"The Time Is Always Now"
(Out 12.August 2016 - Order now!)
"This is a collection of songs I wrote during the course of the last ten years. The songs I have written have gradually started to pile up and I finally decided that this might be the time to share some of them with others than myself. Coincidentally I had met Rhys (producer, head of Autumnsong Records) through a common friend at that time and he got really exited when hearing some of the material I presented to him. At first I was just planning to take an arbitrary selection of my oldest songs that would fit together, but then, when stepping back and looking at the songs from a far, I noticed that some of the songs, unbeknownst to me and almost like pieces in a puzzle, had been fragments that fit together to make up a bigger picture - a concept or a story if you want. This story is a philosophically, spiritually and evolutionary journey about finding our place and purpose in this world and time. It is largely based on personal experiences and is hugely influenced by my pull towards buddhistic thinking.
I started recording the album back in 2012. In parallel I did arrangements in collaboration with Rhys as well as putting the last touches to the songwriting. I was in no hurry - being new to this game as well as having a family and daytime job that needed to be cared for - so I took my time with the process. Some of the album, such as the all the vocals, drums and all of Rhys’s parts was recorded at Autumnsongs Recording Studio while I recorded all the guitars in my home studio and across various rehearsal rooms I had access to through another band project I was part of.
I wanted to collaborate with other musicians on this album as well so we decided that we were going to aim for having four singers participating. Rhys was really eager to sing himself on some of the tracks and I really think we found songs that matched the tone and expression of his voice ("The Times They Are A-Taming” and “Time To Go”). In addition we wanted two female singers to balance me and Rhys’ voices. The first one was an obvious choice, namely, the talented Silje Leirvik, which is also part of the Autumnsongs Records roster. Her versatile and strong voice really comes to shine on “Falling” where she get to show some of her wast potential. Her voice was also the main choice for the high part of the harmonies heard throughout the album and she does a great performance on complementing the guitar solo on “The Time Is Always Now”, doing some wordless singing with almost an ethnical chime to it. For the final vocal spot on the album we asked up-and-coming local artist Kari Harneshaug if she was willing to join in on the album project - and luckily she was! Her beautiful and easily recognisable voice can be heard on the songs “Dancer In The Sky” and “Two Grains Of Sand”.
When it came to selecting a drummer for the album I had a few names on the list, but then Rhys suggested a talented, young and eager drummer who he had come to know during recording sessions at Autumnsongs. This guy was Geir Anfinn Halland Johansen. Most of the sketches for the songs on the album already had programmed drums on them, and so I sent those over to Geir, who was actually really happy that I had a clear idea about how the drums should be as it would make the job easy for him. I wasn’t even sure if some of the parts I had programmed were possible to play with only two hands though… until Geir proved they could when he came into the studio and just blew our minds nailing most off the songs on the first take.
In addition to having several singers doing guest appearances I felt the album needed some extra spice in the instrumentation department. I brushed the dust off the sitar I bought in India on one of my spiritual backpacking journeys 10 years ago and recorded some sitar tracks which ended up opening and ending the album. Also, I think Rhys played almost all the instruments he had laying around in the studio on this album (in fact most of them also with a bow…), including doing an awesome pedal steel solo on “The Time Is Alway Now” which, when listening to it, makes it feel like time stops for a while - I love that solo! I also wanted some accomplished instrumentalists playing on some of the songs to make them more interesting. We contacted the flutist Ketil Vestrum Einarsen, who has worked with Rhys on the Kaukasus project and has quite the rap sheet in the norwegian music scene. I loved the flute playing and flute sound on the Kaukasus’ "I” album and I said to Rhys that we need some of this shit on the holon album as well. We sent over a few of the songs together with some ideas we had and in return we got some killer flute tracks that ended up on the album - not always in the place where they were initially intended though, but that is a different story. On the track “Time To Go” I had always envisioned a proper hammond solo so we sent the track over to hammond wizard Lars Fredrik Frøislie which certainly delivered the goods and thus concluding all the guest appearances on the album.
Musically this album is influenced by a great variety of genres and I don’t feel the need to constrain myself in order to try and fit a certain label. As long as music touches or excites me I try to be open and not care what genre it is, but it has to meet me on either the emotional or technical level, or best of all, on both levels. This is the kind of music I try to make myself - music that can satisfy the heart and both halves of the brain. I try to bring with me what I like in the music I have heard throughout my life when I create my own music - and this happens on both a conscious and subconscious level. I guess the sum of this eclectic mix of influences and genres is the product of my musical life up until now and makes my unique musical fingerprint in this world. Please have a listen! All I can hope for is that it touches you in some way!"
Gregory David Roberts
The Pineapple Thief