Musicscan: First of all: Could you please shortly introduce yourself and Blueneck to our readers? If you would have to say what your band and especially the philosophy behind your band is all about – how would that description be like?
Blueneck: Rich: I'm Rich and I play guitar. As a band I think we try and create intense, emotive, melodic and typically melancholy music.
Blueneck: Dunk: Im Duncan, i sing, play guitar, piano etc - and yeah, Rich just about summed it up really...I dont think we set out to write a particular style of music...its basically just something that comes naturally.
Blueneck: Ben: Hi, I'm Ben, I play bass. We just try and put our heart into it, and make music we like. We also like to explore new ground and make each album different from the last.
Musicscan: People who got introduced to your band often were impressed by your “aesthetic” approach to music. What do you think about statements like these, and what is your approach towards music and being a band?
Blueneck: Rich: I think we just make an instinctive approach. We just want to make songs that touch us and the people who listen to it. We want to draw people into a kind of mood and mindset. I guess we want them to engage emotionally, which I guess you could describe as aesthetic (now I've looked up the word in the dictionary).
Musicscan: Listening to Repetitions makes one wonder about the intensity of the songs. It´s definitely more than just music. It´s also the atmosphere you create. Is the mentioned intensity something you are striving for by choice?
Blueneck: Rich: Yes we definitely strive to create a certain mood. Dunk's job is to bring the basic song and it's structure, and then the rest of us work together to create the right arrangement to suit the mood. It's something that usually comes quite naturally.
Blueneck: Ben: We want our music to be an emotional experience, almost a journey, something you can get lost in. When I've been in a bad mood, listening to certain music can transform how I've been feeling. And to hopefully play a part in being able to do the same for someone, somewhere is a priviledge.
Musicscan: Lyrically and musically your band seems to stand for a certain kind of “emotional intelligence” that sometimes gets missed in nowadays music. Do you as a band ever think about your lyrics and music in this particular way?
Blueneck: Rich: I think that's actually quite a clever assessment of the music. Whether it's by choice or not, the song structures and lyrics are never that complex. There are thousands of bands out there that could easily copy the mechanics of what we do. But we build mood like no-one else, and draw the listener in. This is one of the reasons that we're not keen to share lyrics - we want people to make their own emotional assessments of the songs.
Musicscan: What is the main difference between the messages portrayed in the lyrics of your first two albums and Repetitions? What different thoughts are being brought out this time? Have you mostly stuck to the same topics, or have you progressed to another subject matter?
Blueneck: Rich: I think we prefer people to make their own conclusions. I have my own take on what the songs mean, but it's likely that these are different to the other members of the band. Of course Dunk, as songwriter, could be said to have the 'real' message behind the song. But even believes that other peoples' assessments are just as valid.
Blueneck: Dunk: I think theres a slight change in angle from one album to the next....Scars of the Midwest, for example is a rather depserate, lonely record - whereas The Fallen Host has a lot of anger, resentment and release within it....Repetitions is probably the saddest (theme wise) of the three...but theres an acceptance for that saddness...almost veering towards enjoying the pain...thats what the three albums mean to me personally...but like Rich says, i'm happy for them all to be open to interpretation by the listener.
Musicscan: All of your lyrics seem to take a quite melancholic viewpoint on life. What would you retort to that? Am I right with this?
Blueneck: Rich: Bullseye!
Blueneck: Dunk: Yeah....the lyrics are pretty dark in places.....sometimes i read them back and think 'fuck...thats dark...did i really write that down!!?'
Musicscan: We have all faced tragedy in our lives at one time or the other; be it the loss of a girlfriend or the death of someone close to us. What's the biggest tragedy you suffered, and how did you overcome it? What has been the role of (your) music in this concern?
Blueneck: Dunk: thats a big question...we probably need a bottle of whiskey and an evening together to go through that one!
Blueneck: Ben: I've been lucky enough not to have lost anyone close to me unexpededly, through death at least. We've all been through low points, and pain. But it's something that can make you feel very alive, and you can learn from. We're all on a journey, and I like to think that the pain of our scars comes out in our music.
Blueneck: Rich: I'm lucky that I haven't had too many tragedies in my life, as such. I did sit through all of Pearl Harbor in the cinema once. And Transformers 2. Now that is torment.
