I believe it was Jean Cocteau who said that, “Good music stirs by its mysterious resemblance to the objects and feelings which motivated it”. This is exactly the case with Indoor Voices’ album “Nevers”. I recently interviewed Jonathan Relph, the man behind Indoor Voices’ music, to learn more about what motivates him. Read on. Listen to the album. Float awhile. Enjoy.
Tell me a bit about Indoor Voices’ beginnings. When did the idea to form a band started? How did you guys meet each other?
Indoor Voices is the name that I gave to the music I started working on after the last group I was with disbanded in 2005. The people who will be helping me to flesh out the songs on “Nevers” are all people I’ve met through music, and in the case of Chris Stringer, and Craig Hopgood, people I’ve had the chance to work with musically in the past. Ryan Gassi, our drummer, is from the same hometown as Craig, and I met Kate years ago in high school and was reacquainted with her about seven years ago through Chris, who was producing a record for her at the time.
What’s the story behind the name “Indoor Voices”?
Indoor Voices makes two references, the first pertaining directly to how/where the music was recorded. Volume was an issue because I was recording in my high-rise apartment. I am slightly phobic of people hearing me while I work, so I tend to work quietly, and build layers to make it louder in post. I think this comes through in the music. The second reference is to that of self-reflection, an inner dialogue, the voices inside.
How would you describe your music?
My music is a blended up version of the different music I’ve absorbed over time. I have always been attracted to music with ambience, layers, a softness, and a beauty within noise.
How did you arrive at this type of music? Was it a conscious decision or a chance product long experimentation with your sound?
I think there is always some sort of conscious desire to make a certain type of music, however, usually during the process of creating, things happen that change that course. I think there are a lot of accidents that
guide my music to its end point. Allowing myself to remain open, and not be too determined to stick to a plan, is the way I grow. As I’ve found in some cases, being able to strip everything away, and start fresh on an idea that isn’t working takes courage but in the end, I think the music is stronger because of it.
Let us talk about your album “Nevers”. What is this album about… what’s the concept behind it? Why the title Nevers? How did you choose the songs that were to be included in this album?
When I first started working on the songs that make up “Nevers”, I didn’t know that I was making an album. They were just songs which had no connection to one another, but for the fact that I was making them. In January of 2011, something happened that changed this.
On my way home one night someone in the elevator told me that a woman in our high-rise had jumped from the 38th storey the night before. Two weeks prior to this, I had begun working on a song — this song later took the name 38 Stories. I had a guitar bit and one line of vocals “Down the hall, that’s where it all goes wrong”. I never knew the woman, nor did I live down the hall from her (I lived on the 28th), but I was quite disturbed by this event, and the proximity. When I put all the songs for “Nevers” in a row, I discovered that a loose narrative started to form. I didn’t try to rub that out.
The videos on your site are also quite interesting. I like how simple they are and how they fit your music. Who did these videos? What’s the idea behind them?
I took the video footage for “If I Die” using my phone, on my way to Vancouver around two years ago. I was drawn to the slow movement and the bright orbs of light. I didn’t know what I’d use it for, but as it turned out it fit the music quite well. I loosely edited the 18mins of footage down to the length of the song.
For the video for “Bastard Fear” I spent about 4.5 hours shooting out the window of my music room in the apartment. As it turned out a storm rolled in. The only edits I did were to speed up that footage to match the song. The quick cuts are from when I was cycling the memory cards. As one would fill up I’d put a new one in, while at the same time pulling the footage off the other and emptying the card.
With video, as with music, I tend to try to keep it simple. For video this manifests itself with long shots, and if editing, as few edits as possible. I like the idea of time lapse and when speeding these things up, or displacing time, I think it heightens the monumentality of these simple shots/occurrences — the earth turning, life happening.
Do you have any upcoming shows or projects you’d like to share to our readers?
Right now, we are rehearsing for our first show in Toronto in April, hopefully to start playing with vigour elsewhere soon. Also, working on new songs for whatever happens next. They can be previewed on our soundcloud. soundcloud.com/indoorvoicesband
What keeps Indoor Voices pushing forward?
I’m compelled to create. If I don’t, I deny an integral part of myself. If I don’t, I’m miserable.
What do you think of DOZE?
I like that DOZE is such a positive entity dedicated to exposing artists who might not otherwise be noticed. It is encouraging to see a site which doesn’t base itself in rumour or mudslinging.
Follow Indoor Voices on Twitter @indoor_voices
by Crist Espiritu
Follow Crist Espiritu on Twitter @crist_espiritu