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Review + Q&A: Ivan The Tolerable- Black Water/Brown Earth + The Aleph (2022, Up In Her Room Records, Echodelick Records)

No less than three albums will UK solo artist Oli Heffernan AKA Ivan The Tolerable have released this year. One of them, The Continuous Katherine Mortenhoe (Library Of The Occult Records) flew under Weirdo Shrine’s radar, but the other two have boldly found their way to the editor’s desk. Last year of course I talked about his incredible album The Long Year (ft. his Elastic Band) and interviewed the incredible American poet Karen Schoemer who featured on the album. This year I felt like the musician behind that album and many many more deserved a little extra attention, and therefore I hit him up for a chat, which he generously indulged in. Vinyl pressing issues might mean that the albums talked about below haven’t quite reached their target audiences yet, but they will, and you need to know about them and about Ivan The Tolerable.

Black Water/Brown Earth (2022, Up In Her Room Records)

Before jumping completely within the skin of his alter ego Ivan The Tolerable, Oli Heff was in King Champion Sounds, with members of The Ex, and collaborating with illustrious rock icons like Mike Watts of the Minutemen, and J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. This is just to say that he is a veteran musician, a skillful sound maker, and you know, he’s been around the block a few times (just check out the incredible musical library he is building with Ivan The Tolerable alone!).

On Black Water/Brown Earth, his second of three albums in 2022, Heff called in the help of his Dutch friends Mees and Elsa in King Champion Sounds again, and wrote the album in a long distance session. The album feels like an excursion in nature, featuring bird song, flowing water, pots and pans percussion, and a genuine feel of wandering about and experiencing the outside world with eyes and ears wide open. It is a band effort too, with organic sounding drums, the characteristic saxophone, and droning synths. Out of the two albums on display here it is probably the most likely to return on a live stage somewhere as a vibrant jam session.

The Aleph (2022, Echodelick Records)

The Aleph is a rather different beast than its predecessor. Much more than painting a certain atmosphere in nature it feels like an immersion into a different world. It is an ancient Mesopotamian world, guided by tribal drums, Morphine-like saxophones, droning synths, and an allround stifling atmosphere. Is it free jazz? It is definitely free…and the rhythmical excursions are definitely quite out there at times. But there is a strong repetitive element to The Aleph as well, a drone, a pulling power that takes the listener into a spin and sucks it into this “other” world. It is unlike anything I have heard before, really. An adventurous experience, both for musicians and listeners.

On The Aleph Heff did work together with Thomas House (Haress, Sweet Williams) who mixed the album and added some guitars, but it is mostly a solo album, and sounds like less of a joint effort too. In a way that makes it a more exciting listen because you feel that the music could go any direction its maker pleases, and yet it remains a coherent story that somehow resonates its background story and its artwork (check out the interview below).

So let’s meet the mastermind behind the sounds: Here is Oli Heff(ernan), Ivan The Tolerable himself! What drives him, where does he live? And how the heck does he make so many beautiful records each year…read on to find out.

How are you, and how have you struggled through the pandemic period?
Aside from the impending collapse of it all, I’m good thanks! How are you? The pandemic was a total shitshow – so many unnecessary deaths caused by an appalling governments colossal mishandling of the situation. I found the whole ‘stay at home’ aspect of it quite a blessing! I got 8 months off work and I’m not very sociable anyway so I got loads of music recorded and watched an awful lot of TV – there was a point where I thought I’d completed Netflix! It was the longest time I’ve had away from work and touring since I was a teenager, so it was a welcome break really. I think i made about 8-9 LPs in 2020-21 during covid, so yeah… PRODUCTIVE! I lost my day job at the end of it mind, but it’s all good now! Haha

Can you tell me about your musical background?
I guess it’s the same as most peoples – I started playing guitar when I was a kid, probs around 1994, just teaching myself as I went along by figuring out songs I liked, then formed a band with my mates at school, then more and more bands followed until we get to today! I’ve never stopped really, not for more than a month here and there anyway…I’m kind of the odd one out in my family as no one else is into music or plays an instrument which was kind of nice growing up cos I could just find my own way without being made to take lessons or listen to things that were forced on me. I liked that way. I’m a firm believer in just finding your own way to do things

Can you tell about Ivan The Tolerable, when is it just you and when do you have a band
recording with you?

Ivan The Tolerable started by accident in 2013 when I recorded a bunch of songs for my band at the time (Year Of Birds) but they were a bit left-field for a speedy garage band so we didn’t end up doing them and I just put the tape out myself to get rid of it ( I hate having stuff hanging around) and then I kinda just never stopped doing them – for the first 4-5 years it was just me playing everything but for the last 4 or so years I’ve got a lot more people involved – it’s kind of like a very loose collective pool these days, which is great for me as I can work on stuff a lot faster! IDEAL! I have three albums on the go at any one time (with three different sets of musicians) so while I’m waiting for people to do their parts on one album, I can crack on with my parts for the next one – it works well if you are as impatient as me ha-ha. I still do stuff on my own quite often, but i prefer the ones with other folks more as I’m lucky that I get to work with some of the very best people! I think I’m up to about 25-30 albums? I’ve lost count!

You music is like entering a completely different world! How do you go about creating it,
especially all by yourself? Is there for instance a narrative you have in your head?

Not really, I never have a plan really, other than to make an album and I just start recording and keep going until its finished – occasionally if I’m working to a set of lyrics, I’ll have more of a plan but mostly it’s just instrumental stuff so I can just do whatever, which is the best way to do it! No constraints and nothing to overthink! I guess that’s the key for me – I can just do whatever I like! I never spend a great amount of time recording an album – that’s not fun for me – I see it more like audio photographs of a moment, rather than some overproduced, overblown “artistic statement” – life’s too short for that kind of thing, i just love recording and like to do it fast! If once I finish an album I feel like I never want to hear it again, then I know I’ve overcooked it! ha-ha the thing I do notice is that I can make two different albums a few years apart with totally different people and totally different gear and it always still sounds like me – that’s a pretty cool thing I guess. Like some sort of intangible quality that is there but also isn’t…Dunno how it works, but it’s true! I can also hear anything I’ve done and tell you exactly what I was doing, where I was and how I was feeling when it was recorded – which goes back to the audio photo theory!

Where do you live and how does it affect your music?
I live with my girlfriend and a cat in Middlesbrough, England (Between Leeds and Newcastle, right up in the North East) and it has zero impact on my music other than I find it hard to find the right people to play with in my town. There are lots of bands and musicians but it’s all very indie/rock/acoustic/covers-bands kinda stuff round here so I have to look further afield for people who are into the more left-of-centre stuff, which is why I record a lot and play live very little! A lot of the folks who play on my records live in Netherlands, USA and Spain so practicing is a bit of a pain! Hahah! but I do have a UK live band finally so we can play shows if something good comes up – we played Astral Festival in Bristol earlier this year which was the first time we’ve done it and it was lots of fun – I’d deffo be up for doing more so we shall see…But anyway – Middlesbrough has no effect on what I do – its where I live and where all my friends are, plus it’s a relatively cheap place to live (not that anywhere is truly cheap anymore) but I could make these albums anywhere I reckon, and they’d
sound the same. I could spout a load of bullshit about how I’m influenced by the hills and the industrial heritage and all that, but it would be a lie! It’s all just rattling around in my head trying to punch its way out, and my head can go anywhere!

