SONOROUS DYNAMO: Moving Own Worlds

Sonorous Dynamo

Swiss progressive metal act Sonorous Dynamo has recently launched their debut full-length album entitled ‘Scraps of Angels‘–a 22-track concept record. Prog Sphere had a privilege to feature a song off of the album–”Broken Soul”–on our recent Progotronics compilation.

Singer and guitarist Matthias Schranz spoke for Prog Sphere about the release, the concept behind it, message, and more.

Define the mission of Sonorous Dynamo.

Progrock/Progmetal is our great passion, to which we have dedicated ourselves every Thursday evening for over 30 years, in addition to our other professional activities. Since 2014 we have been doing this under the name Sonorous Dynamo. The mission of Sonorous Dynamo is to make good rock music for everyone who is interested in it, to offer space to live our creativity in composing, rehearsing and working in our own studio, to create a nice balance to our other activities and to give us a lot of pleasure and fun.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your new album “Scraps of Ages,” and the themes it covers.

The dream of releasing an album that runs 80 minutes without any interruption telling a coherent story arose in me after the first listen to “Scenes from a Memory” by Dream Theater. This album is for me a milestone in the history of prog metal! About 10 years after that we felt ready to start such a journey ourselves. Soon I had the formal flow in my mind’s eye, a form I had not encountered before: individual memories (“scraps”) from the protagonist’s life were to be pieced together by small intermezzi (“interludes”) that would bring the listener back to the present plane. It took 5 years to finish composing, arranging and rehearsing the puzzle of songs and interludes. Also, after trying out a few recording studios, it was immediately clear to us that we needed to record and mix the album ourselves so that we could take enough time to find our own personal sound. Our keyboarder and engineer Ändu Siegenthaler mixed the album with great intuition and attention to detail in a two-year process and made it shine.

Scraps of Ages

What is the message of “Scraps of Ages”?

There are many messages in the album… Perhaps the most important one is this: Life is not what you plan, life is what happens. You can’t do much more than move your own world. But that’s exactly the essence, you can move your own world and do so much good! The old man who looks back on his life in our story from the 2050s lives at the end of his life in inner freedom and in peace with a world that is Ok. The album is meant to convey hope, in both senses.

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

Since I work and perform as a classical cellist in my other professional field, it was natural for me to write down my compositions. Thus, sheet music exists for the entire piece, though bandmates have arranged and artfully extended their own parts to such an extent that the existing sheet music only matches the final result to a certain percentage.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Yes, the challenge was to achieve an arc in terms of content and at the same time a musical line that draws the listener in and doesn’t let go. Thus, the protagonist’s memories are kept chronological, and the musical events move through rather light-hearted moments into the emotional lows that finally dissolve after an inner “revolution.” In doing so, we try to pack the incredible diversity of life into the whole piece.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

Some things I have already described. We were able to take two weeks off from our professional and family lives in the summer of 2016 and manage some of the recording. The rest of the recordings then had to take place again on Thursday evenings, on our evenings reserved for the band, and accordingly dragged on until spring 2017. Throughout the process, intensive sound research also took place again and again, as for example with the drum, which can be heard on the album completely without samples.

How long “Scraps of Ages” was in the making?

Since, as I said, we do rock music part-time, the whole process from composing the first notes to the finished master took pretty much 10 years.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the album?

Hmmm… there are many bands that have left their mark. The most important influences are probably Dream Theater, Spock’s Beard, and Neal Morse. But also bands from the 70s, 80s, and 90s like Deep Purple, Extreme, Metallica, Barren Cross, Magnum, Thunder, Europe, and Bon Jovi.

What is your view on technology in music?

All the technical possibilities are something wonderful, as long as they serve the music and not the other way around. Especially the possibilities in the studio are fascinating and a beautiful, powerful production just needs the appropriate technology in addition to the very good ears of a sound artist, without it it doesn’t work.

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

Music should convey something, emotions, stories, thoughts, poetry…. but for me these are not things that go beyond the music, but things that belong to the music. In this sense I see our music. But of course it’s nice if some things reverberate into everyday life.

What are your plans for the future?

We don’t have our future planned out. The only thing that is pretty clear is that we will continue to cultivate our passion. It’s hard for me to imagine a life without rock music. And of course it would be nice if our album would spread so much that we could play some cool gigs at progrock/metal events. And then maybe someday we’ll tackle a next album project.

For more about Sonorous Dynamo visit their website here.

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