After hearing a lot of praise for Spatial Relation, we thought it would be a great idea to uncover their secrets and find out about their amazing debut LP ‘Beyond The Zero’ in a joint venture interview conducted by Alan Rider of Adventures In Reality fanzine and Brutal Resonance. Adventures In Reality was active from 1981-1985 as a fanzine as well as a record label. We thought this would be a great opportunity to collaborate and bring you into Spatial Relation’s world.
Thanks to both of you for taking time out to chat to Brutal Resonance about Spatial Relation and your new album 'Beyond The Zero'.  Before we get into that though, it'd be interesting to hear about your background, both as people and musicians.  Have you been in any bands previously and how did you come to form Spatial Relation? What led to choosing the name and what are your influences, musical or otherwise?
Jacob - "Thank you for reaching out to us! Lissette and I met as students at Vassar College.  At the time, I had a small dorm-room studio where I was making experimental techno, while Lissette had been studying and producing electronic music in an academic context for several years. However, we worked independently during that period and subsequently both took a long hiatus from music before deciding to form Spatial Relation in 2012 with a newly assembled home studio. Working together and introducing vocals into the music have been new experiences for both of us."
Lissette - "Our project name springs from interests in architecture and spatial theory, which is one of the recurrent motifs in my lyrics as well (most overtly in songs such as 'Contour Lines', 'Reference Object', and 'Phantoms of the Future'). Minimalist art and design, as well as modern architecture and theory, are significant influences, and musically we are inspired by minimal synth, electro, EBM, IDM, industrial, and dark '80s sounds."
Looking at the imagery you use for the website, previous releases and the album, it has quite a 60's feel to it for me, very minimal and monochrome.  It reminds me of the original Avengers TV series, with Lissette as Emma Peel and Jacob as Steed.  What are the ideas behind the images and sleeve designs?
Lissette - "Yes, very true! Both Jacob and I have been obsessed with '60s and '70s design for quite some time. Before Spatial Relation we were 'Synthetic Space', vintage design dealers specializing in furnishings and decorative arts from that period. And with that background, a space-age aesthetic definitely permeates our project's imagery." 
Jacob - "Everything associated graphically with Spatial Relation (photos, album artwork, etc.) has been done by ourselves thus far, continuing the DIY theme of our music production process."
Lissette features quite a bit in photos of SR (her legs sharing the cover of this year's 'Thoughtcrime' cassette EP with a Moog synth, her hand on the cover of the album).  Can we expect to see more bits of Jacob featuring in future too?
Lissette - "Actually, Jacob has made an appearance in Spatial Relation photos from time to time; however, a lot of the images we have ended up using for our project (and specifically for the releases) have been pictures that I've taken somewhat spontaneously, while working alone, rather than planned joint photo sessions."
I know that your studio is full of classic analogue gear like the Roland and Moog synths and the TR808 drum machine.  That's clearly a huge passion of yours, but what is the attraction for you of using vintage synths and drum machines compared to their modern equivalents and digital plug ins that can emulate the sound almost exactly? Was the entire album recorded using solely vintage analogue equipment and how evangelical are you about that?  
Jacob - "In starting Spatial Relation, one of the intentional constraints that we put on the project was to use only hardware; we're probably stricter about this than about using solely vintage gear.  For us, working with hardware is as much about process as it is about sound.  Much of our music derives from hands-on, interactive experiments with the machines, and the results simply would not be the same with a computer-based studio setup.  Our choice of hardware generally is both analog and vintage (which perhaps can be seen as a tie-in to our overall interest in vintage design).  In producing the album, we did use a small amount of current-production hardware, but the majority of the tracks were made with vintage gear.  The sounds sources (e.g., synths) are completely analog, but we do use some digital hardware effects such as '80s rack reverb units."
Lissette - "Yes, our vintage design fetish has certainly carried over into our gear collecting...."
Moving on to the new debut album 'Beyond The Zero' , it feels like a milestone that you have been working towards for a while now, following the split 7" with Xiu, compilation appearances, and the 'Thoughtcrime' cassette EP.  Is it part of a master plan for SR world domination?
SR - "Ha, only if you define the world in terms of a very niche underground music scene!  Releasing a full-length album has been the goal of our project since day one, so it definitely feels like a milestone to see the album coming out on Peripheral Minimal.  Some of the tracks on the LP were actually produced several years ago, but we have been saving and in some cases re-working them (versus, say, just putting them up on Soundcloud) specifically for the album."
The album has a very late 80's/early 90s underground electronic feel (I'm thinking DAF, Fad Gadget, Skinny Puppy etc).  Tell us about the thinking behind some of the tracks (your choice!), the lyrical content and how they were created?  What emotions/reactions in the listener are you trying to create? Also, why 'Beyond The Zero'?
Jacob - "Glad to hear that the album has that feel to you -- we definitely take it as a compliment!  Our sound has sometimes been described as being raw or stripped-down, and I think this comes largely just from our studio approach.  We take a lot of inspiration from '80s electronic acts, and I also learned the basics of electronic music production during the '90s rave days, and all of this spills over to what we do now."
Lissette - "Yes those musical influences are very strong for us; in fact, I listened to Fad Gadget moments before my first-ever vocal recordings!  The title 'Beyond The Zero' comes from Part 1 of Thomas Pynchon's novel 'Gravity's Rainbow'.  Perhaps ironically, it concerns the quest for a psychic state less conditioned than a mind wiped clean of all influences -- the eradication of conditioned stimulus!  Hum, I don't think that I am particularly looking to evoke any specific emotion or reaction in the listener, but rather just attempting to put out some intriguing concepts and ideas that hopefully resonate.  As far as the inspirations behind the lyrical content, it really ranges by song -- from the aforementioned architectural theory (e.g., the writings of Archigram and basic spatial theory) to more personal source material.  'Diminished Sight,' for example, is a rumination on a specific situation that I faced on a night on which I happened to attend a production of Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' -- with the line, 'Dian's bud remedies, see your true enemies.'  And the song 'Mysteries of Chance' is an ode to Jung's reflections on synchronicity."
Its taken over 2 years for the album to be recorded and released.  Compared to other acts who seem to be releasing material online almost every other week that may seem slow, but is more in keeping with electronic acts of the late 80s, where they might release an album every 18 months - 2 years but take the time to carefully craft it and keep re-working (rather than re-mixing) tracks until they are right.  What do you feel about that and will we need to wait until 2018 to see the follow up?
Lissette - "It did take awhile to finally have the debut album released, and, yes, we do tend to spend quite a bit of time per track, from topical research to finished work.  At the same time, I'm quite happy with our growing body of songs over the past few years (about 16 tracks have been released between the EP, LP, and various compilations).  I'm not sure when we can expect to have our second full length completed and released (especially since we hope to divert some time and energy into performance and video coming up), but work is well underway on it!

