“Crossing the Divide” is the second album by New York based experimental trio The Benzene Ring, released in November last year. It’s a demanding experience which once fully revealed presents a band that offers a lot.
I talked with singer, drummer and guitarist Jeff Aldrich.
Alright, first thing is first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?
Life is good! It’s winter here in Brooklyn, which is beautiful and also freezing cold. We just finished a new photo shoot for the album after an enormous snowstorm that hit the east coast of the U.S.
Speaking of new music, you have an album called “Crossing the Divide”. What can people expect from it?
A dense, artistic, thoughtful, emotional journey.
What was it like working on the album?
We used sort of a strange, formal process for composing Crossing the Divide, beginning with a narrative story, which was dreamed up by all members. Then for each “chapter” of this narrative, one single band member would write a structural blueprint/map to inform the musical composition. Next, two other members would compose a musical skeleton around this map and musical themes posing as “characters” from the story. Finally the entire band would then flesh out that musical skeleton, bringing back musical themes from other chapters when narratively relevant.
Are there any touring plans in support to “Crossing the Divide”?
No immediate touring plans. We’ve been locked in our home studios for the last few years laboring over this thing, but we’re getting back into the rehearsal studio and looking to start performing again in 2016.
While we are on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?
Everywhere! We’d love to play in Japan and Eastern Europe.
Who and what inspires you the most?
Too much to list! We definitely all grew up on a steady diet of 90s alt rock: Radiohead, Tool, Sunny Day Real Estate, Soundgarden, Hum, Nine Inch Nails. Also 20th century classical: Stravinsky, Bartok, Ligetti. And of course lots of prog and experimental rock heroes: early 70s Yes, Rush, Kayo Dot, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Scott Walker, Mars Volta, Mr Bungle.
What other genres of music do you listen to? Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?
Lots! Aphex Twin. P-funk. Kendrick Lamar. Phish. 50s and 60s jazz. The films of David Lynch. We draw influences from all over the map.