While creating a buzz around a specific record release seems to become more and more a standard in today’s music business, a surprise is also a nice alternative. And we’re not talking about one in big style like BOWIE did last year with his comeback record. In early May British alternative pop band THIRTEEN SENSES released its fourth longplayer A Strange Encounter (buy it on iTunes, Amazon, 7Digital) without further information. No single, no music video, no tour and barely any information about. Music that stands for its own.
The band from Cornwall has come a long way in the past ten years since they released their acclaimed 2004 debut The Invitation. Back then they were on the best way to follow bands like COLDPLAY and TRAVIS in their melancholic guitar pop tradition. But the past decade remained a time of highs and lows for the four piece. While the debut made it into the British Top 20, the follow-up Contact was a colossal commercial failure despite being still of good quality. But THIRTEEN SENSES kept on making music and releasing it, for themselves and their global fan base. Sometimes that’s the most honest thing you can do.
But sill – like a lot of those fans – NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION was interested in the current state of THIRTEEN SENSES and the special sound of A Strange Encounter. So we shed some light on the darkness by asking Will South a few questions on past, present and future of the group.
‘A Strange Encounter’ arrived without slightly any information behind it. No promo video, you not even released a single from it. A conscious decision or economical one?
Definitely a conscious one. We knew it wasn’t going to be an album that would get radio station producers drooling and once that element was taken away we could do what we wanted with the recording.
There’s a different vibe on the new album. It’s very self-contained, almost progressive… quite far away from your past song structures. What’s the intention behind it?
It started out as a solo/side project that I was thinking of doing outside of the band. At the time l wasn’t sure that we would be able to record together for a while, so l was just experimenting with the songs and structures. Trying to incorporate some of my MOODY BLUES or MIKE OLDFIELD influences. I was talking to Tom about it whilst we were doing promo for Crystal Sounds and he was keen to do some recording over the summer and once I knew that Bren and Ads were available it became a THIRTEEN SENSES project.
This might also explain why you are less prominently featured on the album and it turned out to be more instrumental.
Yes. As I mentioned…MOODY BLUES and MIKE OLDFIELD influenced this, I think.
What are the main themes on ‘A Strange Encouncer’?
Every time I look at the stars at night it never fails to be inspiring. I mean, here we are on a giant spinning ball of rock, whizzing through space, essentially in the middle of nowhere. Why? Who knows…certainly not me. But I can at least put some of my rambling thoughts down on paper and make an album about it.
What I really like about the for of you is that you’re still carrying although the odds have been quite often against you in the past. How’d you managed to keep this band alive for so long?
We enjoy the music we make. We don’t hate each other. Yet.
I wonder how is the current state of the band is. I assume you’re all doing this is a hobby at the moment besides regular jobs…
When we can get together we’ll record but it does get harder. I have a bunch of new songs that I’m going to record in July but this is going to be for a new project so we’ll have to see what happens there
I still find it kind of unfair that your music never gained large success. But did this allow you a certain amount of creative freedom on ‘A Strange Encounter’? Like you didn’t need to proof anything to anyone?
Perhaps with more success there would have been more pressure to continue with the same formula to appease the masses. I’m not sure that we’ve ever felt the need to prove anything to anyone though. We just do what we feel is right at the time.
Looking back on your over ten-year long career what things would you’ve done differently with today’s knowledge?
The answer to this could go on and on so I’ll just say….many things.
At some moments ‘A Strange Encounter’ almost got a sentimental ‘farewell’ note. Is the band done yet?
I can see us always releasing new music but it’s just a question of how long until the next one.
You have any favourite THIRTEEN SENSES track? I must say, I always loved ‘The Salt Wound Routine’ I must say.
Hmm… I always liked Last Forever.
Any message you want to tell your friends all over the world?
Just a big ‘THANK YOU’ for supporting us and enjoying what we do. One way or another there will be more music to come.
Final thoughts on the elements ‘hope’ and ‘passion’?
Two very important ingredients for a happy life.