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Sirens Of Light, elegant gothic rock inspired of human experiences | Interview

Re-introducing The Sirens Of Light. An interesting conversation with  Andy J. Davies and James P. Quinn.

I have to be honest , I wasn't aware of the Sirens Of Light until last summer when I accidentally discovered their track with my name on. Their pure , classic , elegant Gothic sound instantly fascinated me. I had to learn more about them and certainly listen to more of their work. It was the time when we had our first communication and was able to find out their interesting story.

The concept for the band ,which was originally formed in spring 2004 by Andy J. Davies and James P. Quinn, first emerged after a tour they had both been part of. It came as a result of their mutual love for dramatic, romantic, poetic music based in the darker side of the human condition. When you first listen to their sounds lots of beloved artists will come to mind as their influences are quite apparent. To give you a hint I'll name a few: Sisters of mercy, Bauhaus, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie.

Let's get to know them better... Multi-talented Andy J. Davies , the band's vocalist,is also a musician, guitarist, songwriter, producer and recording engineer. Always innovative and on the wilder, darker side of the music industry,he could undoubtedly be a band on his own, still he found his perfect match in James P.Quinn , an exceptionally skilled musician, guitarist and songwriter. Having worked on many different projects and on various genres,his music experience is priceless. Creating a dark sonic landscape for Andy J.Davies,it seems like the two of them make a well balanced , efficient duo , ready to unveil their talent for the pleasure of our listening experience. Nullus Margis Gothica MMXXI is their album's name and I'd like to share with you its interesting story. Initially released in 2005,but very limitedly nevertheless. It was meant to be a traditional goth album which would take the listener on a journey through an emotional soundscape through the dark , mysterious and macabre.

After a while copies of it were impossible to find and even the recordings followed the same path to oblivion. It was only 16 years later when the recordings were discovered by chance that the idea of resurrecting Nullus Margis Gothica was born again. It was time for the band to regain the lost time and for us to finally enjoy this work of art. It definitely needed a lot of effort to update the sound and give it a more modern edge,but that would be no issue for such talented musicians. Finally,on November 8th the phoenix rose from its ashes and is available for us to purchase and sink into the Gothic brilliance of its sound.
I'm very happy to welcome Andy and James to Elektrospank and have a chat with them about their whole experience and their work.

ES: Reading about the recording of the album back in 2004, an almost mystical atmosphere is pictured in my mind. Minimal equipment in a medieval church, how Gothic is that!! It's really surprising to me that the initial release was so limited and obviously not particularly supported at that time. What factors resulted in this?

James: There were a few factors. OK, so we’re a couple of musicians who know what we are doing when it comes to writing and recording, but when it comes to what happens afterwards and marketing, I don’t think we really had much of a clue. A big factor was also of life getting in the way and work commitments to the point that I (James) stopped doing music entirely for several years while I pursued a separate business. When I did come back to doing music, we were both involved in different projects, but Nullus was always in the back of our minds so when the time was right and the stars were aligned it was destined to make a return.

ES: I can imagine how exciting it must have been to give life to this vision you had and how the loss of all this material left you disappointed. Makes me wonder how you felt when you accidentally discovered the lost recordings and how fast was the decision made to bring it back to life?

James: Well, one of the things that we wanted to do was to modernise the sound somewhat, but that would have been impossible without the original masters. So, imagine my surprise when the original masters reappeared...That then set plans in motion.
Andy: It was a complete accident that I found them…I was actually looking for previous music I had produced for other bands for a different purpose. I had thought the masters were long gone and disappeared into the eather in one studio move or another across the years, but they were there, on a long forgotten hard drive at the bottom of a draw in my office! A couple of tracks were incomplete …drums missing on one and one track missing entirely, but otherwise, everything was intact…couldn't believe it!.

ES: Your influences are obvious and I think this is always positive for a band, because it helps people orientate and instantly realise if it's sth they may be interested in.if you had the chance to collaborate with any artist,old or new ,dead or alive,who would it be and what makes this artist so special?

Andy: There are so many…..if I can choose only one, I think it would have to be David Bowie. I think his versatility, his ability to combine theatrics with his music and the sheer quality of his song writing are all second to none. He was always ahead of his time and was never afraid to do something completely different. A great artist and performer and a huge influence on me for many years from an early age.

ES: It's undeniable that lyrics are quite important for a track as people usually seek songs to identify with their thoughts and feelings. What's the source of your inspiration when writing ?

Andy: My inspiration and subject matter come from loads of places….conversations, films, books, musical ideas, people, experiences, concepts, history, current events and mostly the expierience of being a human being experiencing these things.

