Sonance: Glen Westall Questions Guitarist Ben Chappell

It seemed apt to talk with Sonance after their set at Temples Festival, one of the most memorable and certainly unexpected gigs of the day. Though they’ve been together for a little while now it seems the band are finally getting into gear as a band that could hit the doom/sludge/post-metal scene with a battering ram. Guitarist Ben talks…


All right, so, Sonance. Are you able to tell me about the band’s background? Also, what happened to the band’s original vocalist?

Sure. SONANCE was created by the four of us back in 2010/2011 or so. There was very little talk about what we wanted to sound like or where we wanted to take the band; I remember we wanted to make a record, we wanted it to be heavy and interesting and we didn’t want to get caught up in too many live shows. I guess we achieved the objectives we set out, the key measure being that we got an LP released and it sounds heavy and interesting. We inevitably ended up playing live shows….and I think it helped us hone our sound in the early days, and express more vividly than on record what we are doing right now. We’ve all played in various bands together for years, most notably myself and Will; we’ve been jamming since school in the mid-nineties.

Nothing too dramatic with Tom, he just felt like he couldn’t/didn’t want to carry on. We’re still good mates and he came to watch us at Temples the other week. We collectively made the decision that he wouldn’t be replaced and that Chino and Will would share the vocals going forward. They’re both incredibly good singers. I hope Tom does something musically in the future – he’s got an incredible low-drone, a real unique voice.

Am I right in assuming the name is intended as the predicate of the word “disonance”, and thus implying a sort of sonic beauty?

It was just intended to represent sound or noise; dissonance, resonance or whatever. We’re not into in-depth band names, so it was meant to be straight up and simple.

I saw you play Temples Festival and was blown away. Really moving stuff. How did you feel about your set?

Very positive, and thanks. We rehearsed for a week leading up to it, working on new stuff and the set and getting Chi and Will comfortable with the vocal arrangements. We know the sound guy (Joe Garcia) and we spoke to him beforehand to specify our requirements – he pulled it off 110%, we couldn’t be happier with the sound. It was nice to have a decent projector set up too; we try and use them where we can as it accompanies the moods we try to create so well. The feeling is positive within our camp at the moment…I think we’ve proved to ourselves that we can write and perform at a level we are happy with, and that we set out with our initial objectives. I honestly think we can make more of a statement with the next release.

Sonance 'Like Ghosts' Cover

I saw you guys play Colchester early last year and felt that, although that was a great gig, your stint in Bristol was markedly superior. It feels like you’ve really pulled together as a band. Is it fair to say you’ve developed a lot over the past year?

To be brutally honest, we’ve not been the busiest band this past year. The Dropbox bank of ideas is filling up though, and Temples has stoked the fire. I think it’s inevitable that we came across better on a bigger stage with a huge PA and massive crowd. Loved Colchester though, and I love what Chris and the Hole In The Wall are doing. Meadows and Three Thrones are great bands and guys.

One of the most outstanding aspects of your Temples appearance was the projections. Who is involved in creating those? Do you consider it to be an integral part of the band’s live show?

Yes we do, as I said previously we try to add them in wherever we can…it really adds another dimension, something to get lost in. Will creates all of the visuals, he is the sole input for that aspect of the band. I think visuals can be misused and can be flakey, almost like a cover up. I’d like to think that ours add to the sound and create an atmosphere, rather than mask or simply sit on top of the music. Saying that, we can still deliver in a dark room…it’s not the be all and end all but is something we prefer. Sometimes we use it as a different light source, we just flood the stage with the projections.

I want to ask a question about influences on the band without the question sounding cliche or trite, so I’ll put it this way: It feels like there is an organic and natural structure to Sonance’s music. What is your approach to creating new songs?

I mentioned Dropbox, that’s how it starts. Will lives in London so normally him and I just upload guitar parts. Then we pick out which we will use and work through them as a band in rehearsal….nothing out of the ordinary really. For Like Ghosts, we spent a long time re-arranging the parts until we were completely happy with them. It really pays to take time over such things – we’re doing the same this time around and what we’ve got is sounding great. We have many musical influences, no need to mention them really.


Temples 2014 - Sonance - Photo by Antony Roberts

It’s been a while since Like Ghosts. Are you guys working on any new studio records?

Yes – as per question 6; we will 99% use Joe Garcia again and Will to mix and master the tracks. It’s something myself and Will have done since we started doing bands and I wouldn’t want to change it. It’s nice to be in control.

You’ve got a gig with Primitive Man, Opium Lord and Grey Widow coming up in a crypt. That sounds ace! Why aren’t there more interesting venues like that?

The Crypt is great! I’m not sure really, I guess it’s quite difficult to promote in your bog standard venue anyway, maybe promoters are worried about venturing into the unknown. Adam is doing really good things in Bristol – I’d keep an eye on Cacophonous Sarcophagus on Facebook if I were you.

It’s getting increasingly hard to put on loud shows due to increasingly noise abatement enforcement. Has this ever been an issue for a band like Sonance that sounds best at LOUD volumes?

Noise restriction can be an issue. We don’t really mind it too much as long as the sound fills the room. If you are going to invite a loud band to play in your venue, don’t expect them to show up with practice combos. That said, most venues are cool. We normally figure out a way to be loud.

What’s in store for the future? Anything you’d like to share about what might be happening in the next few months?

Just more writing….we are toying on releasing a version of Like Ghosts to incorporate some new mixes and drone stuff.  Main thing is a new recording, I’ve spoken to a few labels….and I’m very excited about one in particular. We don’t see much of each other due to work and where we live, but the ball is rolling on new stuff.

No question. Just thanks!

Thank you Glen.

Like Ghosts is out now, the vinyl is available from Doognad Records HERE and name your price Digital Downloads direct from the band HERE.

Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter

Interviewed by: Glen Westall