Sphaeras came out of nowhere and completely took us by (pleasant) surprise with their compellingly intelligent meld of post-rock and math-rock, and we couldn't help but discover new layers of sonic intricacies each time when we watched them play live at the Atlas LP launch and Identité's Rebirth. Their set in this year's Baybeats Music Festival 2014 is quite possibly one of our more anticipated ones - along with Earthmover and Two Million Thanks - and we can't wait for everyone to experience their music too. We caught up with the instrumental quartet to chat more about their love for audio-visual complexities, the unrestrained sense of musicality, their favourite records and more!
Hey guys! What have you all been up to these days?
We have been focusing much of our time on copious rehearsals for our upcoming show in Baybeats. We surely hope to live up to, if not surpass, the expectations previously set by ourselves – to break new grounds in the instrumental music scene. Thus, having ample practice sessions will be paramount for us to reach that standard.
How do you guys feel about making it to this year’s Baybeats? How are you preparing for the upcoming show at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre?
Our entry into the final list of Baybeats budding bands was both shocking and gratifying. It was shocking because we started off with hardly any expectations since we were after all the new kids on the block against a towering rejection rate. It was gratifying because we had set aside a tremendous amount of time prior to the auditions to write and subsequently perfect our songs in order to prove our worth to the judges, which indeed paid off handsomely. We are also beyond grateful for all the support our friends have given us, and the judges for their very kind words at both rounds of auditions.
With the set list finalized, we are working on ways to help seamlessly piece together our set, while polishing and/or modifying our very own tracks at the same time. We’re basically jamming the same tracks over and over to familiarise ourselves with the order, and work on our showmanship and band chemistry. We have also prepared band merchandise that will be sold on the day of our performance.
You’re a new act in a long line of Singaporean instrumental bands. What do you think sets your music apart from the others that have come before you?
Our band consists of members with somewhat varying wavelengths/preferences and we strive to reconcile these differences in styles/genres in our music, to produce a band that incorporates odd time signatures, post rock textures and full blown metal riffs all on the same plate. So I guess what sets us apart would be our ridiculous flexibility and diversity – anything goes for Sphaeras. We do not have an overarching tone/theme to dictate our brand of music and this proves to be highly convenient for writing new material without restraining perimeters.
This free for all approach may be somewhat detrimental to ingraining our band’s identity, but nonetheless we instinctively follow what’s good to our ears without worrying if our songs conform to a particular theme/tone.
The band’s imagery seems to feature a similar motif: geometry and straight lines. What is the relationship between this theme and Sphaeras?
For one, math-rock is something indispensable to our band’s music; the intricate visual imagery we use is meant to complement the technical ‘math-y’ riffs that frequent our tracks. Through this visual and aural sensory duo, we hope to elicit an appreciation for intricacy among listeners - to see beauty in complexity.
Secondly, our band name is a Latin translation for ‘spheres’ which convey the notions of unity and continuity. Featuring geometrical shapes as visual imagery would aptly fit with our band name and enhance our already minimalistic monochromatic look.
Your music is an effective blend of post-rock, math-rock, metal and prog rock with a Midwest-emo introspection. What is one genre you guys would never touch?
We try as much as possible to keep an open mind and experiment with everything and anything that can potentially make our music better. Who knows what music genre we may venture into next?
If the day came to include vocals in your music, who would be a perfect fit for Sphaeras?
Hao Kai: Thom Yorke of Radiohead. He’s a versatile singer who has a penchant for experimentation. Perfect fit man.
Zakhran: Matt Embree of RX Bandits. His voice is liquid gold and he has the uncanny ability to make odd timed songs flow naturally.
Qimin: Johannes Persson of Cult of Luna.
What’s next for Sphaeras after Baybeats?
Some of our friends have been asking us for more tracks to listen to other than the online demo “Monomyth”. We will soon be recording an EP which will hopefully be launched in late 2014/ early 2015.
We also hope to play more shows wherever possible. So please stay tuned!
5 Influential Albums
Toe | For Long Tomorrow
This was the first album that got us into the post-rock/math-rock genre. Their melodies, hooks, and sick drumming sounded totally new to us at that time and still sound awesome now. Plus, they are amazing live.
And So I Watch You From Afar | Gangs
Their concert at Zouk was insane. I believe most people can tell that ASIWYFA is one of our key influences. From heavy riffs to face-melting guitar shredding to soulful ambient textures, this band never ceases to captivate us to scale greater heights.
Enemies | Embark, Embrace
Enchanting melodies delivered with tasteful odd time signatures. You can trace our significant resemblance to this band from the ‘happier’ sounding songs in our live repertoire.
TTNG | 18.104.22.168.0
Their incredible tapping frenzy has rubbed off on a number of our songs. Even though the band consists of only three members, they are able to produce a whole array of tones and unparalleled dynamics in their songs.
The Mars Volta | Frances the Mute
Peculiar time signatures, polyrhythms, the incorporation of wind instruments and unorthodox effects - we surely respect their level of boldness for pushing boundaries when it comes to writing music.