Perpetual Motion is a monster pychedelic album, blending jam parts, modular synths and poetic lyrics. All in all one of my favorite musical works and something I personally label as tarot rock. I looked up more on the artist and didn’t find so much so an interview was my only chance. Here’s Cary Grace and a few questions answered.
One of the first reactions to good music, especially in this genre, is ‘where is the artist and where will the artist play?’. But I couldn’t find any tour dates, any band around you. So I’m wondering why? Do you play live often? Any tours?
I used to have a traditional band arrangement, but now I have more of a widespread network of amazing musicians that I work with. All of them are quite busy with multiple projects. One of the down-sides I see to having a regularly gigging band is the time commitment for the musicians would be so great, that it would be hard to find people who were up to my standards who were also available for that degree of commitment. I think I am able work with a much higher quality of players now that I don’t have a fixed band group, since they can all rotate and mix and match as needed due to their schedules. Working with as many as four drummers for instance is an advantage. It gives me more flexibility.
Although, this does not mean I don’t/won’t play live. I love performing. Part of the beauty of not having a “regular gigging band” but instead a much larger group of musicians that I work with, is that if I am offered a gig, I can assemble a fantastic band in a very short time without much worry that someone would not be available. I’d love to do some dates in Europe! If anybody is interested in booking me for a show, please get in touch.
You use synths on Perpetual Motion, and I’ve seen a youtube clip of you playing modulars. So after reading some on your webpage about Wiard modular synths being made by you, I’m curious what that is? What it is, where one can listen to it or even buy it? What are you developing and doing in the modulars?
I’ve been fascinated by analogue synthesizers for some time, and have been into the technical side of audio, including electronics, for even longer. Two years ago, something amazing happened. Grant Richter offered me the chance to take over his synthesizer business, after health issues had forced him to stop doing electronics bench work. Of course I couldn’t say no! Wiard synthesizers have been around since 1999, but had been out of production for a couple years due to Grant’s health. The Wiard 300 is a 6U format modular system, with bright blue colour scheme and Victorian/Celtic inspired graphics. It’s a unique system, and over the years has become well-loved by many for its eccentric design approach and excellent hand-made build quality. All kinds of people use these systems, from film composers to prog rock bands. I’m currently working on some designs of my own to add to the Wiard product range.
For further reading, the Wiard website has lots of information: Wiard.com
Why England from Nashville? Was it something to do with the musical scene? Or
just something personal?
Many complex personal reasons. I love England, and it is very much my home, but I do enjoy my visits back to the states too.
So what is the plan for the coming times? Tour? Album? Modulars? What can the fans expect? If it is more music/albums to come.. will it be folkoriented or psychprog? Or is it some kind of electronic music to come out?
Definitely there will be more music. Exactly what it will sound like depends a lot on what is inspiring me when I record it! I have never been able to adhere to a rigid genre, as I find that quite boring and limiting. In fact, I have already recorded quite a bit of material that has yet to be released, but I had to take a break from music to get Wiard production moved to England and up and running, which has been no easy task, but is going well now. Back to more music soon though. I’m planning to do some more recording this month actually.
How was Perpetual Motion recorded? What equipment were you using? How did the album come about and develop to be as it is?
The beauty of PM is that I came into the sessions with only two complete songs already written. All the rest was spontaneous. It was very much about the interaction of the musicians, creating music right there, right then, totally in the moment. I think that is one reason it still sounds so vibrant and fresh to me, even after I have listened to it hundreds of times.
We did the sessions at my own studio. The whole band was in one room, listening on headphones, with the guitar and bass amps in other rooms. I sang and produced from the control room. The whole thing was recorded live. Then everything was transferred to my Mac for mixing. I did some overdubs later, at the mixing stage, and added various effects. The mixing and production process was quite intense, and went on for much longer than the actual sessions. The bulk of the recording was finished in three eight-hour days, but mixing took quite a bit longer as it was quite a detailed and intricate process, but not due to editing – there are barely any edits. This is essentially a live album at its core.
Back to the first question sort of. Have you thought of touring or forming a consistent band since Perpetual Motion? I know that is has been 3 years since its release but anyway. Must ask.
Back to my previous answer. The gigs I have done since recording PM have mostly been solo or sitting in with other bands. Definitely would love to do some gigs with as many of the musicians who played on Perpetual Motion as possible, but the majority of them would probably not be able to commit to a steady band arrangement for various reasons. A one-off or set of a few gigs, or a mini tour is totally possible though, and would be great fun, if the right opportunity presented itself.
The album it seems to me puts you in the cult status and in the esoteric psychprog genre, that is also what I’ve read from other fans. I can imagine your album being downloaded by a 17 year old in 40 years and inspiring that person. Just like today young people download totally lost gems from the late 60’s and 70’s that are not available anywhere. Any comments? =)
Well, obviously I would be thrilled to think that this album could stand the test of time like that! Everyone who played on it put a great deal of creativity and energy and effort into making it what it is. I do what I do to create something beautiful, because it makes me happy. If it inspires others as well, I think that is fabulous. The reason I decided to make music is because of those others who came before me and inspired me to be creative too, and many of the most inspiring (to me) were in fact quite obscure in their time and only became known much later.