Kye Records has been my go-to label for dusty, peculiar non-music as of late, and from
the label’s heady roster, Call Back The Giants are by far my favorite. They’re a duo,
consisting of Tim Goss (of The Shadow Ring fame) and his teenage step-daughter Chloe
Mutter. Not your ordinary lineup, but they approach their music with candor and creativity,
leading to a variety of song-sized excursions in electronic intrigue and cinematic
coldness. Goss has planted his foot in tape music, audio-verite and whatever it is you’d
classify The Shadow Ring as, whereas Mutter approaches her writing from a hyperspace
pop-culture point of view that only a teenager could rightly maintain. It’s a fantastic
match, resulting in music that is memorable not only for its sheer ridiculousness but
its occasional pop hooks as well. I caught up with Goss and he filled in some of the blanks.

How did Call Back The Giants first come about? Was this a project that you had clear intentions
for from the very beginning, or was it something you were just tinkering with that eventually
led to albums and singles?

Yeah, Call Back The Giants just sort of evolved out of my tinkering really. I had been
recording on and off for a few years – small things, nothing too serious. I’d made a couple
of short films and didn’t even do the music for them, but I did play about with sound effects.
Then in 2008/9 I had an idea for an LP and began working on tracks for that. I would play the
odd thing to Graham (Lambkin, of The Shadow Ring and Kye Records) when he visited from the
States but didn’t really know where it was going. Then in 2010, Graham said he wanted to put
out a single on Kye so I sent him three CD-rs, about thirty songs that I had amassed, and we
picked the two tracks for the single from those. Once that was done, it seem logical to put
out an album from the same cache of songs.

At what point did Chloe Mutter become involved? Is she more of a “hired gun”, or a contributor
to the songwriting?

Chloe is great. She has a teenage attitude that is so difficult to pin down. She does
contribute to the music when she has the time – schoolwork, Twitter and Facebook are often
her priorities, and not always in that order. I like it when we sit down and play together
though, because things take a different course. Our influences are completely polarised, she’s
a modern pop angel and I’m not. More often than not, she leaves the composition to me. I have
been encouraging her to write lyrics and come up with some tunes independently, but she doesn’t
feel comfortable lyrically. Her tunes are good though, far more complex than anything I could
compose. She has a great singing voice too (although she would beg to differ). It has a
naivety I love. All the vocal inflections are hers. I rarely say how I want something sung,
I just leave that up to her.

Has your song writing process changed for Call Back The Giants versus The Shadow Ring? Do
you even consider them “songs”?

My process of writing is very similar to how we wrote in The Shadow Ring – record the music
first, then write or piece together the lyric. It’s the only way I know how to write. I do
consider them songs, even though they might not follow an established ‘song’ format. I feel
it’s important to write songs, and I like the way the song has developed over the years. I
think the underground excels in pushing the limits of the traditional ‘song’ format, but it’s
still got a long way to go.

Has Call Back the Giants performed live?
Yeah, we’ve played a few live shows. Café OTO London in August 2010, that was our live debut –
then the KRAAK festival in Belgium March 2011 – and again in London at Power Lunches for the
launch of Still Going In Offices, that was in October 2011.
It’s playing live when Chloe really excels. She is a very conscientious musician and likes
to get things right, whereas I’m a bit more chaotic; I like to improvise and change things as
I go. We’re a good duo live because she keeps me within the boundaries to a degree, and I force
her to push a little beyond them.

More than any other emotion, I feel as though your music has a strong sense of mystery
to it, like there is some deeper purpose or theme that is never fully revealed. Am I just
reading too far into it, or is that something you’ve considered?

I like mystery and if the ‘Giants induce a sense of it then that’s great. There is usually
an idea behind a song – a mood or a feeling I want to nail with the music, a sense of something –
while the lyric can either come from whatever is going on at the time, or an obsession I might
have (and there are a few to chose from), but the lyric is there essentially to amplify that
sense of something. I am writing all the time, always scribbling in my notebook; it drives my
wife crazy.

How important are the lyrics to you? Are they meant to be heard and understood,
or just another part of the complete product? I feel like I can only ever pick out about
40% of what you’re saying, which allows me to kind of fill in the blanks myself…

It very much depends on the song although I feel lyrics are always just another part of the
complete product, in as much as the music or individual instruments / sounds are. The fact that
you have to fill in the blanks is a good thing; I like that people have to work a little when
listening to the ‘Giants!

Is there a specific meaning behind the title The Rising?
The Rising is exactly what it says it is: the rising or the coming of something new,
a replacement for what is already here. Everything has its time and everything is eventually
replaced. It’s the Universal Rhythm; everything has a beginning and an end. I just think it
might happen without us even noticing.

The record cover reminds me of a sci-fi paperback, like a Ray Bradbury book I’d
find at a second-hand bookstore. Is this anywhere aligned with what you were going for?

Well, it fits in with the feel of the LP. Graham came up with the idea and showed me the cover
he designed. I thought it was perfect; the colours are lovely, real delicate shades. And yes,
it’s sci-fi, but it’s more than that too. The real sci-fi is something I’ve been working on,
on and off for a while now called Radio Singapore. That’s definitely stuck in the future.

In regards to the previously-mentioned Still Going In Offices compilation…
do you feel a connection in your music to The Door and the Window, or the Hollow Men? UK
DIY groups of decades’ past?

You can imagine similar techniques being employed.

Can you recall the last piece of art or music you witnessed that really inspired you
to write music? Does it work that way with you, or are you always just constantly writing?

Well, I’m writing all the time, so inspiration comes from the mundane quite often. I heard a
good feedback loop from an answer phone the other day, that made me think, and the things people
say. I try not to listen too much music when recording because there’s a tendency to imitate.
A couple of the tracks I’m working on at the moment take a lot from the surrounding locality –
I can imagine Great Victorian Machines stuck in the mud. It’s like something out of an HG Wells novel.