The first album I am reviewing is Black Water/Brown Earth, what can you tell me about its
conception and its background story?

I had a mental block between November and April this year where I couldn’t seem to get anything done – my head was just not in it (It felt like the end of the world at the time, it always does – but in hindsight I think I just needed a break) I had started a couple of sets of songs but I was making no progress on them and just annoying myself – so I shelved them for a bit and started a new thing that I wanted to be very simple, just me and two other people (Mees and Elsa, who play on lots of my stuff) we were in King Champion Sounds together for almost a decade so we are very used to playing together, so even doing it via email it still sounds pretty organic) so I sent them sketches for a bunch of songs and then when I got their stuff back I added some more stuff and then mixed it very quickly and it all just came together really fast – it was such a relief to finally finish something after 6 months
of frustration! The week I finished mixing it I got an email off the folks at Up In Her Room asking if I wanted to do an album with them (They had seen us play at Astral Festival) so I sent them it and they liked it so that’s how it all came about! think it’s a nice sounding record – I cycle down a river every morning when I go to work and I made some field recordings on my phone over a couple of weeks of the birds and the water and they are mixed into the tracks too…aside from those bits it’s just the three of us playing on it – the trio thing is always fun, working with a smaller palette is nice sometimes!

The second album, quite quickly following the previous is The Aleph, what can you tell me about that one?
The Aleph was one of the ones I started in Autumn last year, but I hit a wall with it and shelved it for a while. After I finished Black Water/Brown Earth I returned to this one and it all came together quite fast now I was back on the proverbial horse – I added few more synths and doubled some bass tracks up and then sent it to my pal Thomas House (he plays in Sweet Williams and Haress, and used to run Endless Records out of Brighton, who put out a couple of Ivan tapes and records over the years) and he added a bunch of guitars and then mixed the album for me – he’s very good at stuff so it was very painless- again! Mostly 1st mixes of everything are what you hear on the album – he’s got the good ears for stuff – I’m really pleased with this record – I’m normally guilty of the “throwing everything at the wall and see what sticks” approach whereas Tom is all about space and minimal layers – but I wanted a different sound and he’s totally nailed it – he’s a genius. I was reading a book
of Jorge Luis Borges stories while we were making the record and there is one story called The Aleph which is all about the idea of there being a point in space that contains all other points, from where you can see everything in the universe from every angle simultaneously, without distortion, overlapping, or confusion – which I really liked and it felt kind of apt, so I named the album after it.

The Aleph especially has some incredible artwork! Who made it, and what is the relationship with the music?
I did the sleeve for this one (PLUG ALERT! I have a side-hustle doing sleeve art for bands, check out @ackackackdesign on Instagram for recent work – I’m cheap if I like you! PLUG OVER!) The image is a close-up scan of the endpaper from a Victorian encyclopaedia which I really liked the colours on, so I matched everything else up to it and all the lettering is hand done, one letter at a time with Letraset from my personal collection! ha-ha. Old school cut and paste! I think it suits the music nicely though, which is always the main goal. I do most of my own sleeves but in the last couple of years I’ve had too many records out so got a few other people whose work I liked to do some here and there, so I wasn’t swamped – Limited Output (my old pal Chappy from Newcastle) did the sleeve for The Long Year, Jordan Warren did the sleeve for White Tears and Nathaniel Winter-Herbert did the one for The Continuous Katherine Mortenhoe – check them all out, they are fine folks!

Now you have released two albums in one year, what is the next step? More recordings?
Playing live?

I think its three albums this year actually! The Continuous Katherine Mortenhoe LP on Library of The Occult was earlier this year wasn’t it?! ha-ha – so yeah – 3! it’s not my personal best (I managed 5 in 2020) but it’s a strong effort! After The Aleph and Black Water/Brown Earth are released, I have another album which is already at the pressing plant which is due out in April (it’s not announced yet so I can’t say any more, but I’m
REALLY pleased with this one cos it’s the first time I’ll have an entire ITT album I am actual able to play live so watch this space…) but I have plans to record a new album for Library of The Occult during November and December as I have some good chunks of time off work, and then after that I’ve got a couple of live things coming up that I need to work on…that’s as far as I’ve planned! I love watching TV too much to commit any further than that! I’m still getting used to not really touring anymore – Brexit and Covid and everything getting so expensive has really made it impossible for the small acts to make it balance anymore, sadly! I toured Europe for a month out of the year every year for the last decade, so it feels weird not to have any stuff on the calendar but I’m sure I’ll get used to the idea eventually. It’s probably why I’ve made so many records over the last two years – I’m overcompensating!

What is your ultimate dream goal as an artist?
I don’t think I have any! I just enjoy doing what I do! I’ve never wanted to be a musician as a job, I like having a normal job (I work in a print room) and doing music around it – stops it getting boring – I reckon it would suck if you HAD to do music every day, especially these days with all the bullshit social media you have to do constantly – i couldn’t do all that, which is probably why I’m not much further on than I am! I like it the way it is though. But yeah, my only goals are to keep making records until I peg it – keeps me sane! It’s a good release for an overactive imagination. But BIG goals nah, don’t have any! I wish I’d got to do a Peel Session, but I never did, does that count? Probably not seeing as it’s no longer possible! I’ve kind of done everything i ever set out to do and more! I’ve made loads of records, toured in loads of countries and met lots of the very best people. JOB DONE! I would secretly love to make a record in Studio 2 at Abbey Road though, but shhh don’t tell anyone.

What should the Weirdo Shrine reader do immediately after this interview?
Well, I’m going to go outside for a smoke, listen to the new Szun Waves album AGAIN and have a beer and then watch some TV. So you could do that if you want, but I’m not yr fuckin boss! DO SOMETHING THAT YOU LOVE! Eat a cake! Knit a jumper! Paint a room! Go for a bike ride! Have a sleep! If you are happy then, so am I.

Oli

Review + Q&A: Gloin- We Found This (2022, Mothland)

I swear, these amazing Toronto, Canadian bands are randomly crossing my path, I am not even seeking them out! Yet after Comet Control, Lammping, UWUW, and C. Ross, Gloin is another crystal clear piece of evidence that there is something in the water around those parts…

Mothland label mates Yoo Doo Right already reached the Weirdo Shrine editorial desks, and Gloin are equally self-minded and weird, a little wilder even still! On their album We Found This they find themselves mixing up fiercely angular noise rock, hip shaking post punk dread, and plenty of random noises into a steaming and modern sounding cocktail that somehow tastes fresh. Fans of The Horrors, The Cramps, Hey Colossus, and Liars do take note!

The vocals are shapeshifting between male and female, while the music is equally ambiguous: is this anger and frustration? Is this gloomy dread? Is this post apocalyptic disco? The fact that Gloin does not make up their minds make them such an intriguing listen, and We Found This into an album that you will have to spin a whole bunch of times before you completely “get” it. Or do you?

So of course there are some important questions to be asked and answered. I am a lucky person to find myself being able to reach out to all these wonderful artists and that people like Gloin are kind enough to answer…

Hi Gloin! How are you doing these days? 

We’re great. We just released our latest album, We Found This. Through the label Mothland. We’re answering these questions while on the road to support it. We recorded it in 2019 but due to delays with Covid, we had to wait a long time to release it. 

