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Pacific Fuzz- Scope EP review + Q&A (2022, Self-released)

A diamond in the rough, that’s the first image crossing my mind when I was introduced to this first sign of life by Dutch psychedelic indie adventurers Pacific Fuzz. On their debut EP Scope they recorded a genuine “real life straight to tape” kind of deal that might sound a little unpolished at first, but really unfolds into a wider landscape of color and depth when you give it some time and well deserved attention. It is a good start of something that promises to be much, much more in the future.

It was recorded in a live setting with Sander Haagmans, an icon in the Dutch stoner scene and known from his band Sungrazer with whom he released multiple worldwide cherished albums and toured Europe to great avail. Together he and Pacific Fuzz have brought to live these five songs, and with its grand total of almost thirty minutes they take their time to fully express what they are all about.

The sound has hints of that Dutch stoner past, with fuzz heavy guitars and slow burning pace, but their is a more subtle thing going on here. Pacific Fuzz writes real songs, even if they allow themselves to embark on more progressive adventures while doing so. In that way they remind of Norwegian psych prog heroes Motorpsycho, while the hammond organ and the clean smooth vocals also hint towards Dutch psychbluesers Birth Of Joy with a modern take on 70s rock a la Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin.

It’s a rich sound that can still twist and turn any way these fine gentlemen pretty much please, so it is a pleasure to start following this band, and see what seas of opportunity stil lie ahead for them.

I talked to singer/bassist Erik Steegh about his new audio baby and what the past years have been like for him and his band:

Hi guys! How have you been the past corona years? Can you tell me about the influence it had on Pacific Fuzz?

Hi! We’ve all been doing well these times. Obviously, we haven’t had the chance to do a lot of live performances, which is a bit of a bummer. Nevertheless, this gave us both the chance and the time to work on different things. We’ve been developing a housestyle for our socials, along with a logo (all hail the mighty designer Menno Prins). Also, we crafted a lot of new songs out of raw material from jams, finished the Scope EP, made plans for two new EP’s and an album, and set up a livestream concert. Last but not least, we had plenty of time to work on sounds and arrangements. 

Long story short, we were far from bored during the past years.

You are a new band, right? Can you introduce yourselves? How did PF come to be? 

First of all, we’re not that new. Pacific Fuzz started around 2017 with Ian van Wolferen on guitar, and myself on bass and lead vocals. We met during our time at the Conservatorium in Maastricht, and shared a love for classics like Led Zeppelin, the Doors, Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd. We have been writing, and playing with a couple of different drummers for a while. 

Now, there’s four of us: Wesley Kerkhofs on keyboards and backing vocals. He joined Pacific Fuzz somewhere in 2019.
And finally Mees Riechelman, our drummer with indomitable spirit. He has been playing with us for about a year and a half, and has been the last step in our evolution. 

Can you explain the nautical theme? It’s very clear from your socials that it’s there, can you shed some more light on it? Is it a recurring theme for the band, and in what ways?

The nautical theme plays out in two ways:
The oceans can be calm, peaceful and nourishing, but also treacherous, vicious and wild. We like to embrace this shifting dynamic, and encompass it into our music. Sea and sky are great places to draw inspiration.
Secondly, the nautical theme has a more narrative function. We see Pacific Fuzz as a vessel, on which we travel, observe, and document. We are simply its humble crew.

Can you tell me about the new EP, the writing process and the recording process?

This EP is a collection of songs that deal with human flaws, life and death, and the ever-changing world around us. 
During recording, we tracked all the instruments at the same time, in the same room. Simple. There’s no heavy editing or studio trickery. We wanted the EP to sound gritty, dynamic, and live! 

What was the role of Sander Haagmans (Sungrazer) on the process?

When we knew what sound we were looking for, Sanders studio was the best choice! He is an overall great dude, and he brought seriously chill vibes to our recording sessions. 

For me, Sungrazer was one of the first heavy psychedelic bands I heard, I was about 17. They hold a special place in my musical memory. If you’d have told me back then, I would be recording with my own band in Sander Haagmans’ studio, it would have blown my mind!

What were your influences starting the band? And did you gain new ones during the process together?

Like I said before, Ian and I were inspired by classics like Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd. Personally, I was also fresh into Sleepy Sun at the time. Lately, we’ve been vibing on bands like DeWolff, Motorpsycho, All Them Witches, King Gizzard.
Also, Ian is studying classical music theory. He often brings interesting ideas to the table, from places most of us would have never looked.

What are your plans- immediate and long term?

Immediate: Plan and play shows in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. We have some good ideas for live-performances, time to put them to use!

Long term: we have plenty of ideas and material for an instrumental EP, a conceptalbum, and more. These still require some work, but the fundamentals are there.

What should the Weirdo Shrine readers do after reading this? 

Whatever they want. Go to the beach. Climb a cliff. Cross a desert. I dunno. Maybe keep an eye out for a second EP while they’re doing what they’re doing.

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