Wired To Follow – Bandcamp

Capac – Bandcamp

By: Jake Murray

Wired To Follow and capac have both been on our radars for a long time. Both acts lie somewhere between post-rock and electronic music, harbouring melodic soundscapes behind pulsing beats and dissonance. This spring we saw the return of Wired To Follow with Read, Write, Execute on their own Newpath label (April 2nd), a complex structure covering all manners of weird terrain with electronics and organic instrumentation as well as, for the first time, (rather heavily processed) vocals. capac finally released their debut record on May 4th via the ever awesome This Is It Forever Records. Sea Freeze is a bold, unique record displaying much careful development from years of honing the craft of composition and arrangement.

In order to celebrate these two records we got Stephen from Wired To Follow and Stu from Capac together to discuss their processes, influences and reminisce on their time together in the Liverpool music scene where it all started:

Stephen: Hi Stu, so I’ll kick this off by saying that I’m currently listening to the new album and it’s really great work. There’s an epic iciness to it which brings to mind the music of Ben Frost and Bjork. Would you say these musicians are influences and who or what else would you say has influenced music on the album?

Stu: Hey, firstly thanks, really glad you’re in to it, and double thanks for pre ordering the vinyl. Ben Frost is definitely one that gets replayed, to be honest I’m more into his previous album, By The Throat, than Aurora; it has much more of a sound world to it, unexpected twists and turns. I guess it’s those aspects which I’d like to think have found a way in to our stuff. The iciness was definitely a conscious thing, we wanted to tell a story about a frozen sea. As for other influences…news stories, “slow” films, minimal drone – such as Thomas Koner’s first three albums, Eleh, Lawrence English – then on the dirty side of things bands like Earth, Sunn O))), The Body etc. To be honest I’ve not really listened to much music with a beat in an electronic sense in recent years…

I don’t want to be lazy and fire the same question back at you, but I’m definitely interested in influences, I’m getting a Fuck Buttons and Jon Hopkins vibe ; but also, having listened to Read, Write, Execute a few times now – it’s brilliant by the way – I was struck by how upfront the electronics are. This then prompted me to listen to your back catalogue from beginning to now and I realised that the electronic beats and such have always been there, and you can definitely hear a progression of the sound as they become more and more upfront. I guess what I wanted to know is was that a conscious decision or something which kind of happened?

Stephen: Yeah I’d definitely say that was a conscious decision. The plan from the beginning was to marry electronica with organic sounds. It kick started when we wrote our first track (‘I Wish I Could Talk in Technicolor’). Mixing real drums with electronic beats was a thrill – it really touched our experimental nerve. I stopped playing guitars in the same way and I’d try and create sounds that shouldn’t necessarily work. The idea was to make soundscapes more melodic and have the electronic and organic sides overlap instead of occupy a space. I’m a big Fuck Buttons and Jon Hopkins fan so it’d be mad not to think their influences have seeped in. Did you guys have an initial plan for Capac or did you kind your way as you put out each release?

Stu: I would say that since we started writing the album we’ve had an idea of our sound, I feel like on our earlier releases we were finding out feet, and then we played loads of shows and didn’t write much in the meantime. The project sort of went into hibernation for a while, with the odd remix here and there, and then there were some line up changes and the album process started. The idea with Sea Freeze was to create something that sounded cold, but in a warm sense…now there’s an oxymoron. Cold conceptually, but warm in sound. It’s often said that electronic music can be cold, and we strive to avoid that using our own recorded sounds wherever possible, not sticking to 16 bars, and taking things off grid and into more esoteric time signatures.

It’s interesting you mention a shift in the use of guitars, that’s definitely something that’s evident on Read, Write, Execute. Guitars only seem to exist in a standard form in the shorter tracks. Piano seems to be much more your main sound source for harmony these days.

How does writing work for you? To my ears, and I may be waaaaaay off the mark here, the first release sounds like a band in a room, and RWE sounds more like a studio based work.

