Let’s split the bill…
Every once in a while, we get some pretty amazing split albums featuring two artists/bands that compliment each other very well. Side A is one band, Side B, the other. Pretty simple. My recent fave is Turned to Stone – Chapter VIII: High Desert Queen & Blue Heron released May 26 on Ripple Music. What I love about this album is it features music I haven’t heard before by one of my favorite heavy underground bands, High Desert Queen. The bonus to this split is that it introduced me to yet another amazing Ripple artist: Blue Heron. Bravo to Todd Severin (once again!) and Ripple Music!
Check out the love Chief gives to the Turned to Stone – Chapter II: Masamune & Muramasa album, featuring a couple of my favorites, Howling Giant and Sergeant Thunderhoof. Additionally, all of us here at cleanandsoberstoner.com are looking VERY forward to the upcoming split/concept album by AAWKS & Aiwass: The Eastern Scrolls!
Hey bruh, wanna collab? The Birth of Silent Future
Collab is the cool new buzzword for collaboration. In most cases, Company X and Company Y make completely different products yet share the same demographic. In order to take more of our money, they put out a product with each other’s brand for a limited time, at a limited quantity, and suddenly our checking accounts are lighter while theirs become heavier. My account was recently lightened thanks to my daughter “needing” a recent VANS shoes and Sesame Street collab. Bruh!!!
The announcement of a collab album between REZN and Vinnum Sabbathi by Blues Funeral Recordings was announced a while back, and listening to the single for the very first time led me to the “pre-order vinyl now” button. This is definitely not a money-grab collab. In the case of Silent Future, THIS is a collab of epic proportions: It’s an “Avengers, assemble!” moment for me. This is MY demographic.
I’m a big fan of REZN. A few years ago, I (along with fellow Shadow of Jupiter bandmates John and Scott) went into the city to see King Buffalo. Hometown boys, REZN, were the opening act. Their performance was stellar, and they earned 3 new fans (and merch sales) by the time the set was over.
Our genre is incredibly diverse, yet I’m probably not the only one who seeks out ‘similar’ bands when a certain mood strikes me. I reserve my vinyl purchases for those bands to be the soundtrack of my vinyl listening ritual, which leads me on the hunt for more: Elder, King Buffalo, Pelican, Russian Circles, Somali Yacht Club and several other bands check that box for me. Vinnum Sabbathi also checks that box for me, they have been on my radar; however, I hadn’t added them to my vinyl collection… until now.
If you happened to read my article on the new Queens of the Stone Age album, In Times New Roman, you will know that I’m not a song-by-song reviewer. An album is a whole piece of work and should be listened to as such. We’re all grown-ups ‘round these parts and I am here to lead you to great music, not dissect it.
Silent Future has been filling my ears and soul in between juggling final mixes and mastering for my own band’s release. Because of all of the logistical nightmares that I’ve been experiencing with my own music, I couldn’t help but keep thinking to myself, “how the hell did these two bands pull this off?!!!” After all, REZN is based out of Chicago and Vinnum Sabbathi hail from Mexico City, Mexico.
Here, we have two complete bands (9 musicians total on this recording!) coming together and creating an atmospheric masterpiece that takes the listener out of the harsh landscape of reality and places them in the Solace (a proper nod to REZN’s new release) of the aether.
Collaborating about the Collaboration…
In keeping with the theme, I figured that I’d ‘collab’ with REZN guitarist/vocalist, Rob McWilliams and Vinnum Sabbathi guitarist, Juan Tamayo and get to the details on how Silent Future came together:
Collin: Hi guys! Colin Peterson from cleanandsoberstoner.com. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us!For those of us who listen to both bands, it’s obvious that the sci-fi doom of Vinnum Sabbathi would blend well with REZN’s psych/doom. I’m imagining a Venn Diagram of both bands with Silent Future holding a pretty large spot in the intersection. When the collab was announced and first single released, I couldn’t wait to hear the rest.
Fortunately, I’ve had the privilege of listening to Silent Future on repeat and am super stoked for its official release on August 11th and even more stoked to throw some questions your way in order to help us understand what was involved in making this spectacular album.
Tell us how this collab began: Prior to this release, did REZN and Vinnum Sabbathi have any history together? Have you toured together?