Can you please introduce the band; where are you from, how did you meet? 

Gloin is; John, Richard, Simon, Vic. 

Simon Richard and John had been working on various musical projects together and apart in Toronto for a few years. Richard and John knew each other from high school, while Vic knew John’s partner from high school. When Vic moved back to Toronto after living abroad for a few years, she was looking for a new project. 

What are your musical backgrounds?

John has been a lyricist and self-taught guitarist since he was 19.

Richard has been playing guitar since he was in middle school and started up playing synth for this project.

Vic first picked up the guitar at age 11 and always dabbled in bass playing but started taking it seriously for Gloin.

Simon has been drumming for 15 years.

Where do you live, and how would you say that influences your sound?

The aggression and frustration in our music is heavily influenced by the diminishing art culture in Toronto. In a lot of ways, it’s an extremely difficult city to thrive in yet that is also what feeds a driving force within us and I think that is evident in our music. We are surrounded by competition urgency and impatience.

What does a typical day in your lives look like?

We all work full-time in various trades and try to balance work, art, and personal lives in a way where we are not half assing’ anything.

What can you tell me about the writing and recording process of We Found This?

One person comes in with a riff that they have worked on and loved. They present it to the band and from there we might destroy it or reinvent it but either way we usually have a “no bad ideas” attitude. When we’re stumped we sometimes try to think of the most chaotic direction a song could go and do that and honestly it’s usually pretty sick or at least inspiring. John writes all the lyrics. When we bring a song into the studio it can come out a bit different because we are also open to creative ideas from our recording engineer Dylan Frankland. 

How do your lyrics usually come into being?

Lyrics are written sporadically. Some songs are more thought out than others, but all lyrics lean towards shared frustrations at that point in time. The frustrations for this record range from struggles financially, work life, toxic masculinity and religion, but are really based around any personal or shared struggles at that point in time. Lyrics are written far in advance of the instrumentals, during or in the studio when it comes time to sing. The strategy for vocals is always changing.

Can you tell me what music’s on the daily band playlist?

Vic: Any energetic pop music, catchy punk music, or extremely emotional ambient music and of course a good gay beat.

John: Warmduscher, Gilla band, Full of Hell, Portal, Dry Cleaning, Cola, and Viagra Boys.

Rich: CCR, Jim Croce, Gillian Weltch, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Lou Reed.

Simon: Anything funky, groovy, scary, noisy. A lot of BADBDNOTGOOD, N8Noface and Full of Hell lately.

What is “the dream” for your band? And what are your immediate future plans?

To play music full-time. 

Immediate plans are to just keep givin’er.

What should the Weirdo Shrine reader do after reading this interview?

Channel your rage, listen to our record, and let it out.

Review + Q&A: Wyatt E. – āl b​ē​l​ū​ti d​ā​rû (2022, Stolen Body Records)

Majestic, engimatic, cinematic, and whole lot of adjectives more. Such is the sound of Belgian mystical instrumental doom unit Wyatt E. Just look at that awe inspiring artwork, and imagine being sucked in. Gliding the back of that ancient Mesopotamian wyrm, straight in the darkness of that abandoned tower block. Is it Babylon? Where are we? What are those strange letters and words in the title? We will not know, but we will conjure up images from within our own minds while listening to the two gargantuan tracks on āl b​ē​l​ū​ti d​ā​rû.

It’s not even that the music on this album is ridiculously heavy or anything, one might even say the genre tag “doom” is a bit far-fetched. However, the music is deep and dense in an overwhelming atmospheric sense. Like wandering into a deep, and everwinding cave, or stepping inside an opium den all engulfed in a cloud of thick smoke. There are two tracks, one for each side of an LP, and both are completely different, yet similar stories. I could tell you my mind’s story of them, but it would spoil your experience. In stead, just listen to them by yourself, check out the artwork, and step inside it….

A long time ago, much earlier this year, I sent a message to Wyatt E. with the questions below. Until recently I did not get anything back, and I thought they might be lost forever. Yet suddenly a portal opened in my living room, and the answers were there on my table, scribbled in a language I could not read on a scroll of papyrus. This is what Google Translate made of it:

Greetings Wyatt E. How have you been? What have you been up to?

Hey, We’re good. We’ve been touring a lot to promote our latest album al beluti daru until this summer. Since then we’ve been working on the repress of our record and on the release of the music we wrote for a french motion picture. 


Can you introduce the band to the Weirdo Shrine audience?

In a nutshell, Wyatt E. is a band based in Belgium playing some sort of Levantine Ceremonial Doom. We released an album on Jerusalem’s label Shalosh Cult in 2017 and collaborate on a regular basis with Israeli singer Tomer Damsky. The leitmotif of the band is born to merge music and the will of one of its members with syrian-jewish ancestor to look for its past roots. 


I have been trying to wrap my head around your new album āl bēlūti dārû and it took me a long time to “get” it. Can you tell me what you set out to do when you were creating it?

When Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon wins over the city of Jerusalem after a two years long siege in 587 BC, he forces the cities’ elites into exile. He deports them to Babylon (the eternal city > āl bēlūti dārû) and our music is there to accompany them in this forced travel. It’s still playing when they’re discovering the gate of Ishtar with their very own eyes. Al be.


What is the language the title and the songs are in? Google Translate didn’t give me an idea…

It’s Akkadian language. āl bēlūti dārû means the Eternal City (aka Babylon)
Mušhuššu is the sacred animal of Marduk and Sarru Rabu means The Great King (Nebuchadnezzar II)


What inspires you to write this type of super long “journeys”, what images do you have when you are making it? Is it intuitive or deeply thought through?

It’s both of them. Once we have the theme of our storytelling we start creating layers of music to create some sort of landscape/soundscape to accompany that same story telling. At first it’s super intuitive; it then becomes deeply thought through once we start arranging the whole thing to make a song out of it. So I’d say that the sound is primal and intuitive but then built up during months of arrangement and choices. 


Who are your musical heroes?

Fazıl Say, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Chelsea Wolfe.

How did you get signed by Stolen Body Records?

Honestly, I had their CEO sleeping in my living room once a couple of years ago. That helps for bonding. 🙂


What are you looking forward to most in the upcoming year?

There’s a tour to be announced in April with a couple of cool festivals that have been on our bucket list for years now. 


What are your ambitions and future plans?

We’re now rehearsing a special set with two drummers and this might be a new challenge for an upcoming album we’d like to work on this winter. 


What should the Weirdo Shrine readers do after reading this interview?

They should Get back to question 6, copy paste “Fazıl Say” and Google it. 

Review + Q&A: El Universo- S/T (Echodelick Records/Fuzzed Up & Astromoon Records/The Weird Beard)

Ladies and gentlemen, we are floating in space, in Mexico, where the floating is good and very very experimental…

Leave it to El Universo to do away with any Earthly boundaries and conventions and just lift off into unchartered space rock territories with their amazing mixture of oldschool kraut (Neu!, Can) and modern instrumental postrock/minimal music. Throughout their self-titled album the listener is constantly kept on the edge of their seat because you never know what they will serve you next.

