Artist: Strange & Primitive
Album: Self titled, debut LP
Released: November 20th
- Where and when did you first discover your interest in music?
Jeff: That’s a bit hard for me to trace since my parents taught me piano from a young age and also exposed me to a lot of Classical and Jazz which really built a strong musical foundation for me. I also had a keen interest in learning the guitar from a really young age. I’ll blame the guitar scene in Back To The Future for that bug. For the longest time however I was fairly certain I wouldn’t be a professional musician because of how tough it is to succeed in the industry. I was pretty dead set on finding a career outside of music while at school. However, through a process of elimination I ended up realizing music was the only thing I really wanted to do. And I really did go through just about every subject at University.
Graham: As a child I was digging in the backyard and came across an ancient chest. Inside was music. I was hooked on the spot.
Jeff: That’s a way better answer than I gave.
Graham: You just want to peek inside the chest! I always loved music but I’d say I became obsessed probably in high school. I started writing every day in University and that’s when things started to get more serious for myself. Like Jeff I went through just about every subject at University and found that all I could really keep thinking about was writing music. Besides the mysterious ancient chest though I don’t think there was a single moment of realization but rather a constant compulsion.
- What are your main ambitions in the industry?
Graham: Our main ambition is to release an album every year with great video content. It’s a very ambitious plan but someone has to do it.
- When did you start writing your own songs/music?
Jeff: While we both started working together in 2007, I think I started writing songs in early 2006. They were almost all entirely terrible. Once we started working together my focus was on writing instrumentals with Graham, though I occasionally wrote a song or two here and there. We didn’t really return to “song writing” until after we released Melody in the Half-Light in 2012 though.
Graham: I had been writing music for a long time but it wasn’t really until the Strange & Primitive project where I was putting lyrics to music. Previously, any lyrical themes for music I had would just be written down point form or had to be implied by the title of a track. It was exciting to be thematically charging our music in a way that we could share with others.
Jeff: Yeah there were a few times we came up with vocal melodies and lyrics for some of our instrumentals, probably as early as 2008 or 2009, but we never got too far there since our music at the time didn’t make concessions for a voice to take the lead in any respect. I also didn’t know how to sing at the time. It was only after we realized we couldn’t find the right vocalists for Strange & Primitive that I figured I’d better learn how to sing.
- What would you say is your music career highlight to date?
Graham: We are very happy having two albums completed and out there with more on the way. It also feels great to have two videos out that we are proud of.
Jeff: Despite having worked together for years, it really feels like we are just getting started here, and professionally that really is the case since we really started in 2012 with our Audiograft project. That being said, this latest album (and first for Strange & Primitive) feels like an achievement to me since we had to learn so much about songwriting, arranging, and mixing to complete it.
- Who will we hear in your songs? What are your influences?
Jeff: I wouldn’t say you could consistently detect a particular musical influence throughout our album. You might find places on the record where it reminds you of x or y but it’s not deliberate on our part. We make the choices we think are best for a song and since we make them within a certain aesthetic, comparisons to some acts that we really like aesthetically are more common than others we don’t. It’s not a conscious effort though.
Graham: When people hear our album they have a lot of different observations. Every once in awhile it’s quite shocking.
Jeff: Often we haven’t even heard of the bands that we remind others of. The comparisons can be outside of what we would have even considered as being close to our sound so it’s really hard to predict. Depending on the song and person, we’ve heard people say we sound like Talk Talk, U2, Judas Priest, Fever Ray, Billy Idol, etc.
Graham: For musical influences I’d say we prefer artists whose recordings really have a unique sense of space or a cinematic atmosphere. David Bowie, King Crimson, Talk Talk, Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois, Talking Heads, Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, Radiohead, Wye Oak and Grizzly Bear are some of the artists we’d list.
- What’s the most important thing you’d want to tell people about your current release?
Jeff: The album we’ve made is one in which your experience will change on repeated listens. It’s the sort of record where we hope you come out of it feeling like you’ve been somewhere and wonder how you got there.
Graham: It’s equally important for people to know that it comes out November 20th as well.
- Who else can you recommend from your genre or local area for people to have a listen to?
Graham: We were recently introduced to Tara Baswani and have been enjoying her work.
Jeff: If you like ambient music, I’d also recommend people check out Canadian artist Loscil. First Narrows is high up on our list of favourites from him.
- Any gigs coming up?
Graham: We will be finishing up the year making video content and then completing a new album, hopefully followed by a tour. So I’d expect something in the new year.
- Where can we find/follow you online?
Jeff: You can find us in all the usual places like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram. We’ve also got a snazzy website at www.strangeandprimitive.com