As varied as music is, we all know that many genres become formulaic over time. While the best bands have a signature sound, many others conform to a degree. This is inevitable as the established bands leave their mark.
This is part of what makes a band like Illogistical Resource Department so interesting. Comprised of three talented individuals, Dan Menapace (Bass, Vocals, Samples, Guitar), Jim Harris (Acoustic and Electric Guitars), and Noa Oz (Drums, Percussion) the band sounds like no one else. While you can hear the influences they cite, it is presented in a truly unique fashion.
I.R.D. has a unique ability to come across as ominous without resorting to metal riffs and break-neck tempos. They are also thoroughly pleasing to this Prog-Rock fan’s ears, despite most of the songs clocking in at four minutes or less. With two albums under their belts, the trio has plans to release a third in 2019. If you like to discover great musicians playing truly unique music, you owe it to yourself to check out Illogistical Resource Department!
Here Bassist/Vocalist/Songwriter Dan Menapace sheds some light on the band’s processes and plans for the future:
1. I noticed on your bandcamp page that you re-recorded some tracks on your debut record, Catharsis. What prompted that?
We loved the tracks on that album but at the time we didn’t have very good recording equipment or software, so the mixes were somewhat lacking.
I decided to remix the album as well as re-record some of the bass and guitar parts. I also added some new samples, while trying to keep the vibe of the original recording. We’re happy with the way it turned out.
2. So much of your music has an ambient nature, is that harder to conceptualize at first?
Since the riffs and ideas we come up with often have an intense feel to them, the ambient sections in our songs are usually one of the last parts written.
Tension and release is a big part of our sound, so letting the songs breathe a bit allows us to explore different moods and textures.
3. On “The Road to Giza” you use a fretless bass. Is that something you think you may explore further?
Fretless bass has always invoked a Middle Eastern feel for me and to keep with tradition, I’m recording the final part of the Giza trilogy
on fretless as well. There might even be a surprise guest musician on the track that you might have heard of.
4. What musicians were you influenced by?
Rush, Yes, King Crimson, Primus, Black Sabbath and Alice In Chains for their innovative sounds.
Pink Floyd and Brian Eno for their ambient wizardry and Devo, Skeleton Key and Oingo Boingo for their superb level of quirkiness.
5. Your bass tone has a nice round and warm tone with good definition. What are you using? Basses? Strings? Amp? Effects?
I have a few 5-string fretted and fretless basses from Michael Tobias Designs, Rickenbacker and Warwick and an old Ibanez Roadstar II 4-string that I built up with EMG active pickups and a Kahler bass tremolo. I run all my basses direct through a custom built CAPI preamp which is a clone of a channel strip from the classic API Legacy consoles. From there the signal goes into a API 550b EQ and a Neve 543 Compressor.
All my effects are software plugins from Soundtoys, Mercuriall, and Native Instruments and all my basses are strung with Ernie Ball Cobalt’s except for the Rickenbacker which has Rotosound Swing Bass 66 strings.
6. On a song like “Vedic Soma”, is the title and subject matter conceived after the music is written
The instrumental titles, and subject matter of the songs with vocals, usually come to fruition after the music is written.
7. For “Catharsis “, were you, Noa and Jim recording in a studio together, or were the tracks performed separately? Did you use the same approach on “Transmission Cinema “?
We recorded all the parts separately for both albums. Some songs we write backwards with the bass and synths being recorded first,
then drums and guitars last. I feel this allows different instruments to be more forward in the mix and gives the album, as a whole, a certain degree of unpredictability.
8. Your music is interesting because it has a very progressive feel, yet your songs are concise. Is this intentional, or do you just go until the song “feels done”?
Unless we feel a part can turn into an interesting extended jam, we like to condense the more technical parts with a certain level of groove.
Although, I would like to write an epic 10-minute prog-inspired track in the near future. We shall see.
9. You often use inserted dialogue, like on ‘Duck and Cover’. Where do you source those samples, or do you record them yourselves?
The movie dialog samples are taken from my own movie collection or various places online. Other samples we record on our own.
For instance, the cover song we recorded of the Get Smart TV show theme. I tracked some field recordings of Noa breaking glass, rolling metal pipes on concrete,slamming closet doors, shaking tree branches and basically beating anything he could get his hands on.
10. Jim Harris contributed to the songwriting on “Transmission Cinema” and resulted in a few more guitar driven riffs. Do you plan to continue that approach for your next album?
Writing some guitar driven songs on the next album is a definite possibility. We like to keep our sound varied, which we feel keeps us and our fans more interested.
Our next release should be out late spring and will have some new sounds that have never been heard on an I.R.D. album before, so keep checking our band pages for news updates.
Check out Illogistical Resource Department’s Music here: https://illogistical.bandcamp.com/