Will there be ten minutes of clip clop beats and distorted guitars? Will there be suffocatingly thick reverb blankets that take away all your sense of gravity and equilibrium? Will there be fuzzed up stomping about, will there be soothing repetitive guitar stroking? Yes, yes, yes and yes. But you never know what happens when, and since your sense of directions is very much screwed at a certain point you will find yourself spinning in a vacuum and seeing colors where there are none.

In other words; a pretty darn good time if you like to put some extra weird in your space rock. Which you do, because duh! You have found your way to the Weirdo Shrine

Originally, El Universo is just Eder Ademar doing all the work, but that’s no fun live and so Eder decided to branch out and add some members to a real live band that plays shows. About this, and more we talked over the interweb communication systems…

How is El Universo doing these days?

We are very excited about our new tour that will end with the Hipnosis Festival, featuring so many amazing bands that I really admire and that inspired me. Personal heroes.

Can you introduce the band to the Weirdo Shrine audience? 

We are playing live with Emilio Ponce on drums & Synths, Samuel Osorio and Gabriel Gavidia sharing bass and guitars, and me (Eder Ademar) playing guitar and synth.

What is your musical background?

I started to play guitar when I was 15 years old, I was taking lessons at a small school very close from my parents’ house and I remember I dropped it very quickly because the method was kind of boring for me. Some months later me and my friends started a band of surf music, we were really into that, almost without any idea of what I was doing. At that time I only had an electroacoustic guitar, I still remember my friends’ faces when I arrived at our first rehearsal. What I know about playing guitar is what I learned by playing.

Can you talk us through your discography so far? The S/T record that is issued right now through Echodelick is not your current newest album, right? 

Yeah, we put out a live bootleg in march of this year with some tracks of the first album and some new ones that we are playing live.

What is the best thing that happened to El Universo so far?

We played at forum indierocks for a HIPNOSIS showcase and the Vans Channel Session.

What can you tell me about being a space rock band in Mexico?

I think in general the Mexican scene is very open to different kinds of music but is true that is not easy to be an instrumental rock band, so many people always ask why the music does not have lyrics and I like to say that our music is like an open source software, we just give you some tools and you create your own stories and landscapes with your imagination.

What are your hopes and dreams for your music?

I hope to play so many festivals and live shows all over around the world, I know and I trust in the power of music.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Originally from watching documentaries of the universe, space missions and sci-fi movies, now I’m living with my girlfriend and my dog in San José del Cabo a very small Town with beach in Baja California Sur and I feel really inspired and connected with that place and with all the surrounding places.

Who are your favorite artists, current and in the past? 

I’m a big fan of CAN, SILVER APPLES, NEU!, GALAXIE 500, SONIC YOUTH, RADIOHEAD, MOON DUO, FLAVOR CRYSTALS & THE BLACK ANGELS.

What should the Weirdo Shrine reader do immediately after this interview? 

Listen to El Universo 👁️🕳️🔺

Review + Q&A: Uwuw- S/T (2022, We Are Busy Bodies)

By Samuel L. Jackson’s beard! What the funk do we have here…

Out of what must be the most buzzing earthly metropole of fuzzed up rock music -Toronto- come the self-acclaimed supergroup UWUW. They got together and aimed for “soulful music with a stoned vibe” and MAN did they hit that speedball out of the park!

UWUW’s sound oozes 70s stretched limos, leathery backseats, softporn, and big green clouds of reefer madness. Quentin Tarantino would eat this stuff up with a spoon and lick his lips afterwards. Not to say that UWUW are aping anybody or any band too much, they are not a “funk” band or a cheeky retro thing, but they have got that certain 70s swagger, you know? It’s SLICK.

Their modern take on gentle 70s prog and smooth funk reminds of contemporaries like Jonathan Wilson or the mellower side of Motorpsycho, but mostly its a sum of all their musical backgrounds, which are pretty awesome too by the way, and listed in the interview below…

Hi guys! How is Uwuw doing these days? Can you introduce the band?

Hey! My name is Jay Anderson. I play drums . We got Ian Blurton on Guitar and Jason Haberman on bass.

What can you tell me about your musical backgrounds? You are all from different existing bands, right?

We have all played around for a while here in Toronto. Ian is a Bonafide legend playing in Change Of Heart, Burtonia, Bionic, Public Animal and his current juggernaut Ian Blurton’s Future Now. Jason holds it down with Dan Mangan and just put out an incredible album under the name Yaehsun. I play in a couple things. Biblical, Badge Epoque Ensemble, Lammping, Marker Starling.

Can you tell me how the band formed?

Ian and I talked about making music. We wanted to something high concept. I think I recall if the band sounded like the JBs at a generator party in the desert. Soulful and stoned was definitely part of the plan.

What can you tell me about the writing and recording process of your debut album?

The 3 of us jammed and edited as we went. Having horns were always going to be a crucial part so Jay Hay was brought in to facilitate that. Jay plays sax and he brought Tom Richards on trombone and Patric McGroarty on trumpet. I have had the pleasure of working with this section before so I knew it was going to be good. Once that was done, we brought Chris A. Cummings, who records under the name Marker Starling, who I play with, and Drew Smith, who records under the name Bunny and his own name, who I also play with, to add lyrics and vocals and make these songs SONGS.

You are all from Toronto, is that right? I have never been there but I have already heard so much awesome Toronto music! Can you explain how the city influenced your band and music?

Yup all from Toronto. There is a lot of culture from all around the world so I feel that definitely influences you, especially if you enjoy discovering things, you’re not familiar with. That helps feed the creative process. I also feel that whatever you want to do musically, you’re given the space and respect to do it. There is no aging out here, so you get better as you continue. Also, because of this the bar of talent is extremely high without trying to be.

How did you decide on your sound? It is still hard for me to fully pinpoint it! 

We just let it take us to where it wanted to land. Like a Ouija board. If it’s us, then it will sound like UWUW. Not trying to reinvent the wheel, just trying to make stuff we would want to hear as a listener.

Is there one band you can all agree on listening to?

SUN RA

Where do the lyrics come from?

This is taken from another article but Chris and Drew explain their process:

Scattered Ashes

Chris A. Cummings: I attempted to shoehorn every stray apocalyptic thought I had circa Summer of 2021 into the song, including readings from the screenplay of Jean-Luc Godard‘s Alphaville (1965). The world is ending, or perhaps, as Sun Ra believed, we’re already past the end of the world. You might end up dying for a cause, or even “just because.” Who knows what tomorrow may bring, and like the Zombies, being forever Hung Up on a Dream—in this case, a lost vision of a kind of hippie or punk utopia—is the only way to live your life, the only way to maintain a healing state of mind.

Staircase To The End of The Night

Drew: The first rock n roll band I ever loved, for better or worse, was The Doors. That must play into the lyrics of this song a little bit – The End, End Of The Night. It’s not a big leap to see that those tunes are imprinted in my musical DNA. Most of the lyrics and harmonies were suggested by the music. It’s already in there. It’s not even a case of heavy lifting, just listening. I was just interpreting what Ian, Jay, and Jason put to tape. My job was more fun than work.

LANDLORD

Drew: Lyrically, It’s like [Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s] “Bad Moon Rising” but by a way-worse writer. When Jay asked me for the title, I was going to say, “When The Landlord Comes,” but that would have led to google search hell for a lot of people. Or heaven. Maybe you’re into that kind of thing.

