Interview ::: Menace Beach


TSOFDs: Hi Liza. Annoying question first. Why the name ‘Black Rainbow Sound’?

Liza: It’s a really visual title. I like trying to imagine sounds or emotions as colours and textures and we were both in a good place when we wrote this record, it’s got a technicolour feel.

TSOFDs: The first track of the same name features Brix Smith. What attracted you to working with Brix?

Liza: We got chatting online after she played one of our songs on the radio, and we decided we should do something musical together. It was kind of our band ethos when we started out to keep the line up loose and let it evolve naturally. Brix is such a unique and positive force of energy and I’m so happy she wanted to be involved, it felt like it was meant to be.

TSOFDs: This album is more of a product of working in the studio whilst we get the impression previous records were more borne out of the practice room where songs were already largely set in stone? What led to this change in approach?

Liza: We always like to try and mix up our writing process when we make a new record otherwise it has the potential to feel a bit stagnant. It was partly born out of necessity too as we didn’t have a space to make noise at the time and we wrote a lot at night in our flat with headphones on. It was more like making an electronic record but making sure it still sounded a bit fuzzy and organic.

TSOFDs: Once you’d recorded we gather the record was taken apart and put back together. Wilco’s ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’ is famous for this. Are there any particular albums that inspired you to take this direction or did it purely come from within?

Liza: Not really any particular albums, but we tended to start with sounds we liked and build from there rather than sitting down with a guitar. It’s quite a playful way to write, kind of upside down starting with the production first.

TSOFDs: This LP has taken more of a synth and drum loop orientated direction. For the music nerds out there such as ourselves can you tell us any particular gear you used on this album that you returned to again and again? Any vintage synths or drum machines you fell in love with during the creative process?

Liza: Yes, so many! The drum machines are a mix of Roland 808, CR78 and the rhythm section from an Omnichord and a Bontempi Organ. I used an Arp Odyssey loads, and a Wasp as they both have this great kind of nasal, raspy sound. Then a Moog Rogue and a Roland SH1000 which wanders out of tune in a really good way. That last one’s my absolute favourite. Most of it was run through either a Roland RE-201 or a Death By Audio Echo Dream 2.

TSOFDs: Rad! We’re based in Hangzhou, China. You may or may not know Hangzhou is twinned with Leeds. Coincidentally I think these two places have certain things in common as cities. A lot of green spaces. Lovely parks. Lakes. David Thomas Broughton from Otley recently played here. Can you see yourselves visiting one day?

Liza: We’d really love to, we’ve never been to China. Hopefully we’ll get to come and play a show and find out more about the music scene there.

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TSOFDs: We’re well aware of a whole host of Leeds acts. Is there anybody new you think we should be listening to that you feel hasn’t received the recognition they deserve or isn’t as well known as other bands from your city?

Liza: Goldfishes which is Matt Peel’s new band, and Cruel World who are coming to play some shows with us in October.

TSOFDs: Thanks for the tips (we couldn’t find a link for Goldfishes but we’ll add one if we find one). If Chinese listeners were trying to understand where your sound comes from are there any albums you’d cite as major influences that they should be listening to? For example, it is easier to understand Nirvana when you listen to Pixies.

Liza: I think any of the bands that first got me into synthesizers have probably influenced this record the most… bands like Add N to (X), Suicide, Silver Apples and Stereolab all had a massive impact on my music taste and how I write.

TSOFDs: Some great artists for visitors to our site to read up on there. Finally, it strikes me that because you deconstructed your album and put it back together again with the help of Matt Peel (Eagulls) that this in a way potentially opens up a massive rabbit hole of possibilities. Did it ever feel in danger of spinning out of control due to the infinite range of directions a song could take? Has the process even lent itself to different artists releasing remixes of songs in the future?

Liza: We definitely had a couple of moments where we were like, “This sounds completely ridiculous” and we’d get rid of everything. Then we’d bring elements of it back in later because we missed it and realised we were playing it too safe. I think it’s best not to worry about going down a weird path too much and just trust your instincts, you don’t want to filter your ideas too much. As for remixes we’re gathering some up at the moment, it’s always interesting hearing your record through someone else’s ears.

TSOFDs: Excellent – we’ll look out for those. Liza, we know how busy your schedule is with all the album release interviews, rehearsals and gigging so thanks ever so much for taking some time out to satisfy our curiosity.




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