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Interviews : “We all feel like the scene could use something fresh” – An Interview with Jordan Eberhardt (The Contortionist)

By on August 11, 2017

The Contortionist – Jordan Eberhardt

The creative process can be a strange one, no matter whether you are creating a movie, a painting, a piece of sculpture, an album, or whatever it happens to be, especially if you start with a (literally, in the case of a painting) blank canvas. You work hard, put your very heart and soul into it, but you actually really have little to no idea how it is going to turn out when complete. It’s often a total stab in the dark, a leap of creative faith, and all that hard work either pays off or it doesn’t.

The former is absolutely the case with American progressive band The Contortionist. As bassist Jordan Eberhardt says, they began the journey of creating their new, and fourth full-length album quite some time ago, having no idea what the finished product was going to be like. They need not have been concerned, Clairvoyant is a masterpiece, and it is just about ready to be unleashed upon the world.

“It’s about time it was done,” he states plainly, “we’ve been working at this for probably more than a year now. I think back to when we first started it, we had no idea how it was even going to turn out. But to see the progression from then all the way through to now, it’s really cool.

“I don’t know, but I really feel like our die-hard fans are going to be really into it. I think they’ll be able to tell the amount of time we spent on it, the amount of care and every little detail that we paid attention to. It’s going to be cool for a lot of people I think.”

Something that should strike most listeners upon first listens to the album is the fact that it is not just a run of the mill tech-metal album, that the band have basically bent over backwards to create something very different from what is generally going on in the scene at the moment. According to Eberhardt, this is absolutely the intention.

“We all feel like the scene could use something fresh,” he says, “I feel like it was time for us to take it to the next level and bring the scene out more to the masses, a lot of us listen to more pop oriented structures and to stuff that is way outside of our current scene. I think that more than anything else that influences us to try different kinds of structures and songwriting and production in general. That was the direction we wanted to take it.”

Do you feel that this sets you apart from a lot of the other bands in the progressive heavy music scene? “Yes and no,” he says, “I almost feel like we aren’t afraid to take certain risks that other bands may be, I think our scene is a little, I’m not sure how to put this, I don’t want to say close-minded but there’s more scrutiny in it I think. I think it only just comes with the amount of talent that’s out there right now, great guitar players and drummers out there, and I think that a lot of kids out there who aren’t familiar with the origins of progressive music look at that and associate that kind of technical playing with prog music.

“I know a lot of us are super into Pink Floyd, none of that is technical at all, but they are one of the prog fathers. I just feel like we wanted to try something that’s a little more fresh for the scene.”

Whether or not the album is actually a full-blown concept album, Eberhardt is a little reluctant to say, but he does reveal that Clairvoyant is highly conceptual in nature, with many different ideas running through its lyrics and imagery, hearkens back strongly to their previous record, and that it’s up to the individual listener to decide what to take from its messages.

“It’s funny, there are concepts that we like to put out there, I know our singer Mike kind of likes to leave things up to the listener,” he says somewhat cryptically, “but really what I can say is that it’s almost like a second part of the Language album, in that it’s a darker and more sombre take on the relationship between the mother and son that was played off on Language.

“But other than that there’s all kind of things going on, and I know that we definitely like to leave it up to each listener to decide for himself or herself.”

The band were in Australia almost exactly a year ago, when they toured the nation with Sydney instrumental masters sleepmakeswaves, and Eberhardt is confident that, while it may take them a little while to get here with all the other demand they have across the globe, they will make a return visit in the not too distant future.

“We’re going to do a full headliner in The States,” he says, “and we want to get back overseas, at least to Europe, before the end of the year. We want to get back to Australia and play in front of you guys again, we’re probably looking at early to mid next year.

“We draw a lot of inspiration from sleepmakeswaves too. They’re one of those bands that’s not afraid to try new things and still keep it, as far as their song structures are concerned, very popular but man, they do it so well! And they’re so captivating to see live too in their home country, with full production, it was incredible.”

The Contortionist – Clairvoyant

Grab a copy of the new album, ‘Clairvoyant’, out September 17 via eOne Music.

About

Rod Whitfield is a Melbourne-based writer and retired musician who has been writing about music since 1995. He has worked for Team Rock, Beat Magazine, themusic.com.au, Heavy Mag, Mixdown, The Metal Forge, Metal Obsession and many others. He has written and published his memoirs of his life and times in the music biz, and also writes books, screenplays, short stories, blogs and more.

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