Alrightie. Here’s another band to check out this fine summer. Dubbed WREN, these guys come from London, UK, have been a band with the current line up for a few months now, played a first show back in May and are definitely not a summer-lovin’ kinda band, haha. Fans of ISIS and OLD MAN GLOOM should be delighted and new followers of WREN should be stoked, cause here we are, offering you a nice insight into their creation process. There is no denying they have a great sound that needs to be shared within all of you progressive post metal maniacs. Scroll down to read my interview with the band’s very own Alex.
Blossoming from the undergrowth through millennia of decay and rebirth, initiation of thee disciples of Wren has already begun to forge a death knell into the cultural wasteland of the banal and mediocre. With a live performance inducing rooted emotions deep within Man, the intricate layers emanate into the preternatural light. After releasing a two track demo distributed amongst friends the previous year, 2014 has marked the coming of Wren’s first E.P. The self-released collection spans over twenty minutes and is a testament to the metaphysical awareness the band are beginning to achieve. Featuring members of obe, Exhaustion, Throats and more; Wren hone influences from areas transcending music genres alone. The band’s approach is both interesting and progressive where influences range from the art of Rothko and Caravaggio, to the writings of Holderlin and Blanchot as well as embracing the sonic intensity from artists who revel in any surreal, experimental or mind altering activities. Wren play music that has been described as ‘progressive ambient metal’, however as per usual when describing the complexity of music, this fails to capture the experience
Hey there Alex! What’s up? How are you? How’s London? :)
Hey Karol, I’m good thanks, how about you? Not much really, I’m just enjoying the sun. London never fails to be great in summer.
Now that’s a surprise, haha! :) Do you have any vacation plans for the summer? Or is it all about being involved in fulfilling the band’s obligations?
I actually just got back from a holiday, but I think for all of us in WREN, no matter what we are doing individually, something interior is still working towards an output, per se, via the band. I think everyone feels the obligation in the sense that it’s an outlet that serves to fulfil some creative point which is positive as it is never forced. It is something akin to the fact that anything that affects us on a human level is filtered through WREN into something whether that be and idea or a physical manifestion.
Sounds like you’re realy into it. So who’s in the band and what’s the story of your forming?
The band originally started with Chris, Owen and two other friends who recorded a demo 2012 and an ep at the end of 2013. After the ep was in the finishing stages of recording they asked me if I wanted to put vocals to the songs they had recorded which I happily agreed to. After a few line up changes, for a multitude of reasons, we have finally settled with the current line up of Chris, Owen, Rob, John and I.
Besides WREN, are there any other side projects you’re currently involved in? Any ex-bands worth mentioning?
Was that a conscious decision to try to create this post metallic and apocalyptic mood and atmosphere with WREN?
We didn’t set out to create any mood in particular but it’s encouraging you say that because in some ways it just happened quite organically. Individually we all like similar music so when something is written in a certain way it just makes sense for the music to go in that direction through our mutual influences.
Which were the artists that have influenced your musical direction?
Bands such as NEUROSIS, AMENRA, SWANS, GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR and DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT, who create a live show immersing various senses without compensating musically are a huge inspiration. In recent years various art forms have begun to merge in a multitude of ways and music is an ideal situation with which to create something. Also, bands that create a bit more with their artwork/releases are always another source of inspiration. The last WE CAME OUT LIKE TIGERS record was beautifully done.
Do you get any influence by London?
London is a huge inspiration, but I feel any place one lived would be the same as the environment you surround yourself in will take effect either consciously or unconsciously. The obvious negatives don’t have to be stated as it’s pretty synonymous with most densely populated cities, but in no other place have I seen such an abundance of free galleries, shows, literary readings and other artistic projects that one has access too.
What are the cons?
Instead of listing all of the negatives, a few of us in WREN recently have spoken about one negative aspect on the overwhelming feeling from an abundance of choice, London can sometimes provide. It’s hard to explain without sounding like it’s not just moaning from a privileged position but sometimes when you’re faced with the possibility of a number of shows or events on the same night it usually whittles down to popularity, which I’m not saying instantly discredits a band, far from it, but procrastination is something people are prone to feel and when given the choice between saving money and experimenting with new music in the confines of your home, or paying money to experience something you may or may not like, the choice people take is pretty obvious. Especially in an expensive place such as London you are genuinely sometimes left with no option to choose. The main issue is a lot of the experience attached to music is lost. It then becomes devalued and from experience it can become disheartening to both sides. It’s just plain wrong to have value judgements on an experience, just because something is bad or adverse, does that then mean it isn’t worthwhile? You can learn just as much from something you despise and from something you love. I’ve had some of the most eye opening and enriching thoughts in times when I’ve been in a situation I dislike. I think it’s a matter of participating and not allowing something you love to fully wither.
How is the UK post metal underground these days? How do you think vital is the scene?
I think in general and not just in post-rock, that there is a great underground following. Things have definitely changed in the way people consume music over the last few years which can make people anxious but people are still supporting underground music so the light has not extinguished just yet.
I think as opposed to a scene, what is more important are consistent individuals within a scene. For example, someone who puts on shows regularly or plays in bands, someone who creates a space with which a scene can exist. I think it’s a romantic notion to think people would surpass a ‘scene’ because people have a desire to belong or identify with something so they need a scene to feel a connection too in some respects. I don’t know anyone who didn’t go through this as a teenager and I don’t think it will stop anytime soon. I think if anything the notion of a scene has changed as you don’t have to be physically present or participate in a scene anymore like you used to to feel a part of something.
Ok, so what else can be an inspiration? Is there anything that has inspired WREN that we wouldn’t expect?
I can’t speak for everyone here but I can never really pinpoint a source of inspiration outside of the usual channels which can be put under the umbrella term of art. I think what someone else would see as a strange influence is probably so common place in my day to day life that I don’t even notice it.
No reason at all.
Haha, best band-name-answer ever ;) Ok buddies. Is your self-titled record still available for anyone that will potentially become interested?
Yeah people can still download the record for whatever price they want to pay. We like it this way. We are currently in the process of releasing it physically with a label called Aonair. It should be out fairly soon.
Are there already some plans for a full length?
Maybe not a full length just yet. We are writing songs at the minute that we will be releasing at some point this year, but a full length is always there if we want write towards one.
Ok guys, so what’s next for 2014 and beyond?
For the rest of 2014, we will be continuously writing and playing until we exhaust ourselves.
Cool. What are your thoughts and feelings when you realize that people actually LIKE what you do with WREN? Is it rewarding?
In some way it is surprising but it’s more of a humbling experience. It’s crazy to think you can effectively make something out of nothing and then that can be transformed in the world into something entirely different. That’s the rewarding aspect. Creating music is a release which just seems to benefit me personally and always has. But of course, it is always nice to hear positive words about anything that is personal.
Thanks a lot! Do you have any last words for IDIOTEQ readers?
We are playing some shows with our friends in EMPRESS AD on 12th,13th and 14th August so people should come to the shows and sludge out.