June saw the release of the second Sons of Alpha Centauri album – Continuum. An infectiously layered and immersive trip into space, the band’s progressive tendencies truly shine on this album, and it’s an enjoyable and substantial collection of tracks.
Check out the interview with Nick Hannon below, and make sure you give the album a spin too…
For those who are unfamiliar with your band – introduce yourself!
Hi, I’m Nick Hannon and I play bass in Sons of Alpha Centauri.
Give us a bit of background to Sons of Alpha Centauri
We formed around 2001 when me and Marlon decided that there was more to playing local shows with our mates. In ’98 we were both 16 and playing generator shows in our mates fields but we wanted to reach out from that and play more than just grunge. We wanted to encapsulate a whole load of new ideas and progressive playing and knew that to do that we had to spend time just writing before we got anyone else involved so we at least the music had affirmative shape and direction.
How do you feel that you fit into the wider UK metal scene?
Uh… I really don’t think we’re a metal band to be honest. Still, we’re more metal than post-rock as we sometimes get lumped in with that! There are some heavier ‘metal’ elements in there but they’re used sparingly. Yeah, I think of us more as like a trance rock band. Our sound is quite mesmerising and hypnotic so I think we’re more of a hypnotic trance out band really.
Give us a bit of background to Continuum – any particular concepts or ideas you want to discuss?
Continuum is more of an ambient prog rock album. We had a lot of ideas around the second album and I think a lot of people were expecting to dig deep in the stoner sound aspect of the debut album but we wanted to develop the harder and darker aspects of the debut for the follow up and curate it into a space concept. But build on the concepts of the debut. The overarching concept is really a trip to Jupiter and back and then how the vessel doesn’t make it back and it gets sucked into the Continuum. If you have the vinyl edition then the locked groove at the end of the vinyl is the vessel getting sucked into the Continuum – into infinity!
Tell us about the album artwork and what this represents
Well, the debut evolved from abandoned relics from World War II from where we live in Kent like Shivering Sands Forts and SS Montgomery. There is an abandoned Russian Cold War Submarine near where we live so we got access to that and while on board did photography and sculpted that as the vessel. It’s largely predicated on how if we hadn’t have had the Cold War and we all pulled on the same bit of rope after WWII then could we have taken that trip to Jupiter by now as species without having to be called there like in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
How did the recording process go?
We recorded over a period of about two years with Dan Lucas at Anchor Baby Studios in Kent. It’s deep in the countryside with like zero phone signal! Dan did a great engineering job and always gets the best out of us. He’ll be supportive to ensure that we get the very best takes and cuts from the band. We have some solid equipment and we’re not often sat trying to find God in the pedalboard, or on social media promoting nothingness to a white noise vacuum. Instead focus on the vibe of the track as a whole as opposed to our own personal instruments, personal opinions or anything outside of the essential content of the band we just focus on the music and the vibe with Dan.
What was it like working with Aaron Harris, (ex-Isis), and how did this come about?
I met Aaron backstage at an ISIS show when we were working with Seldon Hunt on our debut and all of the associated design from that era of the band. We started talking and kept in contact over the years. As he moved into production and following the disbanding of ISIS and the release of the debut Palms album and the direction of the second album we knew he was our man. Aaron was super into it and we spent two years bringing it all together and he had involvement in shaping the songs and particularly their dynamic.
How would you say Continuum compares to your earlier work?
It’s more mature, and more focused. The production is more defined and we have refined it to be perfect to convey the album concepts and emotions. This album has blended more disparate styles of music and we’re really hoping that we’re creating something now which upon hearing a listener can start to identify it as SOAC. That for us is a key milestone in the band.
Do you have any upcoming shows you want to talk about?
We are playing with Yawning Man in Bristol at The Louisiana on the 28th July and again in London on 29th July at the Black Heart. Given our musical relationship and friendship with Yawning Man and the fact that it’ll be peak summer then it should be a good batch of shows with a mellow and cerebral environment for people to mellow out to.
Thanks so much for your interest and support to Sons of Alpha Centauri – we really appreciate it.