By Raymond Westland
Metallic Taste Of Blood is one of the latest projects by Porcupine Tree bassist Colin Edwin. Together with guitarist/composer Eraldo Bernocchi (Obake/Somma), drummer Balazs Pandi (Obake/Merzbow) and keyboardist Jamie Saft (John Zorn/Merzbow) he worked on arguebly one of the best albums of this year. Through some digital magic I was able to speak with three of the four members, namely Colin Edwin (CE), Eraldo Bernocchi (EB) and Balazs Pandi (BP) about the origins of this remarkable musical venture, future projects and the prospects of touring together…
Thank you for doing this interview. I must confess I’m utterly blown away by the s/t Metallic Taste Of Blood album. Are you happy the way it came out?
EB:I’m really happy you like it and the way it came out was a surprise also for me.I really had no idea where we were going as I was following a stream of emotions during the composition and production process.
CE: I’m very glad to hear it speaks to you! I’m extremely pleased with the way the album has developed, it’s been a continually surprising and inspiring journey, and the end result is something very satisfying.
BP: Totally. for me it was interesting to work on this record, because most of the other music i work on is super radical, physically challenging for both listener and player. so it was interesting to not approach composing with blowing the heads / ripping my arms off immediately, and also since i study to play all kind of music, it was amazing that i could use my extended musical vocabulary.
Can you share some insights on how the project came together?
CE: The whole thing came about because of a random trawl I did through myspace (before it became a spam filled waste of time) looking for some interesting music to listen to. I came across a page for Eraldo Bernocchi’s “Parched” duo with Davide Tiso and revisited it quite a few times to hear the two tracks they had put up. I bought the album when it came out and sometime later Eraldo contacted me when he saw it on my playlist.
I knew of Eraldo mainly through his project “Charged” some years before, and also “Somma”, two quite different things, so I was well up for meeting him, one time when I made it to Italy with Porcupine Tree we discussed a possible collaboration.Eventually, I made it over to Tuscany to Eraldo’s studio where we kicked the whole thing off. Eraldo had suggested Balazs as a drummer, I didn’t know of him, but Eraldo played me a few things which left no doubt in my mind that he would be a great choice.
Balazs’s input immediately brought our sketches to life, and despite adding some truly intense and brutal drumming, he was also sensitive enough to leave space in appropriate places. Balazs had in turn suggested Jamie Saft as a keyboard player, I was delighted that when Jamie was invited he responded extremely positively.
Will there be future Metallic Taste Of Blood albums?
EB: I’d like to think yes. I really enjoyed working on his album and working again with he same team could only improve. I’m definitely looking forward to do something new in future with the guys but for the moment lets work on taking possibly on the road this album.
CE: There are no plans as yet, but who knows, we’ll see how things develop, I would certainly be open to any developments and evolving the band.
All the members of Metallic Taste Of Blood come very different musical backgrounds, ranging from prog, freestyle jazz, punk to extreme metal and breakcore.
Was it difficult to find some common language composing-wise? How did you guys manage to achieve that?
EB: No. It wasn’t difficult at all. We are all used to work in different fields and projects.
I think it’s a question of how you lets say “exercise” your mind and brain to handle different inputs and suggestions. Each of us made his own part without any limit and boundaries. We just did what we wanted to do in that precise moment. Things come naturally with an approach of that kind.
CE: As you say, we are all individually known for being in four completely different areas musically, but we’ve all been pretty much equal and had our own space in the creative process, so we were bound to create something unique. However, we didn’t go looking for common ground, the result is the sound of us each finding our own space and contributing to the whole.
BP: Not at all. we found the common language in communication super easily in both playing and post-production.
When composing and recording the material what vision did you have in mind?
CE: We never discussed having any sort of aim or result, it’s rather a case of being instinctive, and the resulting personality mesh of everyone involved. I think we’ve all enjoyed the process and that shows in the album. We have all been able to express ourselves freely without considering a pre-ordained concept
BP: if you mean vision about the outcome there was none from my side. the people i am in this band do all kinds of different stuff, so the only thing i could expect was the unexpected.
Most of the material was recorded back in 2011. Was it frustrating for you guys to wait for almost 6 months before the album actually sees the light of day?
CE:There are so many factors involved in having an album actually come out, so I think a six month waiting time is not too bad.
BE: Totally true. Having an album ready doesn’t mean you can put it out in one week. There’s a lot going on around it.
BP: 6 months is really a small amount of time, most of the music i work on is sitting for like 1 year on the shelf. only records that see the light sooner than 6 months are the live recordings with Merzbow. also don’t forget, there was always constant work on the final mix, so it wasnt 6 months with nothing happening. we were checking out mixes, exchanging ideas so the project was completely vital.
To which extent is Metallic Taste Of Blood a true band versus a musical project?
CE: Metallic Taste of Blood totally sounds the way it does because of the distinctive voices of the individuals involved, to me, that factor defines a “band” rather than a “project”.The term “project” implies having an agenda to make music in a certain context or manner, which hasn’t been the case here at all
BE: I totally agree with Colin. I’ve being doing projects all my life, mainly because. Was refusing the “band” logic but now I’m facing the fact I have not one but two bands, Obake and MTOB…the sum of all individualities determined the album outcome. I’m very curious to see what’s coming next as now we know each other.
BP: since we never talked about this group being an ad hoc one-off studio group i pretty much consider it as a band with a desire to play the material live.
Do you guys have plans to promote the album by touring? If so, where are you going to perform?
EB: Oh yes!
CE: We are hoping to do some live work, that’s something we’ve all had in the back of our minds all along, I think the material should work very well in a live context. There are no firm plans for dates yet, but it’s being discussed.
BP: i think first we need to focus on spreading the word, so when we start to tour people know about the band. touring is hard in itself, you never know which territory will be more into a certain type of music, and if you have music that is not so easy to define, its even harder.
What is next for you guys in terms of touring, various projects and the works?
EB: I’ll work on a remix album of winter garden, the cd I did with Robin Guthrie and Harold Budd, we will record the new Obake by the end of the year, some Sigillum S outputs and much more I can’t right now talk about.
CE: I am working towards completing another solo album, with songs and a vocalist this time rather than purely instrumentals, and also another Ex-Wise Heads album, plus a few collaborations that I hope to be able to share with the world pretty soon.
BP: I go on tour for 2 months in the US. I stopped talking about future plans, since I learned through the years that things can change even last minute. I have a facebook music page, all info will be there for gigs and various recording projects.
Time for the final question. What albums are you really looking forward to this year and why?
EB: Good question…I really don’t know. Too much stuff is coming out at he very same time. I was waiting for the new Killing Joke, which I bought, the Lee Scratch Perry album Laswell just finished, the new Tomahawk …and much more!
CE: The new Prong album, which I’ve just ordered, as I’ve heard good things about it.
Also, InGladAloneness, by Dalis Car, that last thing that the late Mick Karn recorded (as Dali’s Car), the first Dali’s Car album is one of my ‘Desert Island Discs
BP: I have no idea who will release new records, and also lately I listen mostly to 60-70ies music, so I think I rather look forward to explore obscure records never heard from that period than overproduced new music I can’t relate to. I just heard the Red Chord is writing new songs, definitely looking forward to that since they are great friends and a mindblowing band. Also new band of the guys from Maruta will kick ass for sure.
Any final thoughts or remarks?
BP: it’s cold gin time again