Carl Groves, composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist for the excellent musical group Salem Hill, spoke recently with the Victory e-zine about the band and its latest project. Carl is an intelligent and thoughtful chap, and the interview, though brief, provides some insights into his fertile mind. Carl talks about the band's previous albums and progress on their current production, and also tells us what his favorite albums are. (It's a very interesting list.) His comments on the band's forthcoming album, reportedly "epic-filled," are quite tantalizing, as they suggest an interesting new musical emphasis.
"Victory: Will the sound contine to progress as in your latest releases (BE, Not Everyone's Gold) or will it be back to the 'roots' like your earliest albums?
"Carl: Actually, I think 'Be' is fairly stripped down, certainly compared to 'NEG', 'TRoM' or even 'Catatonia.' This album . . . at least so far . . . has taken on a completely different personality to anything we've done. Although lyrically and instrumentally we're doing what we've always done, there's actually more of a jazz quality to this album. I've been playing a lot more piano outside the band and that has influenced the sound in that the three songs I've written or contributed music for are quite piano-centered. It's quite the contrast to our last one as 'Be' is so guitar-centered. But piano has always been my favorite instrument so I'm not terribly upset by it's prominence on this new album. This album is also the most symphonic album we've done as each song has quite a bit of development and color changes throughout. However, to summarize, I would say that the jazziness of the album has been the most surprising, even to us!"
I agree with Carl's assessment of BE as relatively stripped-down, and it appears that the band has made a good decision in progressing again toward a slightly different sound. I think that going any further into the heavy guitar texture that tended to drive BE would reduce the satisfying complexity of the group's music. I certainly look forward to the next release.