DozenQ – In Isolation

This entry is part 20 of 20 in the series DozenQ 2

An abundance of music tastes and fashions have conjoined recently, such as a revived passion for 80s sounds and a darkness that many Indie bands and fans currently love. In Isolation from Nottingham sit right in the centre of this amalgam, demonstrated by their passionate vocals, New Wave riffs and Post-punk beats. Here’s frontman Ryan Swift…

01 How did you get started in music?

Back in school days, I managed to avoid hassle from class arseheads by offering to program their Casio keyboards so they could use the ‘one-key play’ function in their music tests. I seemed to have a bit of an aptitude for rhythm and melody back then, so when friends later formed bands in the sixth form, I fancied a bit of the action, and took up learning guitar at the age of 18. Bit of a late-starter.

02 Where did your direction come from?

The music and local scenes I was into generally revolved around darker Indie/Alternative genres, and I continued enjoying 1980s light and dark stuff well after it became passé in the 1990s. The exciting guitar Indie bands of the 2000s became an influence, and this combination of early and newer noises came to form my current songwriting style. This style complements those of John and Tony in the band, who frequented similar musical hangouts.

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03 Who were your major influences and inspirations and who do you despise?

I always aim to get lyrics to a Morrissey standard. That’s the benchmark. I reckon our track ‘Isolated’ has its head stuck fast in the iron fence bars circumnavigating that particular recreational ground. Musically, it’s more of a familiar atmosphere In Isolation looks to create – we draw from Echo & The Bunnymen, Japan, Editors, The Cult, those sort of bands. Each song we write has to be pretty different from the last, so we’re always listening to tons of different bands from all eras for ideas in structure and contrast.

As for despicability, I can usually find at the very least several songs in most genres to happily get my ears around, but I’ve never found any hardcore/death metal to please my palette. I understand why it exists, but nothing I’ve heard over the years has ever stimulated the aural pleasure nodules sufficiently.

04 What inspires you to make your current type of songs and sound?

It’s pretty much a compelling desired to create a three minute entity that simply doesn’t exist in the world until we decide to write it. It’s like creating a baby, but without the stickiness, and stress, and romper suits, and dribble, and Farley’s rusks, and potty training, and convincing them that ‘Fingerbobs’ was better than ‘Rastamouse’… I don’t know where I’m going with this…

05 What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live shows?

We tend to play our fast stuff live, so you’ll not have to head to the bar during slow bits. You’ll also get a full-on percussive attack by our drummer – Tony’s influenced by the rhythms and power of Killing Joke and New Model Army, so prepared to be exhilarated!

06 How do you begin your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

We’re driven by melody and drama, so the full piece in music and structure tends to come first. The vocal melody is written next, as part of the musical composition, and then lyrics are written to the vocals. It’s not the easiest or most time-effective method, but it gets the job done. We’re constantly playing with new ways to write, so we’re always developing.

Lyrically, there’s a lot of emotional content, usually within the confines of a beginning-to-end narrative. There’ll sometimes be a head-to-head conflict of the heart (if that’s not a contradiction), and desire rears its head frequently. ‘Berlin’, for example, concentrates on the protagonist’s heart, torn between a woman and the city he loves.

07 How has your music evolved since you first began playing?

As separate songwriters, it took myself and John Berry a while to find our feet, as we both have strong ideas about what we like, which will often put us at loggerheads (a facile example: it took us a year to decide on the band name ‘In Isolation’.) We both now know when to stop banging on about why a musical idea has more merit than another, and with Tony’s input (he joined the band several years ago), we’ll pretty much always end up with a song that pleases each of us to a certain number of degrees. (And usually for different reasons.)

08 What has been your biggest challenge? Were you been able to overcome this? If so, how?

We can be perfectionists in the studio, so attempting to present songs live that people already have in their head is a constant challenge. It’s a different medium, so expectations are in a separate arena, but we still strive to translate the songs to a high degree. Eventually, it would be nice to have all the bits on the record played out live by musicians, but I don’t think the venue riders would cope with that many sandwiches and Frazzles.

09 Do you play covers? If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why?

In the past we’ve played ‘Love My Way’ by The Chameleons, and we currently cover ‘Rebel Rebel’ by Mr Bowie. We are working on ideas at the moment for future songs, and we’re constantly sharing suggestions between band members. Depeche Mode seem to get regular votes, so we’ll see.

10 Where did you envisage being in five years time?

Ideally, we’d have a healthy fan base and several albums under our collective belt (including vinyl versions – that’s on my bucket list.) We’ve noticed we’re getting increasingly prolific with our writing, so hopefully the quality will match the output. Our aim is to perform (academically) as main billing on Top Of The Pops (RIP), so with a big hypothetical goal like that, we should be presenting you with some stunners some time soon. Fingers knotted.

11 Who would you most like to record with?

Producers that have caught my ears over the years are Flood, Stephen Street and Rick Rubin (we aim high.) I listen to 70s and 80s hits and I hear a certain captured essence that modern tracks just seem to lack. We’d be over the moon if our debut album could convey that indescribable something. We plan to work on that later this year.

12 What should we be expecting from you in the near future?

A Summer festival tour, most notably main stage at Manchester’s Headlander in June, and we’ll be starting to record our debut Album in the Autumn. We also plan to sort out a European tour for Winter 2014.

Web links:

Tour Dates 2013:

Friday 21st June 2013
Headlander Festival, Stockport RUFC, Manchester

Saturday 13th July 2013
Nottingham Fake Festival, Titchfield Park, Hucknall

Sunday 28th July 2013
Deerstock Festival, Nottingham Reindeer Inn, East Bridgford

Sunday 4th August 2013
Khaos Festival 2013, Kilnhurst Hooton Lodge

New single ‘Berlin’ on download/CD from:

Originally posted 2013-06-03 16:11:56. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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