Thisquietarmy is the solo project of Canadian musician and sound artist Eric Quach. A few months later Métamorphose, he returns with a new album. Democracy Of Dust will be out on July 28th via Midira Records. We have the pleasure to premiere a new track titled “A World Without Power“. Listen below and read our talk with the Candian artist.
“Democracy Of Dust” is your new album that will be out on July 28 th. A strong title with immediate effect. What about the concept and the idea behind the work?
I wanted to paint a picture of a futuristic dystopian world, and to mirror it with today’s political current worldwide – the uncertainty, the insecurity, the paranoia. When I was working on this album, a lot of events happened, such as: Brexit, Donald Trump, the Dakota access pipeline protest, the global rise of alt. right-wing/neo nazis parties, etc. It was unsettling to realize that what used to be a cautionary tale was actually something that is happening right now, or even has always been happening around us to an extent. BBC’s documentary Hyper-normalization does provide some insights on how it has been coming along and how desensitized we’ve become regarding the complexities of the real world, and that it’s not by chance that we have been finding refuge away from it, numbing ourselves in the fake world. Essentially, we’ve lost faith in democracy because the system is broken and hopeless. The use of synthesizers in the album enhanced the concept even further into the fantasy to transcend humanity through cyberspace, or explore other avenues such as space exploration or anarcho-futurism, as a way to start from fresh.
The album is your second work with Midira Records, three years after “Altar of Drone”. How much important is working with a label like Midira Records for your art?
At this point of my career, having worked with more than 25 labels, a lot of labels that I choose to remain working with, I consider them good, close and reliable friends of mine. Liking and trusting the people you work with is to me, the most important thing about releasing something that you spent months working on. I met Dimi & Cosima in 2012 when they organized a concert at the Christuskirche in Bochum, and I’ve played 2 more times there since, which inspired the “Altar of Drone” live recordings. On top of that, as music fans and friends, they also travel quite often to see my concerts on almost every tour I’ve done in Europe since. On a professional level, Midira was a great choice for this album, because of the quality and their custom dedication to each of their releases.
How much important is the visual part for your work? What about the artwork?
There is no finished album without the artwork or the titles and they often come much later, after the music is done. The visuals are as important because they tie in each album’s concept together and make them stand on its own, separately from other work. That said, all the initial synthesizers tracks of the album were recorded during my residency at Dissenso Studio in Sao Paulo where members of Labirinto work and rehearse. Then I edited everything and added guitars and other things later in Montreal and Berlin. I wanted the artwork to be tied in to Brazil; the photograph is of Sao Paulo which I took from the plane, but I also wanted to transform this urban jungle into a decaying apocalyptic overcrowded megapolis that was starting to implode on itself, as a result to this political dystopian scenario we’ve found ourselves in.
You’re always tried to test yourself with different languages and new ways to “design” the sound. What is your definition of research and experimentation in music?
It’s hard to say. I approach music experimentation in a cleansing way, meaning that most of what comes out of improvisation, comes from a need to express myself and to purge every feeling that I have in the moment. That said, when I use different instruments, sources or effects, I always try to find my voice and to tune into what resonates inside of me using these different mediums. After it all comes out, I try to dissect its meaning, feel what is missing and start to build tracks or patterns around them. They usually become something completely different than what they were, yet the essence remains. Sometimes, it can be more planned out such as listening and absorbing a lot of different music as means of research and hopefully it resonates enough with me that I start to get influenced by it, either consciously or subconsciously. When Midira listened to the album for the first time, they mentioned that it had a “Stranger Things” soundtrack kind of vibe. To be honest, I hadn’t thought of it during the recording process at all, but I definitely explored some of the whole retro synth music explosion, so it’s plausible that I was subconsciously influenced in parts by it.
Are you planning a tour for this album? What is the best part of live shows for you?
The best part of the live shows is that I can play whatever I want – different context, different sound system, different crowd vibe means a different performance. Sure, I have structured parts that I have rehearsed or rather have improvised so many times that they became tracks of their own, but mainly, it’s the freedom of expression. I don’t plan tours for albums as whatever comes out, comes out at the moment I’m touring or not and I play and tour almost continuously throughout the year. But there will be some small tours in the fall, and the live set may or may not contain tracks from Democracy of Dust. I haven’t started to think what songs could be played live and how yet; I will determine that soon.
What about you fresh collaboration with Thank U For Smoking?
We did a small tour in Europe for the release of the split and we did play a collaborative song live together. We might do some more shows in the fall as well as a second part of the tour for the split release. For the recording, it was rather easy as we each recorded a track and we both played on each other’s tracks, which I think is the best definition of a split/collaboration album. My parts were also recorded during the same sessions as Democracy of Dust, but I approached the tracks in a completely different, more traditional (TQA) way.
What are the best releases you recently appreciated?
I’m currently off the grid at the moment, on tour in Atlantic Canada so I can’t check what I have listened to lately. The new Slowdive for sure was on repeat over and over last month.