String Theory is considered to be the unifying mathematics theory Einstein was seeking before his death. It’s difficult to summarise, but if true could be the answers to all questions relating to time, relativity and size in the whole known universe and beyond.
Meanwhile closer to home..
Black String Theory are Australian multi-instrumentalist Scott van Dort, and Swiss-born drummer/guitarist, Mann Baldanza. Their rich tapestry of sound combining the best of modern English bands with electronic elements may be less complex than String Theory, but for only two people they make a lot of noise. We caught up with Scott in a break from recording their as yet, untitled new album.
How did you both get together?
I formed The Black String Theory myself and put together a bunch of songs to lay down the foundations and map out the sound and direction I wanted to take things. Shortly after I posted an ad up on Craig’s List and Mann was the first drummer I met and I knew right away that he was the perfect fit.
He’d just left a band situation and was looking to start something new and his whole attitude, knowledge, experience and understanding was exactly what we needed. We did audition bass players and guitarists but we after a couple of months, we decided to pursue this as a duo as we realized everything that we sought we had within the two of us.
Where are you both from?
I was born in Melbourne, Australia and Mann was born in Switzerland but he also spent a lot of time growing up in Paris. We’ve both lived quite nomadic lives. I first left Australia was I was 19 and spent time living back and forth between Australia, Canada, England and Holland before setting up in the U.S.
Right now we’re based in Los Angeles, CA. I’ve been In L.A. for nearly four and half years while Mann has been here for 10 years. I’m not sure if L.A. will be home forever and I think the idea of continuing to move is always in the back of my mind but right now, it’s where we are.
You have a very ‘English’ sound, who are your influences?
We both have our own individual influences but I would agree that our influences are definitely English. I think generally the stuff that comes out of the UK is a lot more interesting, cutting edge and exploratory So much of the greatest music of the past 50 years has come out of the UK whether it’s punk, indie rock, new-wave, dance or whatever.
I’d say our most prominent influences are Radiohead, Editors, Keane, Muse, and perhaps early Coldplay even though the guys get a bad rap and for whatever reason are popular to hate on.
I’d also include Depeche Mode, Glasvegas, The Cure, Siouxsie And The Banshees, Joy Division, Interpol, Smashing Pumpkins, Ludovico Einaudi, Bat For Lashes, Athlete, and Jeff Buckley. I think as a band you can’t help be influenced by what you listen to and I guess we do listen to a lot of UK stuff.
Do you have a title for the new album?
No, but there’s definitely a general theme forming though and I’d say the title will revolve around that. I think ‘Hopes and Fears’ would have been an appropriate title but that’s already been taken! There will be more music soon as we’ll most likely release a couple more individual tracks before the album is out.
What sort of things can we look forward to on it?
I’ve always been a fan of albums myself rather than just individual songs; I love the journey and listening to things develop over the 45 or so minutes; a complete body of work. People always say our music is grand’ or ‘epic’ sounding and so it’s safe to say it’ll be a big sounding album with a mixture of everything that encapsulates The Black String Theory and our overall vision.
I think it’ll be you can expect moody electronic rock stuff (Radiohead, later Editors or even Depeche Mode), indie-rock such as our current single ‘This Clouded View’, piano and synth driven rock (think early Keane), and then there will be the more soul-bearing, raw piano and vocal stuff such as ‘Too Late’ from our EP.
With just two of you how do you make things work live?
Right now, it’s Mann on drums (and guitar for a song) and myself juggling between piano, guitar and vocals. We then have a lap-top playing back the synth and bass parts. 5 years ago, I never would have thought of the idea but then I saw The Helio Sequence and other bands like The XX and it changed my whole opinion. In the not too distant future, I’d like to expand my keyboard set-up so that I can also play additional synth parts too.
Are there any producers you would like to work with in the future?
We had actually spoken to a couple of guys just before we started recording back in March and we were close to working with one guy in particular who we’re big fans of but unfortunately we weren’t in the financial position to do so at that particular point being independent and all. But I’d say above and beyond anyone else, we’d love to work with Flood. Rich Costey, Alan Moulder and Jacknife Lee would also be right up there as well.
I see you have been Dj’ing recently, what would you be doing if you weren’t in a band?
Yeah, on Saturday mornings we host a radio program on Radio ALX for 2-hours, which is a lot of fun. It’s fun – who doesn’t love indulging in their own music selections?
To answer the question, neither of us are sure. We both love travel and personally, I’ve also always been interested in psychology. I also really like writing and film but I’m yet to work out what I could do with those interests! Whatever it is, it would have a creative element to it.
What is the best thing about being in Black String Theory?
The creativity. Without a doubt. Following that, I’d say corresponding with listeners all over the world is right up there too. We’ve been lucky enough to connect with some great people as a result of our music and it’s been a real pleasure.
Do you have a fav chord?
Hmmm, we tend to use a lot of minor chords in our music but I’d say, a good old ‘C’ chord would be my choice.
Black String Theory play the The Viper Room, in LA this week (Thursday June 2nd) and their track This Clouded View is available to hear and download on the latest Flush the Fashion music sampler HERE.