Brisbane experimental band Therein have been active since 2011, and so far the band released an album titled “Nobelium” (2013), which is scheduled for re-release with additional songs. Guitarist and singer Cameron Whelan answered our questions.
How did you go about forming Therein?
It fell together surprisingly easy. I moved to Brisbane to recruit people for Therein, and I was introduced to Kned (drums) through a mutual friend. Then I met our old bassist Krishan at uni. Shortly after, Ryan (guitar) joined as he happened to be studying with Kned and was keen on some Prog.
What does the band’s name represent and how is it connected with the music you create?
I think it can represent whatever you want it to represent. The name Therein originally stemmed from the idea of creating music that I would want to hear, as well as the desire to create something that I could share a thought or idea through. Even after Therein graduated from a project to a full band, I like to think that is still the case.
Describe the music of Therein.
Sometimes patient, sometimes manic. Every song has it’s own personality, which brings a bit of unpredictability. But I think it’s that sort of biodiversity that creates the overall picture of Therein.
More specifically, it sounds like a metal band taking a leaf from progressive rock’s book and invading other styles of music.
Tell me about the complexities of creating your debut album Nobelium.
Having basically no budget and limited time and resources made the initial recording of Nobelium a bit of a mission. It also meant that we had to keep the whole production process within the band which caused a lot of extra work for ourselves – which personally I think was a good thing. It kept us on our toes and really helped us to appreciate the effort that goes into these things. We also had to narrow down what tracks we wanted to record, as our live repetoire featured more songs than we wanted to release at the time.
You’ve recently re-released Nobelium, with batch of new songs. What can you tell me about these “new” songs?
Much like most of Nobelium, they’re all very different songs that still manage to make sense under the Therein banner. Comprehension was actually among the first songs we worked on when we first came together. It was put aside and reworked a little before eventually resurfacing live and in the studio. The most notable addition is the flute and Indian Classical singing provided by my friend Anuradha Keerawella. “Samual’s Reel” was an acoustic piece arranged by Ryan about a guy fishing on a stream, having a few drinks, and getting into a brawl. It was brought to the band to fill out the instrumentation and transform it into the song it is now. “The Triune Brain” is an interesting one, it’s our second ever song to feature a chorus (the first being “Audacious Erotica”). It’s an intense piece of music filled with metric modulation and musings on the human brain. It’s also the only “normal” death metal song on Nobelium!
Do you have any clues or ideas how the next Therein album will sound like? I know that you are working on new material, how far are you from completing the writing process?
We are right in the middle of it. We’re currently recording songs, finishing songs, and starting new ones. Busy times! Nobelium covered a fair bit of ground stylistically and I feel this next release will as well, just not in the same way. Plenty of big ideas in the works. As for what it will sound like? It’s hard to say, but it will certainly be an adventure.
Where do you draw your inspiration from, and how do you channel it?
Depends on the song, and the subject matter. It can be real life events, fictional stories, science, a challenge, or even just a neat musical idea. It’s difficult to pin down exactly where inspiration comes from. We mostly approach songs individually before bringing them to the band, so I can’t speak for the other guys. But I think giving ourselves the freedom to explore any idea that we like opens up many possible ways to channel that inspiration.
What does your studio and live setups look like?
Our live and studio setups are pretty much the same. Though, in the studio you have the option to try a different amp or whatever at any given time. Myself and Ryan run very different rigs, but I think the combined sound works really well. He runs a Line 6 combo, and I run a Peavey stack. Ryan’s effects are run through his Line 6 set up, whereas mine are in a more traditional pedalboard set up featuring pedals from Boss, Strymon, Way Huge, and a little company called Gojira Pedals. Kned uses Pearl drums and Sabian cymbals. He also has the fattest snare in the world and some sick roto-toms. I could talk endlessly about gear, maybe we should do a segment on it?
Name five albums that had huge impact on the musical direction of Therein.
Some might seem more obvious then others, but:
- Dream Theater – Train of Thought
- Opeth – Watershed
- Frank Zappa – Does Humor Belong in Music?
- Tom Waits – Alice
- So Fresh Hits of Summer 2003
What are some modern progressive metal bands that you find interesting?
Haken, Ihsahn, Ulver, The Aristocrats (if they count), Virgil Donati’s solo stuff, Between the Buried and Me, Gojira, Weightless in Orbit, Red bee.