Interview: Counterfeit i
Thu, 08 May 2014 10:27:07
Counterfeit I effectively merge industrial expanse, metallic grit, and alternative bliss on Still, Vol. II. [iTunes link] It's a rather delicate amalgam, yet it's executed flawlessly in the hands of band mastermind Derek Allen. The only way to describe this cinematic trip is a cross between Mogwai and Neurosis and even that comparison doesn't do its brilliance justice. You just need to open your mind and listen...
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Derek Allen of Counterfeit i talks Still, Vol. II, visuals, and so much more.
For you, what ties Still, Vol. II together?
These songs were written at the same time. There were a couple of other songs that I started which were going to be on it as well, but they just didn't fit. The sound is similar. They're all slower songs, but they're all definitely heavier than our last EP. I wanted to write something with a lot of different singing styles—like you almost can't understand what I'm saying. I wanted to make something like our last EP but heavier. That was the main theme.
What encouraged you to go heavier?
That was the idea when I started Still, Vol. I. I was going to make five songs with this ambient lighter sound and four songs for Vol. II that were still ambient but on the heavier side. The first two volumes are supposed to go together. They're maybe two different takes on the same vision.
What's the story behind "All"?
That one was actually really fun to make. That was one of the most fun songs I've ever made. I just sat down and that guitar riff came out. I came up with those chords. The rhythm just happened. I started out with the guitar riff. I wrote all of the sections of the song. I wrote all of the drums and bass. Evan and Ryan [Worthy] recorded their parts. There's that chanting vocal at the end. Ryan and I actually recorded that with some friends in a parking garage. That's how we got that huge reverb sound. We put a couple of mics really far away. I had never recorded outside of a studio before so that was really fun.
Is it important for you to conjure visuals with the music?
That's exactly what I'm trying to do. For "All", I could see fire. As cheesy as that sounds, it sounded like something on fire to me. It's a little apocalyptic in a peaceful sense. Usually it's colors. For "Between the Suns", the image I had was blue. The whole time I was recording it, I thought of the color blue. A lot of times, it's really simple. I'm always interested to hear what people see when they hear it.
"Amel" emanated an image of water.
I can see that! Thanks man!
What else fosters that? Do you read a lot or watch a lot of movies?
I'm actually an art student. So, I study sound, music, and writing. The visual influences come from seeing a lot of art. At the time I wrote Still, Vol. II, I was watching a lot of Paul Thomas Anderson movies. I'm actually obsessed with him. I do a lot of philosophy reading. I was reading a lot of Ludwig Wittgenstein. That's where a lot of the visuals come from. I'm into looking at things in everyday life as a photograph or film.
If the EP were a movie or a combination of movies what would it be?
That's a really good question. I've never been asked that before! I dig it. I kind of feel like I should say Magnolia. That's a Paul Thomas Anderson movie [Laughs]. I love that movie. I feel like that's a close one. I sing the lyrics differently every night. That was the intention of the album. The lyrics are mostly incomprehensible. So, I'm not totally sure what the songs are about. I know what they were influenced by, but I can't quite place my finger on what they mean. It becomes apparent the more I play it that I realize, "Oh, that's what this song is about". That's why it's hard for me to settle on a movie. Magnolia is the first one that comes to mind, so I'll stick with that.
Hear "The Point is a Circle":