Something’s not right. Is that a cover of Skrillex I just heard? I blocked out the distraction of everyone around me. I needed to face the stage for this. Holy shit it is! A progressive rock band is covering dubstep/brostep and it sounds absolutely right. In that moment I found a whole new level of respect for a band who well and truly deserved it. I was hearing Skrillex without an anihilation of my auditory senses. How did Richard fail to mention this when I interviewed him earlier today?
The band played a few more songs and then retreated backstage to allow the screening of their “Live in Germany DVD,” all four of them grinning like cheshire cats. They knew.
Comprising of Richard Brokensha (lead vocals and guitar), Marko Benini (drums and backing vocals), Franco Schoeman (bass & backing vocals) and Alex Parker (keyboards, guitar & backing vocals), Isochronous (iso meaning equal, chronous meaning time), are not your ephemeral sort of band. Their focus on providing a quality show is undeniable and it´s evident that a great deal of effort goes into the final product. Their powerful compositions, clarity and defining sound comes together in a perfect arrangement while the intensity of their on-stage performance commands the attention of the entire venue.
The band return to the stage between snippets of their DVD and although parallels may still be drawn with Muse, Iso are a well-crafted and organised entity whose music is not just heard, but felt and experienced. Their abstract lyrics combined with powerful build-ups not only entertain, but simultaneously equates to a musical journey out of this world. Isochronous they say.
A rock DJ from a local radio station walked up to me after the show and claimed ´this is officially my new favourite South African band´ – that was not a sporadic decision either. Isochronous are just one of those bands who have a way of getting under your skin and forcing you to love them.
As mentioned I chatted with Richard Brokensha earlier that day about where it all started, their first international tour and what the band have planned for the remainder of 2012. Here´s what he had to say…
How did Iso come to be?
I heard of this amazing drummer who lived in my neighbourhood and I always heard this crazy drumming coming from somewhere so I decided I had to find this guy. He turned out to be Marko and we started jamming a lot of progressive music, jazz and fusion together when we were younger. Then we heard about Franco who was only 14 at the time and he was killing the bass then already. Alex and I went to the same high school. He has loads of musical knowledge so there was no doubt we had to get him involved. And that´s basically how it all started for us back in 2006.
Would you compare your sound to any other band out there?
I think there are different aspects of the band that sounds like different artists. We´ve been compared to Muse and Death Cab for Cutie – but that´s probably because of my softer voice and high register. Although our new stuff is a bit lower because I´m getting older and my voice is changing a bit. But yeah, that´s who were most compared to – I don´t know if that´s a good thing or a bad thing really, I actually don´t care. We do what we do and our music is totally different to theirs.
What was your first international tour like?
It was crazy. So huge for us. That´s why we decided to release this DVD. We played at 10 sold out arena´s and it gave us a taste of what it could be like at the top. It was such a great experience for us as a band as we returned to SA knowing that we want to experience that again. Our focus went towards working really hard and knowing that we have to put special emphasis on our live performance, entertaining the fans and just putting on a show that people would want to see again. Basically just giving it our all on stage and hopefully building our fan base.
So you loved your taste of Germany now you just have to conquer the rest of the world…
Yeah, we´ve recorded two albums in the last three months so we´re looking at releasing an album in September. We´re hoping that the upcoming album will help get loads of people interested in our music. A lot of time went into it so we just need to make people aware of the album. Hopefully they will enjoy it as much as we do.
What´s been your best gig so far?
Definitely the O2 arena in Berlin and the Olympiahala in Munich
What is your recording process like?
Well we usually write our music on a programme called Reason, piano, guitars, synthesizers, drums and so on. Thats to get a basic idea and then we put everything into studio format during our recording sessions. We will play the songs on acoustic to draft the lyrics and the vocals and once we have that in order we put it back onto the electronic stuff.
Who writes the lyrics?
Before it was mostly Marko and myself, now we´re all writing the lyrics for the new album.
Tell me about the new album…
Well we did the entire album ourselves from the studio recording process, setting up the microphones to the composition and writing. It´s set for release in September.
[laughs] Hmm, we haven’t actually finalized the title.
Inspiration/influences, can we expect something different?
Well The Beatles has always been a great influence of ours and they wrote a ton of songs. So we are trying to follow in their footsteps in terms of writing and recording lots of tracks.
So can I assume we’ll see a hint of The Beatles on this album?
Maybe the more modern Beatles songs – slightly.
You’re not going to tell me much about the album are you?
[laughs] I´m sorry, next interview, I promise.
Fine then. So is Iso a full time job for you guys?
Well we are all full time musicians you could say Iso is our main job and if we could do only that we would, but for now we have to do other stuff as well. We do adverts, documentary music and session work – I used to work with Tumi and I performed in a tribute band for The Queen Experience.
Which other SA artists do you enjoy?
Shadowclub, I have a lot of respect for that band because they´re a really tight act. I´ve never been big on blues rock and roll but the execution of what they do is brilliant. They look great as a band on stage and Jacques has an amazing voice. I think that if you put them next to an international band they will definitely pull it off.
Lastly, who would you recommend as an ambassador should aliens land in South Africa?
Pieter Dirk Uys – that should confuse the heck out of those aliens.
Well there you go. If you haven´t yet been to an Isochronous gig, I suggest you get yourself in check and make a plan. In the mean time their Live in Germany DVD is available at most outlets.
Go HERE to view Isochronous official website
Go HERE to view their Facebook page
Go HERE to view their Twitter feed
If you would like to win a copy of the Live in Germany DVD then follow @20Summing on Twitter HERE and tell me when Isochronous plan to release their next album.