For those who may not know who you are, introduce yourselves quickly.
Nick Hannon: My name is Nick and I’m the bass player in Sons of Alpha Centauri. We’re an alternative rock instrumental band of sorts. We have electronic, post metal, desert rock elements all in there but not enough to just be a post metal band wearing backpacks and black caps or stoners with beards and Orange amps. Jokers.
Describe your sound in as few words as possible.
NH: Hypnotic trance rock.
Who or what are your three biggest influences as a band?
NH: Firstly, anything that is quite hypnotic or mesmerising. I like getting locked into a groove without getting bored. That’s why I do like the stoner sound where you have a riff is exciting but simply and sounds better the more you play it.
Secondly, I really love the sea – we rehearse right next to a beach and we were all (except bandmate Blake) born on an island so having come from an island off another island, we are truly immersed and surrounded by the sea. Being from the Isle of Sheppey, we do kinda have an island mentality and subsequently a natural opposition to the nearest island which happens to be Britain, haha! It’s cool though ’cause here we all have pirate flags and even wanted to do Shepxit . Vote Shepxit, man!
Finally, extreme music – from heavy rock to gangsta rap.
What’s the meaning behind your band name?
NH: Me and (guitarist) Marlon just wanted to really state that we were coming at things ‘from another place’ and that’s where the ‘Alpha Centauri’ kicked in being the next nearest star after our own sun. The sons is a play on ‘suns’ and also the fact that me and Marlon are best mates and have been since school. The band is pretty inwards looking both socially and musically so it’s kind of a family thing too.
Did you try anything differently with new album ‘Continuum’ than with previous efforts?
NH: For sure! Different studio, different engineers, different equipment. We have matured as players and as a band a lot over 10 or so years since the debut. Blake has a much more defined role in this record. On the debut the effects and synths were a bit more washed out and took more of a supporting role. On this album they are prominent and sparkling – creating true definition of coating them with far enhanced aural quality. On the debut we recorded some the tracks at our rehearsal space and others in an analogue studio. However, for Continuum it’s all in a single space and the sound quality is immersive and proper crystal.
What was it like to work with Aaron Harris?
NH: I met Aaron in 2005. We were introduced by Seldon Hunt backstage at an ISIS show in London and we were trading music for a while. When ISIS decided to call it quits and Aaron went into production and engineering then we talked about him doing the second album. Pretty soon after the debut Palms album came out we went into pre-production and he mixed two tracks in what he saw as an initial direction from the album. We loved the first mixes and then we went onto record the whole album and Aaron mixed it over 2015 – 2017. As he’s really busy working with Deftones and Tool we were the only band besides Spotlights that Aaron worked with over that time which we were really appreciative of. He worked on a lot of background sounds and ideas for the album and I’m confident that we struck an awesome partnership who no doubt we will work with again.
Do you have any personal favourite songs on the release?
NH: ‘Solar Storm’ is a track that to me represents the embodiment of the progression from the debut through to the this album. It has the pace, the riffs, the introspective build ups, the story and the pay off. I’d like to think that listeners could use that track to paint a story/video in their head accompanying the track.
Explain the meaning behind the album title.
NH: Continuum is something that keeps on going, changing slowly over time, like the continuum of the four seasons. In addition to meaning “a whole made up of many parts,” the title really represents SOAC as a band changing slowly, maturing and evolving over many parts and ideas. This album only reflect one side of the band, we are multi-faceted and the Continuum encapsulates that whole ideology while as an album only representing one fact of the band.
Describe the concept of your latest video for Io.
NH: It’s quite primal with the elements of fire, earth, water and air compassed in a sublime ambient environment. We wanted something that was quite cerebral and expansive. The concept is not too conceited so we’d like people to watch it and reflect on it themselves.
Was it fun to shoot or did it prove to be quite a challenge?
NH: For a first video we wanted something that was expansive and colourful. Not just a live video shot on stage but something more expressive and direct. It was challenging – the weather and the shots were really hard, a lot of early mornings and late nights. The beach work was immense for permits, licensing and insurance – particularly given where it was!
What are the best and worst shows you’ve played to date?
NH: Opening up the first DesertFest in 2012 was great and we pretty much had a residency at the Camden Underworld in 2009 when we played like 5 – 6 shows that year. Would be cool for that to happen again.
What’s the plan for the rest of 2018?
NH: We have invested a lot in the visual aspect of Sons of Alpha Centauri so we’ve put out a video for Io but then also more videos for other tracks will follow. That requires a lot of time to compose, film, edit and deliver. The concepts are psychological and the filming needs to be concise with the track and SOAC recidivists when it comes to getting locked into blending the visual and audio elements so that’ll take some time. However, it’ll be cool for people into the band or that are getting into us to have a real body of visual work having an audio-visual journey.
Any closing comments?
NH: Thanks for your support and interest – please check out Continuum and the new single ‘Io’ and visit Sons of Alpha Centauri on Facebook and H42 Records at http://www.h42records.8merch.com/12