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Those last days of December with OUR CEASING VOICE

On Jan, 18 2013 Austrian post rockers from OUR CEASING VOICE will release their second full-length concept album called “That Day Last November”. The outing will be released on CD (Frontal Noize Records) and Vinyl (Revolvermann Records / Truelove Entertainment). Recently you had a chance to watch their brand new video for the song “Until Your Chest Explodes”, and now we’re bringing you a bunch of updates from the band plus an exclusive commentary on the album!

This post rock / ambient project is telling the story of the passage of time, that’s supposed to heal all wounds, of the things in life one can’t escape. Their new album will make sure sure you won’t be able to escape your memory – the official introduction tells nothing but truth. Check out the video below and dive into our pleasant chat with OUR CEASING VOICE below.

Welcome, guys! So, we’re about 1 month prior to the official release date of your second full length album, “That Day Last November”. How long did it take you to put it together?

Sebastian:

Hi! Thanks for having us! After I had written the songs in late 2011 and us working on them together, we started recording “That Day Last November” in February 2012 and finished the record in October. Since then, Truelove Entertainment, Revolvermann Records and Frontal Noize are working hard and closely together to promote the album. While some may think this is a long time for a band to make an album, it was actually quite fast for us. In between working part and full time jobs and studying, we do everything ourselves: from recording to mixing until mastering. The record was mastered by Robin Schmidt at 24-96, who did an unbelievable job. Also, big parts of the songs come together while recording and mixing. This means the process from writing an album to the final mixdown is blurred together and never really finished until we’re perfectly satisfied with how it sounds.

Can you tell us a bit about the process of writing?

Well, like I said before, I write all the words and music before we work on them together as a band. In detail this means, I’ll sit down with the ideas I have and work with them until I have the feeling that my ideas can evolve into songs. Sometimes the starting point is a little riff I like, sometimes it’s that I like the sound of a certain chord, or chord progression. What comes from this, I’ll show to the others to decide where the song could head us to – like ‘oh, this needs to be a heavy one, this one should have this slow part without anything, that’s a good part for vocals’, etc. Then the ball’s back in my court and I’ll record rough demos.
These demos will then be reviewed by Markus and me. For this new album, we sat together and thought about how these rough songs could be changed to make That Day Last November the record we wanted it to be musically and song-structure wise. Then we’d go in the studio and record drums and guitars, so that we can start writing vocal melodies and bass lines, while ideas for synths and sounds are spread and recorded over this whole process.
For our last album, When The Headline Hit Home, this was completely different. Our drummer Markus had just joined the band when the album was already written and at a point, where we just needed to record it. So we had Markus listen to the demos and record drums for that.
All in all writing a song for OUR CEASING VOICE means that sometimes we have finished recording it, while we have never played it together in our rehearsal room before. This is something we’re really looking forward to doing now.

Is it a threat for some songs when it comes to nominating them to play live? [smiles]

Sebastian:

Of course! There are some we really like, but we’re aware that we can’t integrate them into our live-set. “What Used To Be A Battle Song” is a perfect example for this: It is way too synth and string based for us to recreate that song on stage – as much as we’d love to. Also, we’re very sorry that we can’t play our new single “Until Your Chest Explodes” on tour. Matthew Ryan’s voice is such an important and integral part of that song, we just can’t do this one without him. However, we hope that we might play in the US sometime and he could join us on stage to do it. That’d be really special.
The other songs that we choose to play live get some special treatment, as we have to find out what’s the best way to play them. This means, we figure out who’s going to play what parts and how they should sound on stage. Then start rehearsing as a full band. And somehow “re-learn” what we recorded before [laughs].

That’s sooo different from punk bands I’m used to hosting here [laughs].
Tell me more about your collaboration with Matthew Ryan. And are there more guests on the new album?

Reinhard:

Matthew Ryan is an artist we truly admire. Not only his voice has got an unique character, moreover all of his lyrics are really inspiring. While recording the first demos, we thought he would be the perfect addition to give the album its final touches, a dynamic impulse to initiate a new direction OUR CEASING VOICE wanted to head into. We’re more than happy that Matthew Ryan was open to our ideas and we’re proud to have him on the album.

Sebastian:

By the way, Matthew Ryan was – apart to the the guys from the labels – the only one to hear the demos of the songs, so he could decide which ones he liked. It’s a miracle that he heard the songs go into the same direction as we did, given the unfinished – or rather horrible – state the demos were in. But that’s what makes a collaboration special, I guess!

