As a former member of Denison Marrs and The Dark Romantics, Eric Collins is not a stranger to the things which lurk in the shade of moonlight. Still, the Orlampa-based songwriter has gone full Bruce Wayne on The Lesser Light, his latest release under the MRENC moniker (due tomorrow via New Granada Records).
Ahead of his album release show tomorrow at New World Brewery, Collins is sharing that effort's opening track, "gnicnaD," with Creative Loafing (pronounce it "dancing").
The track, clocking in at just over four-minutes long, is lyrically sparse, but with just a few words Collins sets the tone for an album that mines deep for the true meaning of chasing a life enlightened. The rolling drums are propulsive, but Collins is reaching for his past on the cut, almost waiting for the day he gets to leave this Earth and find the "Divine." The guitars, clanging off each other in a ljoyusly reverberated mess, create a sense of tension that listeners will not be able to shake until album closer "Evening" arrives nearly half an hour later.
Lesser Light boasts heady instrumentals, but also paints vivid images with the select words that do make it to tape. We caught up with Collins to dig a little deeper into what he's looking for on the album. Read our interview below.
Listen to the cut below, and pre-order one of just 100 physical LPs via New Granada Records.
CL: A lot of this album is very spiritual. Talk about why those lyrics regarding "ELOHIM," the "Divine" and "YAH Divine" come out?
MRENC: I've always written about what I'm going through and/or what I'm researching/learning at the moment. My songs are a snapshot of me at that certain time and place in my life. During the writing of these songs I had been (and still am) researching the ancient Hebrew roots of my faith out of the Spiritual nudging and internal need to understand the authentic history and origins of what I believe.
This need comes from me growing up as a white male in a western culture of an incredibly white washed and skewed perception of the Hebrew faith and of Yeshua (Jesus) himself. "ELOHIM" and "YAH" are Hebrew names for GOD, and me saying "Divine" is a western name/label that I chose to use to convey the being of whom I was singing. I didn't want the Hebrew names to be totally lost on the listener, but I felt that it was important to use them on this album whereas in most of my past albums/projects I have never felt that need.
I think it was important because it falls inline with the album as a whole...it's an honest snapshot, and I take my art very seriously, so to be dishonest and hide what I'm singing about would be unfair to me and also to the listener. In the past I've left songs more open ended, but this album was supposed to be specific for some reason or another. I'm sure I'll find out soon enough.
What weight do they have for you in your daily life with your family and the loves of your life, which you write a lot about, too?
My family/loves of my life trust and appreciate my dedication to my faith and my art. As a husband I try to be a supportive partner and companion that shares.
As a father I try to be a supportive and loving figure that shares and guides. We raise our children to ask questions and think deeply and critically, so I know that if I don't come correct on my faith and art, my wife and children are going to be after me with tough questions and accountability.
There are also some nice fantasy images ("running through silver giants"), what’s it like when your mind goes to those places?
"Silver Giants" is my eight-year-old son's favorite song on the album. I asked him why, and he said because it tells a story. He always asks me to play it when we are about to pass the airstream ranch on Interstate 4 headed into Tampa because he loves to hear the song while he looks at the "silver giants" passing by.
The song is rooted in my Florida life...driving from the east coast after surfing to the west coast to my Mom's house...stuff like that. The airstream ranch is a special piece of eclectic art that I've loved ever since it was created, so I just wanted to memorialize it into a song in a special way. As far as what it's like when my mind goes to those places...I'm a dreamer and my mind is going everywhere and doing everything at all times, so I try to relax and enjoy the moment before my mind races me away to the next five places or things.
Watch MRENC explore this album on Saturday Sept. 24 when he plays a co-album release show with Savannah, Georgia's COEDS. More information on the show is available at CL's events calendar.