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THE RESONANCE ASSOCIATION - YOU WILL KNOW WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT (2021) and CHOOSE EUPHORIA (2023)

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

If you haven’t heard of them, Daniel Vincent and Dominic Hemy are the two gentlemen behind this project. If you check out their Bandcamp page you will find some amusing mission statements: “Anti-commercial and proudly contrary, The Resonance Association has been baffling and delighting listeners for fifteen years.” Just up my street then. Also, “the album’s themes chime within the UK’s post-Brexit, post-truth landscape.”

Their 2021 release is two hours long and a real bargain at £0.00 (although I am sure you will want to pay more). For a sample start with one of the more ‘commercial’ numbers ‘Paranoid Outcome’ to ease you in then the 24-minute epic ‘The Universe is Infinitely Serial’.

Their latest album is a different kettle of fish altogether, almost all instrumental (although I hasten to add there is no singing, just sampled sounds and some narrations) somewhat in the vein of FUJIYA AND MIYAGI (who also started off in Brighton). Motorik beats are prevalent early on, but on first listen I was taken by the haunting ‘Some Kind’ and a track called ‘Elsewhere’. The piece de resistance is the 11-minute long ‘Space Time Politics’ with its insistent synth riff and soaring guitar lines (and a coruscating guitar break) and a dreamy piano/ synth section of music. Full reviews will follow in ACID DRAGON magazine.

I had a few words with the guys:

I’ve been with you in the early days in terms of listening to your music. I believe you were based in Brighton back then, a place I had visited three times within a few years (which is some achievement since I live in Tayside in Scotland) and was really taken by. What would you say, looking back, are your proudest achievements. It would help if you referred to specific tracks as well as albums so our readers can know where to start.

Daniel and Dominic:

DV: I grew up in Sussex and spent a lot of time in Brighton when I was younger, but we’ve not been based there. That said, two of our most memorable shows were played in the city: supporting A Storm of Light at the Engine Room, and supporting Aidan Baker at Hector’s House. Both venues are sadly now gone, although I assure you that was nothing to do with us!

Talking of highlights: playing our “art installation” set (accompanying an exhibition of Carl Glover’s amazing artwork) at the No-Man reunion show in Leamington Spa in 2011 was great fun (fun fact, the No-Man show was later released as Love and Endings), I think that capped off a really (in relative terms) successful period for us. To be honest, every interaction we have had over the years with the Burning Shed family, Tim Bowness, Peter Chilvers, Carl Glover, and Steven Wilson has been a delight and a privilege.

DH: Agreed, that No-Man show was a fantastic experience. Playing in a room surrounded by Carl’s incredible artwork really felt like a big moment for us.

I am immensely proud of the last two albums, it feels and sounds like we have finally figured out what we do best, and how best to do that too. Beyond that, I still have a huge soft spot for the CLARITY IN DARKNESS record, possibly because I managed to push Dan into going into heavier territory as I introduced him to bands like KHANATE, KTL, and all those other bands who were on Southern Lord and Hydra Head at the time.

Otherwise, I’ve always rather enjoyed messing about with the music outside of what needs to go on the album: ‘Space Race (domh's Mega Party Mix)’ was me using the old Neu! 2 trick of manipulating the same material to create something much longer; and on VOLUME FOUR (also known as ////) where I recycled and processed Dan’s parts as we created two longform pieces that felt very different in tone. I never played a note, but it’s about creating something far abstracted from the source material.

DV: That’s the magic of the studio!

There has always a sharp political undertone in your music despite not using lyrics. How do you try to convey your feeling through your music and what particularly concerns you about ‘the state of the nation’ if I can put it that way?

Daniel and Dominic:

DV: I guess we’re both very emotionally sensitive people, or we’re deliberately obfuscating our own emotional insecurities through universal themes, or both!

DH: We are both people who watch/listen to the news, are aware of all the bullshit that is going on around the world. Playing music is such a therapeutic activity, and because we are not trying to write some sickly sweet melody that will be this season’s earworm, that anger or despair is going to come through naturally.

It’s difficult to choose just one main concern: the fact we are led by greedy liars lining their pockets whilst the world burns kind of captures the basic point, but that is such a multi-faceted beast that it feels insurmountable at the moment.

Who would you describe as the main influences on the way you write music?

Daniel and Dominic:

DV: As I get older I’m more influenced by the gear - synths, pedals, effects, drum machines, software - that I am using at the time. How can I subvert this into our sound?

You can definitely track a progression in our work as we incorporate more elaborate instrumentation into the TRA sound (or just get better gear and get slightly better at using it).

For CHOOSE EUPHORIA, whilst we continued to push the envelope of how much electronics we could sneak onto a “prog” record, I spent more time getting interesting angular and in some cases abrasive sounds from my guitars.

Musically I think we have always had a diverse set of influences and that’s only grown in the past few years. We’re very fortunate to have venues such as the Southbank and Barbican on our doorstep to see some interesting music.

