Hi how you are today and where are you?

I'm at home editing a video for Where Do You Go?  It’s off the new album and it's coming together. 

How did Stratus get together and become a band? 

Martin and I worked at Milo recording studios in Hoxton in the mid 90s - he was a sound engineer and recorded some tracks for my label Fragments under the alias Jackal. We collaborated on a few other bits and then we did a remix for someone that didn't get used so we stripped away their parts and re-worked it -  the end result was Uplink, our debut track as Stratus. 


What does being a musician mean to you, does it feel like you are living the dream?


I'm never happier than when inspiration hits and I'm writing new material but after years of doing it I know that when you're in the musical doldrums you just have to wait it out... and that the pub is not necessarily the best place to search for the muse. 


How easy is it to fund the recording of an album and do you think that organisations like Pledge Music and Kickstarter are the way forward when getting a record made?


It depends on the nature of the release - with a small budget we can't record strings at Abbey Road or hire an original Mellotron for a recording but we can do an awful lot more inside the box now. Sometimes limitations can be an advantage - if you only have one day in the studio to put drums on five tracks you just go and get it done. Have a week to play with and you might waste a day fiddling about with mic placement or knock off early for a swift one. I've never looked at those sites for fund-raising - sure they're probably great resources but thus far if we need budget for a release we go and work the day jobs.




Your new record seems to cover all points from Kraftwerk to Sigur ros ….  Where is that influence coming from?


Our record collections are pretty expansive so our influences are many - it could be private press psych oddities, early synth stuff, library music, cosmic rock.. all sorts really. 'Breathing soul into circuitry' was how we described the early Fragments releases and that pretty much nails it.. emotive electronic music combined with warped acoustics, analogue warmth, the anomalies of a space echo.. a bit of air through the mix, some fuzz and distortion - nothing too pristine or cold. We like melancholia and we like minor chords but we're not shoe-gazing miserabilists.


Was there a major shift in the approach taken or instruments used when recording the second album, over your first?


We sampled a lot of stuff on the first album.. we threw a lot more into the mix to see if it would stick - a melodica here, an autoharp there, weird loops, found sound and dubs all over the place. I think the second album is more considered - we knew the sound we were aiming for earlier in the process, the songs are better crafted and the production is definitely up a notch or two. 


With the Olympics just over, are there any tracks on the new record that could be used as a soundtrack for a Paralympics event?


I suppose Into the Fields is the most driving, energetic track on the album so think I think it would work best. Depends though - a good editor might throw in something slower and work some magic. 

Where was your first show and your last and what are the memories also, where would you most like to play?


We haven't played live as Stratus so there ends that line of inquiry. It's a studio project - we'd need a rather large band to perform live and thus far it hasn't been feasible. Don't really want to be triggering 48 tracks off a laptop and simulating a live experience - who knows.. it may happen but right now it's all about writing album #3.


Is there any advice you can give to new bands just taking their first steps into the music industry from what you have experienced so far?


Don't sign away your rights to the first person that promises you the moon. Do it for the love of the music - recognition and money are by-products not goals.  


Back in the Seventies bands would have a few bottles of Jack Daniels on stage with them; today it all seems to be water. What are you guys Whisky, Water or?????


I'm known to appreciate decent single malt but I've never written a decent song while drunk so go figure!




Stratus Music is available  with a free download from Bandcamp & facebook


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