Insch – Safe Haven (Intereview)

We fell in love with Insch and their laid-back vibe on social media. We checked them out and it turns out they are also an incredible band.

We took the time to go deeper and get to know Insch with questions we created during a listen of their debut album, Safe Haven. The Insch boys said we made them think harder about themselves and what they do! Check out what we asked them and their answers.

So there’s three of you in Insch, “power trio” as you say. Tell us more about who you are and what you do in Insch. 🙂

Our story is very simple, almost naive (like the best things in life, I guess): we’re three high school friends who’ve been playing together for more than a decade now, but never as a trio, up until recently. We started like most bands, a bunch of kids playing covers from their main influences (Deftones, Incubus, Silverchair, RATMN, etc.) and then evolved to something ours, more personal. Our first two vocals decided their path should lead them elsewhere so the first went to live in Adelaide (2006) and the second in London (2011), and that kind of hit us hard so we took a long break, not playing for almost two years. Eventually we missed each other and so in 2014 we started jamming again, with no goal nor plan in our minds, just playing for ourselves and for the first time as trio (we were tired of auditioning so we almost drew straws!). And we felt better than ever, the music really flowed and eventually that took us to stages we never dreamed to play, we recorded an album and even got to be voted band of the year by Balcony TV Lisbon.

So very plainly: we’re best friends living a dream.

We love your description of the band name Insch on your website, and how it ties in with your album title (Safe Haven). Do you aspire to have your music be a safe haven for people?

Well we would love to, but that’s really up to the fan’s to determine. [laughing now] We chose that name because music, this band, really became our little safe haven from our daily lives, and the truth is nothing moves us more than when people come as tell us how this song our that lyric made them feel good or recover from a broken heart. Music is so curious in that form: you can write a lyrics about something particular in your life and have a million people relating specifically to that feeling.

insch

The vibe of your band on social media is so chilled and happy. Could we attribute that to your location? What else keeps you chilled?

We never really thought of that but you’re probably right! Portugal is a really laid-back country, the weather is always sunny, the surf is always good, the vibe is positive. I guess we are a product of the place we grow and the people who cross our path but (trust me!) we’re nice guys and we try to see the best in life. Sometimes our songs talk about some negative things but hey, everyone’s been through some hard sh!t, it’s never easy growing up! Besides music and playing live what keeps us chilled is to have our family and friends always close. They are our rock.

I was wondering if we could talk about your album Safe Haven. It seems to be your first album, what was the process like in it coming to life?

Like almost everything in these last three years, it happened very naturally, the album was almost a obvious step. We started by creating all the songs, then we took them to the road and we played live as much as we could (we wanted to really understand what everyone else thought of our music) and finally we decided to record the album. To make it even more special and unique, in feeling and vibe, we decided to record it entirely in our rehearsing room (the studio engineer brought in all the recording gear!), and we took a month to record it. We live in a really small country with an even smaller rock scene so we viewed this moment as an experience to be lived to the fullest (honestly we never knew if we would ever record a second album) and so we took our time and made everything as we felt it should be done. The process was awesome and we learned a lot, can’t wait to do it again!

What does ‘Komorebi’ [Name of the first track on Safe Haven] mean?

‘Komorebi’ is actually a Japanese word that roughly translates to “sunlight shining through the leaves of trees”. “Komorebi” was the last song to be written, we finished it during the pre-production of the album and the producer wasn’t sure we should add last minute songs to it but we were sure it was the right opening for Safe Haven.

We’re in love with your sound (listening to “Whenever You Call My Name” right now). It’s such a sweet heavy rock sound, with uncomplicated vocals/lyrics. I love a good raunchy bassline. What bands or musicians have inspired you?

Gosh, thank you so very much! Curiously we listen to very different stuff, we’re almost never into the same bands, the three of us.

Migalhas (aka Crumbles, drums) is much more pop, punk and ska, he hits really really hard but he’s a very groovy kind of a drummer, always ready to funk things up.

Manel (bass) is much more an alternative and indie rock kind of guy, he really likes those strong NIN or Tool type of bass lines and also BRMC and stuff like that.

Tiago (guitar and vocals) is a grunge native with lots of numetal influences (Seattle’s grunge, Deftones, Incubus, etc.). So we’re a little musical melting pot and we always try to get everyone’s opinion when creating something new, we always do it together.

I can hear Nirvana influences in “Telesphorus” (and others), as well as a touch of Alice In Chains & Soundgarden. Are you 90s grunge kids? 😉

We proudly are! Seattle’s grunge has to be one of our major and first influences, we were musically born in the 90’s and those bands were the first to shape our mold.

Could you tell us how the “Whenever You Call My Name” video came to be? It has such a rich storytelling feel to it that we don’t often see these days.

This video was a great endeavor, we wanted to make it special. Instead of just playing our instruments and having a nice background we wanted to tell a story we could connect to. We came across this almost abandoned cinema in our home town Ericeira and our good friend and video producer Filipe Santos (shotandcutfilms.com) had the idea to add skaters to the story so we spent a couple of days trashing the place and preparing it for tricks and jumps and stuff. Everyone in the video is a friend of ours, the skaters rockin the cinema, the main character is Migalha’s brother, Ricardo, and even the house you see in the beginning is actually Manel’s flat. It really took the entire village to raise this child. [laughing]

“Bring Me Back” has an amazing chorus (and the rest of the song of course). What’s your view of using silence/pauses within songs?