Jacob - "Our project is a work in progress, and we are continually learning new production techniques, switching out gear, and working on new studio ideas, which hopefully translates to better songs over time.  With actual releases, however, we are trying to focus on quality over quantity."
Lissette has contributed guest vocals to the Vector Vision track 'Nuclear Math' and Factice Factory's 'Mask', and Jacob remixed a track on the 2014 ‘Evaluated’ album by TSTI.  Collaboration is something a lot of acts get into.   Is that something we will be seeing more of from SR in future?
SR - "It's not something that we actively have been seeking out, but we have enjoyed our collaborations with musicians whom we admire very much.  In the examples that you mentioned, it was a lot of fun to experiment outside the usual boundaries of Spatial Relation."
I know it can be a challenge getting attention for a new(ish) act like SR, with there being so much out there already.  You've done a pretty good job so far of raising awareness by word of mouth over social media and through webzines and online radio.  How hard has that been to do and any tips for newbies out there thinking of starting a band themselves?
SR - "As other bands have pointed out elsewhere, the internet has made it both easier and harder to get noticed in a sea of musicians.  The best thing you can do is be true to your vision and try to make music from the heart, and hopefully listeners will respond to that.  There will always be an underground music scene where more experimental approaches can be appreciated.  For our project, social media has been helpful to the extent that it easily brings together people from different subcultures and regions of the world who enjoy listening to experimental music."
Being from NYC, there are several venues to display your talents in a live setting. Where have you played in the NY area? Do you have shows scheduled for last few months of 2015? Nothing Changes? Rituals? Etc.
SR - "We have been living in NYC for two years now but have not actually played a show here.  Oddly, we have had much more interest from promoters on the west coast and in Europe, so perhaps we will play somewhere else before doing any shows in our current location.  We have been very focused on studio work for the past several years in the lead-up to our album release, but we are starting to shift focus to potential live performances as well as video work."
What do Spatial Relation members do besides music? Any hobbies?
Jacob - "Lissette has a background in architecture but is currently focused on music and design activities.  I maintain a career in the business world, which is what brought us to New York."
 

