The Provenance - Interview
The Provenance. Relatively few know the name of this young band, who in 2001 released their debut album "25th Hour; Bleeding." "Still At Arms Length" was their 2003 follow-up to their debut. It shows a band that is willing to expand, progress, and be creative. Thankfully The Provenance is getting at least some recognition for what is one of the year's best albums. However, they still aren't getting the exposure that they deserve. To help shed some light into the work of The Provenance is drummer/lyricist Joel Lindell, who took the time to answer some questions that I had for him.
"Still At Arms Length" is a truly excellent album! I'd say it's definitely one of the finer moments this year and will probably end up on my, and quite a few others, best albums of the year lists. Good work!
Thank you very much indeed! I must say we're all very satisfied with the outcome of this album and it's truly great that people in general find it enjoyable as well.
Not point in wasting time, so right off what do you think is the difference between your debut, "25th Hour: Bleeding," and the new one, "Still At Arms Length"? How has the band improved?
I wouldn't go as far as to say the two albums we've managed to release differ completely but as a band we have matured a great deal on this album and we know much more what works and what doesn't, but our intentions has always been similar when it comes to composing. We've all drawn substantial conclusions from the "25th..." album and gathered information on how to best present these new songs. The main differences could be concluded in a severely improved production plus the fact that all the songs featured on "Still at arms length" were written within a more specific timeframe.
What was the purpose of The Provenance when the band first started? How has that changed up to today? What is it now?
The purpose, I guess, was simply adding to the Gothic musical scene in general, we knew what we wanted to do and felt we had something to offer. It feels a bit strange to answer this question when still to date I cannot recognize any greater purpose with the band other than having fun together making music people hopefully enjoys, I know we do at least.
The music of The Provenance offers a somewhat diverse list of instruments, including female and male vocals, and the flute. How did all of this come about?
We're a band that seeks to use all of our skills if suitable in the music and so, since Emma plays the flute, keyboards and sings, we've simply made the choice of using these elements in our music.
There are many different genres blended into your music. Is it a conscience effort to incorporate so many different styles? Why did you choose to take this path?
We haven't got any set pattern, so to speak, when blending different genres and it's not conscious either. I think it follows naturally when composing together and as we all have a wide range of influences and personal founts of inspiration they obviously surface somewhere along the way. We chose this path because we love music; it's as simple as that!
Is the writing process something that the entire group takes place in, or is it limited to just one or two members?
Everyone participates in the writing process although the writing usually starts with a guitar… We all play different parts in the creation of a song and we've found features and areas where each one of us function better, thus resulting in a certainty of what we're supposed to do. And in the end this certainty hopefully shines through.
What has been the biggest struggle for The Provenance up until this point? What do you think you've gained from it?
Finding time has always been the main problem for this band, all of us have fulltime jobs or fulltime studies we're committed to, making it very hard to find time to rehearse.
The Provenance seems to be getting a bit more exposure, in my opinion. Do you plan on staying with Scarlet Records after your contract is up or do you want to move onto a bigger and possibly more efficient label?
The backsides of being with a smaller label like Scarlet are always presented to us in forms of lesser promotion and smaller budgets etc., although we have a good communication with them. We believe we would have come a great deal further with just a little more effort put into the promotional work but you never quite know. I don't know if we're staying with Scarlet after the next album, hopefully something better comes along and I know we're worth a break for once. We have been playing for eight years with this band, so I really hope we get the attention we work so hard for. Not that we've ever had the aim of conquering the world but I know for a fact we absolutely crush some of today's acts, which haven't worked half as hard as we've done; it's our turn now!
I just want to say that the Hammond sounds excellent on this album! In fact, all of the instruments sound quite great. What can you tell us about the production?
There's no denying Roberto Laghi, the producer we worked with, played an important roll throughout the recording of our album although, to everyone involved, it felt quite obvious what this album really needed in terms of "soundscaping". When entering the studio we had already decided to go for a more natural sound overall. We think it's a pity that you almost never hear the natural "band" behind the music on today's records, too many digital complements in the futile strive for perfection. It's a general misconception today that music has to be perfect; in my opinion flaws play an equal roll in it as well. Anyway, we were looking for a producer who was able to grasp the whole concept of The Provenance, not only the metal parts. We had heard some of Roberto's previous work and felt curious about whom he was, so Tobias and Joakim went to look at the studio and speak with him. Turns out he was a really nice guy with great interest in our music. He came to a few rehearsals with us before going in to the studio so he's a very dedicated person when it comes to conceiving music. I promise you'll see his name on upcoming releases by The Provenance as our cooperation worked outstandingly well.
In the live setting how does it work with Emma, who plays flute, Hammond, and does vocals in the studio? Surely this causes a bit of a stir?
[Laughs], at least for her... The music is actually put together so it will work in live situations as well. The flute parts never collide with any keyboard parts, nor singing, except for a few times on the album so Emma is able to perform at least 95% of the original features on the album live as well.
A lot of emotion goes into The Provenance. If not, you guys really fooled me! But anyway, what kinds of things play into influencing the writing process and what not? Lyrically, what subjects are covered?
Tough question, I think your whole surroundings influence the writing really. It's somewhat of a mystery the way inspiration and influences work during the writing process. I can't really put my finger on what it is...
The lyrics are generally documentations of different opinions, events and relations from my ordinary daily life. I also enjoy addressing incorrect matters of society, although in a more discrete and subsidiary way, often using metaphors and such. I hope for people to draw their own conclusions and I'm not to be regarded a spokesman of any kind. The lyrical theme of "Still At Arms Length" is about undying friendship and with that I mean; some persons are so close to you that it doesn't matter how far you drift from one-another, both parties are still aware of each others presence and no matter how much time passes it doesn't feel awkward when meeting again. These are the persons at arms length…On the other hand the title can be interpreted just the other way around as well, meaning you can never quite reach whatever it is you're looking for...
Is there any type of subject that fits with "Still At Arms Length"? Considering the album title and the album cover...
Friendship, relations, frustration, despair and hope... in one word, life!
So what's next for you guys? Hopefully a little touring, and a new album when conditions permit?
26th of July we're playing at Stonehenge Festival in Holland and hopefully more gigs will follow recently having signed with a Belgian booking agency called Hardebaran. We've already begun the writing process for the upcoming album and all goes well so far.
Speaking of the next album, will it be in the same vein "Still At Arms Length" or do you plan on throwing listeners a few curve balls?
Some of our new songs follow the "Still at arms length"-path but we will probably surprise anyone who has started to feel they can expect certain things from The Provenance. There are no certainties whatsoever with us.
Well, I appreciate the time you took to answer my questions. Good luck with everything. Any final comments?
Thank you for taking the time to write questions! It was one of the nicest interviews in a long time! You can all follow The Provenance's whereabouts on www.theprovenance.com and we hope you enjoy our album! Hope to see you on tour some time! Till then... fucking cheers!
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