Sound of Ceres has zero problems ruling their own dimension, so they’re unfazed by people who don’t get it yet. According to the laws of their universe, sound, presentation and spectacle all remain in contact with the core tenet of unifying principle amidst multiple personalities that guide the band’s aesthetic.
Once again, the band will settle their craft down upon BSP Kingston, this time on March 30. We fired up the good ol’ Kingston After Dark transdimensional orgone-powered communicator-tron for a talk with the band last week.
Kingston After Dark: The first time I heard your band I sort of wandered into the show and was suddenly in this other world of compelling lights and sound and floaty, trippy and futuristic vibes. It was really cool to see a band take it to the next level of presentation on a smaller stage. How did this project come to manifest itself on the physical plane? I would recommend your gigs to anyone. I felt like Fever Ray and Sigur Ros were speaking to me from the world of Tron …
Sound of Ceres: Wow, we love people comparing our live show to a sci-fi movie! From the start, it was very important for us to have Sound of Ceres be not just a musical project, but rather a visual/auditory experience. Over the years our show has morphed from projections and liquid light to lasers and fiber optics. Our newest discovery is the use of “impossible colors” on stage. This will be unveiled for a few songs at our BSP show!
KAD: Are you Upstate nowadays or still mostly in Brooklyn? I honestly don’t know too much about your history as a band other than that I responded strongly to how cool the music is.
SoC: We’re actually from all over! Ryan and I [Karen] moved to New Paltz from Colorado about 2 years ago. Derrick, our guitarist, still resides in Denver. And Jacob lives in Brooklyn! With us being so close to Kingston, we really hope to develop somewhat of a “hometown” feeling here. We’ve become good friends with Shana Falana and are excited to dive into the local scene.
Yes, members of Sound of Ceres are also present/past members of The Drums, Apples in Stereo and Candy Claws. It’s been super fun coming from way bigger backgrounds and focusing our energy on something new. Sound of Ceres is now the main focus for us all.
KAD: How much work went in to The Twin, your recent effort for Joyful Noise? It seems like the band really puts a lot of effort into everything they do aesthetically. How was it working with producer Alex Somers (Sigur Ros, Julianna Barwick)? Did you feel like Alex got what you were about?
SoC: “The Twin” was created in many different places across the U.S., and eventually across the world. Ryan wrote the songs near Joshua Tree, Calif. while reading The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, whose towering Alpine wordscapes informed the frigid majesty of the music. He then programmed the sounds and beats in upstate New York and shared the mixes amongst the band members, who contributed guitar and synthesizer parts from Denver, Brooklyn and Louisville. The vocals were recorded over Christmastime in our hometown of Fort Collins, Colo. We shared the mixes with Alex and joined him in his studio in Reykjavik, Iceland for more production and mixing. The whole point of this band is collaboration and experimentation, so although it was jarring at first to hear Alex changing the sounds, sometimes drastically, into something more aggressive and bombastic. Over those several days working in that northern other-world we eventually joined in one accord when he threw down the timidity and fragility of our earlier version and smote ruin upon the mountainside. His new mix of the album is The Twin of its predecessor, and the unique product of an unrepeatable process which we’re very proud of.
KAD: Do you feel like science fiction has influenced your band at all? I feel like, people have probably asked you this already, but your music could easily soundtrack a cool Netflix miniseries or something.
SOC: Science fiction has actually influenced the music more than anything else, really. The title of our first album, Nostalgia for Infinity, is taken from the name of a starship in Alastair Reynolds’ novel Revelation Space. He got in touch and we became long-distance friends, and asked him to contribute something for The Twin. We sent him the lyrics and he wrote a short story for the record jacket, a vague, atmospheric time-travel loop set in a frozen research station. The flashy side of sci-fi, the tech and lasers and all of that, has informed the sounds we use — mostly electronic synthesizers and drum machines, but the real purpose of good sci-fi, the exploration of philosophy, has provided some conceptual weight to each album, from the human drive to understand the universe on Nostalgia to the questions of fate and identity on The Twin. We also try to add a vintage tinge to the music, mostly through the use of old Mellotron and Orchestron sounds, to call back to the golden age of sci-fi and the likes of Asimov and Clarke.
For more, check out their website at www.soundofceres.com.