How would you describe your music?
Martin: Instrumental Rock....Or Astro-Rock!
How did the band get together?
Jack: We all already hung out and had similar music tastes. George was producing a piece for his degree that required live music and needed to be (semi) improvised to some old 8mm footage his family had.
Who are your influences?
J: Ahh tricky…we all individually have pretty different tastes in music. But apparently if you put people who like Thelonious Monk, Kiss, Sunn O)) and Biffy Clyro together you get something a bit special. We collectively agree Pink Floyd rule though.
Leo: Dave Gilmour, Slash, Robin Trower etc. I’m a lot more into my classic ‘Guitar Heroes’ than the rest of the band.
Was there any prior intention to the band, or was it an organic process?
J: There wasn't really any kind of prior intention.. it just kind of came alive after that Fine Art performance. Me and Martin had been playing together for a few years and so had Dan and George so we were all pretty comfortable in a rehearsal space straight away.
You consistently invoke themes of science and space in your work. To what extent does the idea of ‘science’ inform your music?
J: I think all of us have some kind of interesting in the sciences, arts and philosophy. It kind of helps with the openness of our music and the sound we make. We look at the universe and think 'fuck it's so big and beautiful', so why not apply that to your music?
M: For me it’s more of an aesthetic interest, but you write about what inspires you. To produce music in a scientific or philosophical manner would be an interesting way to look at it. Perhaps this is a future project for when my instrumental ovaries dry up.
You have argued against people interpreting you as some sort of ‘post-rock’ band. How would you describe your sound?
M: I could go on about this at length! I identify more with the original idea of Post-Rock (Post-Rock these days doesn't mean what it was originally intended to represent), however I don't think that comes across as much in 8mm. We are a rock band, but, as you said, we just try to mix it up a little. The music that comes out has five people's input into it all with their own influences and ideas right there for the audience to pick up on.
L: Yeah, I recognise those elements, but I also recognise them in the work of Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart and even to an extent the use of horn sections and pianos in later Guns N’ Roses albums.
How close do you feel with more ‘classical’ composers such as John Cage, Edgar Varese, or even Frank Zappa?
J: I think some of us feel closer to the classical, and even the avant-garde, than others. Especially Martin and George. I personally take what I hear from people such as Sun Ra, John & Alice Coltrane and CAN and want to take sometimes very basic rhythms and sounds and manipulate them into something new and interesting.
M: Pierre Schaeffer is a personal favourite.
L: I listen to an unhealthy amount of Zappa. I think the art of arrangement has been lost to a lot of modern musicians in favour of just doubling the same power chord chugging between guitars.
How does the songwriting work in the band?
L: It tends to be: 1 - One of us has a rough idea; 2 - We jam it for an hour and record it on a phone; 3 - Cut it down to just the bits that are needed (even if that still leaves it 10 minutes long); 4 - ????; 5 - Profit! We’re still working on the ‘????’
You’ve just released your latest EP - Orbit. What’s next for the band?
J: I think so. The build up for the EP was intense, we have been building up our label Super Music Collider and wanting to do everything perfectly so it was a nice release when it finally happened.
M: We've put out three EPs and we're looking to do one more song to kind of end a three year era of material. We'll still play a couple old songs. They're still relevant and fun to play, but we just need to push on now.
You have recently joined forces with a visual artist for your live performances...
L: We don’t really have a ‘front man’ and we’re all a bit busy tap dancing on pedal boards or swapping instruments to really put on a show in the way a lot of bands do.
J: I believe performance wise we are a great live band. Most instrumental bands tend to hide behind their visuals...For us it just makes sense for live shows. There is a special place in my heart for visuals as it lays in the origins of the band.
What has been your favourite musical experience as a band so far?
J: I really enjoyed our Orbit EP launch. We put it all together ourselves, plenty of people came down and we sold some merch. What more can you want as a band?
L: I really enjoyed playing Light Night recently, which was the first time we teamed up with George Evans. Not only was it a really good gig, but I was pretty drunk and kept getting distracted by the awesome flashing lights on the wall.
Where can we buy your latest EP?
L: I think there’s still a few copies in the music exchange in town. Failing that you can download it from our Bandcamp page , or buy a physical version on Big Cartel.
What are your thoughts on the current music scene in Nottingham?
J: It's pretty good. It feels like there are lot of spaces for music to be heard. I remember when I started playing live and you could only really play in the function rooms of crappy pubs . A lot of bands in Nottingham are receiving national interest now. I just hope that people still open their eyes and ears and check out what’s happening under the radar. Not every band needs to have pretty boys and jangly guitars to make them good.
M: I love it! There's a whole bunch of shit going down in the mainstream, but also there's a big underground thing going on with bands getting a name for themselves in their own right that I dedicate my time and money to.
Orbit EP by 8mm Orchestra is out now. Click here to listen and buy.