When Typhoon first came to Boston in September of 2013, the band was visibly astonished by the crowd’s enthusiastic response: “We’d never been to Boston before,” lead singer Kyle Morton said. “That was a mistake.”

This week Typhoon returns to play their third full-length album, Offerings, a four-movement work that continues the dark themes of the previous two in which Morton grapples with dangers of losing your memory and forgetting history. In anticipation for their January 25th Paradise Rock Club show, we heard from violinist Shannon Steele about the record-making process, the story behind the accompanying gritty visuals, and how the band setup has changed since White Lighter.

KB: Could you please describe the band’s sound without using genre names?

SS: Death affirming

KB: When I first saw you live, when you first played in Boston, I described the performance and band as an orchestra, and an onion—in other words, I was astounded by the many layers of sound. Offerings—though still containing many more layers than the average indie rock album—feels much more minimal in comparison to previous material. How has that affected the live show? What has changed about the band that prompted this decision?

SS: This album came out of a long break from playing live shows. As time passed, some members started taking root at home, choosing different careers, starting families, and going naturally in different directions. As a result we’ve had a slight personnel change. It worked out sort of seamlessly though because the songs that Kyle started bringing to the group had a much different energy to them than what we had come up with before.

One of the first songs that Kyle brought to the group to start working out was Empiricist. It had such a heavy, grungy feel that we all were really enthusiastic about. Most of us grew up listening to metal bands or punk bands so even though it wasn’t clear at first how to arrange them for our “orchestral” group, we were all really excited to figure it out.

KB: How was the process of recording this album different from others?

SS: Kyle produced this record and spent a lot of time on his own adding field recordings and experimenting with different recording tricks/techniques. I was living in Boston for a portion of the process and the band would send me demos as they went along. So the experience was very different for me.

I had a lot of freedom to write and record whatever I wanted on my own and send it back to them. That’s how Coverings came to be. I had that song stuck in my head a lot and that melody started to emerge. I don’t think I would have made the decision to record it had I not been isolated from everyone else.

KB: The visual accompaniment for the first movement was created by Nevan Doyle and really does a good job of representing the gritty, fuzzy sounds of the music. I’d love to hear about how you decided to work with him.

SS: Tyler had seen some of his work before and he liked it so he reached out. The video for the first movement of the record came after we had already been working with him for a while. He seemed to visually interpret the record really quickly. We’re really happy that we’ve connected so well so far.

KB: I know Nevan is a Portland-based artist and that the band is really proud of its Portland roots—can you talk to me about the music scene and community there? And, if applicable, the role the local community played in the making of this album?

SS: The Portland scene is pretty incestuous. A couple of us play in other bands and that is definitely the trend there. Typhoon does that less and less as time goes on. We’ve settled into a group of people that works well together with very little effort. But beyond the people making the music itself, we have a community of friends who we collaborate with for everything else that comes along with making a record. Matthew Thomas Ross helps us most often with photos, music videos, etc. Kyle bounces lyrical ideas off of our friend Zachary Schomberg. We sometimes rehearse in a venue that some of us work at. We are very lucky to have the community that we do.

KB: How do you think the themes in this album will resonate with listeners? How do they resonate with you?

SS: It’s hard to answer this one because we’ve all been so immersed in the content of the record for so long that it’s hard not to see the world through the themes of it now. It’s a definitely a darker record and Kyle’s lyrics deal with some difficult, painful themes. But I think they are definitely themes that we can all relate to.

KB: This album deals a lot with memory. Are there any special memories you’ve all had together (while touring or recording the album) that you’d like to share?

SS: We’ve had countless memories together touring! But my favorite memory from recording this record was making a sound booth in the closet of our practice space to record vocals in. Kyle built a wall of sound panels in front of the doorway and completely blocked me in. Made for better vocal takes but it was a bit claustrophobic.

Catch Typhoon play live at Paradise Rock Club this Thursday, January 25th. 

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