JFC Talk Growth, Games
And Maximum Entropy With Electronic
Upcomers 'Man Without Country'
Their collective moniker ‘Man Without Country’ is derived from a “sense of not belonging”, and their latest album Maximum Entropy is named after the rather perplexing scientific principle of the same name.
The sense of conjecture surrounding the group plays straight into their sound though, into the depth of their eerie brand of eclectic electronics.
When we catch up with Tom, he’s quickly able to unravel the obscurity behind the naming of Maximum Entropy.
“It was initially an idea from Ryan,” he says. “And once we had the title sorted, the songs came together pretty quickly.
“Everything is always just in motion, never standing still. That’s the meaning we took out of Maximum Entropy, and the same applies to music
“Everything is always just in motion, never standing still. That’s the meaning we took out of it, and the same applies to music – there are elements of songs on the new record upcycled from old samples, old demos, old songs from the first album, and there are elements where we’ve re-imagined early songs and created something new.”
The eponymous principle will possibly create more questions than it will answer about the Welsh duo then, but after listening to the album, it seems to make perfect sense.
It’s strong enough to put you in a hypnotic trance of sorts and completely forget about the outside world.
Through single ‘Laws of Motion’ though, featuring M83’s Morgan Kibby, and through a cover of The Beloved’s 1992 hit ‘Sweet Harmony’, Man Without Country are able to bridge the gap from their mystic world to that of the mainstream better than they previously have been able to in the past.
Tom admits that in the crowded world of modern electronic music, this is the best way to draw the listeners in and lead them to more.
The artist continued: “Sweet Harmony is a song that I loved from my youth. I was always a pretty big fan of Ibiza Chill Out CDs, and it came on the radio last summer and reminded me of being a kid again.
“We didn’t want to revamp it, but more create a homage to the original. It was more for our own enjoyment than anything else, but it’s great that it’s out there now.
“You’ve got to play the game with singles. ‘Laws of Motion’ is a poppier song than most of our others, and people’s attention spans are so short!
“You’ve got to play the game a bit in that way with singles. ‘Laws of Motion’ is a poppier song and people’s attention spans are so short!
“We had actually had the song for quite a while before we sent it to Morgan,” he continues. “We thought it’d work with a female vocal, and there’s nobody better for it than Morgan for it.”
His view on the music world are understandable given the nature of the scene at the minute. Listeners jump from one song to the next a couple of times every few seconds. Often if you don’t have the poppy hook to catch them, you can fall through the net regardless.
“I think it’s obviously a good thing that the electronic scene has grown so much though,” Tom adds. “There are a lot of excellent underground producers and songwriters in Britain and America as well.
Tom is hoping that the matured sound of Man Without Country on their latest album, and the progression of their sound since the release of 2012 debut album Foe, will get people listening and keep them hooked.
It’s certainly a growth that can be heard in the production of Maximum Entropy, something the musician is proud to emphasise.
“Foe was a big learning curve,” he admits. “We didn’t know what we were doing to be honest – it was more trial and error. We had a much clearer idea of what we wanted to do this time around.
“We’re big fans of 80s music, so there’s always been that influence, of the production values and the big songs with big hooks, so that [was an inspiration].
“The thing is that we produced as well as mix our own albums, which makes the job a lot harder. We didn’t really know how to mix with the first album properly! We had a lot more confidence this time though, and more of a focus and understanding on everything involved.”
A lengthy production and a whole lot of work for Man Without Country in the past two years then, but one which proved more than worthwhile with the release of a stunning musical album.
The beauty of playing live is that you can go crazy with the sounds. People are just there to have a good time
It’s often tough to translate such an electronically rooted sound to the stage, but Tom revels in it, putting in the kind of live performance that the likes of Bonobo has been praise for.
He concluded: “We play with a live drummer and samples, and we use a light show of course to emphasise parts of the music.
“It’s great because you can go crazy with the sounds, extending certain parts of songs and so in whatever way you want. That’s the beauty of it when you play live; people are just there to have a good time.”
A simple mantra to finish for a group whose music has so much cryptic power behind it. We look forward to seeing if they live up to their own high standards on the live stage next month.
For more information about the tour, or to book tickets to see Man Without Country, head to their official website at: manwithoutcountry.com