We are an experimental piano/drum duo from Los Angeles. Wreche is a re-imagination of our 2008 project Architeuthis, which was piano/drums with no vocals. It was more along the lines of progressive/experimental jazz, but we threw that out in favor of a more relentless, fluid, and aggressive sound.
How would you describe the musical sound that is on the album?
Emotionally, it varies from agonizing and harsh, to despondent, and even beautiful. We both love all sorts of music, but share a passion for black metal. I’d say the sound is definitely black metal, but unlike any music within the genre. It is piano-driven and in some ways, has a colder, more staccato feel to it.
With your music you use pianos in the place of the guitars, can you tell us a little bit more about this concept?
Pretty much out of necessity - I’m not a guitar player and wasn’t going to switch instruments at the ripe age of 27…BUT… I think my piano style developed because of what I was listening to early on – Pink Floyd, metal, jazz, and classical. I feel an emotional continuity between all of them and I love to play aggressively. The project that Barret and I started in 2008 verged on metal and over time, my development on the piano seemed to just make sense within the metal genre. With Wreche, we wanted to try something new and found our taste and playing styles a match for black metal – lengthy meditative songs, the shrieking vocals, and the form’s emotional capacity drew us in. With that base, we wrote songs in our own way - employing both instruments’ rhythmic capabilities to carry the momentum forward, where the blast beats weave and interchange with two-hand rhythms on the piano. We like the emphasis on atmosphere and texture, especially over technical virtuosity - the main goal being to write upsetting music.
What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
The lyrical focus is on my interaction with, and generally as a society, our interaction with the reality that we’ve created for ourselves. They’re poems about living in a city, a desert, a barren wasteland – of love, passion, and our escapist fantasies to cope with it.
What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Wreche'?
Wreche (Old English) – Affliction or calamity; deep distress, misery. (OED)
I was just scrolling through the OED on my computer looking for a good word. Wreche resonated with my state of mind at the time.
Currently there are only 2 members in the band, are you open to expanding the line up or do you chose to remain a duo?
We have been playing together for something like 12 years now and are pretty dialed in with each other’s musical tendencies. We’ve thought about adding more to the mix, but the potential with piano/drums seems infinite and overwhelming. There’s no plans for adding personnel at the moment.
On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black metal?
So far the response has been enthusiastic. People are interested in the strange combination of instruments (especially within black metal) and the emotional candor running throughout the music/lyrics. The best review we have came from No Clean Singing, where “Angel City” was premiered. We haven’t quite reached the world market yet, but we shall see…we are definitely excited to share it.
Are any of the band members currently involved with any other bands or musical projects these days?
Outside of Wreche, I write solo piano music. For a living, I score short films and perform my compositions by bringing a real piano onto street corners around LA and the Bay Area. Check my website.
Barret is a published writer. His book China Lake won the 2016 Iowa Prize for Literary Nonfiction. Check out his website
Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
We’ve started work on new material and it’s possible that we’ll record it within the year, it’s hard to say. Ideas always get bigger and there is a lot of potential with this instrumental arrangement. We hope to have some live dates booked as well.
What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
I have really been inspired by Pink Floyd, Ethan Iverson, Zack Hill, Scriabin, Rachmaninov, Chopin, & Beethoven. For metal, Krallice, Ulcerate, Converge and WIITR are in constant rotation…I’ve lately been listening to Richter performing Scriabin Etudes, rehashing Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas and digging a comp. album called The Roots of Chicha – really good Peruvian folk/psych from the 70s.
Barret is really keen on finding great new metal, electronic and post-punk. He listens to a lot of the opal tapes stuff.
What are some of your non-musical interests?
I love to cook. A roast chicken with potatoes and a salad w/ blue cheese dressing is my favorite meal. I also love to watch films and drink scotch.
Barret likes to read, write, drink beer, and pick fights at dive bars – usually with his friends.
Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
We want to say thanks to our friends who helped us bring this album together - to Max Moriyama + Athena Wisotsky for their amazing art and design, to our folks for their support, to Mike V. for our upcoming website, Zack K. for the upcoming Wreche film, Jacob T., Curtis of Dewar, and of course, to Andy from Fragile Branch Records for putting this album out. Thank you, Occult Black Metal Zine, for your time. This record is special for us and we are very excited to share it.