Comprised of Alex Paul (guitar), Brian Luttrell (guitar), and Jeremy Dingman (drums), Girih made significant strides towards improving and evolving their sound, and the new effort “Ikigai” is not merely a continuation of their impressive capabilities; it is an evolutionary progression in every tangible facet of their artistry. So, let’s get carried away in their creative process and discover what exactly this new album, “Ikigai” is all about.
Hi! For starters, can you briefly introduce your project and when or where it was been founded? Who was involved?
We are a New Hampshire-based three-piece band called Girih. We started with just two of us, Brian and Alex, and soon later found Jeremy to fill out the percussion and only then started our writing. We went about things a bit backward, recording our first album with only a couple of shows under our belt, trying to arrive with a complete package for the audience.
What first drew you to post-metal, what artists inspired you?
Our foundations come from all different avenues and musical backgrounds, but we thought that we could deliver a great arrangement of sounds and compositions while approaching the genre from a new perspective. A focus was always placed on trimming the fat of tracks, to keep songs interesting to fans of the genre and people who aren’t familiar with post-metal.
With our new album, we completely revamped our way of playing together.
What would you say about your music to someone who has never heard it before?
There are levels to this answer:
If it’s your grandmother or someone not familiar with the rock/metal world we would say “classical music song structures with rock instrumentation.”
If the person is vaguely familiar with rock music we would say “it’s like Tool without vocals”. We are fully aware that is not true but it’s the only thing we can think of for the mainstream rock fan.
If the person is in the know, we would say it’s like all of our favorite aspects about Russian Circles, Mono, Sigur Rós, Caspian, and TWDY in one band. At least that’s what we strive for.
What were the main creative challenges you had to face? How have they changed over time?
The main challenge when we first started the band was to make a three-piece band sound massive. We were able to achieve this through live looping and stereo amp setups for both guitarists. With our new album, we completely revamped our way of playing together. We started playing to a click and also began experimenting with midi. This unlocked all new possibilities for us and heavily influenced the writing of the music itself.
Please tell us a little bit about your upcoming album, “Ikigai”. What is the message you’re trying to convey with this release?
We have always made it a point to not include a specific message in music. We chose instrumental music, and in particular the name “Girih” because it is subjectless art. It is far more impactful, we think, to allow the listener to form their own interpretation without influence from us. There is an overarching theme with each album, but really it is up to the consumer to create their own meaning from it.
When it comes to producing new music, where do you find inspiration?
Since we don’t use vocals in our music we have to rely on how our 3 instruments interact with each other. We focus on how we can create moods and emotions through interwoven layers and ambiance. All the music is created with us in the practice space reacting to what someone is playing and from there we will keep building and refining. We eventually have to give ourselves a deadline by booking studio time, otherwise, we would work on the songs forever.
Do you deem there are similarities you can pull between the world of “Ikigai” and the world we live in nowadays?
Absolutely, the world we live in is filled with moments of beauty and also brutality. I think the same could be said for our new album.
Which song is unquestionably your favorite from “Ikigai” and why?
It changes all the time but right now I’d say ‘The Door.‘ The way this song came together was really cool. After sending Mike Moschetto (Producer/Engineer) song demos for a few months; he came up to New Hampshire to hear us perform our new album in person. As he heard this song for the first time, you could see the wheels turning in his head.
Once we finished he immediately started sharing his vision for the production and sound design of the track. A few months later we were in the studio to record the album. We had our friends John Snyder (on Violin) and Nick Greico (on Cello) perform the song to add to the eerie vibe of the song. Combined with Mike’s original vision I think this is the most unique and experimental track on the album.
Instead of traditional song structures, we try to take listeners on a journey.
What role does experimentation play in a band’s success?
It really allows the music to reach its full potential by allowing new avenues for creativity. It’s hard enough to write impactful music by itself, so pushing the boundaries opens up doors to create something truly unique.
Do you like pushing your own musical boundaries if they exist?
Of course! We definitely feel like we achieved a new level with our songwriting and composition with this album. We added a lot of elements that weren’t present on “Eigengrau”: we had several guest musicians bring their talents to the mix, our drummer bought a custom drum kit, and different cymbals, and even built a gong drum specifically to fit the new sounds we were creating. We also experimented with a huge variety of different guitar pedals and amps to really get the sound that we wanted.
What do you know to be true of the world and how is this truth expressed through your art?
The only truth we know is that the world and life are unpredictable. We try to express the same in our music. Instead of traditional song structures, we try to take listeners on a journey.
Do you believe it’s difficult to come up with something unique that sets you apart from other bands/ projects nowadays?
Yes, it is difficult because all music is derived from what came before it. However, what makes a project unique is how the individual influences and playing styles of the musicians react to each other to create something special.
When you are not busy creating, which other artists do you follow or listen to?
Shakira. She’s amazing.
What are the main aims and objectives for Girih in the future?
Keep on doing what we do and sharing our weird art with the world.
Follow GIRIH on:
Facebook | Instagram | Website | Spotify
Band photos: (c) Mariah LaVache