Seims have just released the single and video for Translucence, from there new EP 3.1 which will arrive on March 29th. After listening to their entire back catalogue in preparation for the interview your about read, I can highly recommend that everyone experience this music. It’s a different style of music to what I would normally listen to, but I found it very immersive. Seims music will really take you on a journey if you let it, as a lot of instrumental music can, but there is a whole lot going on here. Most importantly, it’s really good!
So I was lucky enough to ask the band a few questions recently, and I’d like to share the interview with you now.
Noise Pollution – Firstly, for anybody reading that is new to the band, like I am, give us a bit of the back story on SEIMS formation.
Seims – SEIMS started as a living room project purely intended to be an outlet for my own random ideas whilst one of my other bands (GODSWOUNDS) was eating up my calendar. I uploaded a few demos on Soundcloud, and it garnered more attention that I expected. After declining plenty of gigs (because a band didn’t exist!) – one band eventually gave me the ultimatum of “we’re booking you so sort it out!”, so I did. And here we are, 8 years later with 3 very well-received albums and a forthcoming EP under our belt, an incredible live band, a few festival inclusions, supporting some pretty high profile acts like Tortoise, and completed a tour of Japan!
Noise Pollution – I have worked backwards, and listened to all of the previous SEIMS releases over the last few hours, and I’m blown away by the musicianship and talent on display. How long has it taken you guys to really hone your talent and become as good as you are individually and as a band?
Seims – Wow – first of all, I appreciate your work ethic! the backbone of SEIMS is always about progression and evolution – it started as an outlet for me to push my writing ability across various instruments. It still has that ethos – and with the live lineup comprising of some of Australia’s best musicians – it makes me want to push my songwriting to also challenge them. Every gig feels like we’re walking on a tightrope, where each song can fall apart in an instant – and I love that sense of being on edge. It adds to “controlled chaos” vibe.
Noise Pollution – Your particular genre is listed as instrumental math rock. Speak to us about what exactly that is.
Seims – I think this is a genre that was coined by others for us – we don’t really fit the tropes of any genre – we have elements of math, post, punk, metal, jazz, electro, and even pop. But I think that because the songs are still at the core – quirky time signatures and irregular structures, it fundamentally sits in the math rock realm. Rather than the “twinkle twinkle” tappings of ttng – we’d probably sit closer to bands like Alarmist and And So I Watch You From Afar.
Noise Pollution – It’s a very complex style of music. Did you set out to play within this style, or did it come together naturally?
Seims – It’s semi-natural – I guess because the intent of the project is that it first of all has to challenge myself as a songwriter – and that’s how the complexity has evolved over the course of these 4 releases. The style is how I feed off the audience – I like making our listeners constantly readjust their focus – and sometimes that means quickly changing patterns or rhythms, or changing the feature “lyric” or “lead” voice.
Noise Pollution – It’s quite evident that your music is influenced by many things outside of music itself, for example literature or film. Can you tell us about some of those influences?
Seims – I’ll try not to put your readers through an essay – but in short, I’m a huge art fanatic. Especially the 50-60s era of minimalism and abstract. Josef Albers or Mark Rothko or Helen Lundeberg are really obvious examples. Rather than the focus being on the subject – it’s about the relationship of colour, and how they intersect and create visual dynamic – without needing to “tell” people what to feel.
Noise Pollution – What about your musical influences?
Seims – So vast and varied – obvious ones are Alarmist, My Disco, And So I Watch You From Afar, At the Drive-In, and less obvious are Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, Queens of the Stone Age, Dillinger Escape Plan, and Trail of the Dead.
Noise Pollution – The upcoming EP 3.1 is a continuation of your last effort 3. Can you explain the concept that runs throughout these 2 releases.
Seims – 3 is about the relationship of colour – and how they contribute and create with each other. Mixing all three of cyan, magenta, and yellow results in an imperfect black (that’s why printer cartridges have a black ink cartridge!) 3.1 continues that journey but through the spectrum of light – starting with absolute black, and moving to pure white – i.e. clarity, and translucence is all about the move throughout the other 254 shades of grey. If you grab the physical vinyl / CDs – you’ll notice that all the songs are named after their hexadecimal value.
Noise Pollution – Is the concept likely to continue in to future releases?
Seims – 3 and 3.1 are married at the hip. The next release will be a completely different concept.
Noise Pollution – And does that concept go further back into your first 2 albums as well?
Seims – The first album was all about contrast, and the second about force.
Noise Pollution – How exactly do you get a concept across without lyrics?
Seims – There’s a lot to it, i.e. when writing the song Cyan – I would break down what cyan contributes to the colour spectrum as a standalone and when mixed with others – and it’s all about tint-shifting. So in music, how do you shift the tint? Augmented or dissonant chords are an obvious one, and constantly keeping the pitch-bend wheel on the synth moving ever so subtly to rub against the other instruments. Things like changing the featured root note or rooting the song on the minor third of the actual key are techniques that shift the palette whilst still staying true to its root.
Noise Pollution – Are you concerned that if people don’t understand the concept you have created, that they won’t truly grasp what you guys are all about?
Seims – Not at all. The beauty of instrumental music is that people will still digest it in their own way – and that’s a great gift to give to someone listening. Songs that I thought were overwhelmingly positive were perceived as super sad by others – and I love that!
Noise Pollution – Tell us about your vision for the Translucence video, and your experiences in bringing the vision to fruition.
Seims – Angela (the dancer) and I worked on a tv commercial quite a few years ago. She was the ballerina on camera, and I was the director off-camera. We’d stayed in touch and then went to one of her dance company’s shows called Opus – and I was blown away. Her choreography was so mesmerising and beautiful. It was the first time I’d seen “controlled chaos” in a dance performance, and it was an instant decision on having her perform one of our songs. The video was shot in the Rose Seidler House – a heritage home designed by the world famous Harry Seidler – which again, speaks to my heart with design aesthetic with its mid-century beauty. We had 4 hours in the home, and because it’s a museum, we weren’t allowed to move or touch any of the furniture – which I think was a blessing in disguise, as it really pushed Angela’s performance to a new level.
Noise Pollution – You have recently completed a tour of Japan. How were you received over there? And how does your music translate to the live setting?
Seims – Actual time of my life. The venues are amazing. The bands are unreal. The crowds are so enthusiastic. Our first show of Japan (and the CMY(K) tour) was at a sold-out math rock festival with a full room and a new guitarist with a new album that we’d never performed live, and it went down a treat! So much so that we’ll be heading back soon… We’ve always shipped a lot of merch over there, and a lot of our Apple Music sales / streams originate from there. It was incredible to see the support right in front of you.
Noise Pollution – What are your current plans for live shows around Australia?
Seims – There will be a tour announcement soon, but in short – we’ll be hitting the east coast (sorry again, Perth!) and Japan 🙂
Noise Pollution – What’s next for SEIMS?
Seims – I’ve already started writing the next album in the background, but for now – it’s all about focusing on this upcoming tour and everybody learning the new songs (they’re not easy – sorry guys!)
There you have it. Again, I strongly recommend checking Seims out, so here is the video for Translucence;