Alex Cull speaks to our Band Of The Week about their evolution from the Sian Alice Group to Eaux, their work so far, and the end of the world.
How important was the name as a titular umbrella for what you’re working on as Eaux?
Stephen: It felt important to reflect our new identity (post Sian Alice Group) on paper in some way from the outset. It would have been wrong to hold on to the old band’s name as our core components and methodology has changed. The name felt general enough to not tie us to a particular scene or genre, like some band names can.
How would you say things have changed between your former project, the Sian Alice Group, and now? Obviously, there’s been a shift in sound, but has the way you work together changed?
Stephen: The focus with Eaux has been about engaging head-on in a studio and working things out first and foremost as live performances. Our starting point has been spontaneity and equality. The tracks eventually resolve themselves into compositions, whereas before there were pre-defined compositional ideas around which a group of people were shaping themselves. It’s just a different approach which is working right now.
Ben: What you hear in the recordings, essentially, is how they sounded before we recorded them – and how they sound in our rehearsal space or at a show. Everything is played live – there’s no software or programmed parts to play along to. And even though that’s at the very origins of electronic music, physically playing those things seems quite novel and alien in these days of software-based music. We’ve deliberately avoided using the computer or software other than recording; in principle we could have recorded to tape or radar as everything was recorded live, with minimal edits and overdubs.
Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming debut EP? Have things changed much since the Luther/No More Power 7” earlier this year?
Ben: The biggest change was getting a rehearsal space, and I think you can hear that – this sounds a lot more live in my opinion. Making an EP is very different to releasing a single, and also an LP – you can play about a little more. These were the songs we’d just written and loved, just before we recorded them – in that respect it’s quite finite, but also playful.
Looking back on the 7”, how do you feel about it now? Are you pleased with what you achieved there?
Ben: Very much so, yes. It was a huge resplendent relief to actually physically release something, and I’m very proud of it.
Sian, I remember reading about you using a stream of consciousness approach when writing vocals, what/who inspired you to do this?
Sian: To be honest, I don’t think the inspiration came from anyone or anywhere (that I’m aware of); it just stems from me not really being much of a poet or songwriter. I’m not likely to be found writing stories or songs. What I find more natural, for me personally, is to search for melody and rhythm – often, whilst in that process, I find that some words or phrases come to mind and into play. Then I can build a relevant story from the stream of consciousness.
And what do you hope to achieve through this?
Sian: I just hope that the end product flows and that my voice sounds like an instrument.
How do you go about translating your music into a live setting?
Ben: with the same gear and people, doing everything together – whether it’s in a recording studio or on stage. We’re kind of limited by the number of limbs we have, but that’s a positive thing.
You seem to me to be a band that’s living in the now and are quite open-minded about the future, but if you had to set yourself a target for the next year, what would it be?
Ben: I don’t think it’s necessarily a target, but it would be fantastic to be able to record and release and album. To be able to do this full time everyday would be the dream, of course.
What are you guys looking forward to most over the next 12 months?
Sian: Touring: anywhere, everywhere. And making a record.
Who would you say are your kindred spirits operating in music at the moment?
Ben: Ben and Andy from Fuck Buttons, Brian Degraw and Gang Gang Dance, Alexis Taylor and John Coxon.
Sian: Pantha Du Prince and Julia Holter.
Stephen: Dirty Projectors and Karin Dreijer Andersson.
Following on from the above, who would your dream collaboration be with?
Sian: Throbbing Gristle. Or Pantha?
Stephen: That’s a tough one. Dan Snaith would be up there. Aim high, eh?!
If you had one night left on Earth, what would you do with it?
Sian: Get massively drunk and make sure it was spent with loved ones.
Ben: I’d probably fall asleep early, though.