nce upon a time, in a faraway land across the ocean a man named Duncan Sumpner sat in his home and carefully crafted a small masterpiece. He named it Songs of Green Pheasant, and it was musical magic. Filled with beautifully delicate - almost as if they were woven with strands of gossamer - melodies and gorgeously gauzy vocals, songs like "I Am Daylights" and "Soldiers Kill Their Sisters" cast a spell over all those who listened to them. The songs whispered, they danced, they soaked themselves in hazy reverb and became stories with lives of their own.
Sumpner was satisfied with his creation, he gathered the songs, carefully
wrapped them up, and sent them off on their way - to Fat
Cat Records, to be exact. (You see, Sumpner is an artist
and musician, and had other projects that required his attention.)
There they sat for years, enchanting those at Fat Cat, before they
were finally released out into the world for all to hear.. .
+ Is there much more material that may have been recorded over the past 2 - 3 years since these offerings?
D: There's stuff on the boil - I'm always doing something or other with varying degress of success.
In doing the "online research game", I came across two other names: Spider Park & Kayak. Are these projects you are involved in, and if so, do you still take part in either?
Well, Kayak was my original moniker - until I found another rather odd band with the same name - and Spider Park was a few songs I recorded with a friend of mine 4 or 5 years ago for fun, it's unconnected to my personal projects.
Do you play the percussion (notably "the wraith of loving") on the album? On that, did you play most of the captured sounds - bass, drum machine, FX units?
I played hand percussion and various domestic objects, but I also used a cheap drum machine for the loops.
It seems a slight bit poetic to follow a track title like "I am Daylights" with "Nightfall" - was this the order for the initial tracklisting? (Maybe I'm examining too close - but understand the album is appreciated and "heard"!)
I'd never really noticed that...no the original tracklisting was different, it's better now I think though.
Is Vibracathedral Orchestra (another project) similar to Songs of Green Pheasant or are we on another realm entirely?
VCO are a very different outfit - an improvisational noise band. They're excellent - well worth checking out.
I have read there are talks of touring to support the album - how are those plans coming along? Is America even in the thoughts?
Not at the moment, I don't really have any plans for a tour.
If I understand correctly, you are an Art teacher - how would touring work out with that schedule? What level of Art as well, [if I am correct]?
Yeah, that's part of the reason touring would be difficult. I teach secondary kids - for my sins.
As for the association with Fat Cat, were there many other labels you submitted demos / songs to? Are you a fan of any Fat Cat artist in particular?
By the looks of things, they were eager to get in touch with you! When the label finally tracked you down / got in contact - were you still seeking a place to put out your songs or had you stopped searching?
I was working on new stuff and thinking how I could get that out, not the SOGP record.
The vocals are - at moments - decayed and buried below the instrumentation. Did you intentionally record with this "technique" in mind, or was it the result of a happy accident?
Yes I think it was a bit of both - I arrived at the result I wanted by accidents and having a clear idea about how it should sound.
I like the Boduf Songs record recently released.
Finally - what makes you happy?
Right now - my daughter.
(Duncan just welcomed the birth of a new baby girl into the world, we'd like to thank him very much for taking time to answer our questions and send our best to him & his family.)
Dear Kaleb, Thank you very much for your kind words. I'm glad you like the artwork and I am very happy to read you think that it fits the music so well. I met Duncan at University in Sheffield in 1992. We were both on a fine art painting/printmaking degree course and we became very good friends. He was, is and always will be a fantastically talented painter - but as you have heard he is also gifted in the music area and so since 1992 went through periods of concentrating on one and then the other. The band he formed after graduating was called Redman/Greenman. They were very influenced by The La's and Brian Wilson, which there is a touch of in the SOGP harmonies but other than that has little in common with it. The bass player and Duncans general partner in crime was Oliver Bird who plays on SOGP. Incidentally if you are interested in any other things that link our work check out either Andre Rublov or The Stalker by the Russian film maker Tarkovsky. Incredible, mesmerising films. Just one thing you have wrong (in your review). Although my site does have a page saying I am working on a font, I have yet to complete it- so the lettering and layout on the album was done by a designer. It's just a happy coincidence that the lettering he chose and the Blakefont I am putting together are so similar. Duncan did play a gig last month supporting Múm with Oliver and an old friend called Bonz. It went down well from what I read on the Fat Cat message board. As for me I will be selling copies of the print from December and am trying to fix up a little promotion for it locally (I live on the island of Guernsey near France). Thanks again for your encouragement. I will keep your email address and keep you updated of any other developments. - Mikal Dyas