London rock band Silverkord have released the follow up to their brilliant debut ‘Liquid Air’ with their new album ‘Auguries of Ruin’, which is out now. The band have taken us through the album track by track.
Can you give us a little bit of background to the record?
The band were in the process of releasing the debut album ‘Liquid Air’, and I had already got to work writing the new album. We had a European tour planned with an upcoming band from Helsinki, which was then cancelled due to the pandemic. I guess for everyone it was a very weird time.
What were you aiming for with the record? Was it difficult to write, or easy? What were the times like that influenced you, and what artists were you listening to and trying to emulate, if any.
I was just aiming for something more focused. Some songs were easy, others took a while to write, but that’s always the way with writing a record, there’s always ideas and even full songs that end up on the shelf, or in the bin! The new album really is a huge step forward for us sonically, we had learnt from so many mistakes with the debut that we wanted to rectify with this album, so what you will hear is a far more advanced sound and performance, and more expansive songs that lend themselves to the song themes. Writing began Jan 2020, however a number of the ideas and riffs had started accumulating as far back as May 2018. I had a period of time that year where I was jobless, and obviously with the pandemic hitting there was a lot of downtime to focus my creative energies into a new record, even though Silverkord had only just released the debut. Many of the songs are loosely based on my obsessions at the time with space, the universe, and science fiction, and using this kind of visual landscape to portray or delve into various themes and struggles with mental health and isolation.
What were the major difficulties with the record – time, money, equipment, production
Anything that was going on in the world (or your world) was a factor at the time.
Once all the demos were completed in October 2020, Ravi and I started planning to record everything in our home studios, which involved buying a lot of expensive gear from savings, mainly the highest quality pre-amps possible, Neve/API etc. It took around 4 months to track and mix, working nearly every day for me in particular, tracking the guitars/bass and vocals myself, through the lockdowns of winter 20/21, finally finishing in late April ’21. The album was then mastered by Maor Appelbaum in LA.
We sat on the record for nearly a year and a half, while chatting to various labels, all of whom were far more concerned with social media numbers than the music, or offering us strange deals that would have ultimately not been good for us, so in the end we’ve decided to release the album independently.
Track By Track
From the opening track to the final track on the album, can you give us some insight into each song? The ideas, lyrics, inspiration, stories, memories and anything else you want to say. How it feels now, or how you feel now about it. The equipment you used, anything at all you remember about the recording process, and whether or not it turned out like you imagined.
Behind the Sun:
I think this was the 3rd song I wrote on the album, it began as a little riff I made probably in 2018 on an acoustic, which is how most of the songs start. I just built it from there and it became this expansive proggy arrangement with only one verse and one chorus, it didn’t feel like it needed anything more than just one cycle. I think the lyrics and melody were almost entirely improvised in one or two takes.
I was inspired for this song by the Nasa space mission ‘Cassini’ where they flew a probe directly into Saturn to try and get data. It just seemed so bittersweet, this machine being sent on a suicide mission, I imagined if it were in some way a human or capable of memory or emotion, and what that would feel like. I personally loved to translate this into music and it seemed to fit the themes emerging from the other songs quite well. I told a few other writers I know about this song at the time and they completely ripped off my idea and made their own songs or albums about it, well, you live and learn.
Bury Me Inside:
As the first demo I made for the album this was very much the ‘lamb to the slaughter’ style scenario. To my surprise, Ravi (drummer) loved it. It’s good when that happens!
It became something anthemic for me and very emotionally honest, “Bury me inside, when all I want is to die, cover me in lies, hide forever”, I’d figure this would be something people who suffer from crippling anxiety can relate to, and in the spirit of truly tragic ballads or folk songs, worth singing about.
Probably my personal favorite off the album, the most vibey, melodic, soulful track, which has this abstract imagery and sense of weightlessness, odd swung to straight beat and monumentally huge and emotional build up. One of those songs that happened quite fast and I also had the opening acoustic guitar riff sitting on my phone for ages before I got round to developing it.
I wanted something slow, but punchy and groovy on the record, with an accessible edge, so I came up with the main riff and the rest just happened from there. It was by far one of the quickest songs on the album to realize, taking only a few hours to write and fully demo.
Enemy of Mine:
One of the later tracks to write on the album, I wanted a moment of the album than had this fiery and unhinged, war like moment where the sonic landscape descends into chaos. It has a very groovy verse and super heavy chorus and ending, and a pretty unhinged vocal. For some reason I recall the guitars being an absolute bastard for me to record on this song, having to re-do them multiple times over a few weeks and getting the tone right
Pulse & Orbits:
These last two songs were made as one 9 minute song originally, which is why they are together on the track listing. It really was just the perfect end for the album, in this epic way, which then has this steady soothing and soulful down. Stomping slow grooves, big guitars, big vocals, long ambient and expansive verses, giant choruses, “Pulse” for me, really takes us somewhere else as a band and shows our industrial leanings. I was listening to some of Jerry Cantrell’s solo albums at the time, I don’t know if any of that influence found it’s way onto ‘Pulse’, probably not, but I do love his solo work.
Lyrically too, it’s one of my faves, all about destruction and the end of days, nice doom and gloom stuff, and as always, some kind of struggle on a human level that is up to the listener to interpret.
Check out the track Million Eyes, below:
Read our interview with singer/guitarist Will Miles here