Interview with Aaron Turner of Isis: Radiating Energy

Well I was also taking it from the perspective of vocals really. Do it feel like you have more to say with this record? I know that sounds silly, but did you just feel like you had a greater sense of integration because it was removed from the jam aspect that you were like ‘I’ve got to sing here’ and ‘I’m not gonna sing here’ and had this idea of whatever your structure was gonna be with the song whether it was A-B-A-B, etc?

I don’t think that it was that premeditated. The vocal parts are always basically structured around the song because the songs are already somewhat complete. I will say that I wrote a great deal more material than lyrics ended up being culled from and having more material to draw from I think, went to a greater ratio of vocals to music. So I guess in a way I did have more to say. Part of it was unintentional but also I felt like, again it’s really my confidence as a vocalist that perhaps I could push myself a little more and try to come up with different arrangements and perhaps more densely populated songs. Again, you know, the songs are not dominated by vocals but perhaps there’s a greater emphasis placed on that now. It felt like a lot of work, and it’s all very frustrating at times but listening back to the record and now working on the songs to prepare them for upcoming tours I feel like it was the right thing to have done.

In The Absence Of Truth featured, if I’m not wrong, some programmed drum parts that seems to have largely disappeared. Is there any reason for that?

There were actually no programmed drums on In The Absence Of Truth, there were actually some drum synth pads that were used, and I guess that’s a question that would be better put to Aaron [Harris] since he’s the one who’s in charge of all that stuff. But I guess he felt that that wasn’t necessary this time around and I guess there were so many other elements that were being added to the songs that seemed unnecessary.

On the other hand, again we’re talking about the palette. Keyboards make a number of appearances particularly Rhodes on a number of songs. That in general seems like a lot of wizardry on Michael’s part, yeah?

I think that again, I hate to be repetitive, but it’s an issue of confidence. I think, very often that Cliff [Meyer] had sort of felt like the elements that he was contributing, as far as keyboards were concerned, were supposed to be the underpinnings to the rest of the music, the rest of the instrumentation, that they were supposed to be supportive rather than made a part. I think that one thing that’s been good for us is our development has been learning to create space for each other. Even though our music is really dense, a lot of the time we’ve tried to carve our areas were, you know, one or two people can have a bit more room to breathe. I think that was what happened with this record in terms of the keyboards, we allowed them to take more of the center stage from time to time, and I think Cliff felt better about his parts and therefore was more assertive in terms of how they were placed in the mix and what actual instruments were used for the individual parts. We had more stuff at our disposal in the various studios we were working in so all the elements helped to bring that much to the floor too.