23 January 2012

The Silent Numbers Answers 5

Late in December I reviewed The Silent Numbers’ “Calculator” (link), an alluringly dark brooding breed of shoegaze. Now, I make no pretense, I am big fan of shoegaze, always on the lookout for something new, that helps to evolve the genre further, and that is what I found in The Silent Numbers. It was a no-brainer; I reached out to the band and asked them to answer a few of my questions. So I would like to thank Eric Sabatino (guitarist) for taking the time to Answer 5.

(The Silent Numbers, photo from Facebook)

1. Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

We're listening to a lot of Siouxsie and the Banshees right now. Our influences are pretty transparent; Slowdive, The Cure, Gang of Four, The Smashing Pumpkins, My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins, and Echo and the Bunnymen are all good examples. Finding other musicians with the same tastes was the hardest part in starting this project.

2. I have scratched my head many times thinking about your moniker, "The Silent Numbers"; what's the meaning behind the name and how did the band settle on it?

The name existed as a lyric in one of our early songs. Nick [Woods, vocalist/guitarist] said it and we liked the sound of it. It can mean anything. A number is another term for "song," though I don't believe that's the meaning in the song.

3. Portland, Oregon (USA) is definitely producing a lot of shoegaze these days, but your brand of shoegaze is definitely distinct by comparison. How would you define your brand of shoegaze?

It's been hard for us to find this "shoegaze scene" here in Portland. As I’m writing this, we'll be playing on a bill tonight with the Prids. They fit the definition pretty well. A couple other local groups called Well and Anne are really making some great stuff. We are also in contact with Golden Gardens from Seattle, who we heard because of your blog. They're really fantastic. Honestly, finding these bands in our area has been difficult. The music scene in Portland seems to be focused on 80's/early 90's hardcore, and ironic 80's themed music. Lots of names with jokes in them too. Nick and I are from the Detroit area, and Adrian [Melnick, drummer] and Bryan [Robertson, bassist] are from the East Coast. I've always thought that bands from depressed places make music that fit my taste more. Most of my favorite British bands are from Manchester. As for our comparison to other Portland area "shoegaze" bands, I would say that we're doing something that's a little more guitar heavy and layered.

4. My appreciation of instrumental music has really taken off in the last few years. The more I listen to your track "Canadia," the more I appreciate your craftsmanship, which has a cinemagraphic quality to it. Considering that music with vocals has certain constraints (most namely the verse-chorus structure), how do you guys approach the writing of an instrumental versus a track with vocals?

I remember that “Canadia” had some working vocals while we were writing it. We were in a period were we were writing very busy songs with very little space. The vocals just ended up making it more chaotic and cluttered. It was really cool, because it allowed us to obsess over song structure and play our instruments in a lot of places we normally wouldn't have been able to.

5. 2012, what does The Silent Numbers have planned?

We're hoping to play more out of town shows and festivals though gas prices make it difficult, and getting paid by promoters hasn't been easy either. We would like to help grow a music scene in our town with similar styled music, and begin putting together some better bills with similar bands. We're always working on recordings, and are currently writing some new songs.

Whatever gets thrown our way; we plan on working very hard this year and hopefully being recognized in some small way for it.

Keep up with The Silent Numbers at their hompeage, MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter. Head over to their Bandcamp page, where you can preview and download the “Calculator” EP and the rest of their discography.

Here is their video for “Canadia” from thesilentnumbers YouTube Channel.

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