Silverfish is a conceptual instrumental band That has been playing around Rochester for a number of years. They are currently putting the finishing touches on their new album, right now just called Part One. The album is less a collection of music and more of a story told through instruments. No vocals or narration, just a five musicans telling a fairy tale through their music. I finally got a chance to talk to silverfish, meeting up with them at their practice spot to talk about the plot to Part One, old bands, and why vocals wouldn’t fit their style.
How long has Silverfish been playing?
Jeff: Two and a half to three years I’d say.
Phil: Brian and I got a space here because we both wanted to make music. We played music together more than we talked to each other. Playing together was just finding out what noises we could make and what our sound should be. We didn’t know what we wanted to do yet, we just knew we wanted to get something out. Neither of us were in bands at the time, we both had been in band that had fell apart so our music felt unfinished.
Brian: The first several months of us being a band was just guitar, bass, and violin. A large foundation of the music we wrote was during that time. Then Josh was living with Phil, and he kind of played drums so he joined us.
Josh: At the time I wasn’t really playing drums, I was just kind of fooling around. Phil asked me to play drums of percussion. He explained the whole story concept and I had been looking for an outlet to do different music.
Paul: The band asked me for a while to play with them; Josh didn’t want to play drums anymore and wanted to do something else. I kind of caved after awhile. I liked the concept and wanted to start playing. Jeff, Brian and I played in Epilogue together so we were already used to playing with each other.
Phil: We should just talk about Epilogue, that band was so great.
What was Epilogue?
Phil: Epilogue was the reason I started thinking about writing music in a more in depth and exciting way. Telling stories through music and dragging people in to the music. Silverfish can be seen as a spawn of Epilogue in a sense. Silverfish took it further.
Brian: Silverfish is the next step in our evolution of music. It took it in a different direction. No words, no singer, all instrumental.
Paul: We are all in different places now then we were in Epilogue, we are all more comfortable and confident playing with each other.
Was Epilogue the same style of music as Silverfish?
Paul: No, Totally different.
Jeff: It was different. It was prog-rock; there was a definite sound, we had vocals, and a keyboardist, a ton of acoustic guitar as well.
Paul: Epilogue also had a major song writer. One of the members, Tom, was defiantly the writer of the band. We just threw in what we had on top of it.
Jeff: In silverfish, we all have our hand in writing the music. The music is also a lot more abstract.
Brian: Our band now is much more open minded. Instead of focusing on lyrics and choruses to tell the story, we focus more on a movement, and a bigger picture on how the story continues through instrumental.
Josh: They are both conceptual bands. But because we are instrumental we have to find a way to tell our story through just playing, while in Epilogue you could just listen to the words to realize that there was a story. Now sometimes people don’t realize that we are telling a story.
What keeps you from adding vocals to your music?
Brian: For a while we talked to some singers and played with the concept of including lyrics into our story. It never panned out.
Josh: We were interested in having someone narrate the story we were writing, butt then we realized that when we play live our music would be too loud for someone to narrate over.
Jeff: I think we all understand that the way we tell the story the right way than anything else. In my opinion having vocal would take away from what is going on.
Phil: We also had the idea of telling the story though a video or some type of multi media event. Which we all agree would be a better idea than vocal. But there are other things to consider with that, like setting up the scene and making sure everything is timed right. We also don’t want people to focus more on the visuals than the actual music.
Josh: The thing that is most exciting with this band is that you’re not just creating songs, your creating a story for the audience. You’re making something bigger that yourself and your experience.
So your first album is more like part one of a book than a series of songs.
Phil: The story starts off with a boy riding his bike through the city by Cobbs Hill. He gets to Cobbs Hill and lays down to watch the clouds. He begins to see something flying around through the clouds. As it gets closer and closer he sees that it is a dragon. The dragon then swoops down and grabs him.
The boy blacks out during the flight and wakes up in the dark (which is the abandoned subway). He starts feeling around and finally lights a match. He finds out that the things he is laying in are human bones. Struggling to get out of the bones he finally starts running through the dark until he finally sees a light. At the end he hits the aqueduct and sees the lights of the city. And that is the end of part one. That’s were we leave it, the boy looking out at the city that may or may not still be Rochester.
Brian: This will be about twenty five minutes of music total. In the big scheme of things I believe this will be part one of three parts, with the whole story taking about an hour to tell.
Check out their Facebook HERE, and stay tuned for more updates on their upcoming CD!