As alt-rock outfit Disorder releases a brand new collaborative single entitled At The Door, we talk with them about their creative process, networking, their immense work output throughout a locked down 2020, and plenty more. Here’s the conversation in full.
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Hi guys, thanks for the interview – and huge congrats for the brilliant new single. For those who don’t know, how and when did Disorder come to be?
Machi-ei: Disorder has been very much an experiment in songwriting and collaboration from the start. I kind of reached a point where I could no longer see much validity in an old fashioned rock n roll band mythos – bunch of friends getting together, writing these amazing songs and then going on to play this music live to a great success and so on… The idea with Disorder was centered around having singular vision when it comes to aesthetic and songwriting but also making it a very free-form collaborative effort in a sense that Disorder is whoever plays on a particular track. No hard line-up, no structure or faces attached to the project rather than a certain feeling, sound and visual language. I wanted to create a vessel through which not only I, personally, can express whatever comes to me, but also a platform for other artists to collaborate on while keeping it ever-changing.
What was the creative process like for At The Door, and what does the song mean to you?
Most of my writing is very ‘automatic’ if you will. I do believe music is not something that gets ‘generated’ inside of me but rather is being lent to me from another place. I see myself almost as a radio receiving the messages that spirits want to be materialized in this world in form of words and sounds. So it’s not like I sit down and go ‘ok let’s write a song today in E major, 5/6 that goes like this…’ and start composing around a concept . I usually I hear the song fully formed in my head, it’s just a matter of sitting down and mapping it out on guitar and other instruments and figuring out what it is and what it means. It’s a very subconscious and intuitive process. Sorry if this sounds crazy pretentious!
How did you connect with multi-Grammy nominated producer Billy Bush, and what did his skills bring out in the track?
When the time came for mixing I was looking at different producers both from London and abroad and I ended sending the track to few of them and getting some offers. Yet, I still wasn’t really convinced so I went back and asked myself, ‘if I could have anyone work on the track, who would it be?’ I came up with this list of dream producers and started to look at my option. Now, most of these guys are either impossible to rach if you don’t have a label representing you or are just too busy to work on any project for the foreseeable future, so I was slowly starting to loose hope and preparing to settle for whoever I’d have on hand. So reaching out to the agency representing Billy I had no expectations whatsoever. I was very surprised when his manager got back to me within a day; apparently Billy listened to a track and liked it enough to want to work on it. So it appears that sometimes you just have to dream big and every now and then it all pays off if you’re bold enough to pursue it and take your chances!
Billy has an amazing ear, he really is interested in negotiating the artists original vision and how he hears the song. However, what I admire about him the most is, he is very bold and not afraid to make adventurous stylistic choices. Hard panning, distortion, the overall structure of the mix; he has a great sense of balance when it comes to pure power and ear candy. I do find contemporary rock music very boring and Billy has worked as producer and mixer on some of the most exciting records of the last decade so I couldn’t imagine anyone better suited to taking on this song.
What about songwriter Jim Collett of London’s Vanity Tapes, how did you meet and what did these sessions light up for you?
We ‘met’ in a very 2021 fashion, over the internet. I have written 15 songs in February and was looking for someone who’d be interested in writing and performing bass on them, so I posted an old-fashioned ad and Jim was the one to reply. Upon hearing his music with Vanity Tapes I immediately knew he has the right sensibility and taste to tackle the songs I had been working on. I had no doubt his parts would enrich them and take them to a place I couldn’t have just by myself. In that sense our collaboration was very easy and natural, despite being purely remote due to UK wide lockdown.
There’s a strong hit of nineties nostalgia to this grungy, distorted yet addictively melodic sound – Who were your inspirations, and is there much of a scene for this kind of rock in London right now (prior to Covid I mean)?
I was always fascinated with songwriters who have a strong sense of melody – in my head, marrying heaviness and distortion with memorable progressions, vocal lines is the secret sauce. I feel in the 90s a lot of grunge music was JUST heavy, there were few songwriters who actually could make it hard hitting AND pretty. Billy Corgan, Kurt Cobain, J Masnics or Bob Mould come to mind. The solo was greatly inspired by a minimalistic style the emphasizes ‘feel’ over technicality of such guitarists as great John Frusciante, Adrian Belew or Bernard Sumner.
I don’t think there is much of a scene for rock music anywhere in the world at the moment haha outside of maybe punk, as it always been niche and very much communal thing. But then again, I do believe there’s a comeback in store for rock n roll, one way or the other, hopefully not that far on the horizon. I listen to every genre of music; I adore hip hop, avantgarde jazz, all kinds of EDM as well as contemporary classical music HOWEVER, I still think there’s not a single sound on the planet that’s more revolutionary and earth shattering than Stratocaster going into a cranked Marshall amp. Hopefully sometime soon masses will be reintroduced to it in some shape or form. If ‘At the Door’ can contribute to that, then all my dreams will come true.
2020 was a big year for you, despite the industry struggles. 30 brand new songs emerged in the form of 6 EPs. How did such a massive work output affect your creativity, and do you think it’s helped your sound to be so fully immersed in the song-writing and studio process?
When the first lockdown started I was dead set on not letting this time go to waste by procrastinating. I always had a certain ease with writing music so I decided to just do that, record and release it as I go. To not be too protective of myself and my artistry, just take those risks and see where this road takes me with all the challenges, imperfections and so on.
So yes, in a way, last year was a perfect storm for me creatively, despite all the suffering and struggles that were happening in other aspects of mine, and everyone else’s lives.
What’s a favourite lyric you’ve written in the past year, and why?
‘I was made in place of a sign
That leads to a place I’d never go myself’
It’s from a song that’s unreleased for now. I feel music we create as artists means stuff to us but ultimately is only complete when the audience engages with it. Whatever you hear in a song when you listen to it is so much bigger than whoever has written and recorded it. I can come up with all those guitar parts, lyrics and vocal lines but the place they take you is beyond anything I could have ever imagined and I am nothing next to it.
What’s next for you – more writing, live shows, further collaborations?
I am not sure about live shows just yet, I wouldn’t commit to doing them until I am 100% sure they are safe for everyone involved. At the moment the cases are surging in UK so it really depends where everything goes from here on now. As I’ve mentioned before I started this year writing 15 songs of which ‘At The Door’ is one, I am planning to select 6 strongest ones and record them to release an EP sometime in the next couple of months. And yes, definitely more collaborations, whatever comes my way!
Is there anything else we should know?
Music is the greatest force in the universe, and in the face of all of our daily struggles and suffering if we can go to a temple inside of our hearts and from that place listen to a song that touches us deeply, then we are truly free, no matter of circumstances.
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