INTERVIEW: Serrum | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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 Image by O M Cooper

Still being fairly fresh on the North East music scene, only being around nine months old, Durham band Serrum have already established an encapsulating sound, which ranges from gentle ambience to harsh, drone and industrial-based pieces.

There are five of us, myself, Sol, Ottilie, Romaine and Cheung.” Vaughan explains when we get together to chat about the group’s new EP. The five individuals met at university, but have stripped themselves of their defining characteristics: “We try to not project ourselves as people, preferring the sounds to speak instead.”

Each song released by Serrum has an incredible amount going on instrumentally to create the multi-layered tracks: “We all can do different things, Ottilie plays piano and cello, Cheung, Sol and myself are guitarists. Romaine is a great noise maker and percussionist. We all play synths and record our own pieces, and then finding samples and use external sounds to bring together as a group.”

the EP replicates a descent into paranoia, madness, self-reflection and more. Like life flashing in front of your eyes, what will you see?

The balancing act of Serrum is impressive, all their tracks sound unique, yet sound distinctly them. “We enjoy that we are not just one thing,” they explain. It’s a difficult task that makes the listener question how the artists can go from soothing soundscape to those that are coarse and rough without watering down their identity.We have people familiar with lots of genres like the ambient movements, classical, dance, folk music or harsh industrial noise makers and extreme sounding artists.”

The band’s Ambergris EP will see the light of day on 4th August. “These six pieces of music tell a full story. About the end of one’s life, a big downfall and an afterlife. Ambergris is a fool’s gold substance that whales make and was highly valued for cosmetics once but now it isn’t as much, it can be synthesized, so the ‘gold rush’ for people is meaningless finding it now.

Ambergris Caye was also home to John McAfee the tech security founder when his life began to downward spiral with murder and Belize authorities tracking him. So, the EP replicates a descent into paranoia, madness, self-reflection and more. Like life flashing in front of your eyes, what will you see? It’s not obvious or explicit, but we leave lots of clues there in the EP artwork, song titles, and samples we have used if people like to dig and investigate. We all enjoy doing that and love finding it in other bands’ music.”

The group’s music has heavy themes running throughout, and it becomes quite absorbing for the listener, as you are taken down a path following death and despair. “We are naturally drawn to a slower and sadder pace, maybe the melancholy is too much.” They admit. “Death is huge, as we have lost people collectively in the last few years. There is also an idea from others that ambient or minimal sounds don’t have many dimensions, but within abrasive static or open space we take lots of time to leave sounds that are worth your concentration and time, letting the sounds breathe.”

Serrum release Ambergris EP on 4th August.

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