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Review + Q&A: Anona- Anona EP (2022, Sound Effect Records)

Welcome to another episode of music-book pairing. In this chapter I will try to link Anona’s free thinking Canterbury indie rock with the bestselling young adult novel series Mrs Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. The novel is full of mystery, (time) travels, children with weird powers, and an altogether idea that it is ok to be strange. I can’t shake of the feeling that Anona has embraced that same idea as well.

This self-titled EP by Anona is all kinds of strange, but beautiful as well. There is a mysterious edge to it, but a childlike naivete and lightless as well. There is some time traveling going on, past 60s Canterbury folk for example (the flute plays an important role), and dark smokey jazz combos from the 30s. And then there is the band that consists of all kinds of weird kids with special powers of their own, nine of them in total.

Both the novelist Ransom Riggs and the singer songwriter Ella Russel are story tellers. They take you, the spectator, by the hand and lead you just around the corner to a place that you would have never imagined on your own. Whether it is the story of The Boy And The Lion, or the story of Jacob Portman finding out his secret heritage, you will be sucked in and hanging on to every word…

So I had to dive into this Anona phenomenon. Who are they? Or who is she? Let’s find out. Bristol, UK resident Ella Russel takes us by the hand while she leads us on a tour through here life…

How are you? How has the pandemic period and its aftermath been for you as a musician?

Ah the big questions. Well, the cold has finally arrived here which brings mixed feelings. I love the winter storms and island weather, the winter skies are really crazy over the sea here, but the damp and darkness affects me after a while. The pandemic brought an end to some projects and a beginning to new ones. It definitely felt like life bookmarked a new era when it began, there was no choice. We finished recording the bulk of Anona two weeks before the first lockdown and then I worked on it throughout, so the EP kind of feels like a time capsule now. The pandemic of course has been a challenge, but I can also be a bit of a hermit and having so much time to work on my own things was kind of incredible. I only got back into playing shows this year, with my other band The New Eves. It has felt really powerful and we don’t take anything for granted. I love them. 

Can you introduce yourself, is it just you or are there more people in Anona?

I’m Ella Russell, a musician and a painter living in Brighton, UK. Anona is my first solo project, but it features 9 of my friends & incredible musicians. Their names are Lau Zanin, Toma Sapir, Adam Campbell, George Lloyd-Owen, Todd Cowell, Freddie Willat, Isobel Jones and Hugo Ellis. Anona’s lineup will be constantly evolving around the music I write, but I’m hoping lot’s of these guys stick around. 

What can you tell me about your musical background(s)?

I’ve always been very affected by music, and if you had asked me what I wanted to do when I was a child I would have said “an artist and a singer”, which is pretty much what I do now, except I have learnt some instruments along the way. I play the flute, guitar, drums and a little piano, all a bit unconventionally. I recently had my trombone debut! It was funny, I had painted myself green for halloween and looked like this tiny goblin playing the trombone.

I’m completely self taught and started playing in bands when I was about 19, learning everything as I went along. I started composing this EP when I was 21 and it was my first time writing music in full, doing everything myself. It began as a challenge to myself to see what I was capable of and ended up opening a whole inner world. 

The most recent projects I have been involved with are The New Eves, Wax Machine and I did some recording with The Ancient Infinity Orchestra this summer, who are about to drop an incredible album.

What does a regular day in your life look like?

At the moment it’s different everyday! Which is how I like it, I strangely find lack of routine very inspiring. Like today I was sewing someone’s curtains and last week I was recording poetry for the BBC – though it’s definitely not always as exciting as that. Often I will be rehearsing and playing music with people in the evenings and when I have spare time I will be painting in my little studio. It’s quite a turbulent way to live, to be patching things together week by week, but I’m only 24 and just about have the energy to deal with the uncertainty my lifestyle brings. For now the adventures outweigh it all, I get to travel around a lot.

What is the best thing about your new EP?

That’s a hard question. Everything? That it’s finally being released? That it was so fun to make? That someone took the time to turn it into vinyl?

For me it was especially a pleasure to meet cellist George Lloyd-Owen. They were the only person that I didn’t know before making Anona, and we had such an instant creative connection. I can’t read music so I would just sing to them and they would translate it and make it a thousand times better. They blow my mind everytime we play together. I have long had the ambition to make music for strings and meeting them has made it feel possible.

Where do you live and what is the environment like for musicians like you?

I live in Brighton UK, which is where I was born and also where some of my ancestors are from. It’s by the sea which I love and is only a 45 minute train ride to London. It’s a small city but it’s got a big music scene and is ideal for meeting musicians, they are literally everywhere… though I have been spectacularly shit at going to shows recently. I’m lucky to have a life full of musicians, artists and like minded people, it feels abundant in that way and our community is strong, we are always collaborating and everyone helps each other out. A downside to Brighton is you don’t really get paid much for shows, or anything creative. Rents are going up and soon it will be too expensive to live here.

I have actually been waiting for the time to leave Brighton and city life for a while now, but things keep happening. The times i’ve felt most alive have always been outside of cities, probably on a mountain somewhere. But my family are still nearby and it will always be a home for me.

What are your favorite contemporary bands and albums right now?

Some of the best shows I’ve seen this year were by Abel Selaocoe, Modern Woman, Junior Brother, Bingo Fury and Broadside Hacks. Last year I saw Johnny Greenwood perform some of his soundtracks at a festival and it was probably one of the best hours of my life. My friend Ozzy is secretly a genius composer and his group Ancient Infinity Orchestra are going to be releasing an incredible album with Gondwana next year. I have a lot of friends releasing beautiful things at the moment; Daisy Rickman, Wax Machine and Platypus Complex are definitely ones to watch. 

Can you tell me about how you go about composing and recording songs?