Box Office Poison

Chris: The early 20th-century expression, “box office poison,” meaning a once-popular star now suddenly striking out with the public, was something I latched onto at an early age. Something about the romanticism of failure appealed to my young mind. During the pandemic I began watching Turner Classic Movies for at least 8 hours a day, in the course of which I rewatched Hitchcock’s small-town murder mystery Shadow of a Doubt (1943), which prompted the opening line, “Don’t strain my disbelief”—as in, “Suspension of disbelief is all well and good, but this is pushing it.”

(The plot of the movie, according to IMDB, is: “A teenage girl, overjoyed when her favorite uncle comes to visit the family in their quiet California town, slowly begins to suspect that he is in fact the ‘Merry Widow’ killer sought by the authorities.”)

Watching the movie now for the third or fourth time in 2021, it occurred to me that the whole thing hangs on a premise that I’ve never quite been able to believe in: the niece’s strained belief that the uncle was not a murderer when he so clearly was. Was this all part of a propaganda exercise, promoting the wholesomeness of small-town living as a distraction from the realities of WWII? We’ll never know.

The assignment was to write appropriate lyrics for the brilliant backing track by Anderson/Blurton/Haberman/Hay, and I used whatever materials I had at hand, whether it were lines from a Godard screenplay or watching a Hitchcock film on TCM.

What are your collective dreams? And what are your immediate future plans?

I think we all want to create, be healthy and happy. Who knows what’s up for UWUW? Maybe play a show, maybe make another record. 

What should the Weirdo Shrine readers do immediately after reading this interview?

Log off and go outside.

Review: Spiral Wave Nomads- Magnetic Sky (2022, Twin Lakes Records/Feeding Tube Records)

Before reading this review, please take some time to check out the interview I recently did with Twin Lakes Records, More Klementines members and 50% of Spiral Wave Nomads drummer/keyboard player Michael Kieffer. It will help placing these very active psychedelic musicians into certain perspective, and hopefully also draw your attention to the plethora of other musical projects they are involved in. They are worth your time.

Together with Eric Hardiman (Sky Furrows) who pays guitars, bass, and electronics on this album, as Spiral Wave Nomads Kieffer has fully immersed himself into full blown instrumental jams. They absolutely go with every flow on this one, letting the conjured spirits of their own creativity take them wherever they may go.

The repetitive nature of the music is quite hypnotizing. A song like Carrier Signals for instance flutters upwards in spiraling motions, taking the listener on a levitational trip. The drums are more jazzy and supportive to the trip than machine-like motorik in nature, making Magnetic Sky a very natural flowing album, always wandering and seeking, kindly, without pressure, but with wonder and an always open mind. It’s like they warmly ask you: “hey, wanna go on a trip with us? Let’s go, man”, and if not that’s ok too. No hassle dude, better luck next time.

I have said this before, but I’ll say it again because it is extremely important to notice. It is mentally liberating to be able to trip on music like this. To completely be free in the moment. Especially when you do not have a mindset like Spiral Wave Nomads and your life is fleeting and stressful it is important to know that it is possible to take this trip with them and synch in this rhythm for just this album. They have invited you man, let’s go…

Review + Q&A More Klementines (2022, Twin Lakes Records)

To me these days, there are few things as satisfactory as a bunch of free form musical artists finding each other and jamming like there is no tomorrow. To me they are like mind readers almost, or cosmic weavers of sonic threads. The band Can were based on this principle, and they spend many months perfecting their jams, often culminating into what they called “Godzillas”; slowly built up eruptions of sonic energy.

More Klementines definitely bear fruit from that can, and they definitely share four of their most successful Godzillas on their new album Who Remembers Light. There is in fact little about it that I do not like. Whether they wax instrumentally like on opener Hot Peace, or add lyrical poetry like on the much shorter Key Of Caesar, they do it in a way that is ephemeral in nature, here one moment, gone the next. Like ideas, and thoughts, More Klementines’ improvisational music comes and goes, back and forth, sometimes steady rockin’, sometimes more fragile, but ever flowing.

Who Remembers Light is a photograph of this ephemeral power of More Klementines, a recorded moment in time where they rocked, and flowed freely amongst newly discovered sounds. Freshly picked klementines for your listening pleasure…

So I discovered about More Klementines rather late, more than a month after the release of Who Remembers Light. The more I found out about them the more I liked them though, because aside from cool musicians im multiple bands they are also proud record label owners…let’s quickly dive deeper into that with the trio that makes up More Klementines!

Hi guys, can you please introduce yourselves to the Weirdo Shrine audience?

Kiefer: Hey Jasper, thanks so much for taking an interest in More Klementines. Michael Kiefer here, and I play drums in the band. 

J: This is Jon – I’m the only person in the band not named Mike or Steubs. I play guitar, banjo and lap steel.

Steubs: Esteemed congregants of the Weirdo Shrine, I greet you heartily! I am Steubs, and I play strings, keys, delay, and bells. 

How have you been the past pandemic years? How did you see it affect your musical careers?

J: The pandemic required stepping back and putting things on hold for a bit – in a way it was nice to pull out of the game for a bit and spend time listening and going for walks in the woods. Fortunately, we were able to share ideas and work through new material. One highlight of the pandemic was recording our “sk8 @ yr own rsk” record where we regrouped for an afternoon outside and got to play in my backyard in the fresh air.

Steubs: All that time to play with no real agenda but to try to entertain myself, led to some new ways to hold the instruments, and make happy noise with less of a focus on plucked notes or stacked harmonies. Something about that time led me to seek out lighter ways to make the instrument move the air. Something about melody, harmony or even traditional dissonance seemed to bring the dark quarantine times into unwanted high relief, and finding ways to make the instrument hum, hiss, wobble, and take up new sonic spaces made it seem like I was moving through the time better. 

Kiefer: It definitely afforded me some more time to get back to practicing the rudiments of drumming, while also exploring ways to create new textures around the kit. 

Can you tell me about your band(s)? I have just been listening to the last More Klementines a lot! It’s awesome! But there is more, right?

Kiefer: Thanks so much! Yeah, I also play in a psych duo called Spiral Wave Nomads with Albany, NY’s Eric Hardiman. We’re just about to put out our 3rd LP, Magnetic Sky in November–another co-release with Feeding Tube Records. And Jon and I also play in another outfit called Drifting North. It’s kind of a fresh take on the Cosmic Americana that’s been bubbling up from the American underground the past several years…psychedelic folk tunes and garage rockers that can morph into motorik train beat jammers or freeform meditative folk ragas.

J: Yes. As Mike mentioned, he and I play in another project called Drifting North that includes some heavy hitters from New Haven – we’re moving into recording mode with a batch of songs and jams and hope to put out songs in the coming year and a full record to follow.

Steubs: My recent side project joy has been to play drums with my kid’s band, and to work on some solo sound compositions and try to teach myself about synths.

What can you tell me about the Twin Lakes record label? 

Kiefer: Well, Steubs and I started the label back in 2007, I think when we were still working as a duo called Myty Konkeror

Steubs: Ah yes, I remember it well! We had a lot of friends at the time with tape labels, or self-recorded labels, and it seemed more logical to pursue the music and the distribution on our own terms. The surprising bit, was that as soon as we released anything by ourselves, we were overwhelmed by amazing musicians seeking help to release their music. We’ve always sought to do limited runs, records if possible, and with the band bringing a unique or handmade art design to the table. It feels like, and felt like, even way back then, that to put a physical object into the world, it had to have some love baked in as well as some aesthetic merit. 

