With so many cool bands out there to check out I offer you some minor guidance by introducing you to ROBYN FERGUSON. Anders Ekdahl ©2020
What fascinates me is how you can still come up with new combinations of chords to make new songs and sounds that have not been heard before. What is it that fascinates you into coming up with new songs and albums?
RF: Music is such a wonderful thing, I like to compare my song writing to painting or sculpting. There are so many audio shades and colors, brushes and techniques to paint with and use and I think it’s about choosing a combination that speaks to you. Letting your emotions tell a story. I see music as a piece of clay to sculpt. A simple blob holds so much potential and it’s yours to morph, twist and turn, skrink and stretch to your imagination. Almost everything in existence came about in a similar way and it with this concept that I find music to be the most elebrorate, complex and elegant form of imagination and creation. The rules are your own, how could I not be inspired to write?
How is this new recording different from the previous? How do you take your sound one step further?
RF: This record is far more diverse than before and I tried to push the extremes of shred and melody. It’s raw emotion. Working with my mixing and mastering engineer Clinton Watts again was also a key factor in this album. He understands what I have in my head and heart and really took it to a whole new level. Another factor is experimentation. I threw the rules out of the window, hit record, opened the pandoras box of my soul and let whatever came out of the depths be acknowledged through the songs. I tried new tunings and poly rhythms, new dissonances and harmonies- anything to break the mold.
When you write songs about the topics you do what kind of reactions do you get? How important is it to have a message in your lyrics? What kind of topics do each song deal with? Is there a red thread to the songs?
RF: There will always be mixed reactions but for the most part it’s been incredibly positive. Currently all my solo work has been instrumental. Many people know me as both a vocalist and guitarist but for these 2 albums I wanted to speak in a different way to a different part of our humanity. Deep inside we all know what we we, who we are and what we need, I chose to let melody be the vehicle and let listeners find their own way instead of telling them with lyrics.
The songs all tie together. There’s a bigger story to be told with this album. It spawned from an incredibly challenging time both mentally and physically. In 2019 I was diagnosed with a degenerative neurotransmitter disease and its completely changed my approach. So much emotion went into this and I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to prove to myself that anything is possible. If you believe you can you will. It’s oh so terrifyingly simple yet probably the hardest thing to do. I hope the record brings comfort no matter the situation. These songs, they are yours to feel and interpret.
What bands/sounds do you identify with?
RF: It’s varies quite a lot but that the moment I would say: Plini, Andromida, Tesserract, Devin Townsend, I Built The Sky, Arch Echo, Leprous, Karnivool, Animals as Leaders, etc.
How did you go about choosing art work for this new album? What was important to have in it?
RF: I created the artwork to reflect the dreams and visions I had during the height of my illness and recovery. I found myself on the edge of life and death, faced with a choice to fall forward into the void, forward into the unknown and unconventional or to give up. I think we’re all faced with that crossroads at some point in our lives and I found myself there once more and just could not accept failure. So I chose to jump, to fall forward and let go of fear. The compound behind the name is the symbol for Adrenaline and represents the intensity of the moment of truth. In or out– What will you decide?
Something that scares me a bit is this I hear from more and more bands that they aren’t that bothered with art work anymore because people today download rather than buy physical. To me the whole point is to have art work that matches the music. I don’t know how many times I’ve been disappointed by weak art work to an otherwise cool album. What’s your opinion on this subject?
RF: As much as we are in the digital age I think album artwork is still a powerful tool and holds huge weight and value and should not be ignored. A picture says a thousand words after all.
How do you come up with song titles? What do they have to have to fit the songs?
RF: Titles honestly come quite naturally. Often a word will wonder into my mind and stick. It’s often a metaphor for the thing I’m feeling or expressing at the time. There is no hard rule for me other than it must be true to the song. For this album, I’ve kept the titles very simple, mostly single words. Each title combined with the song will transport you to another world, time or space, etc, but it’s on you as to what that world becomes. As you let the music create the structure, you’re in control of the story it will have.
I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when you’re out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
RF: It’s a whole new world, especially now with this pandemic and I think we have to embrace change and look for new ways to stay relevant. As much as I love holding a hard copy I also know the importance of adapting. The world is instant and in order to be relevant you need to be instantly accessible online, it’s a lot of pressure to maintain but I think long term it is the way forward. Another way to look at it is from a sustainability perspective, going digital is better for the environment too so, yea, we need to find other revenue sources. Sadly, we can’t rely on hard copy sales to pay the bills anymore but this opens a universe of other opportunities to form and I’m excited to see what that brings.
How much of a live band are you? How important is playing live?
RF: Playing live means everything, it’s my drug and I must do it, I absolutely love it and can’t wait to get back out there. It’s freedom and connection to more just the moment.
What lies in the future?
RF: Lots and lots more music! I’m looking forward to a few collaborations, to experimenting and pushing myself and the boundaries with further albums and projects, lots of touring once we are able to do so safely and responsibly again. No ordinary life that’s for sure, haha!