For me it’s a very private process, it can take a long time and often feels like I’m unveiling something, like helping a flower to bloom. The music really has it’s own spirit. When I was writing this EP I was living in a garden cabin and would lock myself in there for hours at a time experimenting with different instruments and building a relationship with the sounds that wanted to come through. I had to muster a lot of faith to actually show it to people and conduct them, it was a great learning process. This whole project was created in gardens, for recording I found another garden cabin that had a piano and Lau (producer) and I built a little studio in there. Everyone learnt the material whilst we were recording, so what you hear on the record was incredibly fresh, it has a youthful spirit to it. It was really fun 

What is “the dream” when it comes to being an artist?

I think having enough to eat, a roof over your head and time to create. The pleasures are very simple really, but quite hard to sustain in this world.  

Tell me something nobody would have guessed about you?

Hmm… I’m really into Star Wars? And I’m terrible at reading clocks.

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

Go outside and look at the sky, then listen to Anona.

The single ‘Ruby Mountain’ is out on Thursday 24th and the vinyl is being released the next day on the 25th. The only way for people to listen to the full EP is by getting the vinyl, until the whole thing is released online in January. A bit unusual, but it’s the way it’s happened 🙂

Interview: Shane Hartman (Underground Mountains, Metal Machine Ascension, Acid Test Radio, We, Here & Now Records)

So originally, I intended to write a little piece about Stratford, Canada’s improvisational psych rockers Underground Mountains and their uncanny brand of “anything goes, let the universe guide us, and let’s record every jam CAN style” psych rock. They ARE pretty cool, and you really should check out their debut cassette tape and track everything that there is still to come if you are even remotely into that original kraut rock improv sound. But then I started talking to guitarist Shane Hartman, and it turned out I had already met him two times or more in different online entities. For Shane is a human centipede of psychedelic music, manning a weekly radio show, a record label, a solo project, next to occasionally jamming the stars from the cosmos with Underground Mountains.

It is people like him that keep this tiny psychedelic universe going, and being a fan of the music is first and foremost in that. We are not in it for the money or the fame, we are here to strive for that one ultimate Godzilla jam, whether it is with our own musical projects, or through some other human making noise somewhere on this awful ball of dried up lava. We do it because we have to, because it is better to create and participate than to just consume and get fat. Although we do hunt for that sweet vinyl from time to time, and it can’t be limited enough…

Anyways, meet Shane Hartman people. Lover of psychedelic music, fan of bands like CAN and The Band Who’s Name Is A Symbol, and a valuable contributor to the scene in his multiple enterprises. Let’s meet him and find out all there is to explore through his stories and his sounds…

How are you? Can you introduce yourself and you multiple endeavors?

Hi Jasper! Thanks for the interest in all this business. I’m Shane, I have a few irons in the fire but I’ll do my best to cover everything! 

I produce a weekly radio show / podcast called Acid Test Radio whose motto is “Fuzzed Up Sounds In Search of Higher Elevation” since 2019. I play loads of psych, space rock, punk, free jazz, drone, noise, new age…basically everything I’m into and the occasional funk 45.  It can be heard on svpradio.com THURSDAY @ 5pm EST and Midtownradio.ca Saturday @ 7pm EST.

I play guitar, synth and mess around with tape loops  in Underground Mountains – we are currently a 6 piece and play free heavy, psychedelic and krautrock informed music, predominantly in our rehearsal room “The Jam Cellar” located beneath the most excellent Sound Fixation record store here in Stratford. 

Currently Underground Mountains is.. 

Andrew Hunter, Trevor Worsell, Andrew Enns, Jeremy Cox, Tim Nicholls and myself.

I also record solo as Metal Machine Ascension – tape loops, effects, synths creating a droning Maximalist Meditation Music.

aaaand I run We, Here & Now! Records – a psych / experimental / heavy sounds label. I originally started to help release one record which seems charming in retrospect as the amount of projects the label has taken on has snowballed more than I anticipated! Since beginning in April, WHN has officially released  7 tapes and co-released one record with plenty more on the way for 2023!  

Shouts and much respect to Jeff @ Echodelick Records and Dave @ Cardinal Fuzz for all the help and encouragement! These guys release some of my absolute favourite records, I’m sure readers of Weirdo Shrine are probably aware but if you don’t know them, do your ear holes a kindness when you can! 

What can you tell me about your musical background?

I’m a bit of a late bloomer and mostly self taught.. I didn’t start playing guitar until my early 20’s. A friend gave me an acoustic guitar he’d made from the remnants of two broken ones (dubbed the Franken-twanger) and from there got down to learning in earnest. I loved The Replacements and Leatherface the most before hearing The ConstantinesShine A Light record which is still one of my all time favourites. In the last year I’ve been exploring the wide world of synths and tape in my music while slowly acquiring more gear and developing an interest in using non-musical objects and field recordings in my process. I promise that it’s not as pretentious as it sounds! 

What does a regular day in your life look like? What role does music play?

My partner Catherine and I adopted our pup Fred (Australian cattle dog) in February and we’ve since become very early risers and avid walkers.. if I don’t have to work I’ll be getting caught up on label projects (several at different stages of development right now that I’m VERY excited about!), new music for Acid Test Radio, reviewing our jam recordings. There’s always music on at home, be it records, tapes, streams, radio or one of us singing to the pup. Our house is a very musical house.

What do people often forget when they think about owning a record label?

I think going into this, what I wish I knew and perhaps what others might not understand is how many hats one can end up wearing! Being a one person show, there’s quite a lot to do. I love it and I think for folks who enjoy doing several different tasks, it can be an incredibly satisfying way to help get the music you love further out into the world. 

Where do you live and how does it affect your musical doings?

I live in Stratford, Ontario, located about 2 hours driving from Toronto. The city is famous for the Stratford Theatre Festival as well as being home to and having a lot of incredible musicians from here (members of The Band, Janis Joplin’s Full Tilt Boogie Band, Colin Fisher, Darren Dumas (The Salads) immediately come to mind.. oh! Justin Bieber’s from Stratford as well..) 

