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Fast Five: Sound Menagerie



How did you meet and what’s the story behind your band name?

We met at a bus stop! The name was one I originally used for instrumental experiments – mostly home recordings, but I liked the name so much that when putting together the first incarnation of Sound Menagerie as a duo/band I decided to use it for that – it comes from an attempt to have a name that alludes to the capturing of recorded layers and combinations of sound in colourful and unusual variations almost like a collection.

How would you describe your music?

Our music is hopefully described to some extent in the answer to the band name question, but our influences are extremely varied, particularly taking in 60’s psych but also everything from 80’s Gothic, Mod and Indie music to baroque – we think our sound probably veers through sums of several parts made up of random combinations of aspects of any number of these influences but with an underlying identity with a foundation of what tends to be called dream pop.

What have you been up to so far and what can we expect over the coming months?

After releasing the ‘Far Or Through’ album in 2011 we recorded a single called ‘Silver Tree’ which included a B-Side (‘Hollow Lane’) that featured Glenn Johansson of Echobelly on lead guitar. More recently we’ve been working on the new album which will provisionally be called ‘Clocks & Towers’ and the single ‘Stay With Me’ – recording with Andy Ramsay who played drums with one of our favourite bands of the 90’s (Stereolab) at his Press Play Studio. Andy also plays the drums and percussion on our more recent tracks and bought his Stereolab colleague Joe Watson in to add some keyboards/piano/harpsichord and Moog etc.
Steve’s old friend Rowan Robertson, who was lead guitarist with Dio in the 90’s and has also played with Billy Ray Cyrus, Vast, AM Radio and DC4 (as well as being a highly respected guitar tutor in the USA), has added a fantastic lead solo to one of our new tracks called ‘Watermark’.

We’re heading back into the studio hopefully in November to put down some more new tracks for the album.

If you could duet with anybody who would it be and why?

Not so much to literally ‘duet’ with but to work with – Paul McCartney, Ray Davies, Brian Wilson, Paul Simon, Sandie Shaw, Billie Davis, Nancy Sinatra – but we have been lucky enough to work with Andy and Joe, as well as Glenn and Rowan and that’s been very rewarding tbh.

What’s your desert island disc and why would you take this one album?

‘Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’ by Syd Barret era Pink Floyd- it’s an album we couldn’t live without and frankly, though it wasn’t recorded in Cambridge, contains such a Cambridge vibe and atmosphere it would be the perfect album for us as Cantabrigians to have with us in such a situation.