Interview: Talos Conjures Sonic Landscapes On ‘Far Out Dust’

talos interview eoin french

Photo by Niall O’Brien

Talos is preparing the release of his sophomore album, Far Out Dust, which is due on February 8th. The album was written and recorded in various locations around the globe, which informed its broad palette of sonic colors and textures. 

Talos is Eoin French, who spoke to us from his native Cork, Ireland for an interview. Listen to Far Out Dust single ‘The Light Upon Us’ here and read our Talos interview below:

Talos Interview

Dan Redding: How would you describe Cork to someone who’s never been there before?

Eoin French: It’s pretty small. It’s slightly inland. We’re about half an hour from the coast. It’s more of a town than a city, I suppose. A small population of a hundred thousand, maybe a hundred-and-fifty thousand. A lot of people try to spend a lot of time by the sea. It’s quite nice. Very quiet. Not a lot goes on here. [Laughter]

You’ve said that you wrote a lot of Far Out Dust while you were in transit, and that travel impacted the writing process. What is it that sparks your creativity when you travel?

Definitely the landscape. I know that sounds quite clichéd. I’m quite lucky to spend a lot of time in Reykjavik. Even here at home, it’s quite idyllic where we write. There’s kind of an emptiness in it. I think that definitely seeps into what I make.

I don’t really know the answer to that. I know that I make very particular things when I’m in different places. Sonically, it gets very affected by my surroundings. What I make and how I make it, the sounds I can achieve. I suppose it’s more of a color palette thing, you know?

You shot the video for ‘The Light Upon Us’ in Joshua Tree. How did that location reflect the meaning of the song or influence the concept of the video?

It’s quite a dead landscape. It’s quite barren and isolated. That definitely played into what was being said in the song: the idea that sometimes, everybody comes to a point where you have to let a relationship or a situation in your life die or pass by in order for something else to come into play. That was very much reflected in the absence in Joshua Tree.

I spend a bit of time in LA now, and I think Joshua Tree is fast becoming a holiday spot or something. It was kind of nice to capture a place before it gets fully overrun. There’s quite an ominous cloud over the place. You know what I mean? It’s fast becoming–

A major tourist destination?

Kind of, yeah. It was my first time there. I think it was kind of in everybody’s mind to capture something before it was lost or erased, or becomes something very different in a few years’ time.

Talos Far Out Dust

Talos ‘Far Out Dust’ artwork

I noticed a visual motif of an orange square in some of the materials for the album. What was the inspiration for that symbol?

It wasn’t so much a conscious thing. It was more like we wanted something contradictory in the image. We had this amazing photograph that it’s very hard to tell what it is – but I found it super engaging. The orange square was supposed to completely contradict the intricacy of what was in the photograph. It doesn’t have an inherently deep meaning. It added a counterpoint to the intricacy of the image.

You’re publishing a collection of pages from your sketchbooks. What is your daily writing or drawing process like?

They kind of happen simultaneously. I supposed it comes from what I studied when I was in college. It’s a habit that was kinda borne from that. When I write, I draw, and vice versa. They go hand in hand. It’s just a way of getting out of the mindset of thinking in words. If I’m stuck on lyrics or something, I get to trace my way through. That seems to help bring to the front what I’m trying to say. It’s meditative, in a way.

Do you sit down with your journal primarily when you’re feeling inspired, or do you make a daily practice out of that?

It’s usually a daily thing, I usually have it with me. A lot of the time, I take notes in my phone, and then I put them back in the sketchbook. I’ll flesh stuff out in the sketchbook, and then it would go back into the computer, to be able to see and edit properly. All of the lyrics have a life cycle from my phone – in either voice notes or notes – to the sketchbook, which is a messier thing, and then back into a computer where it’s properly picked apart.

You have a background in architecture. Are there similarities in the creative processes between architecture and music?

I think if you’re aware of it, there very much is. With architecture, I suppose you become acutely aware of the juxtaposition of spaces. An actual space, and your physical limitations within that. In music, it’s a very similar thing, without the limitations. It’s a more liquid form of making, compared to architecture.

They always say, ‘music is the space between the notes.’ Maybe that’s similar to the idea that this room that I’m in is the space between the walls. The empty space.

Exactly. When you put it like that, it makes a lot of sense. With architecture, the physical stuff is where you’re impressing yourself onto the ground. Music is a very similar thing. The notes are the moments that you’re striking the instrument. That’s an interesting way of putting it. … When architecture is done right in its purest form, it’s quite close to music. But it’s so smothered by legislation that it’s very rare that you get to see that.

What’s one element of a song that has to be perfect before you’re satisfied?

I don’t think I ever have anything in the songs that are perfect. But I know when something’s finished when it feels like there’s a symmetry. When things touch each other in the right ways. I know when something’s finished when the transitions feel effortless from different sections.

I never really strive for perfection. I prefer the opposite, actually. I prefer it to feel raw, or juxtaposing something that feels really expensive with something that feels super cheap. Or something that’s run through a really bad tape machine, or a shitty Casio synth – which we us a lot in some of the songs.

What is one thing that you miss about Cork when you’re away, not including friends and family?

I spend a lot of time at the coast. I surfed when I was growing up. Definitely spending time in West Cork and Kerry, which are coastal places where I spend a lot of time. That’s probably what I miss most.

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