Interview with Cam Maynard (The Contortionist)

Progressive wizards The Contortionist will release their new album Clairvoyant on September 15, 2017 via Entertainment One Music / Good Fight Music. We had a quick chat with Cam Maynard about the release and production.

Thank you for taking the time out to talk with us here at Silver Tiger Media. Not long now and everyone can enjoy the fruits of your labour. We are super excited about the upcoming release of Clairvoyant on the 15th September. I am sure you can’t wait to get the new music into everyone’s hands?

We’ve been waiting for this moment for three years!

First on the table is a challenge: can you in one short paragraph, sum up the history of The Contortionist from conception to the current day?

The Contortionist began in central Indiana in 2008, when I was attending Purdue University. Joe, Robby, Chris, and I met in high school and soon after we were playing regionally with no label support. In 2009, we met our manager, signed to Good Fight Entertainment, and released our first two records, Exoplanet and Intrinsic, in 2010 and 2012, respectfully. In 2014, signing to Entertainment One, we released Language – with Michael, Eric, and Jordan replacing Jonathan and Chris. Now, this same group of guys will be releasing Clairvoyant on September 15 of this year.

Language was such a massive album for you guys, did you feel any pressure going into the making of this one to match or better the result?

I honestly felt less pressure this time around, and I think it will continue to be that way, record after record. We are constantly picking up on each other’s strong suites, both technically as players, but also in composition.

I personally, am loving the cover art, are you able to give me some insight into how it came to be?

The cover art came to be when Matthew Hay (aka Portland) shot a series of photos – based in our idea to have this darkly spiritual, almost ritualistic, arrangement of branches and twigs in the forest. What you see on the cover is actually part of the story intertwined throughout the music of the album. It has multiple meanings, figuratively and literally, but this time around Michael went with the darker approach overall.

What does the album’s title reveal, if anything, about the album’s impact and themes?

The title reveals the idea and theme of having some sort of special, almost magical, sense of knowing something. The lyrics play in both directions with this main theme. Can you tell the future? Haha.

What kind of ‘sound’, production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to entering the studio?

We knew we wanted to work with Jamie King again – that was definitely unanimous. We also knew that there was going to be slightly different approaches to the way we wanted our instruments to sound, but this is really just fine-tuning anyway. We did know we wanted to experiment more with whatever we could get a hold of. We used 12-string guitars, ukuleles, idiophones, field sound recordings, and we even scraped pieces of sheet metal together and used other creative things.

Was there a clear purpose in the way the album is structured?

The album is chronological, so we tried to sequence the songs based of the lyrics.

This album sees you being reunited producer Jamie King, what kind of input did he have during the process?

My personal favorite is Absolve because it has some cool modal theory in the chord progressions, has a wide dynamic range, yet it still sounds like one atmosphere. And I like basking in it!

Please inform us about your favourite songs and lyrical highlights and why?

Please inform us about your favourite songs and lyrical highlights and why?

Who are your influences and heroes? (music-wise)

I would describe this new record as refined, and quite honestly, the best thing I’ve ever been a part of. All we’ve ever been trying to do is be as complex as we can with our instruments, while maintaining the necessary amount of simplicity to call the compositions songs. We love to play, but we are songwriters at heart.

I would describe this new record as refined, and quite honestly, the best thing I’ve ever been a part of. All we’ve ever been trying to do is be as complex as we can with our instruments, while maintaining the necessary amount of simplicity to call the compositions songs. We love to play, but we are songwriters at heart.

I see a lot of myself in artists like Pat Metheny, Brian Eno, Dredg, Coheed & Cambria – and they have probably been the most influential on me as a composer, writer, and player.

What is something you really enjoy listening to at the moment that others might be surprised at?

Anything you would like to say to The Contortionist Australian fanbase?

We will be back with heaps of new songs, I promise!