Giants strive for perfection
I Am Giant are working hard to live up to their big name.
The New Zealand rock band based in London recently released their album Science & Survival, the follow-up to The Horrifying Truth, the nation's highest selling rock album of 2011.
The band, British vocalist Ed Martin, drummer Shelton Woolright (ex Blindspott) and bassist Paul Matthews (Stylus/Tadpole), spent the best part of six months kicking the album into shape.
They hung out in France, at DC Shoes' Drop In Studios in St Jean De Luz, working with longtime collaborator and acclaimed producer/engineer Forrester Savell (Karnivool/Helmut).
Matthews finished off the album in his London-based studio. It was then dispatched to New York where it was mastered at the Grammy Award-winning studio Sterling Sound.
I Am Giant has toured extensively in the last year, notching up passport stamps from Asia to Germany and Poland.
Last month they performed at Orange Warsaw in Poland on the same bill as Limp Bizkit, Outkast and Snoop Dogg before heading on tour with Queens of the Stone Age as part of the Hard Rock Truck Tour through Germany.
"We wanted to make a traditional album that you could play from start to finish. I was thinking Pink Floyd," Matthews explains while pacing around the carpark outside his London studio.
"We spent a long time getting everything right. For some songs we recorded the vocals three times in some parts."
From the opening chords of Guethary through to the band-polarising 13-minute closer Bought With Ignorance, Sold With Arrogance, he believes they've achieved what they set out to do.
"The songs we picked were, this time around, the edgier, darker tracks. We're proud of the album.
"Bought With Ignorance, Sold With Arrogance caused a bit of debate in the band. It's a long, epic outro. It's got Gregorian monk chanting in the middle. I got my mate Andy from an Irish band from Kingston to come in for that."
The title is drawn from a lyric on the album. Matthews talks of a "collision" between science and survival.
As a band they took risks, Matthews says, experimenting with different timings and time signatures.
"On Minefield, the intention was to take a non-traditional time signature and actually get the groove of it from beginning to end."
Caught up in their French surroundings, they included field recordings of French dialogue, a choir and church bells from the historic village of Guethary throughout the record.
"We were in France, so we decided to try to use some of the natural environment."
First single Razor Wire Reality is accompanied by a video by award-winning Berlin-based director/producer team Soren and Martin (Bring Me The Horizon, Crystal Castles).
"They are really cool guys who do great videos."
The video for the second single, Death Of You, was shot at Kingseat, a former psychiatric hospital considered by some to be one of New Zealand's most notorious haunted locations.
I've often wondered why Woolright chooses to paint his face black in a their music videos and also live shows.
"You'll have to ask him," Matthews laughs. "It's an artistic thing."
Matthews has been in Christchurch recently, working on songs with rising band Setting Fire to Stacey.
"Doing a few drums, that kind of thing."
I Am Giant launch the first show of their nine-date New Zealand tour in Christchurch on Thursday.
"Some of those songs will be played live for the first time," Matthews laughs.
"We're trying to remember the words."
Want to win a copy of Science & Survival come over to our Facebook page.
I Am Giant are touring NZ with ten shows from July 17
For more information visit iamgiant.com
Tickets $35 plus booking fee