ECHOLONS)))) - Behind the mysterious door

12. December 2019

XXL-Interview Echolons

ECHOLONS))) - Hinter der mysteriösen Tür

echolons)))), this is the Marburg band, which currently consists of the two band founders Daniel Dorn (vocals, guitar) and René Zeuner (guitar, keyboards) as well as bassist Martin Brasche and drummer Hendrik Prause. After the two albums "Shoshaku Jushaku, Shake!" (2008), "About Sugar And Other Bitter Things" (2010) and the EP "Mount Neverest" the quartet now presents their third album "Idea Of A Labyrinth". A literally progressive mix of Artrock, Pop, Prog and Independent. Daniel Dorn and René Zeuner answered eclipsed questions about the new plant.

eclipsed: It is difficult to categorize your music. In the eclipsed review of the new album "Idea Of A Labyrinth" we chose "Prog-Pop/Indie/New Artrock". How do you value your music?

René Zeuner: You're quite right about that. We call our music "Independent Progressive Rock". Originally we also come from the indie corner, but we also want to be literally "independent" from the "traditional" pro rock and play with pop elements, for example, or take a look at post rock or metal.

Daniel Dorn: Our influences are and were very diverse and this is reflected in our songwriting time and again.

eclipsed: You named your band after the forerunner of the US surveillance system "Prism". How did you come up with that? But certainly not only because of the pun that you want to be "overheard". And what do the three brackets mean? I suppose it is not a tribute to the drone band Sunn O))).

Dorn: We've often heard the assumed reference to the drone icons, but actually it has nothing to do with our band, even if it's obvious. The three arcs imitate sound waves or an echo sounder. The story behind echolons))) goes a little further. We used to have the very awkward and brain-bound name "This Nova Holon" and that is still in our present name echolons)))). The term "holon" is borrowed from ancient philosophy and denotes a part that is at the same time a whole: e.g. an atom is an atom for itself; but at the same time part of a molecule, again the molecule is a molecule for itself and part of a cell. An endless chain.

eclipsed: With its slightly distorted face, the artwork is reminiscent of Picasso. On purpose? Or is it just "a maze in the head"?

Dorn: I had sent Drew Roulette, the bass player from dredg, a few things in advance as basic ideas and inspiration. These included, for example, a picture of a historical folding atlas depicting the world map on a woman's head, as well as a link to the mask generator for the Mastodon record "The Hunter". Drew painted an extensive artwork and Robin Helm did the layout in Hamburg. Drew's red head is indeed reminiscent of Cubism, although his art often has a greater tendency towards the surreal and psychedelic.

eclipsed: "Idea Of A Labyrinth is your third album. There was also an EP. Tell us a little bit about the history of the band.

Zeuner: We started out as the "loudest indie band in Marburg" in the 2000s. At that time Thees Uhlmann called us (probably rightly) "Josh Homme Memorial Church" because Daniel is a huge Queen Of The Stone Age fan. But even then we wanted to break down the genre boundaries and played rather for fun with the term Prog, which at that time was quite frowned upon in the indie scene. With keyboarder Christoph Heyd came the quantum leap in sound technology. And that's where we finally put off the indie shackles. Unfortunately, there were also setbacks: Christoph has now left the band again, as has the entire rhythm section. We have lost family members and did not know in the meantime between family and professional/study stress whether we can continue. But Daniel and I haven't given up yet. I sometimes say we're the Anvil of Prog. Anyway, we now have the best rhythm section we've ever had and we just program the keyboards ourselves.

eclipsed: How do you rate the new album compared to the previous ones?

Zeuner: The debut still clearly breathes the 2000s guitar indie. The "Mount Neverest" EP is like a hybrid: "Believer" could still be on the debut. "Rough Cut Wonderland", on the other hand, is a 3/4 piece carried by a piano motif and polyphonic vocals. On the new album we continue to pursue this Prog- and Artrock aspect consistently. That's where the journey goes. But we'll never be able to get rid of indie rock completely.

eclipsed: You yourself place yourself in a niche "somewhere between U2, Incubus, Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree", as it says on your website. Are you comfortable there? What freedom of movement do you have there? How can you find your own identity there?

Zeuner: All these bands have shown us that "progressive" music does not necessarily require guitar or vocal acrobatics. Rather, their art is to play sophisticated music in such a way that it is nevertheless accessible and melodious. It just needs dogma- and border-free thinking, and of course good songs. But of course we don't just want to be epigones of our heroes. But make music in their spirit.

eclipsed: The new album has a worldwide history. How did this happen?

Dorn: The album definitely has some stations behind it. Recorded in Frankfurt at Jörg See (Performance Studios), my Moscow friend and musician Nick Samarin, head of the postrock/avantgarde band I Will Kill Chita, offered to take over the mix. The album certainly cost him a lot of nerves and strength. We had a pretty good idea of where and how what should sound. So we sent a lot of mails back and forth. But I'm sure it was worth it for the result. The most spectacular thing about the album for us was besides the music, when Drew from dredg agreed to do the artwork for us and then the stuff actually came from California. dredg are a band that we could all agree on and one of my "life time favorites". The story behind it: on the last dredg tour in 2014 we stumbled into Drew and Mark [Engels, guitarist at dredg] on our way home, who spontaneously invited us for a few beers. We've been in contact ever since. And because Drew liked our music, it was obvious to ask him if he wanted to do our artwork. Luckily, that worked out.

eclipsed: Your songs/lyrics should be inspired by Mark Z. Danielewski's novel "House Of Leaves". What fascinates you about this novel? What are the themes of your songs?

Dorn: So primarily the title song is inspired by the book. The book is all about a mysterious cellar door in a house beneath which lies a huge dark cave that seems to be changing. For me a metaphor for human primeval fears of emptiness, darkness, loneliness. A labyrinth where you can get lost if you're not careful. Otherwise, the songs are about self- enslavement and self-abandonment in the digital age ("Prism Is A Dancer"), hidden, untold family stories ("Questions Never Asked"), about city homesickness ("Leaving The City"), the tightrope act of a love affair ("Act Of Balance"), the deep sea as a mirror of the subconscious ("Midwater") and agonizing nights with insomnia ("Science Of Sleep").

eclipsed: When you call your EP "Mount Neverest", it speaks for a certain offside humor. Is there humor in your songs, too?

Zeuner: Not in the sense of slapstick or slapstick. More like "joke" in the sense of "smart."

Dorn: I also think we communicate in the rehearsal room with a lot of irony and humor. Since our music is relatively serious for itself, it belongs together for me and serves as an antithesis to this seriousness. This can certainly be found in some places in the lyrics and titles, but is not used consciously.

eclipsed: The album was released on November 15th. Were you excited?

Dorn: Yes, we are very euphoric. As already mentioned above, the way here was paved with all kinds of stopovers and strokes of fate. All the more reason to be surprised that this thing has finally come out.

echolons))) - Leaving the City (Lyric Video)

*** Interview: Bernd Sievers