Collision Process Interview, by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs

Proving that age doesn’t necessarily come before talent, progressive metallers Collision Process appear to have become an accomplished act with just 18 months under their belt as a live fixture. Bassist and vocalist Dan Willet elaborates on the conditions behind this rapid evolution…

Kirsty:
Hi guys, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for me!

Dan Willet:
No problem!

Kirsty:
Diving right in, according to your website Collision Process first hit the live scene in June 2010, why do you think the band has progressed so quickly since then?

Dan:
Musically, it’s kind of a tortoise and hare scenario. We’re not a band who rush things unnecessarily if we can help it, and with new material we take great care to make sure everything is just the way we want before playing it in front of a crowd. First impressions count for a lot, so that mentality has definitely had its benefits in the long run. Given the nature of our sound, it’s important to be as tight as we possibly can for the songs to translate well in front of someone who’s never heard them before. Still, that’s not to say we never make any mistakes on the night!
In contrast to that, our live show itself is pretty relaxed in other ways. We always try to remain personable with the audience, having a laugh and a joke with them and with each other. People really seem to respond well to it! I guess it’s nice when a band don’t appear to take themselves too seriously, but still come up with the goods when you hear them play.

Kirsty:
As a relatively young band have you experienced any prejudice or preconceptions from the industry?

Dan:
Actually, most of the feedback we’ve received so far, whether positive or otherwise, has been very respectful. If there’s any stigma attached to being a new band that I’m aware of, it’s normally due to the sheer number of artists getting shoved in our faces on a daily basis, thanks to home-recording rigs and the wonders of the Internet.
Personally I try to see that as a positive thing for the growth of music as an art form and a community, but there are always two sides to every coin. Yes, there are a lot of great musicians getting heard on a global scale now. They may have never stood a chance 10 years ago, and it’s easier than ever for them to communicate with their fans or with each other. However, that simplicity has also left us spoiled for choice, so I can totally understand why someone may have a hard time finding the inclination to sort the wheat from the chaff. I think the bottom line here is that effective promotion has become more difficult, yet more crucial, than ever before!
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Kirsty:
Had you completed your debut EP prior to playing live? How well did the tracks transfer to the stage?

Dan:
We recorded the EP instrumentally several months before meeting our frontman Adam, so once he joined the band it was just a case of writing and recording the vocals. By that time the rest of us were all comfortable with the material, so we didn’t really run into any major issues. Playing and singing some of the parts at the same time still presented a challenge for Jonny and I, but on the whole it was smooth sailing! It’s interesting to hear how the songs have grown and matured since taking them out live though – there are several things we play differently now compared to when we first recorded.

Kirsty:
Talking of the EP, can you briefly explain the thinking behind those four tracks? Were you trying to achieve anything in particular?

Dan:
The EP was our first recording as a band, so more than any other pre-determined concept we just wanted to burst out with all guns blazing, and showcase as many different sides to ourselves as we could. We knew we wanted that variety in there from one song to the next, and that’s an idea I hope we’ll continue to run with in the future. Nothing is off-limits!

Kirsty:
Can you tell me about your new digitally released single ‘Emperors’?

Dan:
I’m going to contradict my last answer a little bit, because the single has 2 tracks that both run together, and in terms of their overall vibe they have a much stronger relationship between each other than the EP songs. ‘Heirs’ is a short instrumental piece, and ‘Emperors’ is a full song with vocals. The EP recording was done in our practice room with the limited equipment we had at our disposal there, whereas Emperors was tracked at my workplace in a proper studio. Each method had its own distinct advantages and disadvantages, so for our next release we’re hoping to find some suitable middle ground between the two approaches.

Kirsty:
Would you say you’ve brought anything new to this release?

Dan:
The link between the two songs was a nice little detail that we hadn’t tried before, and the sound is certainly a step up – both in terms of the facilities we had available, and my own production skills. Apart from that, there were a few parts in there like the synth intro, certain guitar textures and some of the vocals that were only decided when we came to record them. That was a different way of working for us. Even if the results sometimes ended up sounding over the top or just plain silly, it was nice to go to town on those tracks with no holds barred.