DH: I’m pretty much the opposite, as I still use the same equipment as we started with 17 years ago - the only exception is a new Theremin, as my old kit one finally died about 5 years ago. These days I am trying to find what fits in best with what Dan has produced, but of course there will be bleeding from whatever I am currently listening to, whether it be Monster Magnet, Taylor Swift, or Robert Johnson.

Do you play live or is it just a case of going into a studio and recording?

Daniel and Dominic:

DV: We last played live in 2018, playing an embryonic version of “The Universe is Infinitely Serial” which later features on YOU WILL KNOW…

We’re definitely more comfortable in the studio these days due to the complexities of the arrangements in our music. With just the two of us on stage we have often felt as though playing live doesn’t really do our music justice.

DH: I do miss the buzz of playing live, but as Dan said, it is very difficult for us to pull it off convincingly - especially stuff we have already committed to tape. Developing some of those longer pieces that do eventually appear on an album is probably us at our best in that environment.

DV: Now you have a reliable Theremin, it might be less hazardous playing gigs!

You had a hiatus for a while. What are your plans for the future?

Daniel and Dominic:

DH: The hiatus was in large part due to my health starting to deteriorate in 2018/19, I really struggled to focus on getting anything completed - and what few bits I did were often rushed or “sod it, this will do”, and sounded crap. It wasn’t until the first lockdown when I was forced to rest up that I finally found myself in a position where I could contribute something meaningful to the process. From there it barrelled along fairly quickly, and the final shape of YOU WILL KNOW… came together in short order.

DV: Also, I think we’ve both learned to accept that music will come along when it’s ready. We’re both lucky enough to have other creative outlets and part of a healthy musical partnership is learning when to say “let’s not do this” rather than forcing out another album at all costs. I think to be perfectly honest that described a lot of our 2010s albums. We could have been more focused and intentional.

DH: We are lucky to have been doing TRA for as long as we have. I think we have both got to a point that when we make music, we do it because we want to, not because we feel we have to. So the next album might surface next year, or it might take ten.

DV: Yeah I’m not sure I’d bet on next year!

Looking at “You Will Know When the Time is Right” is there anything you can tell me about this particular recording in terms of themes and what particularly worked for you. Also, how important is the dialogue to you?

Daniel and Dominic:

DV: YOU WILL KNOW… was written and recorded in fits and starts from 2017 to 2021. The backdrop of Brexit, continual political upheaval, a global pandemic, and the resultant wave of negativity in every traditional and social media channel left a sense of paranoia that crept into that record and wouldn’t leave.

DH: As a large part of my contributions were done in lockdown, I had very little else to distract me. There was a period of about a week in particular where I was incredibly productive, and I think that gave a certain level of cohesiveness to the directions in which I sent the music.

We both have collections of field recordings and samples lying around, stuff we found interesting and thought “I can use that somewhere”. If there are gaps that need filling and nothing comes to mind or fits musically, these personal sample libraries are a great place to start.

DV: For YOUR APOCALYPSE and the album version of OUR MAN IN LONDON, we sent prompt cards to a group of our friends and used their responses as a framing device for the music and that overall theme. The questions were possibly loaded but the responses were fascinating and articulate, so we were very fortunate to put that together.

What made you choose to use less samples on “Choose Euphoria” and what does the title mean exactly?

Daniel and Dominic:

DV: After YOU WILL KNOW… there was a sense that we couldn’t - or shouldn’t - keep mining that downward seam, no matter how rich it appeared.

Once we got into demoing and recording the songs for CHOOSE EUPHORIA, we went for those more angular sounds which resulted in more direct - and dare I say more upbeat - songs. I’m not sure if or how that translated into less samples: perhaps the directness of the songs themselves meant that we didn’t need those framing devices?

Our reference points between albums seemed to move from ALEPH ON HALLUCINATORY MOUNTAIN by CURRENT 93 and THE APE OF NAPLES by COIL, to FROST*, MOGWAI, and THE CURE!

I realise that a few of these questions might be interlinked, so please feel free to use a ‘blank canvas’ approach to say anything else you wish to about the music. The million-dollar question I suppose is how does one get one’s music to a wider audience with the enormous amount of cottage industry productions that are facilitated by the internet. You mention losing your shirts on a vinyl release. I guess to have a viable vinyl release is still an ambition?

Daniel and Dominic:

DV: Never say never, unless you’re talking about releasing vinyl. We have plenty of copies left if you want one.

DH: Luck. Never self-finance a vinyl release. I have a copy hanging on the wall above my computer as I type right now, and it is cool to have. But never again.

DV: Extreme folly!

DH: In all seriousness though, hard work helps, but you always need luck.

DV: And after - what - 17 years? You have to love what you do, keep enjoying making music, trust your own better judgement, and be grateful for what you have in life. In summary, CHOOSE EUPHORIA is about rebelling against the mundane, about enjoying every last bit of life no matter what challenges present themselves. It’s pretty much the story of our band in that respect.

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