ST Sessions: Local band In Each Hand A Cutlass took 2 years to finish monster track based on folklore

Rock band In Each Hand A Cutlass.
Rock band In Each Hand A Cutlass. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM ST VIDEO

Progressive rock band In Each Hand A Cutlass do not cut corners. Neither do they believe in keeping it simple when it comes to crafting their music.

Like the Kraken, a mythical sea creature their new album is named after, the title track itself is a monster of a tune that sprawls over 20 minutes.

Says guitarist Daniel Sassoon, 40: "There are so many different parts and the process of working on the song was dynamic. It took us two years to finish that title track."

The quintet will launch The Kraken with a gig at Esplanade Recital Studio on April 24, when they will play the whole album - their first time doing so live.

The band's other guitarist Sujin Thomas, 36, adds: "We have road-tested a few tracks over the past year or so but never attempted to play everything at one go.

"Physically, it will be gruelling for us to perform the different parts of the title track without stopping."

They will also preview the new tunes in the latest episode of live music video series ST Sessions, in the videos on this page.

Thomas, who has a day job as a journalist with SPH Razor, says the idea of writing the instrumental tunes based on the Kraken came from a children's pop-up book about Nordic and Greek lore.

The title track, for example, follows the story of a ship caught in battle with the elements and the titular sea monster. Says Thomas: "You get to feel the calm and then the restlessness in part one, the rough seas and absolute mayhem and violence in part two and in part three, it just mellows out."

The band flew in American music producer Brad Wood, who has worked with acts including alternative rock elders The Smashing Pumpkins and Sunny Day Real Estate, to produce and record the album.

Tired of renting music studios for rehearsals, they built their own in a spare room in drummer Jordan Cheng's house to work on the new songs. Says Sassoon: "Going in and out of rental studios was taking a toll on the band. When you have your own space, you don't feel that pressure. It puts you in a better creative mood."

The band went through a few changes after the release of their debut album, A Universe Made Of Strings, in 2011. Most notable are the addition of new members Thomas and bassist Nelson Tan, 33, who replace keyboardist/guitarist Roland Lim. Keyboardist Amanda Ling, 30, completes the current line-up.

As in their first album, all the songs in The Kraken were a collaborative effort, with each member bringing a different influence into the songs, says Cheng, 30.

He adds: "It took a while to finish the album, but you can hear pieces or snatches of our individual characters, all rolled into one."

dinohadi@sph.com.sg

Digital copies of the album will be available through online music services such as iTunes, Rdio, Spotify and Bandcamp from April 28


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Watch the videos here and answer two questions.

1) In the first video above: Because it's an instrumental, they named the different sections of their epic song Kraken after which other two fish species?

2) In the last video above: Halfway through the video interview, what toy is lead guitarist Daniel Sassoon holding in his hand? (Sassoon is seated on the right of his female keyboardist Amanda Ling)

E-mail your answers to stcommunities@straitstimes.com and correct entries will be placed in a simple lucky draw. (This contest has closed on April 30, 2015).

Watch more and connect with In Each Hand A Cutlass

Website: http://www.ineachhandacutlass.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IEHAC

Twitter: https://twitter.com/iehac

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/ineachhandacutlassband

SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/ineachhandacutlass

ST Sessions official backline equipment provider: Ebenex

Full list of ST Sessions acts in Season One

List of ST Sessions acts in ongoing Season Two