Kirsty:
Have you got any plans to start working on a full length album? Any cheeky hints on a possible name or direction?

Dan:
By now I think my nerves have just about recovered from the last time we recorded, so yes, if all goes to plan we’ll be starting our full-length album in 2012. With a bit of luck we’ll be finished before the end of the world.
There’s not much more I can tell you at this stage, except that we’ll be revisiting the older songs to bring the production up to date now that they’ve had some time to grow with us. There’ll also be plenty of new stuff you haven’t heard yet! I’d say around 80 – 85% of the music is written already, it’s just a case of jamming it out in the rehearsal room to iron out the creases, and spending some quality time getting the vocals just right. Once it’s all done, I hope the album will serve as a nice culmination of everything we’ve achieved to date musically.
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Kirsty:
Earlier this year you supported ‘The Defiled’ and ‘Romeo Must Die’ as part of their tour, was this the biggest thing you’ve been involved in as a band?

Dan:
It’s certainly up there as a high point!

Kirsty:
How would you say the set went? Did you gain any useful experience or tips?

Dan:
It was great! That show couldn’t have gone any better for us really. The highlight for me was catching so many people off guard – I don’t think many folks in that room really knew anything about us until we hit the stage. You could see the surprise in their faces, and winning them over as soon as we kicked off was an awesome feeling.
As far as tips and experience were concerned, one thing we definitely learned was that it’s a good idea to hire the headline band’s soundman for the night!

Kirsty:
Is there anywhere that you’d particularly like to play in the future? Do you have plans to expand your touring horizons?

Dan:
Individually we all have other commitments that need to be considered outside the band, and to be honest most of us are at a stage in our lives where it’s not feasible to spend a month living in the back of a van, hoping we sell enough merch to buy some dinner that evening. With the industry in the shape that it’s currently in, that kind of approach to touring just isn’t practical or productive for a lot of young bands anyway.
All that being said, we still have some exciting things in the pipeline – it just takes some careful planning ahead of time. Shows will become a bit more sporadic in the new year while we’re working on the album, but we still want to keep our hand in when the right opportunities come along. When they occur we’ll be making the most of them!

Kirsty:
Looking back, was there anything that you’d hoped to have achieved by this point that you haven’t? Or are you way ahead of schedule?

Dan:
I don’t know if we even have a ‘schedule’ for ourselves to that degree in all honesty. If anything I suppose we may have underestimated how much time it takes to bring our material together, but if it takes longer than expected to get the results we want then so be it. There are much bigger and better artists than ourselves who can get away with leaving a 5-year gap between new releases. If the finished article is worth the wait in the end, what does it matter?
I’m not trying to advocate laziness of course, but I’m a firm believer that inspiration doesn’t work to a deadline. On the whole, we just do our best to stay productive at a pace that works for us, and grab the bull by the horns whenever we can!

Kirsty:
Doing a complete 360 then, do you have any resolutions planned for the New Year?

Dan:
The only New Year’s resolution I ever make is not to make any New Year’s resolutions. In the act of making that resolution, I also break it every time.

Kirsty:
A final point on the band’s name, to me Collision Process suggests two almost conflicting concepts – control (ie a process) and chaos (ie a collision) but what is the original thinking behind it?

Dan:
That’s a nice way of putting it actually, and it also reflects our approach to the music in some respects. Beyond that, finding order among chaos is something that most of us have to deal with at some point in our lives, whatever the context may be. Lyrically we’ve always tried to make our songs relatable, and now that you mention it there’s a definite theme to be found there.
To be honest though, I reckon if you think hard enough you can justify any name in any way you please. I mean let’s face it – most band names are a bit rubbish really. You just get so used to hearing them after a while that you make whatever connection suits you and don’t even realise any more. As for us, we just wrote down some random words that came to mind as we listened through the EP recordings and started sticking them together. I think it was our guitarist Matt who suggested Collision Process, and nobody objected so that’s the one we went with. It’s fun to hear other people’s interpretations though!

[Photos by Matt Frederick]
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