Dear friends, the latest full-length "Kontinuum" by the Czech alternative post-rock ambience makers Tengri was unleashed last week, which brings us to the latest installment of our "talks" series, which is all about this album and its authors. Enjoy!
TENGRI: We recorded the Kontinuum album ourselves. Even studio session and post-production are creative and very fulfilling activities
In early June, the Prague-based label MetalGate release both visually and musically captivating vinyl full-length. Entitled Kontinuum, it is the latest opus by the post-rock act Tengri. We discussed it with the band guitarist Jarda.
Your new album Kontinuum was released on a beautiful collector’s vinyl. Are you happy with it?
Certainly. It is a beautiful format indeed. For those collectors who want a physical copy of an album, the vinyl is these days most likely the very most enjoyable medium. Even for the artist himself it gives more space for creativity. All in all, it is a very nice feeling to have the album out!
On this new piece, you once again navigate the waters of post-rock. Is it a genre you feel most comfortable in, both as musicians and as composers?
To us it does not matter what style we play, but if it is necessary to put us in some category for whatever reason, then we have nothing against being labeled a post-rock band, though some may perceive this particular “box” quite pejoratively. The music we do is one that we like and enjoy, and those are at the same time our only artistic ambitions. If that meets the definition of post-rock, then I suppose we are post-rockers by nature.
After the split with Drom, I would expect greater incorporation of vocals into your music, but the new album is once again purely instrumental…
Using vocals on the split with Drom was for the most part very much spontaneous and motivated by our desire to try it out. When playing live we do not use vocals at all, and we wanted to stay true to that on the recording as well. That said, our musical future is unpredictable in this regard.
When you say instrumental rock music, many would imagine long passages of guitar solos and other such musical showing-offs. Your approach however is quite the opposite with the emphasis on atmosphere. Is it difficult to write an instrumental track that can keep the listener’s attention?
We are happy that we are able to play what we should play, so we can kiss any musical showing-offs goodbye. Fortunately, there is no appeal for us in those. You can still have goosebumps even from a primitive music. And how to write instrumental music that can keep the listener’s attention? We do not have a recipe to that. There are many whom we can bore to death, while others may enjoy themselves. When the music resonates in us, we believe that someone else will find a way to it as well, though we do not expect loads of fans.
The artwork of Kontinuum was done again by Marie Fišerová. Have you found in her a kindred artistic soul that fits into your concept?
Maybe you could say that, though she is also our friend, who knows us and likes what we do. Working with her is really smooth and we also give her a lot of artistic freedom. I think we understand each other.
You recorded the album yourself. Why did you decide so?
The answer is very simple: we enjoy it. Not only composing, but also even the studio sessions and post-production are creative and very fulfilling activities. We are content with never being able to reach a top-notch quality, as well as with not being able to avoid tuns of mistakes, for which however we answer only to ourselves. You could say that what matters more to us is the path to the outcome rather than the outcome itself.
We are living in times that are not really cheerful. Are the events of the last two year in any way reflected in your new music?
While we can say about the times not being really cheerful, it is not the times that are responsible for our moods or for what goes on in our heads. We create that ourselves. Times are what they are, one cannot change them, but can do little things/deeds to change oneself and what goes on around him for the better. The point here is that Kontinuum does not reflect the times, but rather us alone.
In hindsight, how do you see today the split with Drom?
Great coop with our friends from Drom. Also, great and pleasant dealings with Marie and with MetalGate. So, we were delighted that we could do a repeat. Last but not least, we learned a lot from making this split, which then proved useful when making our new full-length.
I feel humility and love for music from Tengri. At the same time, I can see you as a jolly band of friends who play together mostly because they enjoy each other’s company. What do you think?
Thanks for such kind words. As I mentioned before, we have no other ambitions than enjoy music together. We do like each other’s company, though at times we can get at each other’s nerves, which I suppose is normal. We feel best when we can set aside our egos and thoughts and just live through the music.