Jester: How did Under The Noise dissolve and Urania form?
George I had been rehearsing with other musicians to play the "Of Generation and Corruption" material as a live band and it was coming along really well. The sampled layers of drumming were being reconstructed by Al-X and Pete Roper of Pygmy Children. Then we had one rehearsal with the singer included and it was so bad that it was the last time any of the support players would be interested. So, that was the dissolution point. After that, we never wrote another song or rehearsed again. I had been thinking to do Urania from before that time but it was originally to be a side project. It has become the main project and I do the vocals, which I had not planned on. Now that its in full force, I am really happy to be rid of the old.
Jester: Do you still speak to Ric Nagel at all after the split?
Jester: Has COP International been very supportive during the whole band name switch?
George I let them know I wanted to change the name and start a new project and the response came fairly quickly that it would be a good idea.
Jester: How did you go about choosing the name of your new project?
George Urania was the chosen name from long ago, it was just obvious to me. She is the muse of astronomy and music; I cannot resist her type.
Jester: Has Melissa Sharlat taken on an expanded role for her work with Urania?
George Yes, Melissa sings along with me on parts and she has solo lead parts too. In certain songs she sings backups only; its a powerful juxtaposition to the music below.
Jester: Who wrote the lyrics for the Urania tracks with vocals?
George I am writing the lyrics for Urania. Its a first for me, but its a good process to include in my life. For many years I have focused on the instrumental side of music and now I see much more. Music is made of rhythm, melody, harmony and timbre. Vocals are made from words. There can be a lot of power potential in words and letters, as well as the sounds they create. So it has come to be by necessity.
Jester: How did you approach doing lead vocals all by yourself for the first time? Did you take any voice classes?
George The first time I heard my own voice recorded was a cassette I talked into as a child. The effect was real strong on me at the time and now I think I see why. The spectrum available through instruments always drew my interest though. After working with many vocalists and engineering tracks for a lot of singers and rap artists I was used to the idea but never tried it.
So when it came to be the right time, I did a little thinking about the vocals and decided I could do it myself. Why not? I have a voice; I should use it. The first time was for Charioteer. I didn't write anything down. I started the sequencer and did it freestyle. Some parts were done in other sections of the arrangement than where they appear in the mix. I use edits to move the live performances into the right sections of the song. On other songs I am doing more of a 'flow' writing. As the song repeats, I write the words. Then I align them and do the singing after. Even then, I still do some edits to change appearance if needed. I never thought of singing lessons. It is more like I added my voice to the palette and tried to see how it fits in the chemistry naturally.
Jester: Where do you draw your lyrical influences from this time around?
George I am inspired by the idea itself. See the lyrics to "Zero becomes One", there is a lot of the answer to this question in those lyrics. There is no separation of inspiration and the act of creating.
Jester: Why did you choose to cover such a well known song as 'Aquarius'?
George Well, I felt it was the right time for Urania to do it. See your ephemeris for early February 97 and you'll know why!
Jester: The title of the band as well as the themes of many songs are taken from Muses and Astrology. Are these themes a large influence on your personal life?
Jester: While the EP has only been out for a short time period, how has the press response been?
George So far it has been favorable, which I am greatful for. Thanks to all who have purchased, found, played, reviewed or interviewed Urania.
Jester: When can we expect the release of a full length album?
George I am working on it now. I am doing a lot of experimentation with new software devices. There is no way for me to know how long it will take to finish this. So far I really dig what I am getting. I write in bursts alternating with time spent filtering out unwanted influences and regenerating so I can write purely. Then, developing what has been written takes time too. Nothing good comes easy or is it just me?
Jester: What will the new album be titled?
George "Initiation". It was my intention to use that theme before even starting Urania. With "Of Generation and Corruption" we had experienced many real life examples of the theme, some very shocking. When I presented the idea to the singer of UTN he instantly declared "NO", knowing all too well the implication of working for an extended period on a project with a name like that. Like it can be to many, the idea of initiation was scary to him. Initiations happen whether you seek them out or not. "I think its time to begin" clearly states how I feel about it.
