Immolation is the debut EP by Scouse Noise/Spoken Word duo Johanna Connolly & Danny Welsby as well as a new venture for SPINE Records
Originally a solo project born out of lockdown from Johanna, Polexia recently expanded to accommodate their ever-changing output. New EP, Immolation is 15 minutes of harsh noise walls and personal poetry aimed to disorientate & confuse listeners in their first release for the SPINE Records newcomers.
The EP tells the disturbing confessions of a religious fanatic who sets themselves alight in the ultimate act of self-sacrifice, complimented by an extensive range of field recordings and immersive sampling, the EP aims to create an atmosphere of terror and discomfort.
It will be released the first week in August at all the usual places. We urge you to go listen. It’s well worth your time.
We’re sold straight away, so we needed a word with Johanna and Danny.
P3dro: Where are you and what are you doing?
Johanna: Well, what are we doing? It was an experiment at first and then it became something else and took on its own sort of life form. As projects often do. We went through a few changes of line up, but when you find someone who wants to make the exact same stuff, then it becomes a lot easier. This EP just felt really natural.
Danny: [It was a coincidence]. We were both out in town and chatting in the smoking area. And then we were both gobsmacked at the idea we wanted to make the same type of music. And then it all came together, in this room [Danny’s bedroom]. We just messed about and saw what we could come up with. It was natural and really fun.
P3dro: Did you two know each other before this project started?
Johanna: We knew of each other. We’d hung around in the same sort of groups, been to the same gigs and parties. But we didn’t really have any dialogue with each other. We just said “Hi” and “Bye” to each other.
Danny: If we’d been with the right person, we’d probably have met sooner, but it just never lined up in that way.
Johanna: It was one of those things!
Danny: This is how you end up making a noise band, apparently.
P3dro: Tell us a bit about the EP.
Johanna: I wrote the lyrical part from the point of view of a religious fanatic who is so convinced they had done all these terrible, bad things. Basically, the EP is a confessional for this person, their last testament, if you will. It’s the story of leading up to the big, terrible finish of setting themselves on fire.
Danny: We talked a lot about trying to make a lasting impact after the EP has finished. We want people to sit with it and be almost bewildered by the experience. And, hopefully, they will be.
Johanna: We wanted to make something that’s as immersive as possible.
P3dro: And, how was the recording done? Did you manage to get into a studio?
Danny: This is the studio. Right here.
We did go to a rehearsal space near the docks, we messed about and got some bits, it was fun, but we realised it wasn’t ideal for our situation. To be sat here [in my bedroom] with the equipment where we can say: “This is working” or “That isn’t working” is much better. I’m glad we did it here. It was more natural.
Johanna: Also, there wasn’t that element of [pressure]. I’ve only been in a studio two or three times and it can be very daunting. But here, there was no limit on the things we were doing. It was so much easier.
Danny: I think we’re both comfortable here, we tried to have fun with it and see what came out of it. We’re both really happy with the end result and we can’t wait to do more.
P3dro: So, what is next in the pipeline?
Johanna: We’re gonna get started on our next EP next week. Or, at least, throw ideas around for the second one.
Danny: I’m just looking forward to it. There’s no sense of going into it think we want to do this, or we want to do that. I just set up my equipment and see where it takes me. We’ll record for half an hour or 45 minutes, see where we’re going with it, chop stuff up and see what we like.
P3dro: What was the attraction in working with SPINE?
Johanna: I’d been going to their events and really appreciated there’s not much of an avant garde scene in Liverpool. There’s not much of that outside SPINE and that’s what attracted me to them. It’s hard to be recognised and taken seriously, but SPINE do that with all of the people they work with. When they asked us to join, I was like: “Yeah! 100%”. There was no other option for me, really.
Danny: It’s great to have someone like SPINE in this city. They give people a platform to people to do exactly what they want to do.
P3dro: Have you had a chance to play any of the EP live yet?
Johanna: No not yet. Our first gig will be 21 August and we’ll be playing the EP then. The gig will be at QU A RR Y.
Danny: To play the songs live will be great, just to get over there and fully express ourselves, to show people what we’re about and what we can do.
Johanna: It will be hard to do the gig the same as the music is on the EP, so there will be bits where we improvise. But it will be … a gig.
Danny: We’re also gonna try and get some more live elements into the show, some performance art to add to [us on stage].
P3dro: Recommend a band or an album you think we should be listening to right now.
Johanna: Black Country New Road
Danny: Little Electric Chicken Heart, by Ana Frango Elétrico. That’s been my shit as of late.