Ahead of the release of their new album New Topographics, Alt Dialogue got chance to catch up with Talons to discuss concepts, sounds and the recording process
Read the interview below and have a read of our review of the album here.
Your new album New Topographics is out on the 4th August, tell us a bit about the recording of the album. How did you go about getting your ideas together and committing to tape?
We recorded the album onto analogue tape for the first time, working with Tom Woodhead (who also produced Hollow Realm) in Greenmount Studios. The studio itself is built within an old church in Leeds, and was an ideal setting for us to record, as the natural reverb of the church hall was great for recording the strings and ambient drones. Overall I think the recording process was far smoother than the first album and ultimately more fun. We had a clear idea of how we wanted the album to sound going into the studio, and had worked on a number demo ideas in the build up to recording. This gave us quite a bit of time to experiment once in the studio and has made for a more diverse album than our debut I think.
Your use of violins adds a uniquely classical element to your sound, what gave birth to your sound? What made you mix the traditional idea of instrumental music with violins?
I would say the decision to have violins is very much the product of the place we originally formed, Hereford. At the time of our formation the Hereford music scene was at its brightest, with more bands than ever before, and younger musicians coming through. The increased activity around music paved the way for a number of collaboration between different musicians, which is how Talons originally formed. At this time it made sense to combine members form three different bands in order to try something new. From this point on we experimented with the adding the violins in different ways and combining contrasting sounds and influences. On the new album, I feel the classical influences have been emphasised further and it gives the violins a lot more prominence.
New Topographics has a more assured and accomplished sound compared to your previous releases while remaining unmistakably Talons like. Has this been a natural progression or was it something you set out to achieve on the album?
I think through our decision not to go straight on to writing the next album a year or two after we released Hollow Realm, it gave us the opportunity to reassess what kind of album we wanted to make. The biggest change on this album was the writing process itself, which was far more collaborative. Due to the geographical divides between us, we had to share around ideas digitally first, then meet up at a later to put everything together. This process certainly changed the types of songs we created and the influences behind them. We spent quite a bit of time discussing how we wanted the album to the sound, especially in regard to textures and rhythms. There is definitely a stronger neo-classical influence as well as more focus on the impact of repetition on this album.
The album name comes from a photography exhibition in 1975… How did you settle on the album name?
The album title was actually one of the final pieces of the jigsaw. In the very first song writing session we had begun to discuss concepts for the new album, many of which were connected to themes of hyper-modernity and architectural surroundings. A lot of these ideas also related to the art that we create outside of the band so it made sense to tie these together. Consequently, it was during the process of finalising the artwork itself that we had the idea to name the album after the New Topographics exhibition. The original exhibition really tapped into many of the themes we had discussed related to uniformity and banality, so it seemed to make sense to acknowledge the music and art we had created as a continuation of this previous work.
With instrumental albums it can be a little harder to work out what influenced the album, yet I normally find the music is far more emotive. That seems to be the case with New Topographics, what influenced the album? Is there any themes behind the songs?
The themes in each song are very much connected to the overall album concept and artwork, and help to provide a soundtrack to the conformity of lives in 21st century cities. The more conceptual nature of this album mean it was very much written as a headphone album, one to hopefully enjoy as you walk around a new city or landscape. By also placing a lot of emphasis on the artwork, the images are used to conjure up emotions and feelings whilst listening to the music. The idea was always to try and get people to become immersed in the overall album experience.
What are the plans for Talons going forward?
We have the new album out on the 4th August and will be off on Tour in September around the UK for a week. After that we hope to be heading to mainline Europe in the new year with some more UK dates planned around that. Then hopefully a few festivals next summer. If we get time we might even think about writing some new material!
Read our review here
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