Bold silences and whispering landscapes: talking Native Construct with vocalist Robert Edens

bySamHarchik_02

You can expect to be impressed by a flood of releases across a reviewing year but to be actually startled is a less regular occurrence but something that Quiet World, the debut album from US progressive metal trio Native Construct achieved. Consisting of vocalist Robert Edens, guitarist Myles Yang, and bassist Max Harchik, the band has crafted a creative emprise of sound and invention which is as fascinating as the background to the album. Quiet World was an album from out of the blue, a mouth-watering, technically gripping landscape of imagination spinning diversity and creative adventure which ignited ears and thoughts. Soon offered the chance to explore the birth, heart, and depths of band and release, we took little time in throwing a torrent of questions at the band’s vocalist.

Hi, and thanks for sparing time to talk with us.

Can we start by looking at the beginnings of Native Construct? The three of you were fellow students at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts; you were studying the same courses?

Rob here–thanks for reaching out to us!

Max and I are both Electronic Production and Design majors, and Myles a Composition and Contemporary Writing and Production dual major. While we studied many of the same core courses, our major courses of study were quite different. The band originally formed in the Berklee dorms, with Max joining on bass later.

When did friendship start to become idea collaboration and subsequently the creation of Native Construct?Photo 3_Cinematic

Myles and I had been playing and recording music together since middle school, and we’d planned to form a prog metal band once we got to Berklee since getting our acceptance letters. Shortly after arriving at Berklee, Myles and I joined with our friend Gabe Salomon to start writing what would become the Chromatic Aberration demo. So, the band formed pretty early on in our Berklee careers, after spending some time jamming with numerous other students.

Do you all come from a background of musical tastes with a common bond? I ask because of the diverse flavours and variety to your music.

We all share a common background in progressive music of many forms, but certainly prog metal most notably. Myles and I having had grown up together, our musical developments have been very similar. Our respective studies at Berklee have definitely brought a lot of the variety to our music, however, since you’re exposed to quite a lot as a student there.

Once beginning to write together etc., how quickly did the premise and direction of your music emerge?

We decided we wanted to write a concept album pretty much from the get-go. After Chromatic Aberration was written, we started writing the rest of the album around this first song, which would eventually become the end of our story.

From reading the accompanying press release to your debut album Quiet World, I understand the writing of songs, the album, and indeed its recording was between your on-going studies? How did you find the time and you could use the college’s facilities?

Finding the time, let alone the creative energy, to completely compose and co-produce this album along with our school studies was quite difficult, but it was something we were passionate about. We really believed in this project, and wanted to take the time and effort to make it the best we could. We were able to make use of Berklee’s facilities on occasion, but the vast majority of the work was done at our home studios.

You have now finished your studies?

Myles and myself graduated this past December, but Max is a couple years younger and has a few semesters left.

Tell us about the recording of Quiet World. It happened over an extended period?

Yes. Like the rest of the album production, the recording process took a long time due to school. We were very meticulous with every aspect, as well. We wanted to make sure everything sounded perfect, so we’d even go back and re-record sections several weeks later just to improve one small aspect of the take.

CoverIn its production etc. was there any others involved or it was a solo effort by the three of you until the signing with Metal Blade?

The album was largely self-produced. All tracking and programming was done at our home studios in Boston, MA, with the exception of vocals, which were recorded with Jamie King at The Basement Studios in Winston-Salem, NC. The album was mixed by Rich Mouser at The Mouse House Studio in Los Angeles, CA, and mastered by Jamie King.

How did that link up with Metal Blade come about, what brought you to the attention of Brian Slagel of the label?

We got in contact with Tommy Rogers (vocalist of Between the Buried and Me) once the record was finished, who liked it and wanted to help us shop it to labels. Metal Blade, BTBAM’s own label, got back to us with an offer upon hearing the album from Tommy. We’re eternally grateful for him having given us this opportunity!

The vocals to Quiet World were as you mentioned subsequently recorded with Jamie King. How was the experience?

Working with Jamie was a blast. He’s an extremely patient and helpful guy, and really great to work with. It was also really exciting for me to get to record Quiet World inside the same vocal booth I’d seen in the BTBAM studio videos!

