It was a twist of fate that led Tara Rice to Sködt D. McNalty in 2003.
“I’d been doing music as a solo artist for a while, but I got sick of just my own ideas and wanted to collaborate with different people,” she says.
At the time, Rice was living in Fergus, Ont., when she turned to the Internet to find a band.
“I was online on the various websites looking for people to work with,” Rice says. “I saw this gorgeously designed band’s website that said the band was looking for a singer. The influences were interesting. They really crossed over with what my interests were.”
After inquiring about the vacant position, Rice decided to make the 114 kilometre drive from Fergus to Toronto to audition as vocalist in McNalty’s band, 5th Projekt.
“At that point, in my life everything was up in the air. It was a major transition period for me. I was just trying everything and just saying yes to anything even if it scared me,” she says.
Soon after the audition Rice became a member of 5th Projekt and began making weekly trips from Fergus to Toronto.
“She drove in every time we had a practice,” McNalty says. “We had this studio in the west side of town and we would play every Sunday and Tuesdays. During the week we’d play three to four hours but on Sunday we’d play for eight to ten hours.”
A decade later, McNalty and Rice under the name 5th Projekt have released five albums.
Earlier this month 5th Projekt released their latest effort Gamma-Wave Rhythm.
“It is based on the gamma wave frequencies and that is related to the zone. When you’re using those gamma waves then you’re in the zone,” Rice says. “When people are in the zone in different ways, whether it’s an athlete or an artist. That kind of mindset where you feel that time doesn’t’ exist anymore and you are extremely focused.”
“Gamma-Wave Rhythm is really about sound collage and creating this picture in front of you and around you,” McNalty adds.
In order to enhance the physiological effects of the music, 5th Projekt tuned the album in 440 and 442 keV gamma rays.
“The first half of the album is tuned in 440 so it is a bit more aggressive approach. The songs are more or less the same as our last album was,” McNalty says. “For the second half of the album we changed tunings to 432 which has a better physiological effect on the body.”
The psychedelic band say that the album was also inspired by the work of reggae legend Bob Marley.
“You can listen to him at any time. When you are happy or when you are mad it doesn’t really matter,” Rice says. “There are songs of protest but there are also songs of love and love always comes through.”
Creating Gamma-Wave Rhythm was no smooth ride for the duo. 5th Projekt encountered multiple delays during the production of the album.
“This time Scott went into the studio and recorded all the instruments himself and then handed the vocals off to me,” Rice says.
“We were skipping a step that we usually don’t skip,” McNalty adds.
When it was Rice’s turn to do the vocals, she came down with a brutal lung condition that forced her to hold off on the recordings for months.
“I had never been sick like that before,” Rice says. “It took me a long time to heal.”
Gamma-Wave Rhythm was scheduled to be released this past March but was pushed back due to Rice’s health condition.
“I was absolutely useless for a really long time. It was a pretty big deal,” Rice says. “I worked on other music instrumentally and I did wheeze through a couple of recordings — I was able to write and lay down my ideas but I couldn’t do anything final.”
“I am still exercising those muscles back to where they were before. I feel like I’m still getting back in shape,” she says.
In late October, 5th Projekt will be embarking on a mini-tour to Atlantic Canada.
“It will be fun to play live again,” McNalty says. “To go across a bit of Canada is always a nice drive. Long pastoral views across Canada are nice.”
Going forward, the duo are already currently working on a new album called Ultreya, inspired by a backpacking trip the two took across Spain.
“It was a pilgrimage across Spain where you walk about 800 kilometres,” Rice says. “We had the intention of using that trip as subject matter before we went. We had it in mind while we were there. We got to collect field recordings and jot down ideas.”
During their pilgrimage through Spain they had no shortage inspiration.
“One thing that probably I learned on a deeper level was how much I love music because there were days where I didn’t think I could go any further and I would put on some headphones and listen to some music that I love and then I would then fly up a hill. All the pain goes away,” Rice says. “I just learned to appreciate music on a deeper level.”
The duo are planning to release Ultreya sometime in early 2014.
“There is a lot of acoustic guitar on this new album,” McNaulty says. “We were able to get our hands on a couple as we were out and about. We would play ideas and pieces of songs on that. It is kind of a traveler’s instrument in many respects.”
For more information visit www.5thprojekt.com or follow them on Twitter @5thProjekt.