We caught up with San Pedro’s Vision to chat about their brilliant new EP Subconscious Reflection, their song-writing and recording process and their musical influences.
Liverpool Noise: Firstly, congratulations on your new EP Subconscious Reflection. In what ways do you think the band has developed from your earlier releases, for example 2018 Beyond The Veil?
San Pedro’s Vision: Hi! Yeah, thanks man we’re seriously over the moon with how this one turned out! Well, we’ve certainly developed a lot as individual musicians since then, at that point Chris hadn’t long joined and our practice room situation wasn’t exactly the most comfortable. Now we’ve had time to get settled and find a nice place at the music village things seem to fall together a lot easier, you need the right environment, you know? Some nice tapestries and the right lighting to get us all in the mood haha. We’ve also had a few positional changes since then too, Stu jumped on the keys when Chris joined and we also had to say goodbye to our old lead singer Dean because he had a lot of projects on; Alannah came in to replace him whilst we were writing these tracks and that’s probably the biggest noticeable difference really; she’s managed to come in half way through the writing process, write lyrics and lay down the tracks in a matter of weeks – all the while making the whole thing sound more accomplished and professional with a better sense of direction. Hats off girl.
LN: The new EP sounds excellent. What was the recording and mixing process?
SPV: Thank you, we’re humbled by all of your feedback. Well, this time around we decided to switch things up and go with someone we hadn’t used before which turned out to be Jose Ibanez of 3rd Planet Studios – he did his best to accommodate us recording the 3 tracks over a single weekend so when we turned up, he was there, gear set, kettle boiled, ready to go. We recorded the tracks as we have done all the others really, in a live jam setting then we will see if we can pull a drum track out of it and build from there, 9 times out of 10 Chris has nailed his bass track too so that’s pretty much rhythm section done once Sam is happy with the drums. Synth would come next and Stu made use of multiple tracks to really get the most out of it, some really cool somewhat spooky hooks he has got in there like. Most of us wanted 2 tracks or more each so that we could layer things up, particularly with the guitar; Bottle wanted to get it to sound as big as possible without losing that raw, live sound, quite a difficult thing to try and do but we pulled it off. Then it’s just over dub the solos and guitar track is done. Vocals were last to be tracked. Alannah faced the task of blending the music and encapsulating the vibe. She did so by tracking in sections and checking to see if each take had the right energy to match the music. “I definitely felt some pressure as I knew exactly what I wanted, sound wise, and it was a challenge to get it as I had pictured, but Jose has a talent of grounding you and his patience allows you more room to explore in confidence”. We left the tracks with Jose for him to mix over the next week or so, he worked surprisingly quickly and pretty much nailed the mixes on the first run minus a few minor tweaks. We decided to get this one mastered as well which we never did before; Graeme Lynch of TwoZeroNine Mastering did this for us. Shout out to both Graeme and Jose, we looking forward to working with you guys again in the future!
LN: Can you describe your song-writing process?
SPV: Hahaha, no not really. It’s all just jamming really and seeing what comes out, and then trying to remember what we did last time. Most jams begin with us huddled around someone’s phone listening back to the previous one before we start building on it again. This particular EP came about with us just messing about with alternate tunings and seeing what came about, it’s usually Bottle or Chris will bring some sort of progression to the table and we go from there. The writing process has changed a little since we went down to one guitar, the synth has picked up the rhythm chords to give Bottle the room to play lead still. With regards to this particular EP we knew it sounded kind of dark and wanted to try and use that to capture the intricacies of a trip. ‘Subconscious Reflection’ is an attempt at just that, a musical take on the journey of the consciousness through the use of psychedelics, discovering healing and meaning, letting go of what does not serve you and then marching forward into the world, back straight, shoulders back and head held high.
LN: What bands / artistes have influenced your musical output as a collective?
SPV: Pink Floyd are a big one that we would all agree on. There’s a lot of local bands in there too, we’ve actually put together a playlist on our Spotify if people wanted to go and take a look, some boss tracks from top local bands and a few bigger ones. We wanted to create a playlist of all the music that influenced our sound in some way either as a collective. As individuals though our tastes can vary quite a bit from heavier stuff like Metallica and Tool to Cast, Talking Heads, Tame Impala, The Mysterines, The Myrrors, Mythic Sunship and Bert Jansch.
LN: Where do you see San Pedro’s Vision in the merseyside music scene?
SPV: A band putting themselves out there trying to express ourselves through music in a sea of more amazing bands. The calibre of the Liverpool music scene is incredible and it keeps you on your toes if you want to do something that stands out, we just hope that people enjoy the EP and we will be happy. Just to play alongside some of the local greats would be enough for us.
LN: As band members and musicians, who are your personal heroes who have provided inspiration to master your chosen instruments? And why?
Bottle – David Gilmour, Peter Green and Syd Barrett, it’s pretty obvious why haha. Also, my Dad has influenced and supported me a lot.
Alannah – Peter Gabriel for his magical lyrical skills, taking you on a journey drenched in emotions. In terms of vocal technique, I’d have to say Paul Rodgers as his awesome control and power never cease to baffle me!
Sam – Lars Ulrich for his boss stage presence back in the day, Danny Carey because he’s insane, and a good friend of mine Matt because of his constant inspiration and motivation.
Stu – At the moment it has to be Kevin Parker for the fact that he plays every instrument in Tame Impala, that’s where a lot of the inspiration came from to start playing the Synth.
Chris – Jaco Pastorius, Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath and Strapping Young Lad. They express their emotions so well and manage to take you on some mad emotional journeys.
LN: What are the next steps for San Pedro’s Vision?
SPV: We got straight back to writing new material as soon as we finished this EP off, we’re just going to see how weird we can get, we had a few ideas for different concepts but we will see what happens with the sound first. Hopefully we can we get to see everyone in the new year and start networking and performing again. We’re supposed to be playing a boss alldayer hosted by Blurred Bagel and Happy Daze with some absolute belter bands from around the UK so we’re looking forward to that.
In terms of the immediate future the EP has just released so we are going to try and do some promotional material for that, perhaps a Mill Session with Jordan from Happy Daze, time will tell.
Listen to the new EP Subconscious Reflection on Spotify.