Reinhard:

Above that, there’s an appearance of David Frings, who is playing in the bands KOSSLOWSKI, FJORT and NORA YEUX. David’s voice is raw, authentic and animates strong emotions. He’s got the gift to throw the lyrics directly into your face – there’s no escape.
Also, we had other friends help us out with a few things too: Anna has more or less become the female character in the story of the album. Her voice is hovering over the songs like a ghost, caught in between the concept of the record. Then there are a few other close friends, as well as one fan who decided to stay nameless – he was the only one to contact us, when we had called for fans to participate in a gang-shout.
 We’d like to thank all these people here – they really helped us make the record we always wanted to make!

What’s the role of vocals in your music now? How has it evolved since day one?

Reinhard:

When we started OUR CEASING VOICE we used vocals more like an instrument to complete certain stages of the songs. At that time, I guess I was obsessed with the idea to create emotional music without any vocals, but we began to realize that the voice is probably the strongest medium to transport feelings. Moreover, the importance of lyrics increased along the way. We never wanted to transport a specific message, but give hints for a direction. As an instrumental band you only have song titles and artwork to narrow down possible interpretations. Implementing more lyrics therefore leads us to be able to suggest, “this song is about that, that one’s about that” etc. As much as we love listeners to hear their own stories in our songs, there’s now more of us too.

How much do you play instrumental as a percent on your total time spent onstage during average show?

Reinhard:

That’s a tough one to estimate. But I’d say, at least 50% of the show is instrumental. I do however play guitar while singing. But like I said, the new stuff we’re playing has more vocals, so we can’t really tell how much singing there’ll be in the end, as we haven’t decided yet what we’ll be playing this tour.

Ok, let’s got back to the guest appearances on the album. Are there more invitees involved?

Sebastian:

I think Reinhard mentioned the most important ones, but we got together with some friends of ours, Flo, who played trombone on some tracks, Ulrich who recorded some acoustic guitar, as well as Simon, our merch-guy who shouted with us on some gang shouts. Then there are Florian and Priska playing strings on the album. We might add at this point, that Florian is joining us on tour – he’ll help us out with some guitars, synths and strings. We invited him to do this, because we figured it would not be possible for us to recreate what we recorded without having a fifth member.

Awesome.
What’s the concept of the whole record?

Sebastian:

I knew you’d ask this at some point. But we’re quite hesitant to tell everything [laughs]. The record is about the “big things in life”. Loving someone, losing someone, longing for someone, trying to avoid someone. The whole story or theme is a bit based on the happenings of “The Anniversary”, a lyric that Matthew Ryan wrote. A couple is out celebrating their anniversary, when suddenly the cafe next to them exploded. The record tries to show the aftermath from an event like such. What happens to somebody after that? What happens to the people in a city where something like this happens? Why do we live in a world, where something like this can even happen? There’s beauty all around us, but a lot of the times we’re having a hard time seeing it. Either because we’re somehow blind for it ourselves, or others try to block our view of it.
This is all we want to say about the concept, because we want to give the listeners the chance to think for themselves, too. We’re just trying to push them a little bit into the direction, we had in mind for the album.

Reinhard:

It’s a concept album about the passage of time, that’s supposed to heal all wounds. It’s a dark and gloomy record,
a very personal album about death, mortality, reminiscence, oblivion, love and grief.
With That Day Last November our aim was to show up things everyone has to deal with at a certain point. We don’t want to give an answer to certain questions, but show, that there are things in live one can’t escape.

Is there the one correct solution for all the interpretations that your listeners can make? Or do you leave room for subjective views on the album?

Sebastian:

There can never be one correct solution. Even we have different interpretations for what songs are about. Even though there are, like Reinhard said, things in live that one can’t escape, each and everyone of use experiences them differently. So there will always be subjective views on the album; individual feelings that could be evoked.

Are you into David Lynch movies? [laughs]

Sebastian:

I am not to be honest. Or actually I don’t care too much. I’m more the series-kinda-guy. How about you, Reinhard?

Reinhard:

Generally I prefer books over movies. So I’m not an expert either [laughs].

Alright. What about the title of the record? What’s the story behind it?

Reinhard:

It’s a metaphor for everyone’s life-changing moments. Moments that change everything. And for our protagonist such a moment was that day in November – 11/22, the anniversary.

How does the trio of labels work to promote the outing?