I moved here from Ottawa several years back and knew that I’d like to play the kind of music I make now but finding like minded heads historically has often been challenging.. I met the fellas I would later end up playing with in Underground Mountains here and I honestly couldn’t believe my luck! We jam weekly if possible, record everything and it’s always a trip! Pre-covid, travelling to see bands in Kitchener, London or Toronto was a frequent occurrence. Post Covid, live music is slowly coming back.. I’m hopeful for the new year! 

What is your take on making improvisational music? What is the ultimate jam?

I think it can be one of the most transcendent and powerful expressions and in a group setting can produce incredibly magical experiences. Communicating without speaking, call it the cosmic nod, whatever you call it, it’s something special.

The ultimate jam.. whether it’s an epic hour long sprawl through space, shifting between psych, blues, funk, dub and freakouts with full on “godzilla” passages to borrow a line from CAN or 10 minutes of focused pocket dwelling.. when it’s over and we’ve re-entered our bodies and can say that was really good!   

Who are your favorite current other artists and record labels at the moment?

Oh boy! Honestly this could go on and on there are so many quality labels putting out so many great records! The short list would include Cardinal Fuzz, Echodelick, Feeding Tube and Noiseagaonymayhem.. and Dreamlord.. oh! Up In Her Room as well! and Fuzzed Up & Astromoon! Weird Beard, Worst Bassist.. 

For artists.. The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol are pivotal, Dead Sea Apes are un-fuck-withable and Anunnaki are a force of nature! Big ups to Thee Cosmic Brick Road, Wasted Cathedral, Pallbearer Industry and pour one out for the fellas in Hawkeyes as well.. 

(sorry, it’s hard to keep it narrow!) 

What is “the dream” for you as an artist, and as a label owner?

As an artist.. to just be able to keep making music. It’s an obsession and probably in my DNA.. Collaborating and growing.. The same applies to the label as well I suppose, in terms of releasing records I’m excited about but I’d also tack on being sustainable – to focus on doing the label full time would be the dream come true!

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

Tell the people you love how much you do.  

Review + Q&A: Gambardella- Caracas (2022, Spinda Records)

Gambardella is a Barcelona trio of musicians who stand for absolute creative freedom. So much so, that they ditched their vocalist as soon as they could so that they would be more free in their stylistic approach. On their third album Caracas this translates itself into an album of instrumental experimentalist art rock that is almost impossible impossible to pinpoint, and that seems to be the whole point from the get go.

These songs effortlessly bend their way from spastic free jazz to cosmic kraut through interstellar postrock and even Albini worshipping noise rock. Their great musical skill is always on display here, but they make room for atmosphere as well, being careful to let the songs flow, and preventing Caracas from becoming a self indulgent noodle fest.

Should we spend more words on it though? The band themselves don’t seem to think so, Opting to let their instruments speak for them. So you better find somewhere to listen to this album fast, and let your ears be the judge for you. Open minded jam freaks will rock themselves a third eye, that’s a Weirdo Shrine guarantee!

I am Jaime L Pantaleon  the guitarist , synths and noise guy in the band.

How are you? How has the pandemic period been for Gambardella?

Gambardella is a Barcelona based trio. Our first LP  Benicarló came out in 2017. The second one Sant Andreu in 2019 and finally our last album Caracas  in 2022 but it was created and recorded during the worst days of Pandemic in the city of Barcelona. I remember that we made false passes to reach the rehearsal space and recording studio to avoid street prohibitions. Focussing on music we could confront the fears of the apocalyptic situation.  

Can you introduce the band, and how did you meet?

We formed around 2015 in Barcelona  and we were friends who knew each other from other projects. Personally my former band was called 12twelve and we recorded two albums in Chicago with Steve Albini during the 2000s. Check out Speritismo from 2003 and L´univers from 2006.  In Gambardella both Victor Teller  (Bassist) and Oscar Altaba ( drums) came from other bands more focussed on Post hardcore and post metal bands like Room of Mirrors, Zimt, Oso….

Initially we met as a vocal band but early we realized that instrumental stuff was more inspirational and explosive.

What can you tell me about your musical backgrounds?

Our band is always like a washing machine of influences but mostly we hear jazz, minimal music, krautrock, early electronics and  every instrumental conception . We always conceive our music as a soundtrack and lately we are experimenting as a multi disciplinary act mixing audio visual design, music and improvisation at our live gigs.

In our  sound you can feel some base of bands like Fugazi, June of 44  but maybe our greatest influence would be Tortoise,  a band that we love and who taught us a lot.

What does a regular day in your life look like?

A regular day in our lives is very normal, just guys trying to survive. Our idea of music is quite away from commercial and we have to work for a living.

In our opinion, controlling all your processes in creating, recording and distributing gives us more freedom and autonomy. Our last record is gaining a good reputation and we are so happy with it. 

What is the story about the band name?

Gambardella is the surname of Geppe Gambardella the main character of the  Paolo Sorrentino´s film La Grande Belleza from 2014.

We love that film for being a kind of modern Federico Fellini and for representing the empty life of  luxury of a former writer that had great succes in the past, but  now he is like in deception of the human condition. A very philosophical film, in our opinion  very critical and introspective in some way.

Where do you live and what is the environment like for musicians like you?

At the moment Victor lives in Barcelona city and both Oscar and I live in small villages quite far from the urban turmoil. Covid as you said was a radical change in our points of view about living and I decided to run away from the cement. Oscar lives in Benicarló ( the title of our first record) his hometown. We are working on several projects with our band. The latest project is creating music in a program inside a jail for women. It s amazing the places where music could bring us.

What is your main aim with your music, is it complete artistic expression, or an escape from the every day world? (or something else ;))

I think creating every kind of artistic discipline is the most healthy activity in order to express yourself, feel and discover  a lot of things and always learning.

During 2017,  2018 and 2019 we did a lot of gigs in Spain and  we  played  as well in London, Leeds, Canterbury, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague,  Paris, Geneve, Pisa  and a lot of European cities.  Pandemic stopped a good tour in Spain in 2020  you know, and just like a lot of other musicians we had to re make our entire world. 

