On Friday 19th November Harrison and Dunkley released a limited edition CD of their new EP ‘Different Time Different Place’. The digital release will be available for streaming on 26th November. A Bandcamp pre-save is available.
Did you have to overcome any difficulties with writing or recording?
‘Lockdown. The EP started in the first lockdown and ended in the last. We work fast and semi improvisationally, recording parts as we come up with them, layering them together, often changing them as we record in reaction to what we’ve done, allowing for growth and progression. We bounce off each other but that doesn’t work 40 miles apart. So the first section was pretty much myself (Harrison), the second section Pete (Dunkley) – I just put a couple of guitars over that quickly when we got together again – 3 & 4 out of lockdown, 5 back in lockdown, Dunkley had his Fender 6 set up and sent me some chords he’d just came up with. The whole piece has an air of lockdown which we didn’t realise till the end – it permeates it.”
“The other main difficulty was knowing that a Harvard professor of music and internationally recognised composer, Chaya Czernowin, whose voice we used throughout, from an hour long interview with Susanna Eastburn MBE of Sound and Music was going to be listening to it, till we thought ‘stuff it, it’s us’ and just wrote and recorded like we normally do. You have to be yourself.”
Does the whole album fit into a particular musical genre, or does it borrow from multiple forms?
“We very much plow our own furrow. We do our own form of minimalism and anything else we feel like doing. We come from what would called a post-punk background, first playing together in 1980, and this comes into what we do. We’re entirely self taught and never tried to sound like anyone else, and so we don’t sound like anyone else. A lot of what we do crosses over into areas that would usually fall into the classical domain. We pretty much live in our own genre. The only criteria we have is whether something’s good, whether it works. In this case I think the piece works together as whole beautifully.”
What are your favourite memories of writing and/or recording the album?
“Getting permission to use the interview from Chaya Czernowin and Susanna Eastburn MBE of Sound and Music, they loved the idea – we loved the musicality of Chaya’s voice, it reminded us of Anais Nin.”
“How the finished piece all came together by accident. We usually leave space for mistakes and serendipity. In this case the piece wasn’t working. So I dropped a couple of longer sections, took Chaya’s voice from them and put it over the first and fourth parts, letting it fall where it may, and cutting it where the music finished – the only word I moved a little was ‘timing’, as it would have sounded bad if the timing was off on that. I burnt a CD to see how it was sounding, putting an unrelated track on the end to see what my mix was like, pressed play and that was it – finished piece. We didn’t change a thing and released it like that.”
What does the album’s title reveal?
“‘Different Time Different Place’ was both from the feel of the first lockdown, when the world had a different air, we were in a different time space and could hear birds properly, and people wanted to alter their work-life balance.It also fitted the writing/recording process, Chaya being in a different time and place when she recorded the interview, and myself and Pete being in different times and places when we wrote a lot of it.”
We are Stuart Harrison and Peter Dunkley. We first met in Coventry in 1980, playing in several bands together. Afterwards met up periodically to write and play.
In 2015 we reconnected musically, oddly after Peter had moved back to Coventry where we now record. Our musical journeys had many common elements and had progressed from post-punk to a form of minimalism that had as much to do with Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Terry Riley as it did Wire or Public Image Ltd.
Our work builds upon layered improvisation. We work quickly only playing most parts as we compose them, leaving space for fortuitous mistakes. On occasion we use found sounds to inspire us. We occasionally collaborate with musicians, more commonly with artists – Martin Green (fine artist) we produced a track and film where Martin was ‘playing’ the Lino in an old newspaper print room and another where he boiled N2O canisters in a pyrex dish. With Julia O’Connell (textile artist) we produced a track and film with her playing her gran’s old Singer sewing machine.