28 Dec. 2019
by Chris Angel Walker
THE RENAISSANCE SERIES
About a year ago, Substereo reformed with new permanent members in Berlin. Before this point, the old band members from Copenhagen were still involved, making Substereo a band with 7 members. three in Berlin, three in Copenhagen, and myself going back and forth between the two cities.
Eventually we chose to only have the band in Berlin, and thus it felt like a bit of a ‘rebirth’.
With the latter in mind, we chose to start working on a new album/EP which combined new songs and old (never released) songs.
This being a sort of rebirth, we chose to call the new EP The Renaissance Series. I then painted the album cover in water color, depicting the cities of Copenhagen and Berlin merged into one (and with a hidden robot in plain sight).
Since some of the songs were older, I had to go back and analyse the lyrics and see what it was I meant at the time. It was a sort of self-therapy, which yielded many interesting results and many ‘AHA!’ moments. It’s strange how these things happen sometimes, but in a way it felt like the story was already there, I was just digging it up in a way.
We went back and re-wrote the songs together as a band, in a musical context, and lyrically only made some small changes, but in the back of my mind a story was forming. It all suddenly made sense, and it was all CONNECTED somehow.
In coming up with the concept of two cities merging into one, the rebirth of the band, and the mixing of the new with the old, small pieces of context started to emerge. I wanted to tell a story, rather than simply record the songs and play them like any other band would. I needed more! I had a lot on my mind. The current world state, my own personal challenges etc etc. I wanted to reflect these things into the story and make sure that everything was connected artistically.
Let me back up a bit here... If you are reading this, you probably know about the previous album called Nowhereland. This was the story of a boy named Ben who was picked up by pirates and who spends his life searching for his true identity. He finds out he is more than he could ever have imagined, and finds a place called Nowhereland, the realm of dreams (Still not a spoiler, I promise!).
Everything in this story is also representative of my own experiences in life. Because of this, everything in the story is actually ‘a true story’ just painted in a different skin.
So while digging into the new story of the new project …strangely enough it all sort of just fit in.
While Nowhereland is set in the past, ‘The Renaissance Series’ is set in the future. The protagonist is now a robot, yet it is still the same Ben we know from Nowhereland. Here he is imprisoned in a mechanical body with his heart still beating in his chest, yet enslaved to his current world.
A SERIES NOT AN ALBUM
To tell the story, we chose to make a 20 minute stop motion movie. Initially I was looking into doing animation, maybe drawing it all by hand, and although it sounded like fun, I did the math and drawing each frame by hand in about 30 minutes, and working 12 hours a day without bathroom breaks would have taken about 1200 days …so no. Not realistic! I thought: “Oh Stop motion! that looks easy!” I had seen a few Youtube tutorials on how to do it, and figured that was doable.
HA! had I known then what I know now about stop motion, I may not have dared... it ain't easy!!!. It is INSANELY difficult work to get right. Lighting, flickering, camera movement etc etc.. it is no joke. Oh well, I started it, and so there was no going back.
Luckily I had the help of Rikke Lindquist and Judith Benke to build things and to iron out the story-line. Robin from the band helped out with the story and the boys popped by every now and then to give a hand in filming.
All in all, we ended up working 600 hours just to get the first film down. The last three months I was working 10-12 hours every day in a darkened living room. It was quite crazy! I don’t think I have tried anything like this before.
Everything is always a bit slow in the beginning when you are still learning, but I think it went really well!
The music for the whole project is already recorded, mixed, and mastered, which is what Robin and I spent most of 2019 doing. We recorded everything in our practice room, and mixed it in Robin’s living room. We are quite satisfied with how it turned out.
So the idea now, is to make a video every two months and release them throughout 2020, one at a time. If you want to have all the songs as mp3’s now (for private use), just ask us, I am sure we can figure something out :-)
But otherwise, the idea is to officially release one song/video/chapter at a time, and then all 5 chapters together once every video is out.
For this reason we don’t consider it an album or an EP, but more like a ‘series’. A bit like what you would see on TV, only with music.
So maybe when all five chapters are out, it would be a bit like a silent movie, except instead of a drunken organ player in the corner of the room, you will have Substereo instead ...not sure if that makes things better or worse!
The first part is due on the 7th of January, and we can’t wait to get your reaction and feedback!
It is extremely important that you share it and subscribe to our youtube channel, so you can help spread the love!
We really hope you'll love it as much as we do!