After some four years in the making, Perth’s Eleventh He Reaches London are launching their new album, Bānhūs, this Saturday, October 5, at The Bakery. BOB GORDON checks in with bassist, Luke Pollard.
Back in 2009, Eleventh He Reaches London were still in the dark glow of their new album, Hollow Be Thy Name, but already had their minds on creating a new opus.
It just took a little longer than expected.
“When we first started writing, we wanted to do something that was a step away from the way Hollow Be My Name sounded,” recalls, bassist, Luke Pollard. “From the start, things were sounding a bit slower and darker. We wanted to approach the songs from a different angle – not only the sound but the song structures, too. We tried not to take the proven path and reach for the distortion pedals or the massive endings.”
Eventually, some three years of writing occurred, though Pollard asserts the resulting new album, Bānhūs, was not always going to be slow-cooked.
“No, not at all. We were aiming to release something within two years. We wanted to create something that stood alone from our other two albums – and from other music we were hearing in general. We wanted to make something that was consistently miserable – but we were also conscious of making sure that each song followed a different structure and had a slightly different feel.”
In the midst of the reckoning was a song that acted as a signpost, one that showed the way and perhaps anchored the rest.
“No Funeral was the first song we wrote and actually kept after Hollow,” Pollard says. “It’s perhaps the song that acts best as a bridge between Hollow and Bānhūs. It has a much more sombre tone, far less distorted guitar than our old stuff – but still feels heavy. We liked the feel of that and moved further in that direction when writing the rest of the album.”
The album was recorded by Ron Pollard at Studio Sleepwalker’s Dread, paying heed to the fact that the songs were much slower and more minimalist than anything the band had previously attempted.
“We wanted to make sure that every sound on the record was not only sounding great but serving its purpose toward the great aim – which was to create a kind of mysterious mood of extreme misery and darkness.
“We spent countless hours messing with guitar tones, different amps, recording through walls – whatever it would take to get the right sound. Once the instruments were all tracked, our singer Ian and Ron spent literally weeks together writing and tracking the vocals.
“The album changed dramatically in this time – we had no idea it was going to turn out like it did. The work that those guys did on all the vocal harmonies, including the background vocals, was amazing – it was like whole new record for the rest of us.”
Now that the album is finally completed and released, the path forward if positive, if not a little unclear.
“It actually feels weird to have other people hearing the songs now,” Pollard notes. “We’ve been concentrating on the recording for so long that we’ve neglected the other side of the band – you know, actually playing live. I think people assumed we had just broken up.
“So we’ll be kicking off with the album launch this weekend and then diving straight into a national tour the next week. Beyond that is anybody’s guess.”