// you’re reading...


Barry Andrews from Shriekback talks about Glory Bumps

Barry Andrews talks about some previous projects and the chronology of Glory Bumps…

READERSVOICE.COM: In addition to the lyrics, I really like the instrumental music on your songs on Glory Bumps. For example, Bittersweet would be a haunting piece of music on its own, even without the intense lyrics. And there’s a nice instrumental to finish Glory Bumps, Yarg 7. I was wondering if you had plans for an instrumental album with the rich textures and instrumentation of Glory Bumps.

BARRY ANDREWS: Well, there’s a long Shriekback tradition of songs without words (Coelacanth, In:Amongst, Hapax Legomena, 3AM, to name a few in no particular order) but I’ve always liked them living amongst the wordy ones rather than all in a wordless ghetto together. That’s not to say they wouldn’t make a nice compilation project for some enterprising label….. (cant be arsed with it myself though, at the moment).

RV: Can you talk about the 2003 Stic Basin album, and describe the music on it.

BA: Shriekback pursued by Other Means was its strapline. It was me naively thinking I could shed the old beast and scamper off into a whole new project which would be mine all mine and with a much better name. Alas, history is not so easily discarded. I think it’s a great record actually, with all the things that people like about Shriekback (it’s better -and much longer- than ‘Having a Moment’ for instance) but people want The Brand -as sales conclusively prove.

RV: The piano work on Glory Bumps adds a nice haunting touch on songs like Bittersweet and The Bride Stripped Bare. Can you talk a bit about your piano playing, and the 2003 piano album Haunted Box of Switches?

BA: I like playing piano- feels more like my natural instrument than any other and Haunted Box was the album where I acknowledged this. There’s loads more about all this at BarryAndrews.net under ‘CV -Bare Bones-Haunted Box”.

RV: What sort of music did Monstrance feature, and how did this experience influence Glory Bumps?

BA: Monstrance was me, Martyn Barker and Andy Partridge from XTC all improvising furiously and with some rather fantastic results, I feel. I certainly scavenged the sessions for loops to use on Glory Bumps and the character of the earlier project does add some new quality to the brew. In terms of the approach, I’ve always worked from improvs anyway so it was business-as-usual really when it came to the Shriekback record.

RV: As you mention on your website, the style of a couple of classic Shriekback albums is revisited with the classic Bitter Sweet, and one of your favorites on the album, Amaryllis in the Sprawl. Do you generally try to avoid songs being made in the style of work you’ve done before, or do you just use whatever sound feels right, regardless?

BA: I actually don’t worry at all about the style of the work. For these reasons: Firstly-I think pop music (and yes, yes, it IS that, whatever else it may be) grows in increments (you don’t (or very rarely) get great convulsions like you do in the visual arts where one minute everyone’s cutting up dogs and next minute the same guys are doing meticulous line drawings of flowers) and I think that’s a nice thing. Wholesome, almost.

Secondly: after a while at this game you get, if you’re lucky, a ‘Voice’ -your own style of doing things- which is always hard-won and not to be casually cast aside.

3.- It saves a lot of energy if don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you do a record. Having said that, I’m all for pushing the boundaries but I think that works best when the material demands it -when the old structures will no longer do- and you know when that is and it can’t be forced.

RV: Can you give a bit of a chronology of the making of Glory Bumps?

BA: I began it as the usual bag of grooves and textures on my laptop, working up in the belfry of Swindon Town hall (where I was using their old unused studio space). It progressed throughout the year in dribs and drabs then, somewhat galvanised by doing the Monstrance album, I would have to say, and especially by working with Stuart Rowe, I decided to finish it as quickly as possible. I asked Stuart to help me complete and mix it just after Xmas 07. And so it went.

RV: What lessons did you learn from Cormorant that you wanted to implement, or things did you want to avoid, in making Glory Bumps, like techniques or logistics or anything else?

BA: I think mainly that I found it arduous and sometimes confusing working alone and that another pair of earholes (given that they are sympathetic, helpful ones) is a very good thing.

-Glory Bumps, the new album by Shriekback, is available on Malicious Damage.