Well we always try and keep things interesting, like using different rhythms and playing with pauses and silences (everyone or just part of the instruments) and stuff like that. You get some of those in BMB but also in WYCMN, It’s Yours, Home and These Lies. We like to have different kinds of textures during a song, sometimes heavy, sometimes mellow.

These songs would be amazing live, are you getting out and about often as a band? What’s the music scene like for you locally?

Playing live is our favorite thing, we try to play as much as we can (we have 8 shows booked for February), but unfortunately the rock scene is almost none existing here. The people like rock music (summer festivals are always crowded, we’re having bands like Guns N Roses, Foo Fighters, RHCP and Deftones in the next few months, just to name a few) but the radios and the entire industry are really not interested in Portuguese rock bands, specially those singing in English. There is no national radio dedicated to rock, the scene in Portugal consists mainly of a few local resistant radios standing their ground. This isn’t even sympathy talk, do you know any Portuguese rock bands?

The timing of “Spring’s Concrete” grabs me and doesn’t let go. Are you fans of unique timings? (Not to mention mind-blowing guitar solos…)

We don’t have strong feelings about the timing of our songs, not in a planned way “it should sound like this” or “no matter what, this song will have a different setting”. We just let it flow until we find the right rhythm to each one. But we love unique strong rhythms like Tool’s or NIN’s. On the other hand, we are not really the mind-blowing guitar solo type, we feel there’s a fine line where technique stops being in service of the music and music itself serves as a platform for technique demonstration so…

What got you all into playing music?

Well, that’s hard to say, we don’t remember it to be a “decision”, it kind of happened very naturally. We guess that was just a normal thing for kids in the 90s. You loved Nirvana, you had bands all throughout prep and high school, it really didn’t matter the style (most were punk, hardcore or grunge), it didn’t matter if you were good or not (most bands weren’t), what did matter was being in a band and rocking shit up. It was just something we had to do, a strong urge, so strong that Manel and Tiago are self-taught musicians.

“Telesphorus” is such an epic track, by the way. What’s your favourite from Safe Haven?

Thanks, “Telesphorus” is a very intimate personal song, it talks about a specific phase in our lives and is also that one song we wanted to have a violin and cello coming in and recording. As for favorites, it’s so hard for us to choose just one, we have deep connections to all. Everything we write is very personal and even biographical, we use music to talk about our bruises, skeletons and broken hearts so one song can mean the world to one of us and the next one to the other… but in the end, if we really had to choose, we end up always wanting to play over and over “Komorebi”, “Whenever You Call My Name”, “Home” and “It’s Yours”. [don’t let the other songs know! It’ll be our little secret!]

Loving “These Lies”. “Home” is so dark and grungey, loving it. (I think I’m going to have to do a full review on this album!)

Well we couldn’t be more proud, if you truly feel that way! It’s such a big thing to us having a person like you, so far away in this planet, never ever having met one of us, just saying “hey I like what you did, congrats!”. It means the world to us.

“Home” is actually Tiago’s favorite, it was written while he was living in Brazil a couple years ago and was homesick. It’s very dark and emotionally heavy.

Do you collaborate on writing?

Musically, we write everything together. It’s a rule we’ve always kind of had, everything has to have everyone’s input, even more because we have different influences and we need the final product to excite all three. As to lyrics, usually Tiago takes the lead, although he writes about ourselves and our lives so, although the writer is just one, there are three muses. [laughing]

I’d describe your sound as “rock made in heaven” 🙂 how would you describe it?

If you’d describe our sound as “rock made in heaven”, we’d kiss you. Period. Now seriously, we really don’t have a fancy description for our music, we started creating all these songs very naively, just to ourselves, and they suddenly grew bigger and bigger, we never even dreamed of playing them live when we first created them. So our best description would be “honest, deep, heartfelt rock”.

“Catchfire” is incredible. Love the riffs in the chorus, not to mention the awesomeness of the bridge! It’s been interesting hearing the songs get progressively heavier as the album has gone on. Is it just me or was that planned?

It really wasn’t, swear to god. But yeah, “Catchfire” is an awesome song, we use it to open our shows, to immediately show the crowd who’s the boss. [laughing]

“Shine, Goodbye” is an incredible way to end the album. Well done on making something so great. What is next for Insch?

When we considered what songs to put into the album we instantly knew “Shine” was the perfect closure, the farewell song. And again, our hearts get really bigger and warmer when you compliment us, we are really moved to have somehow made something other people relate to. Thank you so very much. As for next steps we are getting back to studio this next March, and this time we’ll get the big guns out, somehow we got Henrik Udd to come and produce us (he has been working with bands such as Bring Me The Horizon and Architects, he also produced some Australian bands like Buried In Verona and A Breach Of Silence, you probably know them). We’re really excited and the new material is incredibly powerful so, the future is bright!

We loved getting to know Insch better. Check out Insch Safe Haven on iTunes:

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