One of Sheffield’s most regarded and up and coming synth bands, Promenade Cinéma, composed of Dorian and Blurred Girl create ‘Cinedramatic Synthpop’ from their adopted home town of Sheffield. We had a chat with the band about their formation, upcoming new album and future gig adventures as part of our Introducing series.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s the story behind Promenade Cinema and how would you describe your sound?
We are a ‘Synthpop’ duo, currently based in Sheffield and describe our sound as ‘Cinedramatic’. This term is something we feel really suits our style as we are both highly influenced by film scores and soundtracks as well as powerful, multi-layered electropop.
We met through a good friend and previous musical projects and really clicked. After working together we developed a connection through music and Promenade Cinema was born.
What motivates you and inspires your music, aesthetic and vibe?
Emma: I have always been very much into music from an early age as my dad brought me up listening to the 70’s & 80’s synth and new wave classics. Modern music is just as important to me and I am hugely inspired by artist such as Mesh and IAMX who create songs with so much intensity and passion. Making music myself was always something I have been keen to do and finding a likeminded partner who shares that drive (and is extremely talented!) is wonderful.
Dorian: I’ve always loved creating and performing music. I grew up learning to play movie soundtracks on the piano, so that particular fondness always seems to push through into the music we make. It also inspired the band name.
Visually we are very much inspired by a mash of film noir imagery and more contemporary styling to really push the ‘cinedramatic’ vibe. We also have a particular affinity for blue lighting on stage!
I believe you have a debut album due to be released soon. Tell us a little more about that – what has the writing and production process been like?
We are very excited to be nearing the final stages of the album – taking our time to make sure that we are completely happy with the songs is something that we feel very strongly about. After weighing up the pros and cons, an album was always the objective for our first release rather than an EP, as we wanted to create a full body of work rather than a short collection of songs.
The production of the album has been a combination of working with Steve Whitfield and self-producing. This has been a huge learning curve for both of us and we have thoroughly enjoyed taking a more hands on role with the final sound of the songs. There’s of course still a lot to learn and there is always the battle between creating music and our personal life outside of the band as being a couple creates its own drama!
We’re currently aiming for a release date in the first quarter of 2017 under the title “Monochrome Suit”.
You’re a very unique band in that you both take duties on vocals and synths live. Is everything in the writing, production and performance split evenly or do you take on different roles for some parts?
Emma: To be honest, it completely varies! Dorian is an accomplished song writer and has previous band experience as well as a degree in music performance, so this plays a big part in all aspects of our music. Generally we will write the songs together by deciding on a theme or ‘feel’ we want for that particular track – sometimes it goes completely off the original plan like our song ‘Norway’, which was originally penned as a bassline heavy, dancefloor filler. This is our softest track at present and creates an emotional finale to the album.
Dorian:It’s a new experience for me personally. I have slowly moved away from writing music in a traditional band setup, as with Promenade Cinema we write the music together in the studio. When this is translated to live performance, we usually decide what we play by the vocal lead of the song. We’ve introduced elements of live percussion into the set too, as we feel this adds a strong dynamic layer to the performance.
I’ve seen you referred to as ‘the finest band to come out of Sheffield since The Human League’. Do you see yourselves as fitting into the legendary Sheffield synth sound, and do you feel that the city’s musical history played a part in how the band developed?
The band being based in Sheffield has definitely been a talking point when meeting fans from further afield due to the cities musical heritage and we absolutely hope to continue to fly the flag for the steel city synth scene of years gone by! There doesn’t seem to be very many new bands in Sheffield at the moment with a purely ‘synthy’ sound so this allows us to stand out from the crowd, maybe we’ll bag that Human League support slot one day(!).
Besides your upcoming album, what’s next on the horizon for Promenade Cinema?
A potential gig abroad in early 2017 is something we are both eagerly anticipating, to add to a handful of other exciting gig bookings next year.
We will be rounding off 2016 with two gigs in December in the run up to Christmas at Eclectic Electric 10/12, London and Synthetic Xmas 17/12. Birmingham. There’s more details of these on our Facebook page.
Photo by Sean Gummer Photography.