Jester: Will "Initiation" be a concept album like "Of Generation and Corruption was"?
George Not in the same way. That was kind of circular with repeating themes and stuff within each song and the whole, like a harmonic cycle, to support the idea of the title and the process of a year etc. It was supported in the lyrical themes and the colors of the music in different parts.
This one takes a different dimension of relating its parts to one another. The model is not as defined or as easy to follow as geometric or astrological relationships as in "Of Generation and Corruption", but I am still focused on certain ideas. Each of the songs has more identity so it may not have as much of 'concept album' effect in the result. We'll see...
Jester: Are there any plans to ever tour with Urania now that it is a totally different project musically than Under The Noise?
George Yes! Melissa is already doing some live performances in other groups. I would also like to do shows. We have no video or tour support so we'll need to work on that before it can happen. As long as the priorities are out of order, there will be no show. My personal resources are going into the recordings, as usual, so I can't afford to fund the shows.
Jester: Are you planning on doing another video like you did for "13th Tribe"?
George We will not do it like we did the previous video. The band covered all expenses and called in favors from the crew and then the label said they would not use it to promote us..."not enough of a commercial for the band" is what they said. Cheryl Fair, who managed the band and made the video, proceeded to promote it alone and landed the video on MTV Latino Division and Much Music in Canada. I am sure that some support from the label would have taken it even farther.
Jester: Did you enjoy working with the guys from The Aggression when you produced four songs for their new EP recently?
George Yes I did! Those guys are a lot of fun. I, on the other hand, was having some file and application problems that week. I even deleted my main recording software that week, but to no bad end. I had found another copy in a stack of papers and the disks were good! So I had a few trying moments with technical stuff but we had a lot of fun doing the music. The CD will feature some remixes by your favorite industrialists. I hope they ask me to do more with them again.
Jester: What other projects are you currently working on?
George I am now mixing down the Pygmy Children's new CD "Low Life Dream". If you like it electronic and sharp, this is it! I am also starting yet another Track-in-the-Box project. It is not the usual as far as I can see. I can't say much right now as I am negotiating with the band. Its these 2 girls from another world! The name will be announced soon. The Clay People are also writing the next CD and have told me to get my bags packed for a trip to a bigger studio. The "Stone-10 Stitches" CD was done with Dan Neet, Brian McGarvey and myself only (and Melissa on "Spider's Bride). This one will have about 7 or 8 people working on it. I am psyched!
Jester: I was surprised by how different the Clay People "Stone 10-Stitches" album had been from their previous material. How much influence did you have on the musical direction the Clay People went with that album?
George Brian and Dan wrote the songs. It was a collaboration of arrangement ideas though, all recorded in my PC and some rack modules. Dan had a lot of ideas for the keyboards, the visions were Clay People. I was able to help get nice textures to support those. For Brian's guitar parts we set up a couple different amps and used key/gates and multiple processors to get some of the more synthy sounds. Everyone had drum ideas but they wanted me to have input there, so I was happy to be involved with the beats, of course! The next CD will be including the incredible Clay People live band lineup and we'll be incorporating the sampled beats and synth parts as needed. After seeing them live in Hagerstown this Winter, I don't think my computer will be able to hold this one. It's going to be huge.
Jester: You seem to be building up quite a reputation as a producer in the Industrial genre. How does that make you feel?
George It feels good to hear you say that. I see my mixes on playlists and other signs of response from the world and its very satisfying. I do what I can but ultimately others decide what is 'quite a reputation'. It helps to be humble and stay into the music, but we all like to get our way too.
Jester: What is your favorite Urania track?
George Wow. Hard question. Picking favorites are hard for me. There are more where those came from so tune in to channel Urania.