Lissette - "As far as hobbies go...music activities take up most of our free time, but prior passions have included ballet (which I studied for nearly two decades) and collecting vintage design."
Finally, any closing thoughts on the debut album, being in SR, or anything at all really?
SR - "Thank you again for taking the time to interview us -- and thanks to all of the fans and the labels who have supported our music!   We are proud to be part of the evolving global synthwave community."
Thanks to both of you for opening up so much and best of luck with what is a great debut album.
Spatial Relation interview
October 7, 2015
Brutal Resonance

Spatial Relation

Oct 2015
After hearing a lot of praise for Spatial Relation, we thought it would be a great idea to uncover their secrets and find out about their amazing debut LP ‘Beyond The Zero’ in a joint venture interview conducted by Alan Rider of Adventures In Reality fanzine and Brutal Resonance. Adventures In Reality was active from 1981-1985 as a fanzine as well as a record label. We thought this would be a great opportunity to collaborate and bring you into Spatial Relation’s world.
Thanks to both of you for taking time out to chat to Brutal Resonance about Spatial Relation and your new album 'Beyond The Zero'.  Before we get into that though, it'd be interesting to hear about your background, both as people and musicians.  Have you been in any bands previously and how did you come to form Spatial Relation? What led to choosing the name and what are your influences, musical or otherwise?
Jacob - "Thank you for reaching out to us! Lissette and I met as students at Vassar College.  At the time, I had a small dorm-room studio where I was making experimental techno, while Lissette had been studying and producing electronic music in an academic context for several years. However, we worked independently during that period and subsequently both took a long hiatus from music before deciding to form Spatial Relation in 2012 with a newly assembled home studio. Working together and introducing vocals into the music have been new experiences for both of us."
Lissette - "Our project name springs from interests in architecture and spatial theory, which is one of the recurrent motifs in my lyrics as well (most overtly in songs such as 'Contour Lines', 'Reference Object', and 'Phantoms of the Future'). Minimalist art and design, as well as modern architecture and theory, are significant influences, and musically we are inspired by minimal synth, electro, EBM, IDM, industrial, and dark '80s sounds."
Looking at the imagery you use for the website, previous releases and the album, it has quite a 60's feel to it for me, very minimal and monochrome.  It reminds me of the original Avengers TV series, with Lissette as Emma Peel and Jacob as Steed.  What are the ideas behind the images and sleeve designs?
Lissette - "Yes, very true! Both Jacob and I have been obsessed with '60s and '70s design for quite some time. Before Spatial Relation we were 'Synthetic Space', vintage design dealers specializing in furnishings and decorative arts from that period. And with that background, a space-age aesthetic definitely permeates our project's imagery." 
Jacob - "Everything associated graphically with Spatial Relation (photos, album artwork, etc.) has been done by ourselves thus far, continuing the DIY theme of our music production process."
Lissette features quite a bit in photos of SR (her legs sharing the cover of this year's 'Thoughtcrime' cassette EP with a Moog synth, her hand on the cover of the album).  Can we expect to see more bits of Jacob featuring in future too?
Lissette - "Actually, Jacob has made an appearance in Spatial Relation photos from time to time; however, a lot of the images we have ended up using for our project (and specifically for the releases) have been pictures that I've taken somewhat spontaneously, while working alone, rather than planned joint photo sessions."
I know that your studio is full of classic analogue gear like the Roland and Moog synths and the TR808 drum machine.  That's clearly a huge passion of yours, but what is the attraction for you of using vintage synths and drum machines compared to their modern equivalents and digital plug ins that can emulate the sound almost exactly? Was the entire album recorded using solely vintage analogue equipment and how evangelical are you about that?  
Jacob - "In starting Spatial Relation, one of the intentional constraints that we put on the project was to use only hardware; we're probably stricter about this than about using solely vintage gear.  For us, working with hardware is as much about process as it is about sound.  Much of our music derives from hands-on, interactive experiments with the machines, and the results simply would not be the same with a computer-based studio setup.  Our choice of hardware generally is both analog and vintage (which perhaps can be seen as a tie-in to our overall interest in vintage design).  In producing the album, we did use a small amount of current-production hardware, but the majority of the tracks were made with vintage gear.  The sounds sources (e.g., synths) are completely analog, but we do use some digital hardware effects such as '80s rack reverb units."
Lissette - "Yes, our vintage design fetish has certainly carried over into our gear collecting...."
Moving on to the new debut album 'Beyond The Zero' , it feels like a milestone that you have been working towards for a while now, following the split 7" with Xiu, compilation appearances, and the 'Thoughtcrime' cassette EP.  Is it part of a master plan for SR world domination?
SR - "Ha, only if you define the world in terms of a very niche underground music scene!  Releasing a full-length album has been the goal of our project since day one, so it definitely feels like a milestone to see the album coming out on Peripheral Minimal.  Some of the tracks on the LP were actually produced several years ago, but we have been saving and in some cases re-working them (versus, say, just putting them up on Soundcloud) specifically for the album."
The album has a very late 80's/early 90s underground electronic feel (I'm thinking DAF, Fad Gadget, Skinny Puppy etc).  Tell us about the thinking behind some of the tracks (your choice!), the lyrical content and how they were created?  What emotions/reactions in the listener are you trying to create? Also, why 'Beyond The Zero'?
Jacob - "Glad to hear that the album has that feel to you -- we definitely take it as a compliment!  Our sound has sometimes been described as being raw or stripped-down, and I think this comes largely just from our studio approach.  We take a lot of inspiration from '80s electronic acts, and I also learned the basics of electronic music production during the '90s rave days, and all of this spills over to what we do now."
Lissette - "Yes those musical influences are very strong for us; in fact, I listened to Fad Gadget moments before my first-ever vocal recordings!  The title 'Beyond The Zero' comes from Part 1 of Thomas Pynchon's novel 'Gravity's Rainbow'.  Perhaps ironically, it concerns the quest for a psychic state less conditioned than a mind wiped clean of all influences -- the eradication of conditioned stimulus!  Hum, I don't think that I am particularly looking to evoke any specific emotion or reaction in the listener, but rather just attempting to put out some intriguing concepts and ideas that hopefully resonate.  As far as the inspirations behind the lyrical content, it really ranges by song -- from the aforementioned architectural theory (e.g., the writings of Archigram and basic spatial theory) to more personal source material.  'Diminished Sight,' for example, is a rumination on a specific situation that I faced on a night on which I happened to attend a production of Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' -- with the line, 'Dian's bud remedies, see your true enemies.'  And the song 'Mysteries of Chance' is an ode to Jung's reflections on synchronicity."
Its taken over 2 years for the album to be recorded and released.  Compared to other acts who seem to be releasing material online almost every other week that may seem slow, but is more in keeping with electronic acts of the late 80s, where they might release an album every 18 months - 2 years but take the time to carefully craft it and keep re-working (rather than re-mixing) tracks until they are right.  What do you feel about that and will we need to wait until 2018 to see the follow up?
Lissette - "It did take awhile to finally have the debut album released, and, yes, we do tend to spend quite a bit of time per track, from topical research to finished work.  At the same time, I'm quite happy with our growing body of songs over the past few years (about 16 tracks have been released between the EP, LP, and various compilations).  I'm not sure when we can expect to have our second full length completed and released (especially since we hope to divert some time and energy into performance and video coming up), but work is well underway on it!

