Summers End
CoC chats with Duncan Patterson of Íon
by: Quentin Kalis
One of the most spellbinding releases of 2006 was a little gem by the newly formed Íon, a project of one Duncan Patterson, having already paid his dues in seminal doom legend Anathema as well as Antimatter. Patterson has returned with a folk project that is hard to describe. Superficially, it is ethereal and insubstantial; yet it conceals a wealth of emotion. I could do worse than provide you, the reader, with some insight into Íon's mastermind.

CoC: Why did you leave Antimatter? Why did you feel you could no longer persevere with this project?

Duncan Patterson: It was just time for a change in life. For all I was putting in, I wasn't getting much positive feedback in return; so I thought it made sense to leave it as it was, and have something to look back upon with pride. We made two great albums together, and managed to play across America and Europe, as well as gigs in Turkey and Cyprus. All that without being part of the hideous marketing circus. On the downside, we were very unlucky, and a lot of things that should have been straightforward became a struggle, so that was that. You have to keep moving sometimes to find contentment, and that's what I do. Mick is using the name for his solo project, and I hope it goes well for him. It wasn't a band as such, more of a pair of songwriters putting concepts together on the same album. Mick deserves more recognition as he's one of the finest singer / songwriters around. If only the majority of people were actually into music, and not what they're fed to fit in with their particular genre of fashion.

CoC: After you left Antimatter, how long did it take to get Íon off the ground?

DP: I already had some music written and had an idea about how I was going to approach it. I started speaking to people, and was introduced to other people about getting the album together. I began work in September 2005, which was a bit of a false start. Emily Bly came over from America and played all the flute and clarinet parts; she was so professional and prepared that we finished them way quicker than expected. From there I thought that the album would be finished soon, but people who were supposed to play on the album were hesitating and didn't exactly help the cause. Then it became difficult to get studio access, and the album took about a year to complete. Luckily there were people into the music who were willing to help out and get it finished, and I'm eternally grateful to them.

CoC: Was Íon intended as a solo project from the start? If not, why not? Why is it a solo project?

DP: I intended to write and album and invite people to be involved to play on it who wanted to be involved. I'm not sure if that's a solo project or not, but I'm a writer and don't see the need to get other people to commit to playing my stuff under the guise of a "band". There are many bands that only have one songwriter, but they are classed as "bands" because the other guys have signed a contract. I'm kind of out of that type of scenario now; I just want to gather some decent musical people who want to be involved.

CoC: Íon's debut is folk based but defies easy pigeonholing. How would you describe Íon's sound?

DP: Acoustic, ambient, with some classical and traditional influences.

CoC: How difficult was it to get the various guests located all over the world for the album?

DP: It wasn't difficult really, as there is not much instrumentation on the album. It wasn't like trying to arrange an orchestra; just people played their parts here and there. I recorded most of it in Ireland, and also had a session in Athens, Greece where we got a lot done in two days. As the album has a global concept, it was nice to have contributions from everywhere. That's all documented now for years to come.

CoC: Íon is being described as being based on your Gaelic spiritual identity and heritage. Could you elaborate on that?

DP: There are subtle Irish influenced parts on there, but I wouldn't say it's based on a Gaelic spiritual identity. Maybe it is, I don't really know what to say. I'm really into traditional Irish music and I'm going more towards that direction as I'm getting older.

CoC: The music and approach is also quite different from the many nationalist bands in metal and neofolk. How would you separate yourself from them in terms of concept?

DP: Probably as I haven't got a clue about those scenes. I'm just making my own music and that, I don't think it's very nationalistic really. I love to travel and embrace different customs and cultures, I'm sure that influences me a lot. Though I don't know what neofolk is.

CoC: One of the songs I enjoyed the most was the sparse yet beautiful "Goodbye Johnny Dear". What motivated you to choose this song, and why did you virtually abandon all music for it?

DP: It is an immigrant song written by my great-grandfather Johnny Patterson. I chose to record it as I thought it fitted on the album, both musically and conceptually. The best versions I have heard of this song have been without any music at all, so I chose to keep it like that. These old songs are treasures, and it's nice to play a part in keeping them alive. Especially as it's one that relates to me.

CoC: Do you intend for Íon to remain a solo project, or will the next release see permanent members?

DP: I have no master plan really. I've no real intention on getting people to formally commit to playing my music. I'd just like to have people who really want to do it and are available. Maybe a solid line-up will come together naturally, that would be the ideal scenario.

CoC: Please add anything else you would like to say.

DP: Thanks for the coverage and well thought questions. Anyone interested in news updates can visit:

http://www.duncanpatterson.com, http://www.myspace.com/duncanpatterson or http://www.ion.equilibriummusic.com.

(article submitted 5/4/2007)


ALBUMS
2/4/2007 Q Kalis 9 Íon - Madre, Protégenos
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