April 13, 2024

‘Click Interview’ with Flowers For Bodysnatchers: ‘Doing An Album Based On My Personal Experiences With Ms Was A Tough Decision’

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Flowers For Bodysnatchers is a solo-project set up in 2011 by Australian artist Duncan Ritchie. The rather weird name of the project is actually the combination of two Radiohead song titles, which Duncan Ritchie explains as ‘when I was starting the project up I was listening to a lot of Radiohead and, as I was writing down ideas on how I wanted the project name to come across to people I found I had subconsciously written down two song titles and combined them together. I had also watched the film “Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers” at the time and, it all seemed rather fortuitous so I stuck with it’. Next to several self-released (digital) productions, Flowers For Bodysnatchers also achieved four official full length albums all released by Cryo Chamber. His latest opus “Alive With Scars” became a very personal one, which also is a poignant exposure of dark-ambient- and cinematographic music mixed with neo-classic arrangements.

(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries )

Q: You clearly are a prolific artist so where does this creativity come from and what are your main sources of inspiration? 

Duncan: I don’t believe creativity ‘comes’ from anywhere in particular. Everyone is creative just to different extents. If I’m not doing something creative virtually all the time I’d go mad and I don’t just mean musically. I’m creating ideas even when I’m relaxing. Just letting my mind wander and seeing what it finds. I’m inspired a lot by my surroundings, I love hiking especially at night when others wouldn’t. The idea of being alone in the woods and the feeling of being isolated in such a large expanse is inspiring. You can get the same feeling in large cities like Tokyo where I use to live. Being alone in a sea of millions of people.

Q: Your work is always based upon a conceptual theme. Are there some particular criteria to chose a concept and do you handle a specific procedure to transpose the themes into sound? 

Duncan: My work always centers around people, the tales they have and the way they interact with their environment. In turn the building block for all my music is field recording that environment, whether or not it’s obvious in the finished track depends on the evolution of the track as it’s produced. 

Q: Your new album “Alive With Scars” definitely sounds like your most personal and intimate work to date and that’s for sure because of the concept dealing about a terrible disease: multiple sclerosis. What do you want to tell about it? 

Duncan: A few years ago I was myself diagnosed with MS and at the time was informed I had most likely had early onset MS for some years before that. So as of now I’ve had the disease for at least 10 years. My music is a great way to express the feelings I’ve had associated with the disease but, doing an album based on my personal experiences with MS was a tough decision. 

Q: Music just like any other artistic exposure can often become a kind of cure and/or therapy. I guess it’s not that different for you so what does music really mean to you? 

Duncan: With any form of artist expression I think the therapeutic effect comes from losing track of time. One moment it’s early morning the next you look out your window and it’s dark again. Getting so lost and involved in your creativity makes all the meaningless troubles in your life that shouldn’t have any effect on you in the first place just vanish. And music is very important in my life but, it’s not everything. 

Q: There always has been a kind of neo-classic touch mixed with the darker-ambient and cinematic side of your work. Can you give us more details about your sound approach and the way of working? 

Duncan: I find that building tracks on field recording inspires the piano movements or string arrangements that appear in some tracks. The field recording helps maintain the atmosphere of the original environment it was recorded in and, the often melancholic neo-classical arrangements mimic that atmosphere. It gets me into that headspace I need to compose and, that works also for the darker electronic and industrial pieces.

Q: Most of the artists from the Cryo Chamber roster are often working together on different kinds of albums and conceptual releases, but it seems you’re less involved with these productions. How come and what do you think about these kind of productions?  

Duncan: It’s great that everyone’s so close at Cryo Chamber and working on collaborative pieces and helping each other out. I do a little work with other artists on the label (and off label) but not much. I appear on all but one of the Lovecraft series of albums and did one album “Locus Arcadia” with three others a few years ago. It in the end it comes down to time and for me musically it’s spent helping film makers score short films or even lending a hand with Hollywood big shots.

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Inferno Sound Diaries
I have been working for over 30 years with Side-line as the main reviewer. My taste is eclectic, uncoventional and I prefer to look for the pearls, even if the bands are completely unknown, thus staying loyal to the Side-Line philosophy of nurturing new talents.

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