Jacob - "Our project is a work in progress, and we are continually learning new production techniques, switching out gear, and working on new studio ideas, which hopefully translates to better songs over time.  With actual releases, however, we are trying to focus on quality over quantity."
Lissette has contributed guest vocals to the Vector Vision track 'Nuclear Math' and Factice Factory's 'Mask', and Jacob remixed a track on the 2014 ‘Evaluated’ album by TSTI.  Collaboration is something a lot of acts get into.   Is that something we will be seeing more of from SR in future?
SR - "It's not something that we actively have been seeking out, but we have enjoyed our collaborations with musicians whom we admire very much.  In the examples that you mentioned, it was a lot of fun to experiment outside the usual boundaries of Spatial Relation."
I know it can be a challenge getting attention for a new(ish) act like SR, with there being so much out there already.  You've done a pretty good job so far of raising awareness by word of mouth over social media and through webzines and online radio.  How hard has that been to do and any tips for newbies out there thinking of starting a band themselves?
SR - "As other bands have pointed out elsewhere, the internet has made it both easier and harder to get noticed in a sea of musicians.  The best thing you can do is be true to your vision and try to make music from the heart, and hopefully listeners will respond to that.  There will always be an underground music scene where more experimental approaches can be appreciated.  For our project, social media has been helpful to the extent that it easily brings together people from different subcultures and regions of the world who enjoy listening to experimental music."
Being from NYC, there are several venues to display your talents in a live setting. Where have you played in the NY area? Do you have shows scheduled for last few months of 2015? Nothing Changes? Rituals? Etc.
SR - "We have been living in NYC for two years now but have not actually played a show here.  Oddly, we have had much more interest from promoters on the west coast and in Europe, so perhaps we will play somewhere else before doing any shows in our current location.  We have been very focused on studio work for the past several years in the lead-up to our album release, but we are starting to shift focus to potential live performances as well as video work."
What do Spatial Relation members do besides music? Any hobbies?
Jacob - "Lissette has a background in architecture but is currently focused on music and design activities.  I maintain a career in the business world, which is what brought us to New York."
 

Lissette - "As far as hobbies go...music activities take up most of our free time, but prior passions have included ballet (which I studied for nearly two decades) and collecting vintage design."
Finally, any closing thoughts on the debut album, being in SR, or anything at all really?
SR - "Thank you again for taking the time to interview us -- and thanks to all of the fans and the labels who have supported our music!   We are proud to be part of the evolving global synthwave community."
Thanks to both of you for opening up so much and best of luck with what is a great debut album.
Oct 07 2015

Luke Jacobs

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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Started in spring 2009, Brutal Resonance quickly grew from a Swedish based netzine into an established International zine of the highest standard.

We cover genres like Synthpop, EBM, Industrial, Dark Ambient, Neofolk, Darkwave, Noise and all their sub- and similar genres.

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