The Return of Airiel
Interview with Jeremy Wrenn
By Corentin Le Denmat
A decade has passed since Airiel’s first album The Battle of Sealand, and it's been 5 years since the Kid Games EP. So nobody expected to see the Chicago based band release something new. Enter Molten Young Lovers.
It's been worth the wait, too. The band have maintained the dreamy, shimmering sonic texture which made them a figure of light in the late 00’s shoegaze scene. From the explosive drum-machine-bass-driven starter for This is Permanent to the languishing Your Lips, My Mouth; Airiel have accomplished what many before them have never been capable of - putting forward a languid, strong and rhythmic long format of shoegaze.
As they say themselves, "it’s loud. It’s pretty. You can dance to it". A few weeks ago we discussed it all with one of the brains behind the album, Jeremy Wrenn.
"For me, personally, it was that I didn’t want Sealand to be the only LP we ever did. I’m disappointed in that record as a whole...I absolutely love Molten Young Lovers and I’m just happy that it’s finally out there"
Molten Young Lovers is your first release in 5 years since the Kid Games EP and your first album in 10 years. What made you want to put out a new record ?
Jeremy Wrenn: For me, personally, it was that I didn’t want Sealand to be the only LP we ever did. I’m disappointed in that record as a whole. The lineup at that time was great and we played so many shows, but I wasn’t happy with all of the songs and I should have been more up front about that. I absolutely love Molten Young Lovers and I’m just happy that it’s finally out there.
The question a lot of people will be asking is what has been keeping you busy besides the band during the past 5 years? // The usual boring stuff – family, work, paying rent etc. We actually recorded this album 3 times since the songs were done. Used different studios, but the simple fact was that the performances on the recordings weren’t good enough or the songs themselves needed a little more time to mature.
Kid Games was basically written and recorded at the same time, which is abnormal for Airiel. The songs on Molten Young Lovers were written before recording and played out live quite a bit.
"People, even those who claim to be fans, want your music to be free. I can’t believe that people still openly ask for MP3s for records on social media"
Airiel formed 20 years ago so 2017 is a milestone for you! How has the consumption of music been evolving over this period? // People, even those who claim to be fans, want your music to be free. I can’t believe that people still openly ask for MP3s for records on social media. This is especially painful in the shoegaze scene because that’s an actual community, and for every person that is supportive financially, there are probably the same amount or more that never buy anything.
Unless you’re from the original scene like Slowdive and still touring today, you’re more than likely an independent outfit, and you need all the financial help you can get. But sadly, the current online playing services pay the artists next to nothing, and then you have people that just listen to YouTube channels where they have uploaded full albums.
Finally, which 5 albums most influenced Molten Young Lovers? // I can’t really say if anything specifically influenced it. We all have very similar music tastes, and to me, this is just “more Airiel”. I suppose the biggest thing we paid attention to was older albums and their recording techniques, such as The Big Express from XTC. Electronic drum sounds and specific reverbs, like that fantastic snare on This World Over.