Were there other tweaks, evolutions to the album around this point too?

With the exception of Chromatic Aberration between its demo version and now, not much on the album has ever changed. Our vision from the onset remained fairly constant, with changes affecting primarily the sounds in the album rather than the writing.

I think it is fair to say that Quiet World has been enthusiastically received. Did you have any particular hopes for it, especially once Metal Blade was steering its release?

We’ve been nothing short of floored at the overwhelmingly positive response to the album. We knew Metal Blade would be able to get our music out there, but we never could’ve known how well-received this album was going to be–it’s been quite surreal. We’re so excited that people have been enjoying it and can’t wait to bring it to them live!

Tell us about the premise between the lyrical concepts of Quiet World? bySamHarchik_03

The lyrical concepts were intentionally connected in many different ways, not necessarily all relating the same over-arching story to the album. We don’t like to talk about our own interpretation of the story too much since we want listeners to be able to find their own meaning in the music, but I can give some background on the concept. The main source of conflict in the story stems from an unrequited love. Mute, an outcast, escapes into a world of his own creation where he maintains complete control, until a struggle for freedom begins to mount against him. The musical and lyrical content work together to tell many different stories following this concept throughout the album.

What inspired the narrative?

The music and story of Quiet World are largely interdependent, each influencing the other constantly throughout their creation. When we set out to come up with a story to write the album around, we knew we wanted something emotional and eclectic enough for the musical ideas we already had. We also took influences from everything we’d taken in and appreciated throughout our lives: from videogames to fantasy novels to classic prog rock concept albums, Quiet World truly came from all over.

As we mentioned the album has a strikingly diverse and adventurous landscape to its music, are there any bands or artists you would say have inspired the ideation within Quiet World most notably, and in your own personal craft?

The album clearly has several major influences (musical theatre, Queen, Between the Buried and Me), but the main inspiration behind the sound of Quiet World has been to create something strange and interesting through the conglomeration of all these different styles. Through jazz harmony studied at Berklee, vocal writing inspired by Queen, and the emotional storytelling of musical theatre, we were able to put together this album that really felt like its own unique sound.

Is there a live presence to Native Construct?

Absolutely! We’re rehearsing with an additional guitarist and drummer to bring our live line-up to a five-piece, and will be playing shows soon.

What is next for the band? Is the Metal Blade union on-going?

Our agreement with Metal Blade lasts for at least three major record releases, so we’ll likely be buckling down on our next album after the summer.

Big thanks again for talking with us, any last thoughts you would like to share?

I know I’m not Trolzaan. I’ll never be Trolzaan.

https://www.facebook.com/NativeConstruct   http://www.metalblade.com/nativeconstruct/

Read the Quiet World review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/native-construct-quiet-world/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 16/05/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

Native Construct – Quiet World

Photo 3_Cinematic

If Quiet World is the kind of thing the members of Native Construct come up with whilst heavily involved with their college studies, then their future not only looks rosy but the music scene is destined to some real greatness ahead. The band’s debut album is a fascinating end enthralling adventure entwined in more styles and flavours than London Fashion Week and an imagination which simply bewitches that of the listener. It is not without a few flaws yet for an introduction to the band and their creativity, a ‘wow’ is in order.

Native Construct consists of vocalist Robert Edens, bassist Max Harchik, and guitarist Myles Yang, three music students who came together creatively in 2011 whilst at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Using the composition and arranging skills learnt in their studies, as well as the technical craft and inbred inventive talent of the band members, the trio began drawing on a torrent of genres from progressive and classical rock to heavier technical incitements, as well as musical theatre, jazz and plenty more. Between 2011 and 2013, Native Construct set to work writing and recording what was to become Quiet World, predominantly self-producing the concept release, whilst continuing their studies. It came to the attention of Brian Slagel at Metal Blade Records at some subsequent point, and as their press releases says “What began as jam sessions simply for fun eventually turned into a full-fledged musical endeavor.” The band was signed to the label and the album, with its vocals being recorded with Jamie King at The Basement Studios in North Carolina, is now out there to surely stir up a worldwide appetite for this potential drenched band.

