Face to face with Seraphim

In order to be special, be brave! In music Seraphim recognise no rules apart from their own. The band are moving in their direction and making the music with a full range of influences and a distinct character of its own. Rock Britain talked to Seraphim’s founder and singer Paul Dickson to discuss music and their recently released Ep ‘Awkward Silence’.

– How did Seraphim come about as a band? What was your starting point?

– I met Darren Gadd (drummer) in 2010 through a mutual friend, I had just finished a music course at Chichester college and the band that I had been in previously had dissolved without doing anything of note. I hadn’t really played much of a creative role in my previous  band but I had started to write songs and I was looking to form another band where I could potentially play a larger role (I had been one of three guitarists in the first band). Darren and I just started jamming at a local practice studio and found that we had similar tastes in music and we enjoyed the songs that we were writing. The band started off as a five-piece; vocals, two guitarists, bass and drums and we went through four or five different singers and three bassists until we ended up with myself on lead vocals and guitar, Jamie Warmington on bass, Darren Gadd on drums and our first keyboard player, Elliott Vincent. I had decided that a keyboard player would be more interesting to the band rather than another guitarist. Eventually, Elliott left and was replaced by Torva Ventus Walmsley and Bethany Spink joined on vocals and acoustic guitar, they additions to the band have only happened in the past six or seven months.

– How did these changes in your band influence Seraphim?

– Some of the changes, particularly the departure of singers made quite a difference to our sound but Darren and I always had a clear vision of what we wanted and knew whether the sound of the band as a whole was working or not. The biggest changes to the band came with the addition of Torva and Bethany. Torva is a jazz keyboard player so he’s very a very good and competent musician, no noticeable work went in to getting him to fit in with our sound and he is very creative. In the same way, Beth is very competent, as a musician but more importantly as a vocalist and a writer. Before Beth joined the band I was the main contributor of material and I wasn’t very confident as a singer or a front man, having someone come beside me who can play, write harmonies in an instant and write songs has helped me learn and made us all more confident and comfortable.situation that wasn’t related to a gig or a performance.

– Your EP ‘Awkward Silence’ was released on 6th June. How did it feel to release this EP?

– It felt very good to release our EP, especially as it is a far more accurate portrayal of our current live sound. We had released some demo recordings in June 2011 but they feature Elliott Vincent on keyboards and our friends Laura-Jayne Cole-Morgan and Bethan Norell on backing vocals. The sound and recording quality is also much better than the demos, we were very excited to have something that we could be proud to send to promoters, venues and friends.

– Tell us a bit about the process of work at ‘Awkward Silence’. How much time did it take?

– The songs themselves took different lengths of time to write and perfect, we have been playing “See You Again” since early 2011 but the backing vocals were not added until Bethany joined the band and wrote them. “Can’t and Won’t” was written by myself about six months ago and “Losing Run” is also relatively new, it written by Beth and was a very new song when we decided that we wanted to record it. The recording process was done in a weekend at Old Chapel Studios in Bosham, West Sussex; the bass, drums and keyboards were recorded on a Saturday and the guitars and vocals were recorded the day after.

– What were the most memorable things of the recordings?

 – We have very fond memories of the recording, it was a very relaxed atmosphere and the engineer, David Evans helped to create that atmosphere and had a very hands-on approach, giving creative direction as we had never actually listened to these songs, only played them live. We all lead busy lifestyles so it was good to get together and work creatively in a –

– The artwork is very interesting. Who’s the author of it and what does it symbolise?

– The artwork was designed and produced by our friends Maya Schoch and Rachel Brain; Maya had insisted on this after hearing a small trailer that we released of the EP with a clip of each song. The idea behind the cover was that when we were thinking of a title for the EP, we would often run out of ideas and someone (mainly Torva) would suggest something crude or silly. This would have been fine, except that this sometimes happened in the studio in front of the engineer and this would create a very awkward silence, which is where the idea for the title came from.

– What are the best/worst things about studio work?

– I have always really enjoyed recording, as does Darren who recorded songs with a metal band that he used to drum for; it puts your playing style and abilities under the microscope and you can’t get away with the same mistakes you might be able to get away with in a live situation. It was also a fun time for the band and the engineer, as I said, it was a very relaxed atmosphere, so we had a lot of fun as well as getting important work done.

It can get stressful and tedious however, we managed to record the songs in very few takes which was nice but there were also times where people would become frustrated and anxious, particularly members of the band who were not used to the recording process. The tracks were mixed in the studio which was very helpful as we were able to give direction and make the changed that we personally wanted to be made, however, it did mean some sitting around and waiting which can be slightly frustrating.

– Which accomplishment of Seraphim do you consider to be the biggest one so far?

– Though Darren and I have been playing together for about two years, I still see Seraphim in its’ current form as a very young band. We have played some reputable venues in the last six months however, the Joiners in Southampton, Railway Inn in Winchester and the Hope venue in Brighton are just a few. We have also been asked to play local festivals, including Bognor Rox which is quite a major local event, unfortunately we’re unable to play because some of us are away. One of the songs was recently played on a local radio station. We are also being considered as a support act for quite a major band and we’re very happy to be even thought of. At the moment I see the EP as our biggest accomplishment, we are very happy with it and it has been very well received so far.

– Describe Seraphim in three words.

– Original, diverse, experimental.

– Who are your biggest music inspirations

– One of the things about our band is that we all have our own influences, whenever someone tries to describe our music they end up using the names of two or three very different bands, which I enjoy because the main idea behind “Seraphim” was to be as diverse as possible. Our individual influences span from 1940s Jazz (Torva) to Machinehead and Rage Against the Machine (Darren).

Beth and I are the main contributors of material, she is influenced by Colin Hay, Paramore, Frank Turner and Frightened Rabbit. I am influenced by Hank Williams, Tom Petty, Noah and the Whale, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and numerous classic rock bands such as Thin Lizzy, AC/DC, Guns n Roses and The Rolling Stones.

– What is the best thing about being a musician for you?

– For me, the best thing about being a musician is creating something with friends that I can share with people that I have never met before and that they can relate to. Coming off stage after a gig and someone saying that they enjoyed the songs that we played is really what it is all about for me.

– What are Seraphim’s plans for the nearest future?

– Our immediate plans are to carry on plugging the EP, we have about 12 songs at the moment and several that are being written or perfected so the EP is just a small portion of the material that we have. We are being considered for quite a major local gig which will hopefully happen in August and we are continuing to perform in the local area. There will hopefully be more recordings soon and we are working on some acoustic videos for unreleased songs that will be released on our facebook and youtube soon.

Listen to ‘Awkward Silence’

Seraphim Facebook

2 Responses to “Face to face with Seraphim”
  1. eva6kora says:

    I really like their music! Snatched the EP straight away! Really enjoyed the interview as well 🙂

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