After seeing We Be the Echo play this last Sunday, I caught up with drummer Ilk after the show and asked him if he’d do 10 Quick Questions with us. He and guitarist Graeme Nichols answered our questions. After reading, be sure to clear your schedule for this Friday night and catch the band at the Hemlock in San Francisco as they celebrate the release of the new album.
SP: Tell us a brief history of the band.
Graeme: We’ve been playing in this incarnation for 4-5 years, having emerged from a murky past of hardcore punk, post-rock improv and teenage metal.
Ilk: Our new album “MASKS” (coming out this Friday) is our second full-length, and we’ve also released two EPs. We’ve toured both coasts and the Midwest, and will be in Europe this summer to spread the mayhem worldwide.
SP: Where does the name come from?
Graeme: The name comes from a gravestone. We received instructions in the form of voices emanating from the said gravestone that instructed us to form the band and call it We Be The Echo. From thenceforth we were instructed to bring about ‘sonic disembowelment’ and ‘face-melt’.
SP: Did you ever consider a vocalist?
Ilk: …asks the drunkest guy in the venue after every show! Never really considered a vocalist. We all like instrumental music. Our music has been described as three lead instruments all competing for space. Not sure where the vocals would even go– there’s probably too much going on already! Plus the vocalist is usually the most polarizing part of a band– you either love or hate the sound of their voice.
SP: Explain any struggles you may have describing your band to others.
Ilk: For starters, why we have no vocals!
Graeme: I just tell people we are a ‘self indulgent rock band’. Or words to that effect. It’s not worth getting into the intricacies of the evolution of music for those who can’t see past MTV and Rolling Stone magazine.
SP: How do you push the evolution of your sound?
Ilk: It’s nothing pre-meditated, our brains are just cracked and the music comes out like that. We do have non-standard time-signatures, but they don’t seem odd to us. It’s always strange when people assume we write out sheet music and our practices are tedious. We don’t write anything down– we just do what feels right. We all come from punk/HC backgrounds. High energy is more important to us than being super-tech.
SP: What are your favorite places to play?
Ilk: In SF, the Hemlock, Bottom of the Hill. El Rio is always cool. The Smell in LA is always amazing. The Cakeshop in NYC and Lemp Arts in St. Louis. Nottingham Co-op in Madison, Wisconsin was a pretty cool unusual spot. Any show is awesome if the people are into it.
SP: What are some goals you have for the future of your band?
Graeme: Goals? To keep the sonic disembowelment at a maximum.
SP: What are your favorite guilty pleasures?
Ilk: As a band? Playing goofy pop songs and TV themes, I guess. Though we have no shame about that– we bust those out at shows all the time. If it’s a new one, we probably learned it on a lark the day before.
SP: Who are you listening to now that you’d like everyone to know about?
SP: You have a new album coming out this week. Sell our readers on it. (Is the Knight Rider theme song on it?)
Ilk: Our second full-length and most realized recording yet. 30+ minutes of cracked instrumental music all over the map. Everything from moody ambient glitchy “Droid Poem” to the all-out metal of “MC WarHammer” to the ska-shred of “Miles Davis Dials Mavis” and everything in between. Sorry, no Knight Rider– though we’ve got some secret plans in the works for some covers!