Cover   Quiet World brings a tale, to simplify it, of a mute and slightly unstable man who has an unreciprocated love for a girl which leads to obsession and eventual resentment. He also creates for himself a new, fantastic world where there are no oddballs or outcasts, which is where the album comes in. It is an eventful lyrical exploration more than matched by the musical adventure around it, and started with Mute. From an isolated climate with random sonic textures flying round the senses, the song bursts into theatrical and orchestral life. Strings and melodies spin an immediately potent and cinematic landscape of sound and emotion whilst the ravenous drum work is an uncompromising tempering of the fiery beauty. It is an invigorating start coated in elegance and menace, keys and guitars duelling with rhythms for voice whilst equally sharing the spotlight, whilst the vocals of Edens roar and serenade across the magnetic proposal. Relaxing into an avant-garde/jazz lit calm coloured by a seducing of piano and infectious harmonies, thoughts of bands like 6:33 and Pryapisme come to mind, and even more so as volatile and tenacious elements add their erratic and compelling presence to the mix. There are moments which for personal tastes do not quite hit the same sweet spots as others, but constantly evolving and unpredictable with that cinematic orchestral temptation returning in full persuasion, the song is intoxicating drama.

Following song, The Spark of the Archon, opens with an eighties bred synth pop shuffle, keys and percussion a smiling lure before riffs and grooves bring a rawer edge to the entrance. Once in full pop rock flow though, the song has a strong coincidental whiff of UK band 12 Stone Toddler to it with a Mike Patton/Mr Bungle touch too. Music and vocals again bring fluid scenery of unexpected detours and wrong-footing escapades whilst crafting an immersive and easy to greedily devour proposition. Lyrically at this point the protagonist’s new world sees the rise of Archon who leads an uprising in this new land against opposing character Sinister Silence.

The proceeding tracks bring for the main, different episodes in their enduring struggle, Passage next stealing attention and imagination with its stroking embrace of shadowed kissed strings around equally evocative guitars. Sultry and exotic, intimidating and melancholic, the track as those before has a perpetual shifting in its tone and sound, though it is more stable in its progressive flight and controlled in the additional additives of textures and styles seducing the imagination. In saying that the pent up creative bedlam which marked the previous tracks has to go somewhere, and like an itch which has to be scratched it bursts out through gypsy folk breezes and technical metal roars, to name just two of the delicious strains of the almost psychotic enterprise released.

Your Familiar Face also has a calmer interior within its walls, emerging as the most restrained of all songs upon Quiet World but unafraid to throw an unexpected twist and wink of creative mischief into its theatre of sound. It is a captivating caress on the senses but it has to be said by its end ears were hankering for that warped ingenuity, which is swiftly fed again by Come Hell or High Water. Sombre strings play with and incite body and mind right away, though behind their sombre face there is a twinkle which is taken up by rhythms and the swiftly joining vocals. Like a stage show song, it grows in stature and emotional drama, becoming a hearty bellow and in turn a snarling vociferous provocation, especially vocally. Of course by now expectations are redundant, the song ebbing and flowing in all aspects and extremes whilst conjuring new unpredictable and riveting antics.

The album is completed by firstly Chromatic Lights, a short instrumental detour within a raw ambience, which leads into the closing Chromatic Aberration, an epic twelve minute plus psychotic tapestry of emotion and unbridled creative mayhem. It is a chaos which is as perfectly shaped as it is emotionally deranged; every groove, melody, and rhythmic trespass a coherent and engrossing incitement in a cinematic flight across tempestuous and constantly changing emotional climates. The track is a dynamic and scintillating adventure all on its own, a mouth-watering musical emprise which combined with the rest of Quiet World simply leaves ears and emotions smiling.

We mentioned the album is not without issues but to be honest the more you listen and delve into Quiet World they are hardly of relevance, except to ensure that the band’s next offering when they have no other distractions, is an already highly anticipated proposition.

Quiet World is available now on Metal Blade Records via http://www.metalblade.com/nativeconstruct/

https://www.facebook.com/NativeConstruct

RingMaster 23/04/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net