Juan (VS): From what I can recall everything started back in mid-2019 when REZN came to Mexico City to play, and we were part of the opening acts. We hung out during that occasion, and I think we got along pretty well hehe, that’s where the first seed of a collaboration came across. Later on in 2021 we got the invitation from the REZN guys to join them for the Postwax release.
Rob (REZN): Yep, that is definitely how it all started for us. Hanging with Vinnum in Mexico was a really natural fit, and we thought it would be cool if there was a way to do some kind of project together down the road. When Jadd from Blues Funeral reached out to us about the Postwax concept, we knew that this was the perfect opportunity to join forces and make some music together. That was the only show we’ve played together, but hopefully the release will open up some portals for us to meet again soon.
Collin: Tell us about the logistics of creating and recording this album: REZN, based in Chicago, and Vinnum Sabbathi, hailing from Mexico City. Being in my own band, it’s hard enough to get 4 local guys together to create new music. Help us wrap our heads around how two bands begin the discussion and then proceed to create, record, and release an album this magnificent while being so geographically distant?
Just glancing at the credits on the Bandcamp has my head spinning! Both bands, 9 musicians consisting of guitarists, vocalists, drummers, multi-instrumentalists… Who decided who plays what part(s)? Was it an organic process, or were there some difficult decisions to determine who plays what, where, and when?
Rob: It was pretty organic for us because we were already in the songwriting zone after finishing up the recording process for our recent record, ‘Solace’. We wanted to make something different from that, so the four of us in REZN workshopped a bunch of ideas in our practice space and decided which ones would be good enough to send to Vinnum for collaboration. We kept the instrumentation the same as we usually do on the REZN side but made sure to leave space for extra layers of guitar, drums, and even bass.
Collin: Was this recorded live, in-studio, or were you sending files to each other… or a little of both?
Rob: We made some initial live demos with a field recorder and sent those to Vinnum to see if the song was a good fit for them. Then, once we had our top picks, our drummer Patrick set microphones on everything, and we recorded our side of the instrumentation in the practice space here in Chicago. Spencer does most of his synth and modular stuff at home to fine tune everything, but besides a few guitar overdubs, the skeleton of the tracks were all recorded live.
Juan: Once we had the base tracks from the REZN guys we headed to Testa Estudio in León, and we recorded all our parts in two days there. For this Album we recorded separate layers for each instrument, which is very different from what we’re used to doing, which is recording together at the same time.But by recording on different layers, we were able to get immediate feedback from every take and add spontaneous ideas to the record, even our studio engineer KB ended up recording a couple of ideas for the Album.
Rob: After we had all of Vinnum’s raw tracks, Patrick organized all of the layers together into a project and mixed the record himself. We had a super tight deadline to get everything finished and he totally killed it. It definitely changed our minds a bit on how much you can achieve with DIY recording and mixing techniques.
Collin: Regardless of the process, the end result is spectacular! Are there any discussions of performing Silent Future live together?
Juan: Nothing serious at the moment as far as I’m aware, but we would love to join the REZN amigos to play Silent Future live somewhere in the near future for sure, I’m sure at this point both bands are familiar with the odd logistics that might be needed to make this happen, and we’re totally on board for it.
Rob: Agreed – that would be awesome! Our touring schedule is a bit busy at the moment, but we hope to have some time to set aside to make that performance happen if we can.
Collin: Any future plans for more collaborations down the road… either individually or collectively?
Rob: Not for us, but we do have some more music coming 2024 that will be keeping us occupied for sure.
Juan: For Vinnum Sabbathi there are already a couple more collaboration plans in the works for next year.
Guys, thanks so much for helping us better understand the logistics of this amazing collaboration! Thanks for creating such a spectacular assembly of tonal and ethereal excellence! All of us here at Cleanandsoberstoner.com wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors!
Rob, I’ll see you when you guys hit Chicago on your tour with Elder this September! Incredible gratitude to Rob and Juan for taking the time to answer my questions and huge thanks to Claire Bernadet at Purple Sage PR for arranging the interview! If you dig music in the heavy/atmospheric/fantasy/doom wheelhouse, do yourself a favor and purchase REZN & Vinnum Sabbathi; Silent Future!