Hey Alex, thank you for the interview! The last years you’ ve been producing some excellent albums with bands like Archivist, Anopheli and Morrow to name a few. Are there any thoughts for a new Morrow album?
Yes, we are currently writing the new album, we have three or four songs at this stage, although its very much a work in progress. The music projects I’m involved in aren’t really like normal bands, they are more hobbies, or constructive friendships, and the music is just a great excuse to create stuff with your friends.
Have you thought about the story of the new Morrow album? Will it be linked to ‘’Covenant of Teeth’’ ?
It will follow on from Covenant of teeth, which showed the movements of humans in a post civilisation earth, and how different collections of humans evolve harmonious lives with forests and ice, and how those are affected when they encounter other tribes and belief systems which may not share their symbiosis with nature. In the first record we are introduced to the Norr, a secretive enclave living in North America, the next record will follow those who chose to leave that society to explore what lies beyond the fringes of their world.
Archivist are about to release a new record. How did the recording sessions go? Is it a concept album?
Yes it is a concept band so this is a continuation of the story that began in the first record, and the story is linked to Morrow, both bands exist in the same narrative. Its a fun way to tell a story from very different perspectives. Recording went well for the musicians, but I can’t say it was an easy vocal recording session.
Are you planning on a tour after the release of the album?
There will be a short tour in the summer.
You’ ve got a book come out called ‘’Seek the Throat from which we sing’’. Please give us some info. What is it about?
The story is based around a tale of dark animal mythology and fantasy. In a dilapidated seaside theme park, a flock of starlings known as the Startle have lived under the rule of the despotic gull king Esperer. Like all of his kin, Rune, an orphan, longs for a time when his people will reclaim sovereignty. In desperation he commits an act of violence that leads to banishment and he is cast into an unknown world, confronted by all the strange and cruel things that were once mere stories.
In his desire to find a sense of home again, Rune meets others who also seek something; Aggi the Collector, a magpie outcast who desires to know her purpose, and Onnar of the Drove, a stern yet compassionate hare who has always put others first. Together they travel through a land wrought with dangers, and encounter many of the species that have eked an existence under the uncaring feet of humanity, and who now vie for control in the wake of a disease which is consuming mankind.
In the steadily emptying city, the Vulpus, urban foxes – and the Morwih, determined domesticated cats, will wage war. Yet their squabble is but one of many… written into the lore and laws of all creatures, there is another world of magic and prophecy that Rune and his companions will unwittingly discover.
My artwork surrounds the world contained in the book and I have spent the better part of five years creating it. The book is available now, and a full colour illustrated encyclopaedia companion book will be released later this year.
What kind of books are you reading nowadays? Is there one you’d like to recommend?
Having spent most of the last four years writing everyday, I haven’t had a great deal of time to read other books! But I can recommend anything by China Mieville and his “Bas Lag” novels, I really enjoyed the books of Sebastian Beaumont (Thirteen, The Juggler) the novels of John Lindqvist, (Let the right one in, handling the undead)
What’s your favorite album of 2016?
I don’t think I have a favourite! I really enjoyed Drei Affen, Autarch, Landbridge, Blue neck, Anohni, Bon Iver, and revisiting old classics.
What inspires you?
Strange moments inspire me. A moment in a film, excitement for a project, other peoples passion for things. Certain pieces of artwork, a sentence in a book. A really good walk and a long think can be the best inspiration. I recently moved from London to a smaller city, with real peace and quiet. Feeling happier can be an inspiration.
Which artists influenced you the most? Would you name Albrecht Dürer as one of them?
No I can’t say he was an influence! Although I have a drawing of his up in my house! My biggest influences were Gustave Dore, H.R Giger, Brian Froud and Arthur Rackham. These were all artists introduced to me when I was quite young, apart from Giger who was my teenage rebellion artist. Although there’s not much rebellion when my mum bought his book for my birthday one year!
Would it interest you to explore different art forms just like H. R. Giger did?
I try to use a lot of different techniques. I’ve definitely tried my hand at a lot of things and right now I am a sculptor, and writer, screen printer and I make resin toys. I run a museum of cryptozoological specimens which I have maintained for ten years called The Merrylin Cryptid Collection (merrylinmuseum.com) which is probably the most labour intensive area of my life. I also run an animal rights clothing brand called Animal allies which raises funds for animal welfare charities (www.etsy.com/uk/shop/AnimalAlliesClothing)
You’ re the vocalist of many great bands as well as a renowned illustrator. What do you enjoy the most though? Singing or painting?
Drawing and painting. I try to draw every day. Bands are an itch I have to scratch, sometimes I wish to never be in a band again, which stems from anxieties, but I guess being an anxious person and wanting to create music can be entirely separate things. The older i get the less I want to perform live, but then two days later I want to start a new band! Punk is still a huge part of my life, It defines so much of who I am and the things I love and care about. It gives me an excuse to spend time with the people I love. On the the other hand, there is telling stories, and telling stories in bands and creating artwork is fun and gratifying, singing is just saying those words out loud! So they have that in common.
Aesop, one of the most famous storytellers of the antiquity, used to tell stories about daily life through personified animals. Have you read any of his fables? Do you have a favorite one?
Yes I guess everyone read Aesops fables when they were a kid, I can’t say I have thought about them much since then, but of course moralistic stories are important for children, especially as a way of showing different perspectives other than traditional religious fables.
If you could compare your music to an art movement then what would that be?
I wouldn’t! unless you consider punk to be an art movement. Some would, and art plays a huge role in punk, so I guess thats as pretentious as I am willing to get on that question!
Have you ever exhibited your art? If so where did it take place?
I’ve done lots of exhibitions over the years, I am 36 and have been a full time artist since I was in my early 20’s, I started off as a comic book artist, where I wrote and drew 18 comic books, before turning my attention to running the Merrylin Museum, which was my main task as curator for 10 years. I still quietly maintain the museum, although we haven’t exhibited in a few years and its mainly just an online project. My illustration and writing is the main focus of my work, especially the world in which my novel takes place. I am currently writing the sequel to that book, alongside producing illustrations based on that mythology.