Sebastian:

We’ve worked with Truelove Entertainment and Revolvermann Records for the vinyl version of our last album too. Those two have always been working together really closely and have been one of the first people to truly believe in the potential of our music. Then, when we became part of the Frontal Noize Booking Agency roster earlier this year, Frontal Noize offered us to release the new record on CD. We’re really glad to release this album with the backing of people who have become our friends and we trust in. They’re all doing a great job and we’d like use to opportunity to thank them.
In terms of promotion, the three labels are working closely together, emailing and chatting constantly. While Truelove and Revolvermann are concentrating on Germany, Frontal Noize are promoting our record elsewhere in Europe and worldwide. I guess it’s uncommon to have so many different parties involved when releasing an album, but we like the idea that this is becoming some kind of network where each one is doing what he does best and that it’s a network of people who we really like.

Is it hard to do it in between full time jobs and studying?

Reinhard:

We have to admit that it’s not an easy sometimes. But we see the music more like a compensation to deal with certain aspects of life, and handle emotions and feelings. Therefore this band is a big part of our life, and we try hard to make it worthwhile.

Sebastian:

Finding time to write music and to record it is so not hard for us, given the process we described before. We come together once or twice a week in times of recording. Rehearsing and touring is way harder for us. First, we’re spread across Austria, and secondly, we’re only able to tour in our holidays. Sometimes we wish to be able to pursue OUR CEASING VOICE as a full time job, at other times we’re glad to do it in our free time. This allows the band never to feel like a job or something we have to do, but something we want to and love to do. We sometimes have troubles meeting deadlines, however [laughs].

Do your families support you in your every endeavor regarding OUR CEASING VOICE?

Sebastian:

Yes, they’re very supportive of what we do. We’re glad to have families and friends who believe that the band is something worth it all. They encourage us when it’s hard, they’re happy with us when times are good.

Ok, guys. So what about touring? I believe it’s one the most important aspects of running a band. You simply need to go out there and share your passion straight from the stage. What are your plans regarding that?

Sebastian:

I think you’re right. Touring is very important! We have some big plans for 2013. In February we’ll be on our biggest tour yet. It’ll be 16 days long and we’ll visit 9 countries. The dates are already available on our website. After that tour, we’ll have 3 weeks back to our everyday lives and then we’ll be on the road for another 10 or so shows. We’re really excited to visit places we’ve been to before, but also to see new things; meet some people who’ve seen us play already, as well as play for new faces.

Reinhard:

We’ll be in the UK for the first time this Easter. We’re very excited about all this! There are a few more shows to book, so if anybody can help us out, please get in touch with our agent Thomas! All in all it will be a very busy year for us – we’ll play as many shows as we can!

Yup. I’ve been watching my friends from TIDES FROM NEBULA and how they’ve developed throughout the years, especially when it comes to performing live. By the way, to do you know them?

Sebastian:

Not personally, but I’ve heard their music and I’ve seen them live in Innsbruck some time ago. It was a great show!

Post-rock / ambient / experimental music is still not very popular in Poland. How does it look like in Austria?

Sebastian:

It’s certainly not the genre everybody loves listening to. But there’s a vivid and growing scene, I guess. Many bands stop here in Innsbruck for their tours! Still, it speaks for itself that we played only 3 shows in Austria before our first European tour [smiles].

Ok. Before we end, guys. Give us your Best Of 2012 for albums, shows, movies, personal highlights and the biggest disappointments.

Reinhard:

My favourite albums this year were WIFE – Stoic EP and MATTHEW RYAN’s In the Dusk of Everything. The best show I’ve seen must have been PIANOS BECOME THE TEETH. And my personal highlight was finishing our new record!

Sebastian:

Other than In the Dusk of Everything, what Reinhard already mentioned, I loved Spectral Dusk by EVENING HYMNS as well as JBM – Stray Ashes. I’ve missed a lot of bands live this year, best one I saw was probably BOHREN UND DER CLUB OF GORE. Best movie I’ve seen is a hard one.. I quite liked Blue Valentine and the best TV entertainment was certainly the new season of Dexter. There weren’t many big disappointments, as I’ve yet to check out a lot of stuff from this year. When mixing a record, I can’t listen to much else, so I’m really looking forward to going through all the end-of-the-year-lists and listen to some new music.

What would you wish yourself for this New Year?

Reinhard:

I think our biggest wish is to stay healthy and reach our personal goals for 2013. Besides that we are looking forward to two tours, and playing a lot of great shows.

Sebastian:

Band-wise, I wish for 2013 to be as exciting as the last year & for our new record to be successful, obviously [laughs]. Personally I wish for the new year to be filled with as much smiles and happiness around me as possible.

Cool. Thanks so much for your time! I wish you the best of everything for 2013! Thanks!

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