Where are you guys from, and how does it affect your music?

Kiefer: Jon and I live just outside of New Haven, CT in Branford/N.Branford, while Steubs lives in Brooklyn. I’m not sure how it affects our music. There’s certainly a lot of great music around the New Haven area, like our friends in the Mountain Movers, Headroom, the C/Site label run by Stefan Christensen, Henry Birdsey, Mercy Choir, Lys Guillorn and many others. Plus other CT artists like Michael Slyne and Fatal Film in New London. Seeing them all continue to keep working and push their creativity in new ways pushes us to keep going and exploring new sounds.

J: Living in the woods of Connecticut near the shore gives the opportunity to listen to the trees, lapping of the water, and drive winding roads while listening back to recordings and mixes. Something about these surroundings permeates the music – it’s kind of a state of mind-  the ebb and flow of the tides that pulls on things and has profound influence in subtle ways.

Steubs: The music scene in and around New Haven, CT is very special, and one of the most underrated deep beds of weirdo-music talent in the U.S. People are caring and real and involved the rest of the community at large. I’m so lucky to know Mike and Jon and to be able to get up there to bang around with these guys, skate with these guys, ride down mountains with these guys and surf with these guys.

I am a NYC native, from the boroughs, and I’ve always had an affinity for the music NYC has produced that has aligned itself with sounding out the uncomfortable and harder parts of NY life in a DIY-way:  New York Hardcore (CroMags, LifesBlood), Crust and Squatter Punk (Nausea, Missing Foundation – Germans who were nevertheless in Tompkins Square Park), No-Wave (8-eyed-spy —- first time I got to read a Byron Coley cassette insert!), that whole scene that Sonic Youth eventually presided over, metal and crossover (Leeway rocks!), etc, etc… there are so many kinds of heavy music bands and players and composers who have been from here, and it’s so humbling  …. so much jazz, noise, beats…John Zorn!, Velvet Underground, SWANS, RUN DMC, KRS-One, Eric B and Rakim, Wu-Tang… it’s made me want to open up to hear so many things, and feel like I always have beginner’s mind when I try to write and perform. 

There is a strong kraut vibe in your music, where did that come from? And who are your kraut rock heroes? 

Kiefer: CAN tops the list for me. Amon Duul II and Neu! are right up there as well. I’ve always loved the repetition and motorik beats that you’d often hear in those bands. I really liked how propulsive and groovy the rhythms could be while also leaving so much room for the songs to open up with interesting, weird textures and sounds. That coupled with the free approach you hear in a lot of that music…to me it represents the joy of discovery in new sounds that I love experiencing with my friends and collaborators.

J: What Kiefer said is exactly what I’d say on this subject.

Steubs: All of that for sure ++ I also spent a lot of time with 90s kraut-rock influenced bands like Th’ Faith Healers uk (still a rhythm/lead guitar north star for me— the opening riff on Imaginary Friend is just so definitive. Not to mention, I took that whole mark chime thing into song into our own last album.) Thank you, Th’ Faith Healers uk. Incidentally, this has been and remains an album I put on during larger gatherings, and people always start clamoring: “What is this record?!? It’s so great!”

I think we try to be respectful about celebrating our love of these bands that take heavy repetition and building freakouts, but we are trying to move to an entirely new place. I think that one of the things we’ve started to explore more and more,  is how you can create the effect of repetition without actually doing it, but instead taking the listener into new places while they think they are hearing repetition. This is almost the opposite of a lot of older psych and krautrock, which would use the repetition to make the same sound unfamiliar. I think we are using heavy music, and playing with dynamics, to make the listener follow us to places that are different and radical, but leaving aspects in place that cushion the giant steps so suddenly what sounded like repetition is doing something totally different.

Who are your favorite contemporary musicians?

Kiefer: Oh man, there are just so many, so I guess I’ll focus on the ones I’ve been listening to most the last couple years. We recently played a gig with Michael Beach at Tubby’s in Kingston, NY, and he just released an EP that confirmed he’s one of the best singer-songrockers out there. The new Elkhorn LP is amazing, and the new Bill Callahan album has been on repeat for me since it came out. I also keep going back to the Myriam Gendron record that came out earlier this year. Oh, and Steubs turned me on to a Curtis Harding record that came out last year that I also revisit a lot. Pretty much anyone on Three Lobed Records…that new Eli Winter record is so good, and I’m always excited when a new Gunn-Truscinski Duo record comes out. Our New Haven buds The Mountain Movers continue to inspire us with each release. Another New Haven artist that blew us away recently is Henry Birdsey’s Old Saw project, specifically his 2021 album Country Tropics

J: I’ve really enjoyed all the music that Rose City Band has been putting out the past few years – very inspirational stuff right there. I’m a huge Steve Gunn fan as well. I’m continually discovering musicians that are long gone such as Amanaz that just blow me away – I seem to have them on continuous play even though I discovered their record from 1975 a few years back. I’m still discovering decades old records by King Tubby and Lee Scratch Perry that pull me in more than anything.

Steubs: Wille Nelson. Bill Frisell. Mitsky. Jim White. Pete Kerlin.

What is the coolest thing you have done so far? And what is still on the bucket list?

Kiefer: Hmm…I’m not sure there’s one coolest thing. We’re just super grateful to have joined bills with some of our favorite artists. We’ve had such a blast sharing bills with bands like Oneida, Howlin Rain and our buds Garcia Peoples. Playing some shows in Europe is definitely on the bucket list.

J: Probably the coolest thing may have to be our first improv gig at Cafe 9 in New Haven – I can’t remember all the details (year, who else was on the bill, etc) but I recall that Steubs played a gamelan and the three of us managed to levitate a few feet off the ground during our 30 minute set. It was one of the most profound musical experiences I’ve had… 

Kiefer: Oh yeah, that gig was amazing. And the fact that we improvised that night was borne more out of necessity than anything else. I remember a couple days before the show Steubs let us know he couldn’t make it, so Jon and I practiced the day before as a two-piece with some rough ideas. But then the day of the show Steubs let us know that he could make it and would just jump in and improvise. I think Jon and I started out the set with whatever approach we had prepared for, but then the set just sort of took on a weird, beautiful life of its own. That show definitely gave us the confidence to keep improvising, and I’m not sure if we’ve written any structured songs since, with the exception of “Key of Caesar.”

Steubs: Getting older and having these two buddies to bang around with is the coolest thing. It’s like that lyric from ‘boogie chillen’: “Let that boy boogie-woogie/cause it’s in him, and it got to come out.” That’s music for me- I don’t have a choice. It’s weird stuff, not universally appealing, and if I could have chosen, I’d probably have chosen to play more popular and profitable sounds. But these dudes and I find some peace and release in playing this noise out of ourselves together—wherever it might originate from. Having a handful of people that seem interested in listening to the noise we make is just gravy. 

Kiefer: Yeah…that’s definitely the coolest thing for sure. 

What are your immediate future plans? 

Kiefer: We do have one gig on the horizon that we’re excited about. We’ll be playing the I Heart Noise Festival on December 10 in Williamsburg at Pete’s Candy Store with some other artists we love, like Wet Tuna, Jim White & Marisa Anderson, Solilians, Skyjelly, and I Feel Tractor. We can’t wait!

