Musicscan: Are the members of Irepress educated or self-taught musicians? What is your background?
Irepress: I think we all took lessons at some point in life, but never for more than a year. I took guitar lessons the first 6 months i had a guitar and me and my teacher just rocked megadeth and metallica tunes... ive never personally been interested in theory, i just like what sounds good, and i like patterns that 'feel' good in the upper region of my brain...
Musicscan: Speaking of metal-music: How is Irepress's music received by the metal-fans and media? I'm asking cause I assume that many of the promotional efforts are focused on metal markets.....
Irepress: Yeh we feel thats something that needs to change... we have a lot of metal elements, but so many other influences as well that to call us a metal band is missing 90 percent of the message. However, we are recieved well by the metal fans out there... I feel that so many of the older metal fans like their metal with a good clean riff packed into it. The heavy simply isnt as heavy without the cleans, and with the cleans, the heavy becomes heavier. So many newer younger bands ignore the other channels of their extremely expensive amps, yet deep down they love hearing the beauty mixed with the chaos... they just may have too much pride or testosterone to acknowledge their love for cleans in a public setting. I guess we simply try to incorporate our endless range of influences into our music so that everyone from toddlers to the nearly deceased can find something they enjoy with our music...
Musicscan: Do terms like “math rock”, “prog metal” and “prog rock” bother you? There's a strong geek connotation with those terms....
Irepress: I think progressive is one of the best ways to describe good music... its music that evolves and tells a story while eliminating the Mass market radio formula. Thats what music is about. I also personally really enjoy mathematics as a science and art, so i wouldnt take offense to it. However, in some ways i feel like the closest cousin to our music is collaborative classical music. We like to mess with themes, we love dynamic changes and speed changes, and everytime we play a song its different in some way... like the classical musicians who studied music and Dominated it hundreds of years ago, by creating realms of sound that transported people out of their lives and into their imaginations...
Musicscan: What influences or parts of your sound are outside of the just mentioned terms?
Irepress: I guess some of the electronic elements, and more groove based elements that sheel brings to the drum-table-set.... Also, we are all very influenced in ethnic music, ancient music, and cultural music of the peoples of this world. Why worship the latest 'hit' album and newest most high pitched singer, when the world is filled with birds and coyotes and insects that sing rhythms outside the traditional musical realm, and sing for intentions far beyond money. I once over heard a pack of coyotes attacking (or doing something eff'd up) to another coyote. For the next 20 minutes, a lone coyote cried in the woods and sang. And it murdered anything ive ever heard by Bjork, or any other human voice. And i love Bjork, she's the closest thing to the mind of a wild animal, but whose to say she is better. Music is sound that comes from an unexplained place, and those masters of the past knew that, and couldnt concieve of putting a monetary value on their gifts. Music is everywhere, always, so take your stupid IPods off your damn heads and listen.
Musicscan: You guys get compared to a lot of bands. Which comparisons annoy you the most?
Irepress: ISIS, Pelican, Explosions in the Sky.............. Not that theirs anything wrong with those bands, but on the list of how much they influence us, they would be at rock bottom. Unless you consider the fact that everytime we hear of the achievements of these bands who found themselves in a better more successful string of promotions around the world than us, it inspires us to write even more uniquely and push ourselves even harder to separate ourselves. People forget that we've been a band way before any of those bands were even a thought. We are a closeknit group of friends first, and musicians second, and we write music that we want to hear and we want to go crazy too... or music that shakes us to the core. We may be similarly instrumental to some of those bands, but if one were to compare our style of song structures, our dynamics, our harmonies and rhythms to ANY of those bands, they are worlds apart, and it shows in our intentions for creating the music. We simply think totally differently than those bands about our music, and where they sometimes try to fit their styles into some kind of box, we blew the roof off of that box in high school and dont even know where we are now :) nor do we care.
Musicscan: The work for Sol Eye Sea I has been done some time ago. How do you feel about the record and your work now?
Irepress: The work for Sol Eye Sea for us has been done for years. And i still thoroughly enjoy listening to it and playing it live. Like i said, its always different when you submerge yourself in it. It may give you different feelings on a rainy or snowy hectic day, as it does a sunny day in paradise somewhere. We wrote it throughout the progression of the seasons, we are all products of the four seasons as humans of Boston, and Sol Eye Sea I is a diary of two years of our lives ups and downs in musical form. It also sounds best on vinyl, as does everything.
Musicscan: What sort of evolution has Irepress gone through that lead to the new album? Did you do something differently by choice?
Irepress: Not necessarily by choice, but the new album we are writing is going to be a truly unique experience. We are going through some internal band affairs that range from the highly positive and perfect, to the worst. But if u know about our past, we are littered with occurrences like this. Each time we get dealt a card that hits us hard, we fight back twice as hard. We've already started writing the new record and have many ideas brewing and coming together nicely. We also have a few surprise ideas and plans that may set this album apart from any other 'instrumental whatever the shit we are' bands out there, and will hopefully give us the kind of exposure we've earned after this 13 year War.
Musicscan: Maybe that's a silly question but I wonder how you find titles for your songs since they're mostly instrumental?
