four of us that wrote it, worked on all the music. We never discussed a concept for the record. Even after the fact when it was all done, we never sat down and discussed that. Maybe sometime down the road we’ll do another one of these, and we’ll think about that idea. I think we just wanted to write some interesting songs and see what happened.
Since you all have done production work, what was the vibe like for the production end of things?
Aaron and I have both studied a lot of stuff to learn how to do what we are doing. Neither of us is at the level of Joe Barresi or anyone. We did okay. Honestly, Aaron did most of the work, recording and mixing most of the stuff. I recorded most of my parts. Then Joe was nice enough to let us record the basic drum tracks at his studio, on tape which added a nice quality to the record I think. It made it sound amazing. Once you get that drum sound down, oh it was so natural and great. It has a great 70s drum sound, really seedy. It was great to have Joe let us do that. Obviously we know what we are doing enough, that we could pull this off. I don’t know if we’ll do it that way again. Maybe next time we’ll get someone else to do it. It was kind of a challenge to do it ourselves. I think we are all pretty surprised about how it turned out.
What other musical or art projects are you working on that we can look out for?
I’m always working on something or other. I do this kind of weird, synthy, Tangerine Dream kind of heavy music. I always have little electronic music albums coming out. I have a new cassette coming out VCO Label, from Steve Moore of Zombi’s label. It’s cool to have it coming out on there; I usually put these things out by myself, so it’s nice to have someone else. There’s always something going on, no doubt.
Keith (Keefy) Chachkes