Can you tell me about how you go about composing and recording songs?

We are fortunate in Gambardella because the three components have a super good workflow between us. Songs, sounds and passages normally come with a natural feel and we create relatively quick and easy. 

It s a real democracy and we used to create from improvising and compose in the moment. Not a writing leader. Our music is based in the whole band as an organism. We enjoy playing together and generally the three of us share the same idea. 

The big source of inspiration used to be experimenting with new instruments, patterns and music. We can play  from a totally electronic composition to a traditional Rumba. It s amazing, we are happy and conscious of this situation.

What is “the dream” when it comes to being an artist?

I can imagine that the dream of an artist is being able to focus in your creativity and forget a lot of the external world. Of course you have to be aware of certain mechanisms and lines of our cultural fabric in your country. In Spain there is a very little help for musicians if you  are not a teenager or you don’t have ( or don’t want)  commercial potential. We always thought in the richest countries in Europe it could be easy, but in the post pandemic times we suppose it  is difficult for everyone.

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

Of course listen and enjoy mostly the album Caracas.  We are very happy with this record because we have been able to recorded it live  in Wheel Sound Studios with Txosse Ruiz and all the glorious feeling and organicity of playing live gives that album just what we were looking for.

Thanks a lot Jasper!!!! A big hug to all Weirdo Shrine readers and keep on it.

Review + Q&A: River Flows Reverse- The Homing Bird’s Trace (2022, Psychedelic Source Records)

For the true explorer, the exploring is the greatest treasure, not the finding.

It’s why I love to keep myself involved in contemporary music, and try to challenge myself again and again in finding sounds that challenge my brains into wrapping themselves around it. You can imagine the joy I got when discovering Hungary’s River Flows Reverse, albeit somewhat late (this is their second album, after the great and much praised self-titled album that was released last year) . Even better still, through the release of The Homing Bird’s Trace I discovered the project’s home Psychedelic Source Records, and an archive of jams and affiliated bands that would tickle my explorer’s spider senses for many miles.

Exploring is what River Flows Reverse does themselves as well. Exploring misty fields, dreamy conjurations, and ever flowing ambient jams. Stylistically we find ourselves at the ambient, triphop/chill out side of the psychedelic rock spectrum. Songs are allowed to stretch themselves up to ten minutes, or come and go in much shorter time, depending on the way the muse of inspiration presents itself. Beautiful warm production value, and great contributions by various guest musicians enriching the overall sound with their trumpets, zithers, sitar, and slide guitar do the rest. The Homing Bird’s Trace has become a warm blanket I gladly pull over myself to escape the outside world as it gradually becomes colder and darker. You can decide whether you want to completely disappear into it, or just want to walk around in their world every now and then.

It is a safe place, it breathes “do what you want”. For an explorer like me, it’s pure bliss.

I talked with Bence Ambrus, who is not just the guitarist of River Flows Reverse, but also initiator of their “open source” record label Psychedelic Source, and musician in many of their swarm of releases, all of whom can be downloaded for next to nothing on their Bandcamp page. The result is a very interesting conversation with this very powerful underground psychedelic contributor…

Nice to do this interview with you! How are you these days?

I’m ok, thank you Jasper. My life has changed a lot since my daughter was born. Before I did not really care about my health, I traveled a lot, without money etc…

First of all: can you introduce yourself, your music, and your label?

Im Bence Ambrus from Hungary, the founder of Psychedelic Source Records, which grew from Lemurian Folk Songs‘ jam sessions. When we recorded the first jams and gigs, we didn’t have too much equipment. After from the first fan supports we could get mics and cables, other recorder stuff.

How has the past pandemic period been for you as a musician? Did you see upsides next to the downsides?

Honestly I liked it. Empty streets, no people, no work.  I had little savings that I spent soon. This was the time when we were in the studio up all nights because we couldn’t get home because of the lockdown. I also spent all days in our garden, people came, we jammed in the little house. In these times we recorded Slow Psychedelic Speedrock with Satorinaut , Melted Lights of Pilot Voyager in the forest house. And also When River Flows Reverse.

What can you tell me about the recording session for River Flows Reverse’s “The Homing Bird’s Trace”?

It Started with the drums in the studio. After that together with Tibor we picked about 40 minutes of drumming, and I recorded some guitar and bass improvisations. Then we decided where to sing, and the people started to come to the house for join the experiment.

Can you tell me what made you start the label?

Honestly I didn’t start a label. Psychedelic Source is more like a band releasing jam sessions and giving them to the people for free, sometimes in different names. Really confusing I know. As a vinyl releasing label it started in Greece, when Dimitris asked me about releasing vinyl. Diviner Blues Sessions and When River Flows Reverse. After we discussed everything, we founded Twisted Flowers as releasing label, and our first two vinyl albums were born within a few months. The following year we released Maro by Lemurian Folk Songs. Nepaal‘s Black Batik was then released on other labels, like Cardinal Fuzz, Acid Test and Tonzonen.

What does a regular day in your life look like?

I just woke up at 5am to finish this interview with you. I’m going to work here in the village to the carpenter workroom, where I’m an employee in a small company. Around 6pm I will get home, play with the baby until she falls asleep, then I speak with my wife and we open a beer, but I will fall asleep too.

Where do you live and how does it affect your art and music?

Before, I lived in the forest, but now I moved to the village because the kid needs heat and water. I don’t know if it effects to the music or not. I built a nice little studio where we can record anything, beginners quality. I got some guitars, sitar, banjo here, but at the moment they are little dusty.

Of all your projects, which is your favorite?

I love Melted Lights by Pilot Voyager, but I don’t play on that album; they are Tibor, Ákos, and Krisztina (from River Flows Reverse) this was their first collab . Diviner Blues Sessions is one of my favourites too, and the old formations like Lemurian Folk Songs and Satorinaut. Honestly I love Pilot Voyager, but River Flows Reverse is the project that is really “mine”.