Musicscan: This may seem like a strange question, but are the members of Blueneck into reading philosophy? A lot of your work seems to combine conscious thoughts and different aspects of life, so I thought perhaps you were into studying these topics…
Blueneck: Rich: I did a psychology degree and love popular science, philosophy and skepticism. Like anything that absorbs you, it's likely to make it's way into the music. But personally I'm not intentionally channelling any intellectual pursuits into the music. I think the music is about emotion rather than intellect.
Blueneck: Dunk: ive never studied philosophy, and also rarely read up on the subject....but its certainly an interesting subject...one that will inadvertantly enter a discussion from time to time.
Musicscan: Has it become an exception in these days that bands play the music they really want to play without focusing on what listeners expect? Are we really that far? The music played by Blueneck is above all personal, so you stay somehow outside “competition”. But what do you personally think about that topic?
Blueneck: Rich: I think it's inevitable that if you have any degree of success, you wonder whether your next release is going to be accepted or enjoyed. But it's almost impossible to predict your audience's reaction. Think about it too much and you'll turn into Simon Cowell. We just go by what we feel to be right.
Blueneck: Dunk: Yeah...this is certainly the case with Repetitions.... I wanted to make an album that by and large was something that i liked, and would mean something to ME....With The Fallen Host, I think there was an awareness that there was a fanbase that we maybe wanted to please....and so I think I wrote those songs with perhaps one eye always thinking if people would like it....In some respects the new album is 100 per cent self indulgent....i was (and still am) very much aware that some people werent going to like this new album....i knew this right from the beginning of making it...and by accepting that fact, it made the writing and recording process so much easier and so much more enjoyable.
Musicscan: I got the impression that you definitely had the chance to experiment a lot more. The new record partly offers different sounds and effects. Would you agree to that? Keeping the recording process of Repetitions in mind – what could you improve while recording it?
Blueneck: Rich: I think that's correct. There was a lot more time to experiment in real time with real analogue equipment. The sounds you hear are created in the studio space as a band, rather than digitally created on a screen. It was a fantastic way to work. The downside was that it was possible to make bigger mistakes that waste time and money, but every day was an adventure.
Blueneck: Dunk: We chose the studio and producer specifically for the sound and feel that we wanted to create. The equipment at our disposal allowed for a LOT of experimentation....i think that this aspect of recording is the most enjoyable side of the process...im looking forward very much to working with Mat (Sampson) again very soon....
Musicscan: When you were writing the songs for Repetitions – did you have certain issues you specifically wanted to address? How did you go about writing your songs this time?
Blueneck: Rich: Dunk, as songwriter, will have specific ideas behind his songs. However, from an arrangement perspective we really just wanted to make the album as warm sounding as possible. We wanted it to sound like the environment it was created in... Dark, warm, underground, with fairy lights with friends sat around playing together.
Blueneck: Dunk: i didnt have any specific issues i wanted to address...but i always wanted the overall FEEL to be that of submitting to sadness....and eventually learning to live with it and accept it....enjoy it even to some extent.
Musicscan: Every band has a vision of how their album should sound like after the recording it. Listening to Repetitions right now: Would you say that this was a successful mission, or would you even say that the band was able to surprise itself? If this is the case – in how far?
Blueneck: Rich: I find it hard to have perspective. The songs are very special to me but I'm not very objective about it all.
Blueneck: Dunk: For me personally, this is how i envisioned the album sounding. i tend to get pretty obsessed with the recording process and so i know how its sounding day to day....evry little detail that changes etc.....this approach to recording can be pretty stressful and time consuing...but i wouldnt have it any other way!
Musicscan: What, in your opinion are one of the most exciting aspects about the new record? And for the people who do not know Blueneck so far: What can these people expect? What should they be prepared for?
Blueneck: Rich: I hope that it's a richer and more rewarding experience for repeat listens. We tried to build intensity but without the violence and volume of the last album. But I hope that listeners with patience will find a lot more below the surface.
Blueneck: Dunk: yeah...i agree with rich...its a pretty intense listen....but im fully aware that it relies on the listener giving it multiple listens to get the full reward and depth to the record....some people dont have the time or inclination to do this...which is fair enough...but the people that have come back to us so far and said they love it, are people that have taken the time to really immerse themselves into the record.