SYNAESTHESIA: Modernizing Prog

UK progressive rock band Synaesthesia

We previously wrote about the new UK prog attraction Synaesthesia on our pages – the band was also featured on the Progstravaganza XV: Ascension sampler. Led by a 20-year old Adam Warne, the band released their self-titled debut in January through Giant Electric Pea label, and is set to take on the prog community. Since then, they are receiving rave reviews all over the world and being bookmarked by the prog fans who already call them “the next big thing” on the scene.

Prog Sphere spoke to Adam about the album’s release, the music, playing live and future endeavors.

Many great things surrounded the release of your self-titled debut album. Did it work out to your satisfaction?

In the build up to the release of the album, I was quite anxious as to how well the sales might go as so much was hanging in the balance over this album. Plus, GEP were putting a hell of a lot of their time and focus on the project so I’m sure they were equally anxious too! But all in all things have been going very well. Actually, very much surpassed my expectation. I’ve been very touched by the praise and lovely reviews the album has been getting.

What is your mission with Synaesthesia?

To modernise Prog. Take the elements of Prog Rock that I love and combine it with elements from other genres of music to bring a whole new spectrum of sound. Also, I’d love to be able to bring Progressive music to a new, younger audience.

How does the band’s name reflect on the music itself?

One of the reasons why I eventually landed on the name of ‘Synaesthesia’ was because it clicked with me when I heard the word. It felt appropriate with the sort of music I was writing. It’s bright, colourful and sugary. The sound of lush synths combined with guitars bring an interesting colourful image to my mind. I’m not sure what other people feel when they listen to the music, but this is most certainly the case for me.

The album opens with a 22-minute epic. What made that appealing to you?

Because why not? As well as contacting lyrical themes that open the overall concept of the album, it was done because it’d be a nice way to begin the debut album. It’s a ballsy thing to do. This wouldn’t ever happen in most genres of music, let alone having a twenty two minute long track on an album in the first place! I’d like to think that it’s a statement.

Synaesthesia

How did the creative process of the album go?

The writing process for this album was very spread out, and even then most of it happened at least two to three years ago. I usually work on multiple tracks at a time. For example, I currently have at least 15 different projects I’m working on. But what makes this do-able is the fact that I spend months at a time on each project dipping in and out. I don’t like exhausting myself creatively especially as I find I work better if I really take my time.

Give me a snapshot of the topics you explore on the album.

False friendships, deceit, regret, anxiety. But also on the other hand, remembering to hang on in there for the best may yet to come.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when working on the album?

Having to put up with listening to the music over and over in the studio whilst keeping an open and non-biased mindset. Especially in the mixing period. We spent around four days mixing Time, Tension and Intervention and this was all I heard for those four days. Drove me to the point of insanity! It resulted in me comfort eating bucket loads of Oreos.

Synaesthesia album coverTell me about the technical side of “Synaesthesia”. Where was it recorded? Who produced it?

The keyboard and sound effects were recorded in my home studio but everything else including vocals, drums, guitars and other little touch-ups were recorded down in Aubitt Studios in Southampton. The mixing, mastering and engineering wizardry was done by Rob Aubrey and Mike Holmes produced the album.

It’s amazing to witness the album attain great feedback from all around the world. Can you say that it meets all your expectations?

As I’ve said – the whole thing has surpassed my expectations massively. I’m very happy with the response the album has had!

You’ve been selected as Prog Magazine’s Tip #1 for 2014 in front of the bands that already have few albums behind them. How does it feel?

Absolutely honoured and thankful! At the end of the day, it comes down to the votes of the readers. Being a reader’s poll after all! It’s great to see that we have people who are supportive of us and have faith in what we are doing. Especially as the poll results were announced before we had even released the album!

The album was released on IQ’s Giant Electric Pea (GEP) label. Considering that many bands today decide to self-fund their albums, what can you tell about your relationship with GEP?

They’re all fantastic guys. I feel like they’ve really taken Synaesthesia under their wing and helped develop it by putting so much faith in the project. They’re professional but at the same time, they’re all friendly and casual people who do their job because they enjoy music! I look forward to continuing to work with them!

Originally, Synaesthesia was one-man project fully maintained by you, but you decided to go full-on with the band. Provide some insight into the band’s chemistry that opened door for this music.

Well, the project really became a band after the recording was done. Before then, the people I worked with mainly worked as the title of session musician really. I now feel much more confident about the future of the project now that I have the rest of the guys in the band to work with. They’re all great guys!

You already performed the music off the album in front of audiences, what is the reception like?

That was a fantastic gig! I was an absolute blast! Loved every moment of that gig. The audience seemed to really enjoy it. I noticed people in the audience who were really jumping along to the music and getting into it which was quite strange to see at what was primarily an audience to see IQ. We had people come up to us afterwards giving us praise! Overall, it seemed to go down really well.

Synaesthesia supporting IQ @ De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Holland

Synaesthesia supporting IQ @ De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Holland

I suppose that you will be focused on playing live throughout 2014. This year’s edition of HRH Festival has been confirmed. Are there any new dates? Perhaps touring Europe?

This is a question that’s been popping up all over the place. People keep asking us what the situation is with regards to gigs and touring, but the only answer I can give them now with the exception of HRH Prog, is that nothing else within the near future is confirmed. I wish I could say otherwise, but it comes down to the people we’re working with or maybe rather the lack of people and contacts we’re working with. Let’s hope fingers crossed I can announce something soon.

Where do you draw inspiration from? What other non-musical entities influenced your work on the Synaesthesia album?

The people around me, definitely. My girlfriend being one of them. The last track, ‘Life’s What You Make of It’ was after all, primarily written for her! I find I pick up inspiration from all over the place. Films, video games, technology. Daily life can bring plenty of unexpected sprites of inspiration.

How would you describe your music to someone who didn’t listen to it before?

Thick, colourful, creamy, sugary, bright. Huge and big! It’s a difficult question, I’ll be honest! I never really quite know how to answer these questions with a witty, clever or thought out response.

Where do you see Synaesthesia in the future?

I live with the mentality of take each day one day at a time. If I need to do any future planning, it’ll be loose planning. Life can change in weird and wonderful ways so who knows what’ll happen! I’m looking forward to whatever the future brings with regards to the band. We’ll see what happens!

Synaesthesia on the web:

http://www.synaesthesiamusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/synaesthesiamusic

Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.

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