What is your musical background? And how did you gain your musical network?

I have played in local bands since 2007, in a crust punk band, in a prog pop metal band, in a grunge band, in a sludge band, just for fun. Even if we played some gigs, we never accessed any success. I studied some jazz-bass for a few years when I was a kid, but I’m not a jazzist. To gain a musical network there was Krisztina’s voice in Lemurian Folk Songs when we released Maro, that was the first breakthrough. Maro is now released on vinyl finally, I feel that we closed a circle now.

What is the secret behind jamming and improvising in your music?

Leaving the ego on the public transport, and find the right drummer.

What is something that people should stop doing in your opinion?

Propaganda short video watching and this current form of education. It is crazy here in birdshitty Hungary, the people are fed with complete lies through propaganda. The public really believes (80% of us) that we are better then other countries, that we will be great again etc.. Also this war propaganda, the people don’t realize that there is a disgusting massacre in the neighbourhood, and that Russia is going to destroy the earth. Its crazy, with my wife we are thinking about moving back to Spain with the baby every day. Or just somewhere far from this nightmare state.

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

First of all, sleep longer and smile more. Then go to our merch page and order vinyls, share our jams. Seriously haha.

Review + Q&A: King Isxan- Gishra L’anani (2022, Sound Effect Records)

These days I’m against traveling by plane, unless it is absolutely necessary. It is therefore all the more pleasurable to be able to visit all kinds of different countries and cultures by music, and flying there by ear. It makes me able to visit a country like Canada quite often, even though I was never actually there. Only last week I flew past Greece, the USA, Italy, and Hungary in this fashion. And today I am visiting Israel.

Gishra L’anani is the new album by Tel Aviv’s King Isxan, and their sound transports the mind to the mediterranean, warm breezes, desert sands, and lots of hip shaking middle Eastern melodies. With a sound that holds a middle ground between the weirdo repetitions of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, the fast forward psychedelic swirl of forgotten heroes Verma, and the lazy city groove of a band like Wooden Shjips it is safe to say that King Isxan will appeal to fans of modern psychedelic music. And while there is not that much new to find here underneath the desert sun, the band does their repetitive sultan swing incredibly infectiously, and will make you hop on one leg across your room wishing of warmer days.

Their focus on repetition, drive, and atmosphere make King Isxan great mind traveling music. It is a perfect soundtrack to close your eyes to and drift to the distant shores of Gishra L’anani

Time for a proper introduction then! I talked to Dor Yadlin, who handles vocals and guitar.

How are you? How has the pandemic period been for King Isxan?

We are just thrilled to have our debut album Gishra L’anani out and to be able to perform music from it, now that live shows  are back. The past two years have been complex in many aspects of our lives, but for the band they were truly creative times. We’ve completed the work on our album, wrote and composed new material that we’ve recorded just a couple of weeks ago, and we even had an amazing and intimate concert just when we missed people the most.

Can you introduce the band, and how did you meet?

King Isxan is a trio consisting of two electric guitars and drums. About five years ago, as we were working together trying to make a living, Eyal, our drummer, and I introduced each other to our music. Back then, I wanted to learn how to record some demos on my computer and he was this talented Trap producer. At the same time, Yuval which I knew from when we were little, just came back from India on the King’s caravan and with a beautiful Sitar, and it was clear that this is a match.

What can you tell me about your musical backgrounds?

We’re all raised in musical environments, beginning like many others with jazz, rock and some electronic, long before we were into psychedelic and krautrock. Also, Yuval is a brilliant oud player, and as such he’s responsible for bringing in the Mideastern sounds to our music.

What does a regular day in your life look like?

Dreaming, waking up, learning, teaching, fighting fascists, making music and so on.

What is the story about the band name?

Back in the day, I was studying ancient cultures and since playing together felt absolutely ritualistic, we looked for a local, ancient kingdom to celebrate. Thank gods, The king revealed himself.

Where do you live and what is the environment like for musicians like you?

Yuval and I live in Tel Aviv and Eyal is living the country dream twenty minutes away from us. Tel Aviv is a cool place to create in, there’s a lot of different scenes, but as the city is pretty small all the scenes get mixed up and there’s a chance to experience and collaborate with very different musicians. There’s a lot of DIY going on in the city which is always a fertile ground for new things.

What is your main aim with your music, is it complete artistic expression, or an escape from the every day world? (or something else ;))

I can only speak on my behalf, but for me King Isxan is, first of all, sincere connection and communication. We leave outside all arbitrary conventions and background noises, having fun and co-create.

Can you tell me about how you go about composing and recording songs?

Usually, we get carried away with long jammings that get a bit shorter and into some structure and order with time.

What is “the dream” when it comes to being an artist?

Selling out as an NFT QR code, obviously; or alternatively, to continually explore together our roots, values and sound.

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

You should be proud of yourself. Also, listen to the first 3 tracks on our album without any stops between them. Then, look inside you and ask “again?”.

Review: Elder- Innate Passage (2022, Stickman Records)

If there is a staircase somewhere to measure epicness in music, Elder is definitely quite high up there. Their brand of psychedelic prog rock is towering high above their peers, each song taking its time to build up carefully only to crash down on the listener with mighty waves afterwards.

Innate Passage, a passage from within (beautifully illustrated on the album cover), is Elder’s latest display of power. On it, in my mind, they hark back to the crushing heaviness of their masterpiece Lore, without losing any of their subtle progression on the albums that came after. Your head will need a little time to fully wrap itself around this “inner passage”, but when you do you will be thoroughly hooked to what probably is the highlight of heavy psychedelic prog rock this year.

The band builds a cathedral, rather than a rock album. The base is of course drums, bass, and Nick DiSalvo‘s ever impressive guitar work, but a cathedral needs more than just a solid foundation to impress. With carefully added layers of acoustic guitars, mellotron, and for the very first time some vocal help from German stoner powerhouse Samavayo‘s Behrang Alavi Elder has also added the outer and inner arches, gargoyles, and ornamental features.