Stephen: It’s been a mixed bag of writing processes really. The one constant factor for a release is a concept to build around. For RWE, it was to soundtrack a short story idea about being left behind on a dying planet. Wired to Follow started off with myself and Barry jamming live and then incorporating other members. After a while we abandoned the ‘band’ setup because we felt writing music to play at shows was becoming a bit of hinderance. We’d stop ourselves experimenting to ask “yeah it’s cool but will it work live?”. So we made a decision not to play shows for a while and just concentrate on recording. In truth I also kind of got bored of playing live and wanted to escape from all of that scene for a while. The writing became more studio based and we were allowed to take our time and do what we wanted. I’m not sure that’s always going to be the case though, things change. RWE was created exclusively through email/skype, we didn’t meet to jam or work out what we each wanted, it was a process of you do that track, I’ll do this track kind of thing. I found that very liberating and it made for very interesting results.

I’ve no idea about the next release or whether there will even be one. I don’t like the idea of doing the same kind of thing – even if it’s “hey, let’s make another album!”, kind of feels done, you know? It might just be a string of tracks from now on, I’m not sure. How do you feel after making this album? Do you have a next step or are you very much in the moment?

Stu: That’s really interesting on the email/skype/long distance point, and very similar to how we did Sea Freeze.

Well, truth be told we finished this album a while ago, we’ve just been figuring out the best way to release it for about a year. I guess the moment for us now is very much focused on the live show; we really want to get our there and play these tracks, and what they’ve become following live rehearsals. We’re in the early stages of writing new stuff, but likewise I’ve no idea just yet what it will become…you know my views on albums from the blog piece you did, I don’t think we’d end up calling whatever comes next an album unless it feels like an album.

How is Liverpool these days? Are you guys still involved in the scene? I’ve always been massively into your DIY ethic. I remember playing our first gig at Newpath in Leaf opposite the brewery. Newpath was pretty special I think, it didn’t seem to represent a genre as such, more an ideology – for instance on the bill with us and MinionTV with an amazing hardcore band with a violinist!

Stephen: We Came out Like Tigers! I really liked that band. Definitely marked a very special time for me.They recently split up which is a shame. Since MINIONTV took a break and I focused on Wired to Follow, I kind of became a bit reclusive and even shied away from social media so it’s been difficult to judge what’s happening on the independent scene. I was very proud of Newpath and you’re right, it was more about its ideals than the genres although we’d never settle for a dull bill – each band/artist had to be interesting. I never liked the idea of just throwing a bill together and I think people responded to the effort we put in, especially at the couple of festivals we did.

Newpath has evolved into a netlabel which believe it or not was always the plan. The mantra is that its a springboard for its artists above the internet noise and by promoting themselves helps spotlight the others, very much like how the nights were. I would like to bring it back as a live event again at some point maybe… but part of me thinks that ship sailed when Mello Mello closed up, which became our home. That place struck a great balance of having a down to earth environment without compromising great sound.

So I see you guys are playing live again? How hard is it bring all of that together when all the members are not in one place? I can imagine rehearsals to be tricky to organise!

Stu: MelloMello holds a special place in the Capac heart as well, we played a good few shows there, and saw some incredible stuff. I’ll always remember a SoundCity show we played; it was late, people were drunk – a guy climbed onto a table and was really grooving out, but then he completely decked it. We were about to stop as he looked like he seriously hurt himself, but then he just got up and started dancing again; durable.

I miss Liverpool.

We are indeed playing live again. It’s needed a lot of organising, what with the 4 cities that the band now live in, but to be honest everything just worked when we managed to get together. We’ve all learnt so much in the interim, and the tech has changed so much too even though it’s been such a a short space of time. The live show is a new beast, very live, and multimedia – we’ve got some exciting things planned for future live shows

I’ve never seen you guys play live as Wired To Follow. Was that ever a thing? If not do you ever see it being so? I’d be interested in a geek sense how the electronic side of music would be done.

Stephen: I’m pretty sure I was at that gig!

Yeah, there was a live set for the first release. We’d use guitars, keyboards and drums as expected but also have a couple of laptops for breaks and other samples. I really loved using a Casio SK-2 for simple live vocal sampling and routing through kaoss pads, that was really fun and unpredictable live.

After we stopped doing shows we decided to concentrate on recording and just put out music. I don’t rule out doing Wired to Follow shows again but if I did it’d have to be an interesting set, maybe something based around a new release or collaboration.

Stu: I love the unpredictability of kaoss pads, they’re a fantastic way to add that live aspect. This has been great.

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