Aside from that, we just wanna continue getting together when time allows and jam. We’re all great friends and we feel really lucky that our bonds go beyond the personal connections we have. We have this deep musical connection that allows us to converse in our own language not studied, but fluently spoken and all our own. So we’re looking forward to more of that! 

J: I’m about to eat some fresh from the oven apple crisp made from hand-picked macouns. One of the best things about autumn in New England. Don’t forget the scoop of vanilla ice-cream to cool it off!

Steubs: I’ve gotta catch up on a few late parking tickets, and we’re almost out of dog food at home, so I’ll probably head out to the store in a few minutes.

What should the Weirdo Shrine reader do after this interview?

    Eat More Klementines!

Review + Q&A: James Johnston & Steve Gullick- Everybody’s Sunset (2022, God Unknown Records)

In February 2021 We Travel Time by James Johnston and Steve Gullick was the perfect soundtrack to melting snow and hopes of a new day after a very long and depressing pandemic winter. I also had the pleasure to reach out to James and talk about this project and his time in Gallon Drunk, PJ Harvey, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. He is a full time painter now though, and Steve Gullick an amazing pop photographer who shot many great artists. Everybody’s Sunset is a their sophomore effort as a duo, and once again it displays the symbiotic relationship the two men have with imagery and music.

Like his canvasses, James Johnston paints his music on the verge of abstract and figurative, sometimes writing songs, mostly writing soundscapes. Like in photography, Steve Gullick captures moments at exactly the right time, creating musical mental images that reflect song titles like A Greater Silence, Shimmer, A Fear Of Everything and such. The title track made think for a moment; isn’t every sunset everybody’s sunset? Or is the sunset you experience a unique experience for any individual?

There is plenty of time for musings of this kind on Everybody’s Sunset, as more often than before the music is void of lyrics, painting an image of stillness with sparse sound collage, a small dash of violin, a lonely guitar wail, a shimmer of percussion…music to reflect, to sort your thoughts to, perhaps to paint to? In any case, it’s another fine piece of avantgarde music for use to wonder about and cherish.

I was lucky enough to talk to James Johnston again, after our lovely chat last year. We caught up about the time in between, and also talked about the present and the future…

Hi James, good to talk to you again, can you tell me a little bit about how you spend your time since the release of We Travel Time in February 2021?

Well, it feels like a long time to us as we recorded the first album quite some time ago, and the situation was so different as to almost seem unreal now. Global lockdowns etc. Since then I’ve been in the studio painting 5 days a week, and Steve’s been back into photo and video work again. We’ve been working on the new album since March 2021, a very gradual process of building up a body of work, so the music has been a constant throughout.

I can imagine that the writing and recording sessions for Everybody’s Sunset were quite different from last time! Can you tell me about it?

It was more that the music was different. We basically went about it in the same way, although we were able to work together recording a bit more this time, especially when it came to the crucial part of mixing and making snap decisions to cut things down, take things apart. As ever, it’s loose and live, but the work after the initial recording is what we took a lot more time over. It’s a process we both love, and both work as instinctively as possible while doing it, trying not to get lost on details, but to go with feel about the overall atmosphere of the music. Get some surprises in there, turn things inside out. For example, we’d take a violin section I’d done, and then got totally bored of, and refeed it into the music through guitar pedals so that it becomes something totally new, then rethink the whole piece around that.

What do you think is the biggest difference between the two albums? 

The first one’s maybe a bit rawer, fragments of music that make up the whole, whereas this record has a very different and more immersive feel in general. It’s more out there.

Is there a link between your development as a painter and your music? It felt to me for instance like there is a similarity between the borders of abstraction in both your painting and your music, how do you see that?

It’s totally fed into it, as has Steve’s landscape photography for him. The mysterious edges of things, where the more conscious and planned ideas blend into something that feels more unknown.

Aside from your work with Steve, have you gotten any offers to work with other artists after covid, you have worked with a lot of big artists, will that continue in the future?

I’ll be working with Polly Harvey again next year, but until that happens I’ve decided to focus totally on the painting. Ive got a solo show in a couple of weeks, and I’ve been building up a lot of work for that.

Looking back at the pandemic, what changed mostly for you personally and professionally?

Thankfully family and those most close came through it ok, so as a result the experience was ok. I loved living in the empty version of London for a while, it had a real beauty to it.

Can you elaborate on the album title? It got me thinking; isn’t every sunset everybody’s sunset? And then again; does a specific way you experience a sunset make it unique to you? Am I close here…?

Well, it’s universal, a daily recurring sense of finality that’s paired with total beauty, something shared. Like a lot of the titles, it came from  a painting title. At the time I did the painting, it felt like it had a lot darker resonance to it as well. It hopefully reflects the ambiguity and embracing feel of the music.

What is the last book you read? Can you recommend any books you read recently?

The last book that I just finished was ‘Waterworld’ by Graham Swift. A real favourite is Madman’s Drum by Lynd Ward, a novel in woodcuts from the 1930s. A book my mother had that totally blew me away as a child, and still does.

What are you looking forward to most at this moment?

Getting into the studio.

What should the Weirdo Shrine readers do after reading this interview?

Go outside.

Steve and James

Review + Q&A: Paper Bomb- Into The Sun (2022, The Weird Beard/Echodelick Records)

Paper bomb. It’s a bomb, but it won’t kill you. You can throw it at somebody to communicate your disapproval at them, and the message will arrive, but will it help? In any case, it might mystify your opponent, and that is something too, right? Paper Bomb is also a band, a rather cool band from Victoria, BC in Canada. If my previous ramblings were a bit vague, know that it was on purpose. For vagueness is an attitude that fits this band and their super hazy garage surf stoner album Into The Sun like a warm woolen glove, and that’s totally fine with me.

On display is a forward driven slab of 90s inspired grooving rock that is equal parts Monster Magnet, Together Pangea, Sonic Youth, and Thee Oh Sees. I bet MM’s John McBain had a lot of fun mastering this, a big blunt on his lip, and a wide ghoulish grin on his weathered face. It’s an album that definitely rocks hard, but takes plenty of time to pull its foot off the gas pedal to let it all hang out, and just chill, you know?

So, total “dude” rock this one, and some of the most fun I had while listening to new music this year. It does not pretend to be anything it’s not, you know? It is just what it is. And again, that’s totally fine with this guy….

Groovy cat at the Paper Bomb HQ

So let’s meet the band! I hit it off online with band spokesperson and singer Rob Brelsford, and he was kind enough to join Weirdo Shrine and add his As to my Qs…

Hi guys, how are you these days? Can you introduce the band?

we are doing good hanging out jammin lots at home and in the studio.

Rob Brelsford -Guitar/vocals (Wolf Rider/Bumface Productions)

Adrian Gates -Bass (Entanglemints,Walter,Veronica Tangent)

Chris Mackenzie -Guitar (Astrocolor, Robert Roth,Walter, Whip, Rod Iron Haulers)

Conor Matthews -Drums (The Fine Options, Bloody Wilma , Stray Cougar)

The new album Into The Sun was written and recorded during covid times, what can you tell me about that time and the influence on the band and the music?