Innate Passage feels like a cathedral when you enter it too, in such a way that you can wander in it for quite a while and still be amazed when you look up and scale the ceiling paintings, or when you discover new patterns in the stained glass windows. Elder awaits you at the entrance time after time, and each time seems to give you a more extensive tour.

The Weirdo Shrine travel agency of psychedelic prog tripping cannot recommend it enough…

Review + Q&A: Bazooka- Κ​ά​π​ο​υ Α​λ​λ​ο​ύ (2022, Inner Ear Records)

Ok I’ll be honest here my fellow weirdos, I am not sure if I would have written about Bazooka if they hadn’t sung all their songs in Greek. The fact that they do, a language that is completely “Greek” to me (pun intended), gives their alternative psych power pop rock an outlandish twist that makes it just weird enough to twist my knobs.

Because as it stands right now, the songs on Κ​ά​π​ο​υ Α​λ​λ​ο​ύ (Kapou Allou) have a mystical element to them, ephemeral even, putting them in the same ranks as Kikagaku Moyo (Japan), Upupayama (Italy), or Circle (Finland). Meaning; I do not understand a single word they are singing, and so I am left with the sounds of the words and their meanings or mine completely to imagine. There is an element of folklore in there as well, with Bazooka transporting you straight into their country, their culture, and the listener being instantly completely emerged.

The music is fine too you know; a pinch of Queens Of The Stone Age, a spoonful of Foo Fighters, a dash of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, all topped with a spicy Greek Tzatziki sauce. I just can’t help thinking what I would have thought of it had they sung in English. It does not matter anyways, because Bazooka does not. And Κ​ά​π​ο​υ Α​λ​λ​ο​ύ is a very interesting album for people like me that like to go on holiday in their own heads very now and again.

I hit the band up for a chat, and was happy to find out they were perfectly willing and able to do so in English! Here’s their story:

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

Hi there! Things are pretty rough on our side of the globe. There’s a war going on that affects us all. Everyday life is getting harder and harder with prices in essential goods skyrocketing day by day. Immigrants drοwning in the sea has become an everyday reality. There’s a threat of war hovering in the air. Far right wing parties are threatening democracy all over Europe.

For us and our everyday life the way out of this misery is to remain focused on what we love, be creative and support one another. And there are many people in Greece doing exactly that. Generally speaking a change needs to be done worldwide before its too late. For once more the interests of a few greedy people are imposed violently to nations and because of this, things are looking ready to explode at any moment.

So for a start we could stop voting for parties which are a threat to humanity.    

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

Bazooka consists of:

Xanthos Papanikolaou: Vocals, lead guitar, synth, organ

Aris Rammos: Bass

John Vulgaris: Drums, percussion, backing vocals

Vassilis Tzelepis: Guitar, backing vocals

Penny Liaromati: The fifth member of the band who helps us artistically and organisationally.

Dimitris Kyriakopoulos: Live member of the band who plays synth, organ, percussion and does backing vocals.

What are your musical backgrounds?

Most of us started playing music as teenagers. We got inspired to start a band and grab an instrument from bands like Rolling Stones, Nirvana, Sex Pistols, Pink Floyd, Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Captain Beefheart, Sonic Youth, Mudhoney, Wipers, Melvins and many other classic rock stuff. Some of us had parents that listened a lot to rock music and other genres also like jazz, blues and classical music and that was a huge influence too. In those years, when we started playing music and formed our first school bands we were living in our hometown Volos. Volos, a nice and quiet coastal town in central Greece played a big role in our young minds and hearts with its few options and little to offer to a teenager. That made us dream of a different life. It wasn’t only that we wanted to play music. We took it seriously and we wanted to make records and tour around the world like the bands we liked to listen.

Generally our main influences are derived from rock music and it’s sub genres throughout it’s history. From 50s rock and roll and 60s psychedelic rock and British Invasion to 70s krautrock and progressive bands throughout punk and post punk. Of course we listen to other genres of music also but these are the main influences of the band.

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

We live in Athens, Greece. Athens has all the positives and negatives of a big city. It never gets dull really but it can drive you crazy some times with all it’s traffic and noise. Athens it’s the city we live so it effect us in a profound way with its scenery, its people and its sometimes hard every day life. The city life though is something mostly reflected in our lyrics and less in our music.

What does an average day look like for a Bazooka member?

Aside of the band we are doing other stuff also. So when are not touring, rehearsing or recording some of us are DJing, others are working as sound engineers or play music with other projects and one of us works at a coffee/bar place.

What does it look like when you are writing music?

Most of the times I write the songs in a form of a demo and then all together we labor on them and refine them in the studio. The end result is a team work where each member of Bazooka gives their own character to the songs. There have also been a few times that songs started from jamming together. The writing process for the tracks on our new album took place during the pandemic in the bedroom studio I have in my house. When I had around 25 songs done, Penny Liaromati who also helped us with the production and arrangements in many of those songs, and who was responsible for the new album’s concept sonically and visually, chose 10 songs out of the 25 aiming for a cohesive and pleasant listening experience from start to finish. At the same time we started rehearsing those songs in the studio in order to perfect them where it was needed and get them ready for the actual recording of the album.

Where do you gather your inspiration?

From everyday life, from hopes and disappointments, from literature, poetry, painting and art forms in general, from history, from nature, from emotions and thoughts and from music of course.

What is “the dream” for Bazooka as a band?

The dream is to continue to make records, play live shows and convert as many people as possible to our music. Amen.

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

We are looking forward to touring in Europe again next spring. Our last scheduled tour in Europe was cancelled due to the pandemic so we are pretty thirsty for our next one. We also hope to do a US tour again.

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

Go and listen to our new album ΚΑΠΟΥ ΑΛΛΟΥ (Kapou Allou) which literally means somewhere elsewhere or somewhere else.

It’s available in all physical and digital forms via Inner Ear Records and of course you can stream it on the usual platforms.

