South is out now.
A lush and rich sound is what concerns Polish instrumental post-rock/post-metal outfit November Might Be Fine. On their latest LP South, their goal seems to be to create an enveloping and in depth sound. One that washes over the listener in equal measures of soothing melodies and ferocious climaxes. Drawing influence from the likes of Explosions in the Sky and Cult of Luna their’s is regal and processional sound that expands and explores the most human of contrasts: light and dark.
To celebrate the release of their debut LP we sat down with the band to have a chat. They talked silent films, texture, and Sisyphean labour.
Opening song from an album strongly defines its whole content. First part of ‘Wandering lights’ (as well as many particular parts of this album) is based on the music created for the purpose of early 2016’s performance on silent films festival in Poland (Muzyka Na Plan). We composed it for the ‘South’ (1919) about Sir Ernest Shackleton’s journey to traverse Antarctic continent.
With a long-drawn, working name ‘Start of the journey’ we wanted it to present thrilling emotions accompanying the beginning of the great expedition: sublimity of the moment, enormous uncertainty but also big excitement and great dynamics of the beginning movements.
Technically ‘Wandering Lights’ was composed with contrasting two parts: first one, slow, was written in cosy, homey space during windy, rainy autumn evening. Without any special rush or pressure. Second, more dynamic half is a result of one rehearsal and hour-length, common jam session.
2RECOLLECTION OF OUR FRIENDS FADED AWAY WITH THE SUN
A very personal piece about contrasting emotions related to memories of beloved people/things/situations we have lost. The contrast of the situation defined construction of the track: Warmth, comfort and pleasure of thinking back about precious reminiscences are all crushed with the reality of ‘here and now’ – sadness, suffering and inner struggle. With a rather simple arrangement, it is not very technical one, but it has a great load of feelings instead. Love to play it live, especially second, heavy part.
In the studio, it was an interesting experience. Using e-bow, texturing guitar tracks, creating and sampling noises only with guitar or old keyboard plugged into bass amplifier – it was so much fun. It all caused with a simple but multifarious piece with many ‘hidden’ details to find out.
3WE SET EXISTENCE FULL AHEAD
The third piece has been almost all taken from the music to the ‘South’ movie. It is about sacrifice, pursuing one’s aim and persistent, hard work. At the same time – about Sisyphean labour and the distance to human potential and abilities. Because there is always possible to find something stronger, faster, more precise or just better than our achievements. No matter how hard we try. We can notice strong, uprising trend of that kind of pointless approach: lack of distance in every aspect of our lives. The song fights against that vanity in a way.
More universal dimension is the power of nature. With devastating, humongous outro referring to wind and frost breaking Shackleton’s ship, ‘We set existence full ahead’ creates a more general image of ideas behind the song.
4TO REACH THEIR CONSTANT CLOSURE IN THE END
This song is a bit different than others, directly connected with ‘South’ movie. The foundation for the music was undeserved suffering in the name of defence of the ideals. That inspiration appeared also in the story of Sir Ernest’s team but it has been taken at most from Alan Parker’s ‘The Life of David Gale’ (2003) which we emphasized by putting monologues from the movie (recorded by Bartosz Czarno-Księżyk) into a song.
Moreover, during the recording process, we used some digitally created noises for example made with Bloom generative music app for iPod Touch (by Brian Eno & Peter Chilvers). Since then we use those cool sounds on every single show we play live.
5WHATEVER IT TAKES
The idea of closing an album with a remixed version of one of the songs appeared very early in the writing process. We have chosen Natalia Markowska (Natsq) because she was taking part in the same festival playing to another silent movie from the past. So she definitely was into the mood of this music. And we were into her music before.
We knew that she might give different breath for the ending part of ‘South’. We wanted to provide this kind of lightness to the listeners after musically and emotionally intensive load of sound. Over time we are more and more satisfied with the decision of her participation.
Find November Might Be Fine on Facebook.