Interview: Treacherous Orchestra

Interview: Treacherous Orchestra

Folk supergroup Treacherous Orchestra have just launched pre-orders of their new album ‘Grind’. They’ve gone for a new look, a more mature sound, and have chosen to record in the Hamilton Mausoleum which has had the record for the longest echo of any man-made structure in the world (a record now smashed by tunnels in Inchindown). John, Barry and Innes told us a bit about it.


What is distinctive about the second album? Is there anything you’re doing that’s new?

John Somerville: The album has a rockier, harder edge than our last offering. More distortion, a bigger sound overall. We felt it was important to convey the live energy of the band on to a recording, we feel we’ve nailed it with this record.

Barry Reid: The second album is much more punchy, direct, distorted, wide…unrelenting! Well, I guess all of it is ‘new’ – Most of the melodies are new, written by members of the band. We went about arranging them in a similar way to the first album…in a rehearsal room, thrashing out ideas until we got to a result we were happy with.


Innes has mentioned that the sound has matured – what makes him say that?

John Somerville: We have definitely found a common thread with this album in terms of the drive and energy. We feel everything has taken a step up from the last album – orchestration, arranging, sound creation, its just more defined and BIGGER all round.

Innes Watson: Some of the material on this new album has already been played in some shape or form at live gigs where we have received comments from live audiences detailing categorically that our sound has matured. We trust in our audience as that is who this music is for.

Barry Reid: We spent more time interweaving the instruments in our arrangements…that has come from playing together lots and after doing our first album, we’ve perhaps become a little bit ‘wiser’ and more mature…musically anyway!


Innes was also mentioning a new theme and costume theme related to the idea of the blacksmith, could you explain a bit more about that?

John Somerville: A blacksmith – oily, gritty, fiery, hot, sweaty, sparks, energy, a man who forged metal products in an industrial and really vibey atmosphere, as a band we are all creators.

Barry Reid: We all wanted to bring together more of cohesive band ‘look’ so we’ve kinda naturally progressed towards our interpretation of a post-apocolyptic steampunk vibe. I guess there’s a bit of blacksmith in there too.


You’ve chosen an interesting recording location, can you tell me a bit about it?

John Somerville: Hamilton Mausoleum was probably our most interesting location. It’s an old building just outside Glasgow with a 15 second natural reverb. We locked ourselves inside for an afternoon and hit the record button, the results are very cool. Lots of other location recordings and samples feature throughout the album, listen out!

Barry Reid: We knew that the mausoleum had a very long reverberant sound and we had some slow melodies that we really wanted to play and record in there. So it seemed like an ideal opportunity to give it a go.

The Hamilton Mausoleum was a fantastic place to play in – the way the sound continued for so long on each and every note was quite amazing…a very spiritual place, with some stunning recording results.


What made you choose to record in a mausoleum?

John Somerville: Duncan, our bass player found the building. It has a reputation for the longest natural reverb in Scotland. It seemed to run with the idea of one of our tracks, a haunting, almost spiritual melody written about an area in north West Scotland. It’s probably going to be one of the most atmospheric recordings any of us will ever produce.


Do you have any good stories from the recording process?

Barry Reid: Hmmm… not sure if this a ‘good’ story! But at the end of our recording session in the Mausoleum, we recorded some balloons being popped…  which was a bit of fun… incredibly loud and the sound last for aaaages! well, about 15 seconds 🙂


The new album, Grind, is available to pre-order now. Official release 26th February 2015 through Reveal Records.

Tour Dates (more to come)  
5/11 London Borderline 
7/11 Birnam Arts Centre
9/11 Inverness Ironworks
10/11 Forres Universal Hall 
24/1/15 Glasgow Royal Concert Hall Celtic Connections