Yeah it was written during Covid times and it was (a completed solo project/Album by Rob) probably an opportunity to reflect on things and I guess process stuff that’s been on the back of my mind for a long time as life is and so wrote it all out and created some songs. 11 songs in fact had a lot of time during Covid off work so got the equipment and just started recording. 

What are the influences? definitely from heavy rock /psychedelia to stoner rock. Over the past few years been listening to a lot  psychedelic music really got turned onto it through the Levitation festivals etc. I guess you could say Oh SeesBlack Angels, Allah-Las, etc. so I started out with a few songs on Bandcamp making some videos on Instagram and seemed to get some attention and then it was decided to do a full album.

You are a relatively new band, right? What are your musical backgrounds?

Yes that is actually correct we are a very new band ( from a solo project to now a fully formed band) and just fully formed in October with a few jams under our belts. Myself (Rob) and Adrian were in a band back in high school and reconnected earlier this year to work on Paper Bomb project. Adrian was able to get a hold of another buddy Chris McKenzie to play guitar and then his buddy Connor to play drums.

How did you get a record deal with Weird Beard and how did you get John McBain to master the album?

 Al and Dai at Weird Beard reached out after they saw some stuff on Instagram and listened to a few songs on Bandcamp. They asked if I was interested in doing an album with them. This was around the end of December 2020, so I spent at least about the first 3 to months of 2021 writing the songs had some more material from before and  recorded at broken waves studio through Bum Face Productions. Was all mixed with Ben Whiterock and then mastered by John McBain. John McBain is who does all Weird Beard’s mixing and mastering. John did an awesome job on the album. Super stoked to have Al and Dai (Weird Beard)reach out to do this album with them. Very grateful and It gave the motivation/push to do it. I’m really glad they dug the music and supported it!

Can you tell me what life in Victoria, BC Canada is like for a musician like you?
Victoria’s a great place for music a lot of talent here great musicians bands!Unfortunately we have lost a few venues and I think a lot of this was due to COVID etc. but with that being said I think with that paradigm shift so  there’s other places that start up a new ideas are generated. You can see a lot of places in Victoria that are starting to do more like gorilla like underground sort of venues at homes ,different little studios and live shows. I think that’s important because going back to grassroots really gives the music scene a unique foundation and has a lot of creativity/Good vibe.

How do lyrics come to you?

Usually write a song and then add some lyrics in mind. Try to go to a isolated place or beach especially in the winter season.Try to see how it fits with the song but usually it’s like something on the back of the mind maybe something that’s needing processing or a observation. Just trying to create a song having a connection with it and and hopefully listener has their own connection/interpretation with it as well.

Is there a band Paper Bomb can agree on being the greatest ever? What else is played in the band van?

For me (Rob) from I really find Beach Boys/The Wrecking Crew  are a major influence on myself as well I love the band Oh Sees.

Chris Mackenzie the Beatles and Soundgarden

Conor definitely is Black Sabbath 

(1st 6 albums) 

Adrian: Tortoise ,the Cure and the Red Hot Chili Peppers ( old stuff)

Being played in the van: Frankie and the Witch FingersAl La lahsToys That KillBaptistLA WitchTame Impala DK, Primus,King Gizzard , Alton Gun etc. so many local bands we listen to next to this: the HexArt DecoMoths and Locusts , Slam Dunk to mention a few.

What is your dream goal? And how about next year?

Honestly I guess some of the dream goals would be probably to be able to get some shows going in the new year start doing a small tour/start playing some festivals! That would be awesome I guess we’ll see how it goes and next year could entail probably writing the next album/making more music

What should the Weirdo Shrine reader do immediately after this interview?


Go out to as many shows as possible and support your local venues/bands!

You are what makes them creates a scene just as much as the music and the bands!

oh and check out our new album Into The Sun!!! 

Review+ Q&A: Moon Goose- La Nuit (2022, Fruits De Mer Records/Inflatable Tarmac Records)

Sometimes it’s best not to overthink or over analyze things. Reading back my questions and the answers for the interview with UK’s space rock quintet Moon Goose I realized that what they expressed in words exactly covered what they are about; five guys creating music in the moment, taking it the way it comes in the moment. Not taking themselves too seriously, but definitely giving room for the free creative process. Anything they might think or say more about it is pretty moot, really. That does not mean it is less valuable or interesting as an art form though.

And it does not mean the listener cannot have their own thoughts. On the contrary, their new album La Nuit is filled to the brim with all kinds of crazy ideas and side paths that will make your brain do loopings and somersaults trying to stay on track of what is happening. Because with Moon Goose anything goes, within the domain of their -mostly- instrumental space rock psycho debauchery, that is.

Whether it is the soundtrack to understanding the inner feelings of future sex robots, being cursed by a lemon, or “a vicar’s brain being fried by the light”, Moon Goose will take you through it on this weird psychedelic journey. And when the final notes of Great Halls Of Broken Tools have sounded…you will hit the repeat button and take the ride again.

Moon Goose Dave handled the answering duties today, and as it appears these space rock Britons are just as as wacky in their daily lives as in their music businesses….

Hey Moon Goose! How is everything on your side of the globe?

Hello Weirdo Shrine! Literally everything is perfect on our side of the globe. No surprise really, once you know about the underlying geology in this part of the world. (It’s mostly Devonian-era Old Red Sandstone.)

Can you kindly introduce your band to the Weirdo Shrine audience?

We are five humans who use electricity, food and some other inputs to create noises which have the capacity to make people dance. 

What are your musical backgrounds?

Our musical backgrounds represent a clashing and infinite mix of styles ranging from Ennio Morricone to Jah Wobble via the sound of urban frogs in a storm drain on a humid Nairobi evening. 

Where do you live, and how would you say that influences your music?

Well the sandstone obviously influences everything else, including the heavy clay soil which supports a quixotic range of crops that can tolerate the waterlogged soil here in the in-between-space where England meets Wales. Overlay that biological reality with the tribal back-and-forth that characterizes life here as well as in the borderlands in every part of Earth and you will have a good understanding of the shifting identity, ruined castles, and potatoes that underpin our music. 

What does an average day look like for a Moon Goose cult member?

If we’re not riding the mile-high circular monorail that sketches the boundary of the entire bioregion, we are often to be found using our heads to roll gym balls up scree. 

What does it look like when you are writing music?

It looks like the feeling you get when you rediscover a half-eaten bag of crisps lying on precisely the windowsill you would have imagined it to be lying on, had you taken the proper time to think about it. 

Where do you gather your inspiration?

Inspiration-gathering is too active a description. Inspiration emerges when we play together in our barn. We inspire each other and the place we play adds its extra quality. Someone starts playing nothing in particular, someone else joins in, there’s a vibe or not, we remember it or not. Most if not all of our best stuff we’ve only ever played once when inspiration has crept up on us, and then we have failed to recapture it. If that sounds too fragile, don’t worry. 

What is “the dream” for Moon Goose as a band?

The dream is probably the ability to get somewhere close, on a record, to how we sound in the barn where we rehearse, on a night when the moon is shining and we are in flow. This would probably require spending several days and nights in the recording studio with our sound engineer Ryan and our producer Leon, maybe along with a pile of cheap garish cakes, and the more exhausted and delirious things became, the closer we would get to that precious barn vibe. 

What are you most looking forward to in the immediate future?

Realising our dream.

What should the Weirdo Shrine reader do immediately after reading this interview?

Feel loved.