Hi guys! How is the choir doing these days?
We are all doing well. Our spring and summer was really busy with getting everything done for our first album release and the West Coast (U.S.) tour with The Body and Braveyoung. We've taken some time to recover, and we are working on some new material and preparing for the winter.
Could you please briefly introduce yourselves: you're not a traditional band as we know it, right? How many are you, and how did you form?
The choir currently has seventeen members. We hold auditions a few times a year, depending on what projects we're working on. Since we just came back from a tour, we're bringing in some new members. Our cast is always rotating as people's lives change and new people hear about what we do. Our group formed in late 2008. I invited some friends to my home to informally sing some songs I had been working on. We had a good time, so we kept meeting.
We've had a lot of metal bands with choral influences or collaborations, but never an actual choir releasing its own material like you! Were you guys always into heavy music?
It's not about being into heavy music, or any musical genre specifically; it's about being given the opportunity to sing together, whether that means we work with metal bands or in other musical styles. The record was a great opportunity to ask some friends who are all part of different bands from different genres to come together and just play. It kinda mirrors the way the choir is made up of so many different personalities. It's more about putting that stuff aside and just making music.
Could you describe the part The Body has played in your career so far?
I've been friends with Lee and Chip for many years, and singing with The Body for just as long. When The Body began working on 'All the Waters of the Earth Turn to Blood', they spoke with me about the choir doing some singing on the record. Lee and Chip have been an incredible support to The Assembly of Light; they gave me the freedom to write whatever I wanted, and not many musicians would give that trust so freely. We've toured with them twice and it's safe to say we will continue to work with them whenever possible. There is a lot of love there.
What was it like working on their album? Anything special happen?
Well, firstly, there were so many talented folks who lent their abilities to the record; being a part of that list was an honor. Secondly, it was our first experience recording as a group, and for some of the women it was the first time they had ever been in a studio. It was a good learning experience for all of us.
Can you tell me how you write songs? Do you do this together or is one person responsible?
I write all of the music for the choir. It's a process that keeps changing its shape over the years. Songs sometimes come out of me really quickly; other times, it takes months of poking and prodding to make them right. What I have come to depend on are our rehearsals. As we work on a new piece, the women really shape the song; they become the storytellers. There is heavy responsibility on both sides and it's been great to see and hear that as I have grown as a composer they have grown as singers.
Is Assembly of Light a hobby to its members, or is it more? What does it mean to you?
The choir could easily be labeled as a "hobby" for its members since we don't make any money by being part of it. We (sadly) all have to have jobs that don't include singing all the time. But there is a strong tie between all of us. It's apparent to me when someone needs help or goes through a tough time. We take care of each other, whether it's helping with rides, going to a show to give support to a choir member's band, or making food for someone who is going through a tough time. I have watched most of these women come into the choir with very little musical experience. With the group, many of these women played their first show, went on their first tour, went into a studio and recorded for the first time. It's really beautiful to watch how they have all grown, and they did it together. I think it's pretty great.
Could you describe what it is like for an unusual “band” like yours to tour the US?
Touring is kinda crazy for us. Scheduling is really tough with so many people, and I really want everyone in the group to have the opportunity to go. We generally take a few cars instead of a large van. It's a lot easier for four people to agree where they want to eat than sixteen people. Everyone involved does a great job of understanding that getting twenty people anywhere on time can be hard. I'm really lucky that I have such a responsible group. Also - I have to add - from my past experience touring with other bands that not having any heavy equipment is awesome.
Are there any future touring plans? And what about Europe?
We may do a small trip this spring, just a few dates along the East Coast (U.S.) with some friends from Providence. Hopefully we will have a better idea of the plan by the end of the year. As for Europe, we would all love to get there. Just have to figure out how…
Are you going to vote in the coming elections?
Thanks for your time!