Sezione interviste
Remora
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An interview with Brian John Mitchell, aka Remora, creative musician and frontman of Silber Records label, which has a diffuse sound power, unlike others, encouraging experiments of great music. Today, Brian meets Alone Music for us, after a brief presentation, we will ask him informations about his music and his latest album "Scars Bring Hope".. for those who still do not know.

Hi and welcome to Alone Music webzine! So…let's tell the fans who do not know your route, what was the approach to music, in particular, let's talk about your musical influences and the beginning of your adventure!
I started out as a big music fan & kinda got dragged into being a musician by my friends that were musicians.  I still don’t think of myself as a musician because I feel like I’m not gifted as a player.  So in high school I became a singer/lyricist because I couldn’t play guitar (even though I owned one) in Vlor & then My Glass Beside Yours.  I started doing my music zine QRD ( www.silbermedia.com/qrd ) & that helped me get more ideas about recording my own music & doing music on my own & led to me starting Silber Records & being in burMonter for about five years.  My biggest influences early on were probably Christian Death, Bauhaus, The Cure, Joy Division, Lycia, & Swans.  But how a four-track cassette machine works & the random effect pedals I bought early on were a huge influence that I still have even though I’ve upgraded.

In "Scars Bring Hope" seems to weave a series of organic atmospheres and different musical genres, from post punk, to pop to country music, what is the story of this album?
Scars Bring Hope started because I’d done a bunch of tours with Brian McKenzie (Electric Bird Noise) & he runs a recording studio & kept bugging me about coming in to do some recording.  He really liked the song “Nevada Smith” which has been a Remora live show staple since 2003 or so.  I sent him a collection of about a hundred demos & he chose ones he wanted to work on & I really wanted to record “Angel Falling Through Water” & “Static is Motion” there because those songs need to be at high volume to function so I have never been able to captured them at home.  As far as it going through a bunch of genres & stuff, that’s just how things ended up.  I feel like though definitely some songs are almost folk & others are ambient drone, they are all Remora.

Is there one song in particular that you're closest to?

Probably “My Brother’s Guns & Knives.”  It was based on a dream I had & the song was completely lost to me in a group of demos until Brian McKenzie picked it as one to work on & I’m really happy with how it turned out.

What is the place that gives you more inspiration for your compositions?
I don’t know that there’s a particular place.  I do often end up coming up with ideas while I’m just wandering around a town trying to get some exercise.

Usually how do you write songs? In the old style with guitar accompaniment, or you prefer to use music software?
I usually start a song either acapella or with an acoustic guitar.  Sometimes a keyboard or something.  I really am not too savvy with music software.  The only softwares I really use are Acid 3.0, Sound Forge 6.0, & Little Drummer Boy which are pretty ancient things.  I use LDB as a drum machine & sequencer sometimes & then Acid as basically a multi-tracker & Sound Forge to clean up some of the recordings.

Obligatory question, do you want to talk about future projects? Are you working on a new album?
There’s a new Remora album that is recorded called The Heart That Kills & I’m trying to find a label for it.  Then there’s a four hour long drone piece I’ve been working on a couple of years & a duet record I’ve been working on with my biological son for a couple years.  Right now the newest thing is a doom metal project that is still looking for a title.  I also hope to eventually get to work on a proper new Small Life Form album & Vlor album & maybe a Muscle Mass (dance project) EP & of course more Remora.

Are you planning a tour? Maybe a date in Italy? Which will be Your guest band, or which band do You want to play with?
If I could make money on a tour I would do it in a second.  Right now it’s really hard to do that for me.  If anyone in Italy wants to book a tour for me, that would be awesome.  I’d like to play with anyone decent of course, but it would be fun to maybe go out again with Rllrbll or Electric Bird Noise or Aarktica.  As far as a live Remora line-up, I had members of SAVAS as my backing band for a couple shows & that was pretty awesome.

Would you like to say something on "Scars Bring Hope" that you believe has not been told yet?
Originally I wanted there to be mini-comics & music videos for all the songs on the album, but it was too labor intensive to me.

I'd like to say something more for those young and old persons who are still unable to come out in record views; labels have less and less opportunity to try out new talents and the situation is stagnant, the question arises .. what do you think, do you believe that the future could have nice surprises in store for us?
I get hopeful sometimes about things getting back to having live performances as the main thing & recordings as secondary.  Nothing can replace a good live show.  Of course this would put booking agents in a position where they essentially replace record labels as the gatekeepers of good music.  Which is fine, we need gatekeepers to sift the trash out.

Last question obvious but not trivial: which was the most beautiful concert or live set that you have seen and why?
Probably Swans in Atlanta on their last US show in 1997.  They were my favorite band at the time & I hadn’t gotten to the point yet where live shows were humdrum instead of super exciting.  Also Attrition’s first US show in Chicago in 1996 was super incredible.  & of course all the Lycia shows as I loved being on the road & seeing them every night in 1997.

Thank you for your disponibility, we hope to find you soon again on Alone Music, or maybe on some stage around Italy!