Musical Discoveries: Please tell us a little bit about your background and what led you to the Conjure One project.
Rhys Fulber: After leaving Delerium right after the release of the Karma album, I concentrated on producing for a few years. It just got to the point where I really wanted to start writing my own music again. I had moved to Amsterdam and decided to set up a small studio there and began writing. I initially wanted to do bass and beat heavy tracks with lots of Turkish and Morrocan instruments and eastern vocal melodies.
The first track I wrote was "Redemption," though the song was initially titled "Conjure One." That's where the name of the project came from. Over the course of three years or so, I intermittently worked on the record and the material began morphing in different directions, straying from the initial eastern mediterranean influences. Some went kind of pop and some more classical, though over all I feel there is still a continuity to all the material.
And what about your musical training?
I have no real formal training, but my father was a musician and engineer, and later owned a studio, so I've been around music and recording from DNA onward. I can read chord charts and things like that, but no sight reading or jazz chops.
How would you characterise the songs that you have done on the Conjure One album?
How about classical and eastern influenced atmospheric pop structured music. Kinda long winded isn't it? I just wanted to make music I wanted to hear at the moment it was written. Combining things I like; ethnic voices and sounds, ambient synthetics, strings and piano, and hopefully, some decent melodies Some of the songs feel a little old to me now because some of them were written in 1998.
Please compare the material to any that you have done on your own or with others.
The songs on this album are the most "from the heart" music I've made so far in my career, in my opinion. "Center of the Sun" and "Manic Star" I think, is some of my best work yet.
And how was the project put together?
Well basically, I would write and program the music and then get singers to do demos to them with the exception of Sinead. I went through a lot of different vocals before settling on what is there now. "Sleep" and "Manic Star" came out of a writing session with Billy Steinberg and Marie-Claire, and Marie-Claire sang them so well they ended up being the final takes.
Poe pretty much nailed it too. The song that became "Make a Wish" and been demoed about seven times by different people until Poe came into the picture and got it. What was also cool was Chemda's lead vocal on Redemption was done in one take! That's something that doesn't happen very often, and truly is wonderful when it does. Musically, I worked on the tracks until I hit a bit of a wall, then I had some of my talented friends contribute some ideas to the mix. I spent about a year in Amsterdam in a fog laden tiny room working on things, so having some different perspectives really helped.
What kind of music do you find yourself listening to all the time?
I listen to a lot of different things. World to classical. Punk and hard rock. Ambient and dance. I like to keep informed on what's going on in the field. I'd have to say some of my biggest influences on the way I make music would be OMD, SPK, Massive Attack and Dead Can Dance. That and 70s UK punk, though you wouldn't really hear that influence. I'm currently listening to new albums by Coldplay, Rob Dougan, Mogwai, Doves, Korn and Craig Armstrong.
Please compare the music of Conjure One to Delierium.
With Delerium we had a very set working pattern, but with Conjure One is changes for every song. I think the Conjure One songs had simpler origins, like just a piano melody or something. After having time away from Delerium and the completion of my record, they maybe are not stylisticly THAT different as far as the elements that make them up are concerned, but I think the feeling is different. I think Conjure One is deeper, but maybe more pop at the same time.
Do you think that the internet will bring you many new listeners, expand your audience and improve your connection to the fans?
I certainly hope so! I love the internet and use it for so many different things from booking travel to transferring large audio files via FTP servers when I work with people in different cities. By the time people read this, we should have www.conjureone.com online, and we're making it a cool interactive site with lots of exclusive content and updates as well as a section where you can build your own track from elements of different Conjure One songs.