Interview: John Forbes (Tijuana Hercules, Skin Graft Records)

Recently, I received word of the 150th SKiN GRAFT records release Sounds To Make You Shudder, a Halloween album featuring many of the iconic bands the American label got notorious for like Yowie (featuring David Yow), The Flying Luttenbachers, and members of Dazzling Killmen. Also featuring the band Tijuana Hercules, orchestra of SKiN GRAFT US office manager John Forbes, who I had the pleasure of shooting a couple of questions at. Just because SKiN GRAFT is such a legendary label, but also because he is an interesting character himself, a frequently asked cartoonist, a charismatic frontman, and an industrious record label man. Needless to say, when the opportunity to get in touch with him arose, Weirdo Shrine jumped to the occasion!

Hi John! How are you doing these days? How was the pandemic for SKiN GRAFT and yourself as an artist?

I’m doing good! I was down in Denton, Texas, running the SKiN GRAFT Records booth for the No Coast Fest. It was a gratifying experience. I was glad I got to go for many reasons! 

The pandemic delayed the release of our latest record MUDSLOD & THE SINGLES by over a year. To fill the gap we worked on and released the EVENING DRESSINGS E.P. right as the pandemic was taking off. That E.P. caught my mood for that doped-out feeling of being in uncharted territories.

I also painted a mural for Illuminated Brew Works tap room in Chicago and did a handful of animations for my band and other clients. My animation skills are on THE ROCKY & BULLWINKLE level of crudeness, but it takes me an eternity to get them finished! 

Tell me something about yourself! What is your musical background for instance, and how did you get involved in music?

I started playing in bands in junior high school. It was an entry into a unique world. Somewhere between being a greezer and an intellectual. The first recordings I made were when I lived in Atlanta, Georgia. Those two bands were Phantom 309 and Dirt. When I moved to Chicago I started the band Mount Shasta that also started my long-term relationship with SKiN GRAFT Records.

I’ve been into music as far as my earliest memories. I’m talking way back to being a toddler.

You are also known for your cartoons and illustrations, how did you start with that and how did that evolve in what it is today?

From the day I was born my grandma babysat me. To keep me occupied she would give me paper and pencils. I would draw for hours while she would watch her soap operas. I was really into animal cartoons and the local newspaper’s comic section.We got the daily newspaper and I looked at the comics section religiously. I taught myself how to draw by copying what I saw in the comics section. I could really get my head around PEANUTS, BEETLE BAILEY & BUZ SAWYER.

The longer I’ve been drawing, the looser my drawings have become. I think it will take me about another thirty years of hard drawing to get to where I want to be.

Can you explain how you got involved in the record label business? 

When I was in Phantom 309, one of the members had his own label and distribution. I really dug hanging at his work space and seeing how things were done. We were in our early- to mid-twenties but he carried himself like a grizzled independent record man from way back. I’ve always been attracted to seat-of-the-pants endeavors located on the fringes.

Originally Mark Fischer and Rob Syers started the label, right? Can you run is through the label’s history, and where did you step in?

Mark and Rob started a zine called SKiN GRAFT Comix back when they were in high school.  Mark spun the record label off from that, and Rob continued to do artwork for the label. He did the cover art for Mount Shasta’s first few records.  My introduction was meeting Mark when we worked together at Touch & Go Records. We became friends immediately.

What is your opinion about how the music industry evolved until now? Are we heading in a good direction with streaming and wide accessibility of music to pretty much anyone?

I’m well aware of streaming and all the gripes against it. It doesn’t seem to affect me one way or the other. I do like the music I listen to to be on a physical format. It adds to the whole concept of music being an art form. On the other hand, I can’t get enough music to listen to. I’m insatiable and streaming is handy for that. I don’t care if what I’m listening to came out right now or a century ago. I like hearing a steady stream of things I have never heard before. Streaming music is one of the few benefits of the information age.

Who are the most inspirational artists around these days in your opinion?

Marshall Allen. He’s still blowing his ass off with the Arkestra at 98 years old!!

I’m also crazy about George Freeman and have been since the first time I saw him play guitar. He’s also an ancient guy. He’s 95. He stretches all the way back to Charlie Parker, who he recorded with. He’s still doing stuff today and is incredibly idiosyncratic.

Can you introduce your band Tijuana Hercules?

Joe Patt plays drums and chili pot. Doug Abram does the baritone saxophone. Tony Mendoza is the second drummer and junk percussionist. Tony has also been in the first drummer chair before Joe Patt claimed the throne. And Mike Young is the primo on junk percussion. Mike has been with the band since the beginning. He comes and goes, depending on where his life takes him.

The band has been around for a while. It has a revolving-door policy. There have been over twenty musicians involved over the course of the band’s history.

Any records/events we should look forward to?

SKiN GRAFT Records recently released a Halloween-themed comp, SOUNDS TO MAKE YOU SHUDDER. We contributed a song called THE LONG SLIDE. We are also nearly finished with a new record that will be released on SKiN GRAFT Records in the future.

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

Stay true to yourself and keep on vibrating!!!

Review + Q&A: Bhopal’s Flowers- Joy Of The 4th (2022, Sound Effect Records)

Ok, so Montreal’s Bhopal’s Flowers is another psychedelic indie rock band leaning heavy on the sitar for atmosphere, but wait! Don’t walk away yet, there is a little bit more to it that might meet the eyes and ears at first. Quite different from every Brian Jonestown Massacre clone out there Bhopal’s brings their psych with a delightfully fresh and positive outlook, corresponding with the baby booklet artwork.

And then again, when you really look at that album cover you’ll see exactly what this band is about. There is a deeper connection with hindustani pop culture hidden there, references to ancient mythology, and the joy of newborn life (singer Lionel Pezzano recently became a father). The music is multi layered and harder to pigeonhole than -again- a first glance might tell. There are pure pop songs, dramatic choirs, hazy psych janglers, atmospheric jams, and a subtle influence of “French” pop music that pops up every now and then. Enough to enjoy for open minded music fans therefore. Just don’t be fooled by first impressions. Let’s be honest though, you are reading Weirdo Shrine, you must be ready to walk a little further to take a peak at what is around that corner…

I connected with Lionel Pezzano over the internet, and we luckily we hit it off quite well! We get some new insights about the band, their home town Montreal, and the ephemeral inspiration when making music.

