Seas, Starry by Matt Jolly
Seas, Starry by Matt Jolly
New Music

Do’s and Don’ts of a Lockdown Band: Remaining Positive in Plague Times, by Scottish experimental noise rockers SEAS, STARRY

3 mins read

Hailing from Aberdeen, Scotland, SEAS, STARRY are a noisy kraut/psychedelic/ambient inspired four piece band. Formed in 2010, Seas Starry have released two full length albums to date. Their debut album “Tyto Alba” was strongly influenced by the likes of Labradford, My Bloody Valentine and Errors, whilst the follow up “Triangle Teeth’ was an energetic and discordant release, recorded live in the space of ten hours.

The Anatomy EP released digitally by Make That A Take Records and on CD by Ripcord Records is the latest release from Seas, Starry, self-recorded during the COVID lockdown. The songs blend the influences of previous releases, with noisy punk influenced songs such as “Stabbed in the Eyes’ and “Nun the Wiser” which features vocals from Derrick Johnston of Make That A Take and Uniforms/Tragical History fame. The EP bookends with cinematic and experimental tracks “Skull / Tone / Skull” and “New Ruins’.

Today, we are teaming up with the band to give you their cool write-up of the DO’s and DON’Ts for a band during lockdown! Read the full piece below!

“From the more inventive end of the post-rock/ambient spectrum, Seas Starry are a monumental live act, and are clearly capable of repeating their intensity in the studio — their debut LP proper ‘Tyto Alba; is a brilliant sweeping record, a mastery in spacing, timing and guitar tone.” – DIY Mag

“_.. they sounded like something off the finest works by progressive meial titans Tool” – We Plug Good

“Characterised by gorgeous soaring waves of guitars which feedback and squall deliriously with fluid and organic rhythms that lack the rigid, mathematical precision of their predecessors these are songs that build to massive, glacial crescendos in a slightly out of focus fashion which only enhances its otherworadly beauty’ – Active Listener

Words by SEAS STARRY: Chris Bissett, Ross Macbeath, Claire Stewart, Jan Stewart.

Lockdown in the UK has been incredibly difficult for bands and artists, especially those relying on art as their sole source of income. Restrictions have halted live events and even rehearsing for 99% of acts. As Seas, Starry, our experience of this year has not been without its challenges but we managed to self-record a four track EP, due for release on CD on Ripcord Records and digitally on Make That A Take Records on the 16th April.

Do: Marry a band member! Jan (guitar) and Claire (guitar, bass, vocals, kitchen sink) live together and this allowed us to rehearse and record when restrictions on separate households meeting were relaxed (briefly!) in Scotland.

Don’t: Spend loads on recording equipment. The Anatomy EP was recorded with a minimal budget and very affordable equipment. An antique TASCAM recording interface which Ross (guitar, bass) purchased many years ago was used to track drums and sub £100 interfaces were used for everything else. Jan used the Reaper DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), which is available to download as a trial version for free and costs $60 for a discounted licence.

Do: Be creative! For the track “New Ruins”, we pushed ourselves outside our comfort zone. Jan recorded four separate drones, which over the course of twelve minutes melded into discreet chord voicings. Chris (drums, artwork) was then tasked with improvising a drum part over the abstract soundscape, giving the piece a structure. The take you hear on the EP is Chris’ first take. Files were beamed via the internet to Jan, Claire and Ross, who added bass, glockenspiel and vocals, transforming the track and giving it weight and direction. God knows how we’ll perform it live!

Don’t: Pressure yourself. Lockdown can sap energy, motivation, and ideas. With a surplus of free time, it can feel like there’s an obligation to be productive or have “something to show”. If you’re not feeling motivated or creative, that’s okay; step away. Getting frustrated will only make things worse. Do what makes you feel good, do what makes you feel happy. Have fun and be kind to yourself.

Do: Collaborate. “Nun the Wiser” was developed from a very Sonic Youth inspired demo, which took on new life when Chris introduced the energetic galloping drumbeat. We reached out to our friend Derrick Johnston, a luminary of the Dundee DIY music scene (Make That A Take Records, Uniforms and Tragical History Tour). Having never collaborated remotely before, we had no idea what to expect and even if Derrick could find a vocal part that he liked. But with a week spent walking around Dundee with a rough demo repeating in his ears, Derrick sent us a glut of vocal files for Jan to work with. Derrick’s vocals inspired Claire to add her own vocals and the final version of “Nun the Wiser” was born, fusing a post hardcore aesthetic to the Sonic Youth inspired art rock already present.

Do: Learn from others. Jan spent a great deal of time learning how to record the band, watching hundreds of videos on YouTube and picking the brains of friends with experience. Ross has formal music production training and provided invaluable assistance, which helped avoid Jan becoming overwhelmed.

Karol Kamiński

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via [email protected]

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