ES: There are 3 tracks on the album about women : "Justine" (The heart breaker),"Maria" ( The strong woman) and "The Siren of Light"( The seductress) . 3 different aspects of the multi dimensional woman's nature. What inner need led you to this extended reference to the feminine power ?

Andy: I wouldn't use the word need….it's more of an observation really…these archetypes of the feminine have existed since time, I think in modern western culture, women underestimate their power and influence and I find that interesting and that's what I mean when I say it's an observation…both on a micro and macro level. I'd like to see more women realise their power and step into it…I get the impression modern feminism sees there is a fight to be won, but I think that, when women step into their power, there is and possibly never has been, a fight to win - there are numerous examples throughout history of extremely powerful and influential women during eras when, apparently, women were way more oppressed than in modern times. It's difficult to answer this clearly and fully in this kind of forum (interview), but I hope some of that makes sense!!.

ES: There's a newly released video for"The Siren of Light " which was very successfully showcased on a big YouTube channel with thousands of views. In this track we can meet a very promising progressive goth metal artist from Berlin, Kandinsky Noir. His participation in vocals and the exchange of languages bring a fresh air to the whole experience. How did this Collab emerge ?

Andy: Completely by chance….when we released out first video single, Justine about a year ago, Kandinsky had also recently released a single which was also called Justine…he messaged me on instagram just sort of saying '...you have a Justine as well!...' and we started chatting. I'd listened to his singles and knew he was in Berlin. When I was remixing Siren of Light, I had the idea for the German chorus for that sort of Rammstein industrial vibe, I don't speak German so I thought I'd ask Kandinsky to translate the relevant parts and add a vocal in his distinctive style as well, worked out great!!

ES: There are 10 different tracks on Nullus Margis Gothica MMXXI,varying in sounds and meanings. All under the classical Gothic soundscape. We will undoubtedly enjoy each of them, but naturally be more drawn to some. Do you have a favourite track or tracks ? and which ones

James: That’s a difficult one as they each have their own character but Siren of Light and The Prayer are amongst my favourites. They’re kind of polar opposites but encapsulate the essence of the band.
Andy: I agree with James, hard question as they all have their own thing about them! If I had to choose one, I think I'd have to say Rearrange….after 17 years, it still gives me goosebumps….I find the imagery, drama and atmosphere it conjures are very intense for me to this day.

ES: Though I'm not a musician and completely clueless about music making, still I wonder about your experience of reviving the album in relation to all the advanced technology that exists today. Your perspective would be interesting for those who understand.

Andy: To be fair, the recording was done on very limited equipment originally, but good quality equipment, and mixed on good quality equipment as well. What's changed with MMXXI, apart from the fact that digital technology has undoubtedly become better over the last 17 years, is the approach to the sound of the record. The original was conceived to sound like an early Goth rock record whereas MMXXI takes the same songs and mostly the same recording and reimagines it as a contemporary record. It's very different from the original presentation, both stand on their own….at some point, we may re release the original, it has a very different charm. So the differences are mainly conceptual, not technological, even though things have moved on substantially since 2004.

ES: Having read on your site that during the time you decided to make this album, back in 2000, the classical Gothic rock music had very little to offer, I can't help it but ask your opinion about the same scene today. Are there new and considerable bands that are qualified representatives of the genre?

Andy: I have to be honest, I can't say I know of any that aren't old bands that have reformed...March Violets for example, the Nephilim, the Sisters. It seems to me that, over the last couple of decades, Goth has turned into metal and EDM really. I may well be really wrong about this, if so, please correct me!

ES: Fortunately live events take place again and they're really important as fans have the chance to interact with their favourite artists. Is there a schedule for The sirens of light which you could share with us?

Andy: We don't have a schedule to do any shows. We always have had a very specific way we wanted to present the band live, should the opportunity arise to do this, we will do it….but we aren't really prepared to compromise on our vision at this point.

ES: I understand that this long drawn story with Nullus Margis Gothica MMXXI has been intense and that you need time to rest and enjoy the outcome. Still I'd like to ask if you've started thinking or even making projects on what's next to come. Hopefully it won't take too long to listen to new things from you.

James: We are definately intending releasing further material and have some ideas already recorded. As we’re completely self-funded a lot depends on record sales which can give us time to work on new projects, so I guess the message is “If you like what you’ve heard so far and want to hear more, you can support the band by buying the album”
Andy: We are intending to release another single video around March 2023 time…there will also be a vinyl edition of MMXXI in March as well.









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