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INTERVIEW: The Green Kingdom

Todays artist interview see's us talk with The Green Kingdom ahead of the release of their Ether Hymns record.

Exploration of Sounds and Textures:

Your music explores the blurring lines between soundscape and structure. Could you share how you navigate this delicate balance, especially in your upcoming album "Ether Hymns"?

Yes, I always do like including aspects of melody and harmony in pieces, no matter how abstract. Even in ambient pieces, there is typically a structure, sections or layers that repeat. It's fun to change things up, going from shorter, more traditionally-structured songs to looser ambient pieces.

Inspirational Elements:

The ethereal concept behind "Ether Hymns" is quite profound. What particular experiences or thoughts sparked this theme for you?

Just the thought of music hanging in the air, surrounding the listener and filling the room. Floating in and out of our time and space.

Transition in Artistry:

How has your background in graphic design influenced your sound or possibly the structure of "Ether Hymns"?

Not too much, though I often do think of the layers that sound occupies, both in terms of frequency range and within the stereo field. I look at design the same way in how you work within a structure (or not), make use of negative space and lead the viewer through the piece.

Melodic Focus:

You maintain a sharp focus on melody. How do you ensure that the melody shines through amidst the myriad of electronic and organic sounds?

Well, I tend to pile a lot of melodies and countermelodies and then usually need to simplify and pare things back to what's really essential. In some of these pieces, I ended up removing guitar melodies that I thought were similar to things I had done previously and just kept the underlying ambience or changed to a different instrument or sound. It's all about making room for the melodic elements to shine or come to the forefront, so not having too many elements in the same frequency range always helps.

Instrumental Choices:

What were some of the key instruments and electronic sources you leaned towards in the creation of "Ether Hymns"?

In terms of guitars, I believe my J Mascis Jazzmaster and '94 Strat are what I used the most. Effects like the Strymon TImeline and Big Sky for delay and reverb and the Valhalla delay and Supermassive plugins also played a big role in shaping the sound. In terms of synth sounds, I didn't use many hardware synths on this one, most of the electronic sounds and sequences are the Arturia DX7 and Jupiter soft synths.

Track Evolvement:

Could you delve into the evolution of one of the tracks, perhaps "Mycelia", from its inception to its final form?

That piece started with the ambient guitar pads and looping vinyl static texture. It's an example of a guitar part I swapped out for the piano parts that ended up in the final version. I did end up keeping some of those guitars, albeit in reversed form and also added some higher swells and strings that come in at certain intervals.

Field Recordings:

Your use of field recordings is notable. How do you go about selecting or capturing these, and how do they find their place in your compositions?

I usually just record things out in nature using the voice memo recorder on my phone, very lo-fi. I'm tending to use pieces of field recordings as repetitive rhythmic elements a bit more these days.

Ambient Influences:

The record has been likened to the sounds of Helios and Halftribe. How do you feel about these comparisons and are there any other artists you feel akin to?

That's high praise as I like both of them! In terms of guitar-based music, I listen to a lot of Robin Guthrie, Billow Observatory, Jeff Pierce, Jeff Parker, Bill Frisell, Buckethead, a lot of older stuff as well.

Visual Representations:

If "Ether Hymns" could be translated into a visual art form, what would it look like and why?

Well, pretty much what you see on the cover. Kind of an amorphous and ever-changing cloud of purple mist.

Listening Experience:

What kind of listening environment do you envision for your audience when they engage with "Ether Hymns"?

None in particular. I think it could just become part of any space the listener happens to be inhabiting, either in a relaxed, focused state, or as a soundtrack for whatever may be demanding their attention.

Album Artwork:

Could you tell us about the artwork for "Ether Hymns"? How does it reflect the music within?

Yes, as mentioned above, I wanted something a bit more abstract that coincided with the 'Ether' concept. Kind of a visual that you could get lost in like the music. I sent Dmitry and Artem some photo references, and what they generated was spot on!

Label Collaboration:

How has working with Dronarivm helped in shaping or promoting "Ether Hymns"?

This is my fourth release with them and it's been such a great working relationship. They are always open to whatever I come up with musically and never fail to make everything look and sound the best it can. Dmitry has always been so easy to work with, and having Fonodroom on board to help with a number of things has only made thing run more smoothly than ever.

Future Explorations:

Post "Ether Hymns", are there any particular sound explorations or themes you are keen to delve into?

Sound-wise, any time I plan to explore something or delve into making a particular type of album, it often evolves and becomes something completely different over time. That said, I would like to release some slightly longer-form ambient pieces at some point. I have a couple collaborative projects that I need to get going as well.

Live Performances:

With the release of the new album, do you have plans for live performances? How do you envision translating "Ether Hymns" to a live setting?

Not really, I'm typically focused on writing and recording new material all the time rather than performing, but you never know...


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