Hi there. Congratulations to your great new album. Please describe the reactions to the CD so far.
Thank you. We have received a lot of positive feedback, and some negative feedback as well. In general, the more coalesce concerns itself with the reactions of others, the less it is coalesce. So although it is nice to have people say nice things, the core issue for us is how we feel when we write, record, and play our songs.
Do you care for the opinion of your fans, the press and people in general? Or is it just you and your music?
It is primarily us and our music; us and our friendships. That’s not to say that we don’t love to meet new people, and coalesce has been an incredible catalyst for that. It is simply a strange thing for me to think of coalesce as having “fans.” I am still in the mindset that there are people who like coalesce’s music, and if they come to one of our shows then we’ll talk and hang out. “Fan” sounds so wrong for underground and independent music, the scene where a music listener is supposed to feel a certain camaraderie with the musician(s) he or she is listening to. The thing is, coalesce is about freedom for me; the freedom to feel a certain way when playing music. The more I concern myself with what others say (especially those who consider themselves to be “fans” that should somehow dictate what I do), the more I lose what I love about being in coalesce.
Some of our readers may never have heard about you. Please give us a short briefing in the band's biography.
We started our band in the mid-90s as an interpretation of the independent and countercultural bands that we loved at the time. I don’t consider our interpretation to have produced a unique sound, but others have. We are a band that considers precision, technical prowess, and execution to be secondary to feeling. We played to all sorts of different crowds in the late 90s after the underground scene began to split into factions. We broke up in 1999, which I thought was for good, but regrouped in 2005 after our lives had found a sort of stability we couldn’t have foreseen in the 90s. We’ve been a part-time thing since 2005. Our music is best described as crash and bang.
Which one is your favourite song from the album and why?
I honestly don’t have a favourite song because I only really like the way that the songs fit together and play off one another. It is why it has been so difficult for me to think about how to fit these songs into a set list. I love to play “Word Hidden in the Ground” and “In My Wake, For My Own” live, but I don’t like them more than any other song on the record.
How and why did you choose the album cover? Is there a further meaning behind it?
There is always meaning behind the discursive elements of coalesce, but we prefer not to address them and allow the listener to develop their own interpretation(s) of those elements.
Are there some lyrics that are special to you? Tell us something about them.
Sean has a line in “The Purveyor of Novelty and Nonsense” that says, “I am in a race to produce things to buy things to eat things to make more things. I don’t have the tools to withdraw myself.“ This line captures the sort of nausea I feel in being trapped in the market system; the sort of despair in not being able to live off the grid as it were. I also love the line in „Wild Ox Moan“ that I adapted from the original: „Come on loyal woman, I gotta hear that wild ox moan; I think I hear that wild ox moan.“ How do you convince someone close to you to let you pursue something that might be detrimental to the relationship you have with that person? How do you deal with the desire for freedom at the expense of others’ lives?
Where do you get your inspirations from?
The same place everyone else does: from the events that constitute a real day-to-day life.
What about the recording process of your new album? Any stories or curiosities to report?
It was an extremely sentimental time in my life. I think we are all sentimental about the Blacklodge building. We stayed in the apartment above the studio during the week that we recorded the album; watching movies, cracking jokes, eating bad food, and staying up late.
What are your musical influences in your opinion?
We stole a little bit from everyone we listened to: Metallica, Black Flag, the Jesus Lizard, the Dazzling Killmen, Unsane, Helmet, Quicksand, Unbroken, Inside Out, Entombed, a bunch of regional and smaller bands like Ritual Device, Crawlpappy, Germbox, the Quitter’s Club; and then later on, bands like Zeppelin and Sabbath. It’s hard to even think back to all the bands that we used to listen to that gave us ideas. But we took something from every band we loved and interpreted it in our own way.
Please name some recently released CDs that you like to listen to at home.
All of the Black Keys’ releases, all of the Arcade Fire releases, Mastodon’s Crack the Skye, Coldplay’s Viva la Vida, all of Monotonix’s stuff, a split with two French bands Stuntman and Chere Catastrophe. These are the quickest things that come to mind that are “recent” releases. There is a ton of older stuff that I listen to more often I think.
Do you still watch other bands play? Have there been some shows lately that impressed you?
I rarely make it out to shows. I did see the Bronx and Trash Talk a couple months ago and they were both incredible. A great show; awesome bands. I saw Napalm Death at Hellfest and they were so damned good. Their show made me super stoked to be at Hellfest; excellent band.
How important is it for you to play live on stage?
It means everything for me to play live. Whether there is a stage present does not concern me. I am never really comfortable on a stage that’s taller than 0.5 meters, and most times I would prefer to have no stage at all. We were put in the predicament of playing on stages with barricades at a few European shows and that was a completely new experience for us; we weren’t sure what to do with it and it kept me from contact with the people present at the show. Coalesce is all about the live show because that’s where the spontaneity is and the most feeling.
Are there still some bands that you would die to play with?
There are certainly bands I would die to meet and other bands I would die to see live, but I can’t think of any I would die to play with. I would like to tour or at least play some shows with Napalm Death, Brutal Truth, or Mastodon someday.
Please tell us something about further live activities.
Well, we hope to play as much as our schedules will allow. We would like to do a solid U.S. tour for OX, and we really want to get to Japan in early 2010. Anything after that is still much too far away to plan. One of us is expecting a new baby in September so that will prevent us from playing in August through October. Perhaps there will be some weekend warrior dates if we get an offer or two.
We are looking forward seeing you in Germany. Best wishes to you all. Any last words?
We are extremely grateful for all the hospitality we were shown in Europe and the UK, and we really hope to get back there someday if Fate sees fit.
Thanks for your interest in doing the interview.