18 Jun 2012
Writing and reading music reviews these days often seem to be about comparisons or cross-references with other bands because most of the music currently made is rarely innovative. Well, when it comes to the Brighton folk band Sons Of Noel And Adrian, comparisons and cross-references are redundant. SONAA draw inspiration from a wide range of musical styles, including folk, rock, pop and classical music blending it into a dense soundscape. In combination with Jacob Richardson’s baritone voice, “Knots”, just like the self-titled predecessor, simultaneously catapults the listener into a world of joy and melancholy.
It’s been four years since your debut album “Sons Of Noel And Adrian”. What took you so long? Or rather what were you doing in the meantime?
Jacob: I got lost in the land of the normal, people went to play with other bands, lack of interest, money, pure boredom and a dog called Frank.
Marcus: We did record two EPs and a number of covers, collaborations and tracks for compilations, which have been compiled on a CD called “Your Tunnel That Connects My Arm To A God-Fearing Woman Who Lives in the Dark” on Willkommen Records
How does “Knots” differ from your debut album?
Marcus: Knots has drums and electric guitars, it’s much bigger and louder. We spent a long time experimenting to creating unique sounds and atmospheres. Also it was the first time we spent a lot of time together in a professional recording studio as our past releases had been made in various homes.
Critics usually suck at pigeonholing music into a particular genre, so here’s your chance to straighten it out: How would you describe your musical style on “Knots”?
Marcus: I’m not sure but I think the common ground we share as a band includes Robert Wyatt & The Soft Machine, Tortoise & Brokeback, Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Bill Callahan, and trying to create a sound of our own.
Where did you record the album?
Jacob: Brighton Electric Recording Studio
Marcus: Then we spent a lot of time adding subtle background bits at home for the stoners with their headphones.
Were there any difficulties or special highlights while recording the album?
Marcus: Working with Ben Hampson was fantastic. He is an incredible engineer. Having enough time, space and equipment to do something new.
Sons Of Noel And Adrian is a collective with twelve members. Are you all equally involved in the song writing and composition?
Jacob: We’re not a collective, it’s a band of nine. I write the songs and then people play their parts over the top. We talk about compositions, we blue sky think together or in sub groups. No one is equal, we all have different skill sets. Some are better than others.
Marcus: Over the years the line-up has varied quite a lot but it’s currently fixed and stable.
Most lyrical themes of your songs have something to do with water: you’re singing about rain, rivers, jellyfish and boats. Why? And what is the fascination about this particular element?
Jacob: I guess that would be metaphor. Though I actually really like swimming, drinking water, splashing it on my girlfriend and holding my breath for long periods of time in public lidos.
Marcus: I also like to use water in a variety of ways e.g. bidets
Do you have any song writing rituals?
Jacob: Exercise while crying.
Do you have a favourite song on the album?
Jacob: That song didn’t make the cut.
What’s the best time of the day to listen to your music?
Jacob: Making love time, I just love to listen to my own voice while fucking. Yes, and while eating fish and eggs. Fish eggs maybe. That’s when I can really appreciate the craftsmanship of this record.
What should be the headline for an album review for “Knots”?
Jacob: Jesus Christ
Who’s responsible for the album artwork and why did you choose it?
Jacob: The great artist Cobja Son Chardri aka cracker from Windyhill bot. Nobody else would take him in, he needed some carrots and we liked his attitude towards the middle classes.
Marcus: We’re hoping to work with him again in the future his reputation has unexpectedly skyrocketed and but he’s harder to get hold of these days. Cobja – if you’re reading – please return my phone calls.
What kind of music have you been listening to lately?
Jacob: King Crimson, Baron, Fred Frith, These New Puritans
Marcus: The new Liars album “WIXIW”, the latest David Daniell & Douglas McCombs record “Versions”, Matana Roberts “Coin Coin Chapter One: Gens de couleur libbers” and lots of Nels Cline.
How did it influence this album?
Marcus: I guess it all goes in our ears and out of our mouths and fingers.
Who should not buy your album?
Jacob: Minority groups.
Marcus: Especially buzzards and Moldavians.
What was the best thing someone wrote or said about your album?
Marcus: I think the BBC’s review here is a good, well researched piece of journalism. Also Lauren Laverne said lots of nice things and got us heard by many more people. Thanks Lozza.
What was the worst thing someone wrote or said about your album?
Marcus: Someone said it sounds like Beirut, seemingly because there’s a ukulele on one track and some horns on others. They’re not a bad band, it’s just inaccurate. Likewise someone said it sounds like the Unthanks and various other folky types… I just don’t understand it.
What will be next for SONAA? What are your plans?
Jacob: To split and concentrate on matters more important.
Marcus: To then reform and tour Europe in September, our album is coming out on K&F Records there on October 12th.
What is your musical mission?
Jacob: I have no musical mission.
Marcus: Not to contribute to the sameness of everything.
Buy Knots right here