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For me the music of 5ive's Continuum Research Project and The Theory Of Abstract Light is like a never ending deep emotional journey through space and time that opens new dimensions in minimalistic sound and music. Enjoy...

5ive`s Continuum Research Project. Pic: Jason Hellman.

Let's start with the formalities. Please introduce yourself and your projects/ bands.

Ben Carr: Guitarist of 5ive's (Continuum Research Project) Writer, Producer, Engineer and Designer of Theory of Abstract Light. (TOAL) Guitarist etc. of "Sonum" co-project with Nicole Tardiff, soon to be released on O.H.R. Co - owner of record label Odd Halo Recordings (with Nicole Tardiff). Owner and operator of Odd Halo Recordings Studio Division, a full production 2" 24 track analog studio outside of Boston, MA - you can email me at for studio info/bookings or to contact me for any reason concerning any of my bands or projects. Odd Halo is also accepting submissions for release of all styles of music.

How did you settle on the type of music you would play with 5ive and how would you describe the writing process?

Charlie Harrold and I just started playing together about 4 years ago and the music just formed itself. I had been playing around with other friends and nothing really suited me at the time. When Charlie entered the picture he wasn't even playing drums and I was playing bass as my main instrument. Well the story goes that Charlie bought a Drum Kit (a 30's Slingerland kit with a 28" bass drum, a 22" bass drum which he converted into a floor tom, a 18" floor tom which he uses as a hi tom etc... and I had recently gotten my hands on a Gibson SG, and then shortly after a Les Paul Standard and an Orange stack!) I would like to break down 5ive's set up not including pedals or homemade objects to render harmonic over tones. We use: Charlie`s massive Drum Kit. I use to be specific; (all objects vintage) 1 old Les Paul Standard 1 74' Orange model or-120 Head, 1 71' Marshall super Lead 100 head, 1 Orange 4x10 cab 1 Hiwat 4x10 cab, 1 2x15 Bass Cab Made by someone in WA once. We enjoy playing on the floor whenever we can to provide a more intimate setting and to keep it real for the people. We can usually blow out a small to medium size club with no help from the clubs PA system and it also helps us feel more comfortable as we tend to set the amps up in a triangle formation around the drums for maximum stereo acoustics.

Why is there rare or no use of vocals in 5ive and The Theory of Abstract Light (TOAL)?

It just never came into play, we feel we can supply enough sonic energy to keep people interested without having to pin it all in with vocals. This helps to give everyone a different experience when seeing us. When you are doing this sort of thing and it all clicks into place you can feel this sort of vibe start to happen, and the people who "get it" don't seem to need the vocals. Once a guy got so tranced out at one of our shows (he was leaning against a wall) that he actually fell over onto the cement floor and cracked open his skull (poor guy). So you get the point. We actually did have a good friend of ours (Jonah Jenkins formerly of Milligram) sing on two songs on our 2nd album "Telestic Disfracture". It actually got a mixed response leaning more toward the non vocal side rather than the traditional vocal side. We liked it anyways, you see because we don't really care what people think about our records. We just make them and put them out and because (hopefully) people can tell that we' re not trying to do "this or that" and that we are experimenting and trying to continually push ourselves and the limits of our music (in a good way) and we've generally had a good response. Especially the Theory Of Abstract Light CD OHR just released I just thought man "everyone is probably going to hate this but whatever", and it has gotten really good responses so far which is a real good and positive thing for us musicians, to know that there are people who actually get where I am coming from, and even if they don't like it, in a listen to everyday sort of way, they can truly respect it for what it is and give it a good review because they can see past all the bullshit. (* I just did an interview where the writer said look "this album makes me feel really uncomfortable to listen to and is not cheery etc. but that it represents something and I really respect that you can make me feel this way just using sounds") I mean that what it's all about. (and why we'll never be on a major label ha,ha!) The Sonum project though will be a little different. It is rather melodic and has sparse vocals which are really only there to compliment the music. They are in my opinion excellently crafted by Nicole Tardiff, really they are just little bits of poems interspersed throughout the pieces.

5ive`s Continuum Research Project. Pic: Jason Hellman.

How would you describe the sound of The Theory Of Abstract Light. There's this "depression falling into madness" thing written in the CD booklet...

Yes I have already done a bit of explaining about that but elaborate a little more.... I was experiencing a rough spot in my life and to throw winter on top of that made events in my heart and mind worsen. I was drinking a lot and was very lonely. The album was the 1st thing that I recorded in what is now Odd Halo Recordings Studio Division. Back then I just had a 1" 16 track and a smaller board it was much less serious. But to me it (the record) was a refuse from all the problems that I perceived around me. The idea when the record was 1st made was to sonically chronicle the events of one person's mind and the gradual degradation into madness leading up to their death. (the last song represents the spirit sort of casting off). I guess it is more of a human condition piece stemming from the feelings I was having at the time. I had a whole story I was setting up to sort of catalog the record's different parts but I just let it go and decided to let people interpret it however they wanted to. I think that was a better choice.

What do you want to reach or achieve with The Theory Of Abstract Light?

Getting all that shit off my chest. So that now I am freed up to do more things. These endeavours just start out a little aches inside you and eventually grow bigger. I had no idea how the TOAL album would turn out when I started to record it. It really formed itself over the couple of months I spent chipping away at it bit by bit during my free time after work.

What do you think is the essence and purpose of music?

To make people think, to inspire them and relax them...

What are your inspirations and influences?

Everything and anything that is real and from the heart, I love being given new music to listen to, I listen to everything as should all people, this is how I learn more about what I personally love to do. I love getting packages in the mail with stuff I've never heard of from people I have never met. I have made a lot of new friends this way.

5ive`s Continuum Research Project. Pic: Jason Hellman.

Let's talk about the way you combine the music with the visual presentation of the latest 5ive and TOAL records. Do you think it is important for the artwork and the music to relate? It seems there's a lot of passion behind the design and packaging of the 5ive and TOAL releases...

Yes it's very important to me that the music is represented as it's own little microcosm. It's like look at me! Feel me! It gets the message across much better. I think it boils down to the fact that there is so much crap being churned out, that's it's important to make things as special as possible. After all it is your music, why would you think any less about the packaging?

Ok now two questions I keep asking in every interview. First one: what makes you happy?

MUSIC, LOVE (and drugs to a lesser extent).

And what is your greatest concern about the world right now?

The world is a very disconcerting place. I am just glad to have my family, friends, and the outlets to keep my music moving. It is the only thing that really keeps me going...

Let's get political, what do you think about the war on Iraq? Is it justified?

I don't like war and I want everyone to know that not all of us Americans are bad people. Personally I just live to create art and hopefully come back to tour Europe again (we'll be back late September/October).

What are you doing besides your musical projects?

I run a printing company which doubles as a recording studio because the live room (where the equipment lives) is so fuckin` huge 40 feet x 60feet with 20 foot ceilings to be exact.

What comes next from 5ive and TOAL and what do you want to explore in the future with these projects?

For 5ive a 5ive / kid 606 split. TOAL: I am not sure yet I will do something when I have the time and see how well this one does, and SONUM: that`s my next project; to me it is fun and new. I enjoy fiddling with different genres of music. Someday I will buy a Cello and learn to play it.

Alright, thanks for this good interview and your time, is there anything you wanna add or say?

Thank you very much. If anyone would like to reach me (and I urge anyone out there to do so) here I am.

Interview conducted by Magnus Jaschke in March 2003.