Interview: Ryan Hendry of Transcension

Interview: Ryan Hendry of Transcension

A series of interviews with musicians talking about their favourite instruments and how those instruments influence their song-writing accompanied by some nice photos. Hopefully an enlightening insight into what inspires players in 2014. Or at least some cool photos.

7 strings seems a bit unnecessary doesn’t it? How much difference can extra string on a piece of wood conceivably make? A huge amount apparently. ” It’s totally changed the way I view music and my approach to taking a musical instrument seriously, no longer was I just mucking about with it” says Ryan Hendry when he’s asked about his custom 7 string guitar. “It was after hearing about it from my guitar lecturer Stuart Gorman, and good pal James Aitken, who both ordered their 7 strings from Carvin. I loved the natural wood and high-class gold plating; it was just so pleasant to the eye. The 7 string option was due to what I was listening to and influenced by musically and the fact that it opens up so much more in the way of playing.”

With the advantage of the extended range you might think it must be easy to come up with a wealth of interesting ideas: “There’s potential for a good amount of cool material, but I’m a lazy shite.” laughs Hendry. “I have plenty cool ideas for parts and songs all programmed or playable, but I’ve never really pushed myself enough to do something with it, make it into something.” he explains.”When I do come up with something though, that’s it. That’s me for the next few hours trying to work out what it was I had in mind whilst trying to play it comfortably, and the initial idea usually comes from fannying about on the guitar or any other instrument I happen to have to hand.” 

Ryan Hendry of Transcension // photograph by Calum McMillan
Ryan Hendry of Transcension // photograph by Calum McMillan

It’s refreshing to hear a musician talk about how frustrating the creative process can be. Typically song-writers spout stories of writing a song in five minutes, or that it just came to them and “it just happens”. For some maybe that’s true, but I find there’s something more admirable in the kind of discipline and focus that’s required to wrestle a vague idea into something that’s worth while. As most creative’s know, only 1 idea out of 1000 ever really amounts to anything.

Creating might not come as naturally to Hendry as it does others, but playing certainly seems to. During the band’s rehearsal I watch him switch from tasteful melodic leads to staccato riffing in the blink of an eye on a startling number of occasions. To call it effortless would be misleading, but Hendry seems at ease with playing pretty complex music without even breaking a sweat. That being the case, it makes you wonder just exactly what kind of material he could produce if he was pushed to his very limits.

Ryan Hendry of Transcension // photograph by Calum McMillan
Ryan Hendry of Transcension // photograph by Calum McMillan

I’m increasingly convinced that we might not have to wait all that long to find out. Hendry has multi-instrumentalist tendencies that seem to have been revitalised by this particular guitar: “My current guitar being a 7 string has helped a lot,” explains Hendry. “Giving you more songs to learn by building up my technique and ability.”

Tellingly however, he’s not fallen victim to clichés that typically riddle music dominated by extended range guitars: he’s not been tempted to immediately down tune, endorse riffs which exclusively chug  or to talk about how much ‘heavier’ he can be. The influence of this instrument, and the possibilities it allows seems to be more organic and less staged than most: “I wish I could say more on the matter, but I find playing my bass, my guitar, and even programming with drums, synths etc, all equally add in one way or another to the ‘song writing pot’, if you will. ”

Ryan Hendry of Transcension // photograph by Calum McMillan
Ryan Hendry of Transcension // photograph by Calum McMillan

All things considered then, perhaps that extra string isn’t all that unnecessary. Only a bad craftsman blames his own tools for his own shortcomings.

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Transcension are working on the mixing and mastering of their upcoming debut album which will be out…at some point. You can find them on Facebook for all your social media needs in the mean time.

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