Irepress: I guess it depends on anything from the feel of the song, to what a certain part reminds us of, to what type of scam Shan pulled on someone the day we wrote the song, to any other potential ludicrously internally hilarious connection of words that only we Iro's can understand. Part of the reason for this, i feel stems from something I heard Clive Barker say even before i was in Irepress about his book Imajica. Its an incredibly epic book filled with places and names of beings that are nearly impossible to pronounce. The reason Clive claimed in an interview was to give each individual reader his own interpretation and imagination of the world that Clive created. There is no wrong way to pronounce our songs, whatever you decide to call it is reflective of how you feel about it or what its called to YOU. As a band we usually speak of them in a uniform way, but enjoy hearing other peoples interpretations and theories. So keep em coming and call the songs whatever the hell you want.
Musicscan: What’s behind the adding of vocals to some of the songs?
Like adding some salt and pepper to the water you're about to cook delicious tortellinis in. It doesnt take away from the taste of the pasta, it adds to its flavor, gives it a little spice and still after its all been consumed and riding the intestines to the pool at the end of the brown tunnel, they're still delicious tortellinis packed with cheese and meats.
Musicscan: How are Irepress songs constructed? Are they composed or do they arise from improvisation?
Irepress: I dont think anyone has ever come into an Irepress jam with a riff or a song idea thats remained as it was first thought up for even a day. We all write various riffs and segways, bring em to the jams, alter them as they need to be, fit them where they need to go, and all take part in how they connect until they are right where we want them satisfying everyones needs. Or at least ours. Also though, more often than not, we will be messing around with our instruments during a jam and a spontaneous sonic vision will erupt. We'll work with it and get some foundations, and from the minute we leave the jam till the next time we return, we have all thought of ways to 'evolve' the riff, or come up with another riff that goes with the riff or part, and we just let the pieces of fate stick together as they come out of the invisible. We remember everything, and never write it down either. And if we happen to forget exactly how something went one week, it usually becomes something even greater in due time. We're patient.
Musicscan: How important is the improvisation factor to the music of Irepress? Unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to see you live but I suppose that improvisation is much easier on stage than in studio...
Irepress: Personally, many of my riffs are improvised and can change from show to show very much. There are obviously many very-tight parts that i will always play in the same way in order to match all other instruments, but for just as many parts i simply have a collection of notes with a not-so-strict formula for how they should be played, along with a collection of possible 'colorings' that could be done at certain points. I love this because it keeps the music very fresh to me. Some riffs start off right on the money, but others take time to get to exactly where they should be. Also, we are bored easily by bands who play music exactly the way it is heard on the cd. When i go to see a band that i love, Tool for example, and they bust out into some crazy part thats clearly not on the album but is also exactly where the song needs to go, it gives the crowd a priceless gift. You get to hear something familiar, yet its changed in a way that the band prefers to the way of the past. Thats what we do, our live songs have taken what we did on the record, and made it even more in your face. That way every show is different from every other show, and we give you even more than the CD can. Plus you sometimes will get to see us mess up and laugh at eachother on stage. We dont take ourselves seriously at all, we have so much fun on stage and thats what its all about. We're not up there to intimidate, or look angry, we are happy people who look at life positively, and we want you all to as well :)
Musicscan: I know a strong part of your sound is about experimentation. Of the albums and songs you guys have recorded which one do you feel crosses the most borders? What other borders, musically speaking, do you guys wanna knock down in the future?
Irepress: I feel each album crosses the next set of borders towards something we cant even fathom at this point. Experimentation is very crucial to Irepress, we like to try and do things that nobody out there is doing. Combinations that almost shouldnt exist, but when they do, they feel right and fit the overall puzzle perfectly. Without experimentation we'd all be standing on stage with our rats in our hands. The possibilities of creating music are endless, theres no law of music telling us that something can or cant be done. We realized this a long time ago and have lived and created with that as our internal motto. So i guess each album crosses borders, each more than the last, and with the ideas we have for the next one, its just gonna get better and better.
Musicscan: Some people have the opinion that instrumental music is harder to dig than the one with vocals and lyrics. I don't know if you agree but I think that the lack of voice makes the sound more easily accessible since the listener does not have to split attention between sound and word. How do you feel about it?
Irepress: I love it. Theres a lot of bands out there with great music, and then you hear the singer and immediately the album gets turned off, deleted, or buried with the rest. With instrumental music, anyone from 1-100 could potentially love it and find something they really enjoy in it. Without words we cant offend anyone, we cant be censored by Tipper Gore's army, and we dont have to worry about listeners focusing in on one particular aspect of the music, they are free to travel from instrument to instrument and appreciate all of it as a whole or in parts. Plus, we dont like egos.
Musicscan: Who would you prescribe Sol Eye Sea I if you were a music therapist?
Irepress: Anybody that needs to realize the full potential of this world. Life is full of heaviness and cleans, but if you pay attention and immerse yourself in it, you'll find that theres nothing to be afraid of. If you think positively, your world of illusions will reflect it. Or if you think really purely, you may even be able to tear through your old world and sneak a glimpse at the way this world really is, perfect.