Archive for the Sculptured Category

Interview with Dave Murray (The Deserts of Traun, Estradasphere)

Posted in Estradasphere, interview, Sculptured, The Deserts of Traun, Tholus, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 6, 2010 by GRAMPS Pantheon

When did the idea to create the grand “Deserts of Traun” project first come to you?

It was a project started in the mid 90’s actually. We performed each piece of the trilogy one time only and made demos. There was art being projected above us as well. After Estradasphere I felt compelled to do something ‘solo’ that i could be as proud of, so I put my mind to re making the project and taking it from demo form to an actual record.

Can you explain the concept/story of Deserts of Traun?

It’s changed in order to fit what was possible recording-wise. In fact, I’ve changed it a third time and that’s why I am calling it version 3. Version 3 is a science fiction story with a lot of detective elements. The concept itself is about using music as the only vehicle for broadcasting a story. You have to use your imagination while the music hints at things. It’s very nebulous and since a musical story has a different pace then a written one (which has far more control) the object is just to allude to story.

Why did you decide to release Part III: Lilac Moon, before Parts 1 and 2?

Well, I set out to make a condensed ‘best of’ “The Deserts of Traun.” Then as I was fitting things together and including new material like “The Black Metal Princess” I felt that there was in fact a new story brewing and it sounded like a final chapter to me. That’s all.

It states on your website that the final installment “Version III” of the Deserts of Traun saga is going to be released this year.  What happened to Version II?  And will this year’s release be the definitive and complete result of the Deserts of Traun story/project?

Version 1 was the originals with Alfred (Daedelus), Joe, and myself in the mid 90’s. Version 2 (the Lilac Moon era) will remain unfinished, I guess, or will be absorbed by Version 3 which is what I am working on. The reason I am not finishing Version 2 and calling it there is because all the new material I wrote was not fitting the story I had outlined with Lilac Moon. I tore my hair out trying to arrange it but in the end I decided that the music would be better if I had somewhat more freedom to rehash the story and reorder/repurpose the music. The music is the most important part, so in order to bring the entire, final Traun to life I have put together a new storyline to follow. It’s a very difficult job trying to create a workable story from your complex and somewhat non negotiable musical score (if I can call it that).

How difficult is it to try to tell a story without the use of lyrics?  The music on Lilac Moon is superb at creating images and conveying feelings.  Is this something that you aim for intentionally?

I aim for it and it always nice to know that it works sometimes. Under a microscope the story kind of sucks on its own, it has holes and problems. Paul McKee and I have talked about adapting it to a real animated movie – but to do so would require a rewrite on its own to hold up traditionally. However non-traditionally, since it’s really just an add-on feature to the music, I don’t worry about it. It’s loose, it’s mostly about bullet point events, emotions and motive etc… that can actually pass as a story hinted at by the music.

The cover art for Lilac Moon is excellent.  How does it tie in with the story?  Will you return to Colby Bluth for future artworks?

The cover art is from the scene/track “The Desert of Traun” where the main character is crossing the blue desert on lizard back to the elevator in the distance. Colby is a friend and talented artist and I will definitely be working with him for the Version 3 stuff.

It seems that the animated trailer for the project by Colby Bluth is currently offline.  What was the purpose of this trailer and will it be coming back?

Just found out myself – I’ll email him and find out.

(Editor’s note:  After the interview, the editors found the animated trailer on youtube.  It can be viewed below.  Enjoy!)

Why did you split from Extradasphere in 2002?

The main reason is I didn’t like touring the way we were, and I needed to be more responsible with my finances. At that time it was not possible to create a safe and manageable business with them and I had bills to pay. Needless to say I didn’t like this and it led to non-cozy feelings.

What was it like working with Don Anderson and crew on Sculptured’s ‘Embodiment’?  Do you find that your eclectic styles mixed well?

It was great – professional and fun. He just gave me the stuff and basically I wrote and recorded the drums and sent them back. That’s all. Nice, great guy. Yes, I thought the styles worked well.

It seems that Tholus was originally the project of Mike Johnson and you were drumming for the band.  It’s my understanding that when Mike was unable to finish working on the project, you picked up where he left off and assembled an entire lineup.  Was this a one-time thing just to finish the album or is Tholus alive and planning another album?

Pretty much. I picked up where he left off – even though it was his music – because I had put a lot of time into the drums and actually had recorded them. I couldn’t bear to let the ball drop on this so I painstakingly got other people to finish the parts. It was a one-time thing – but Mike has mentioned he is working on new stuff. If it happens great – if not then that is OK too. I feel satisfied with Tholus and that part of my musical history with him.

You are one of the few musicians who truly creates a sound that cannot be classified into any set genre.  Do you find it difficult to work with other musicians/labels because of this style?  How do you think the listeners usually respond?

To me – post-Estradasphere – it seems normal to try new things by mixing up genres. I’m surprised I don’t see more of it still. But YES. It is nearly impossible to market because the industry is set to standards/genre. I couldn’t get Traun signed anywhere although the people at the label liked the music.

Is there any genre of music that you enjoy playing the most?

Death metal and jazz or fusion.

You seem to have a very broad taste in music.  What types of music do you listen to?  And what are some of your favorite bands/artists?

Meshuggah, Cynic, Dimmu, 80’s music. I do have a varied taste. I like the differences in musical genres and what they offer to the imagination. People usually can’t take my itunes library shuffle without becoming distracted or getting a surreal look on their face.