British Theatre on their debut LP, Mastery
British Theatre is the latest project formed by ex-Oceansize members Richard A. Ingram and Mike Vennart that combines their separate musical interests while emphasizing their individual talents. Their full-length debut, Mastery, proves Ingram’s electronic virtuosity and Vennart’s singing and songwriting abilities. Although not yet as innovative as Oceansize, British Theatre offers a sufficiently weird and catchy set of songs that give hope for still more enjoyable and ambitious undertakings in the near future. It is awesome to say that Ingram was generous enough to answer questions via Email about Mastery, playing shows, and memorable experiences with fans.
- How and when was British Theatre born?
I had the idea for BT before Oceansize’s demise. I wanted Mike to add vocals to some of the drone/experimental music I was writing, but it never went as far as that initial idea. After the split we knew we still wanted to work together, so we took that idea and went with it, not knowing what it was going to sound like.
2. Oceansize sounded a lot like progressive rock or post-rock, and British Theatre has clear electronic influences. How did that come about? Were there specific influences/inspirations for the sound?
The only thing I didn’t want BT to sound like was a rock band, having just spent 12 years in one. I’ve been into electronic music since I was a kid, so the influence was always there. And towards the end of Oceansize’s career my tastes had veered towards more left-field electronic music and sound design. I think the first 2 EP’s were us trying to figure out what worked and what didn’t.
3. Your new album Mastery is out now. Do you think there is a unifying theme to it? If so, what do you think it is?
I think you would have to ask Mike this question, but he’s asleep at the moment! He’s worn out. Poor chap.
4. What song are you most excited or proud of on Mastery? Why?
I was really excited when “Newman” came together. Basically, Mike sent me a demo of a track which I thought wasn’t very exciting, a solid five, so I deconstructed it and the end result was “Newman.” It came together quite quickly and sounded a little different from the rest of the songs — it was almost constructed like a remix.
5. What was one learning experience from forming British Theatre and/or recording Mastery?
I think being patient and not rushing anything helped shape the sound of the final record. We actually had a lot of songs/ideas back in 2013 which we could have tried to shape into an album but then 2 years of touring with Biffy Clyro (and also Mike working on his solo record) meant that the BT album was put on hold for a while. I think this gave us time to think about what kind of record we actually wanted to make.
6. How do you view your relationship with your fans? What are ways you like to connect with fans, and do you have a memorable experience with a fan you would like to share?
Obviously with social media being what it is the gap between artist and fans is virtually non-existent. I still think there should be an air of mystery surrounding your favourite artist (and being a rather quiet chap anyway) I try to keep the connection to a minimum! I leave the fan relationship stuff to Mike — he loves it.
7. What do you like most about playing shows and touring? What do you like least?
The thing I like most? Getting to travel to all these amazing places around the world. The least? Not getting to see any of the amazing places I travel to. I have, however, seen a hell of a lot of dressing rooms around the world.
8. How has it been making a living from music for you? Are you optimistic for the future of music with the influx of technology and the Internet?
Making a living from music has certainly had its ups and downs, and I feel very lucky to have been able to do what I enjoy. The future of music has nothing to fear from the internet and rising technological advances. The music industry however (is that what you meant?), well, I don’t know and don’t particularly care. Just imagine that you were to wake up tomorrow and the music industry had disappeared. Record companies, management, booking agents, accountants, the lot. Music would still exist.
9. What advice would you give to a young artist making music similar to yours who is just starting out today?
Enjoy the creative process more than anything else because that’s the most important part. And get a cat. Or two.
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