The track listing for » Karmatrain « is as follows:
- Let Me Go 4:54
- Blue Dragon
- Echoes and Stepping Stones 4:56
- Bridges 5:24
- Morning Warning 4:23
- The Lake 4:33
- The Garden of Light
- Mushrooms 5:34
- The Ferryman 5:35
- Pass On The Flag
- I Am Not The One 8:06
13. Man Behind The Curtain 3:06 (only included in CD and Vinyl Editions)
Outside In are a New Zealand progressive rock group following in the trail blazed by bands like Pink Floyd, A Perfect Circle, Karnivool, Porcupine Tree and Radiohead. AAA Records are pleased to be able to introduce this band to the world, as they are going to make a major impact on the progressive rock scene from their humble Auckland base.
Singer Mikey Brown and guitarist Jonnie Barnard first met at an Auckland music venue about a dozen years ago and were soon swapping ideas. It didn’t take long for Jonnie to audition for Mikey’s band, Crash-Test for Favourite Things, and this gradually morphed into Outside In. An EP was released in 2015, with Mikey, Jonnie and drummer Adam Tobeck all involved, but not long after that Jonnie departed as the working relationship had become somewhat strained. Mikey says: “We needed to reset our boundaries and grow back some mutual respect for each other. I wrote the demo for “Bridges” during this time. A song about accepting when something has run its course. A song about starting again and being unafraid to start again from scratch.”
The band continued for a few more years, with different bassists and guitarists coming and going, but nothing was working well. Eventually, Mikey reached out to Jonnie with a demo (“The Garden of Light”), and Jonnie came back with an idea for guitars for the track which showed the chemistry was still there. After a discussion with Adam, they agreed to ask Jonnie to come back, and this was the starting point of the ‘Karmatrain’. Soon afterwards the band found Elliot on bass who in turn suggested Joe as a second guitarist.
When going through a collection of potential songs for the album, Mikey realised a few were lyrically influenced by a novel he’d read while on holiday in Nice about ten years ago, Hermann Hesse’s ‘Siddhartha’. The themes being fairly universal he decided to incorporate more of the book’s influence into the writing process, until eventually it was obvious that this was becoming a concept album. The album has ended up with each of the 12 songs representing one of the 12 chapters from the book. Each song has a story that relates to that chapter, but also has a parallel story from his own experiences. It just gradually became a more conceptual thing which provided a framework to pin ideas against.
A close friend of Mikey’s, photographer James Fyfe, and he discovered there were parallels between his current photography project and the album, which they were both working on at the same time. They supported each other through the process and the result is a set of postcards that will be released with the album which contains one photo for each song, plus the lyrics. The song “Ferryman” is about Mikey’s friendship with him, and in the book, the Ferryman represents the link between the physical and spiritual world.
Mikey Brown (Vocals / lyrics / keyboards)
“I co-write the songs with Jonnie. Often, I will write a pretty basic vocal melody and a chord progression on piano or acoustic guitar and record a rough demo of it. I then pass that to Jonnie (guitarist, co-songwriter) and he uses it as a skeleton for a song, developing arrangement ideas and making structural tweaks. Me and Jonnie often get together at that point and throw around additional ideas or send demos back and forth making further tweaks before passing the demos to the other band members. The others each develop their individual parts and then we get together and jam and refine how the parts interlock. There are a couple of songs on the album that Jonnie has demoed out from scratch, and a couple I’d written which came together without many changes to the original idea. “
Jonnie Barnard (Guitars / production / band videographer)
“I play guitar and have produced this album. Mikey and I both work together writing initial ideas and arrangements for songs and demoing before taking to the group for final tweaks. I have also recorded video for our four singles released 2019/2020”
Adam Tobeck (Drums)
Mikey says: “Adam is one of the most hardworking and dedicated drummers around. His discipline to his craft continues to pay off and the fluidity of his playing is hard to compare. His strong understanding of music and songwriting shows in his sympathetic playing, strongly reinforcing other players’ parts and coming up with ways we can interlock musically.”
Elliott Seung Il Park (Bass)
Mikey says: “Elliot is the nicest guy you’ll ever meet. He’s super polite and reserved until he’s onstage playing a heavy section of one of our songs. Then he turns into a monster. Often described as the sex appeal of the group, this boi knows how to feel the music and how to rip into a bass solo in 5/4 that will leave you spellbound.”
Joe Park (Guitar)
Mikey says: “We had a few guitarists come and go as we built the band and album up. After Graham (who features on a few tracks on the album), left mid-recording, we were challenged to find someone who could bring as much character and flavor to the mix as Graham did. Joe was the perfect find. He was suggested to us by Elliot as a long-term jamming buddy of his. Joe’s ability to serve the song or find a space tonally to add an additional guitar part is fantastic. Such a chill guy and a wonderful player.”