How are you? How has the pandemic period been for Bhopal’s Flowers?

I’m fine, thank you. I really love this time of the year, when fall and winter are spreading their mystic vibes in our lives, meanwhile turning down our daily scenery to a lovely painting.

The pandemic has affected Bhopal’s Flowers regarding our live team, as our former drummer, Jeremy Thoma, has left Canada for good at the very first stage of the pandemic. As many shows were planned and never booked back, it has affected our shows and touring development. Now that I am a bit more free as Joy Of The 4th has been released, I’ll try to focus a bit more on the live aspect of Bhopal’s Flowers music. I’ve always been a lonely boy, so the Covid effect has totally emphasized this tendency to enjoy loneliness, in my personal and music life.  

Can you introduce the band, and how did you meet?

Bhopal’s Flowers was born in France in 2013, with Jeremy Thoma on drums (I used to play with his father actually, who was introduced to me by my uncle, ”Cap”, my musical mentor), Eric Steiger on guitar, Lorenzo Vespa on drums, Marlène B. on keyboards. The line up has changed when Jeremy and I moved to Canada, we hired Blandine on backing vocals / percussions and Jonathan St Laurent on bass. Since Jeremy has left Canada, he has been replaced by Sergio d’Isanto (from ”Bye Parula”), and Antoine Marquet (who drives ”Antoine Aspirine”) on guitar / keyboard.

What can you tell me about your musical backgrounds?

I’ve been learning the guitar at the age of 11 with a country musician, Jo Luthringer, supervised by my uncle, who taught me an eclectic repertoire. I quickly composed my own music and drove a band entitled ”Friends Of P.” from 1997 to 2006. We used to play  new-wave indie rock, between Radiohead and The Cure. I then studied classical music, meanwhile composing electro rock and Indo-Persian electronica for a while. I went deep into Persian classical music (on the târ and the sétâr) and Hindustani classical music (on the sitar).

Just before leaving France to Canada, I started a trio named Youngstown, a country band with the classical rock structure (as Nirvana or The Police) guitar / bass/  drums. We developed a very unique sound due to our influences and the fact that we were very few on stage in contrary to usual country formation with fiddle, pedal steel, two guitars etc …

On the side, Album after album, I developed the skills of a music engineer and later, at the Mandragore studio in Montréal, 5 years as an employee, and nowadays as a happy partner.

During all this time, I never stopped composing and recording my own music, but many albums were never released for multiple reasons. A dozen albums, produced and recorded are sleeping on my desktop, waiting to be released one of these days.

What does a regular day in your life look like?

I am teaching music during the daytime, and recording music at the studio during the night time, which leaves very few spots for sleeping and getting rest. In the middle of these two activities, I am having fun with my little 21 months boy, and practicing the sitar, which requires a lot of discipline.  I try to read as much as I can, sometimes on the lunch break, sometimes at night, mainly anthroposophic readings by Rudolf Steiner. During the weekends, I can focus deeply on hindustani music, as the ragas we learn are linked with a specific daytime, I grab the opportunity to practice ragas that I don’t have the chance to play during the busy week (mostly early morning & mid afternoon ragas). My life is fulfilled with music and all my daily thoughts are heading to this art, wether they are philosophal or practical.

What is the story about the band name? Did the Bhopal disaster play a role in choosing it?

It is indeed related with the Bhopal disaster. I didn’t know about it when I was young. I was 20,  when I concretized my interest into hindustani music. At that time, my music was a bit much happier than when I was younger, but still with a melancholic spleen at its bottom. Bhopal’s Flowers reflected to me this tendency, beauty that grows on the pain.

Where do you live and what is the environment like for musicians like you?

I live in Montreal since 2016. Before that, I used to live in the East of France, a province called Alsace (the most beautiful !! haha). I am sorry for that boring answer but I have no idea about musician’s environment as I am not connected to this community. I know some people, some musicians, but we’re not very close. That is not a will from me to be disconnected to the musicians community, just a simple fact. The fact that I have a regular job on the side, keeps my away from musicians who generally have more free time to hangout together during the daytime. But artistic life is very developed here in Montreal.

What is your main aim with your music, is it complete artistic expression, or an escape from the every day world? (or something else ;))

Both I think ! The every day world is an illusion, the real world is made out of vibration and spirit. I try to reach the invisible through music. It then hits the material world, and gives me back everything I have: my wife, my family, my friends, my job, my skills, all of this happen because of my music effort. Regarding my bank account or my popularity, it looks like I am not making music for fame or money, and it is fine like this, even though it is tough to deal with my daily job and artistic ambitions. To me, music is a permanent quest and and perpetual enjoyment.

Can you tell me about how you go about composing and recording songs?

For Bhopal’s Flowers, I always compose with a 12 strings guitar, or with the sitar. It can be a riff on the 12 strings, as well as an harmonic chord progression that hits my mind. Once I get one of these elements, I goes pretty fast in general. I then spend more time to hire a drummer to play the parts I programmed and mixing properly the whole stuff. When I compose on the sitar, I try to find a good melody or concept from a specific raga (as raga are based on scales). Believe me or not, I compose a lot of songs meanwhile teaching music to my students: when you play very simple things and really pay attention to the beauty of simplicity, you have a much better accurate vision of beauty then when you play loud at 140 bpm.

What is “the dream” when it comes to being an artist?

As music doesn’t come from Earth but from the spiritual region of the Devachan, and is translated by musicians and composers for our physical world (even if they do it unconsciously). My dream is to write music that is the closest from the Devachan’s one. I always heard that Devachanic music could be represented by a giant gong, and that our Earthly music is just the shadow of its magnificence. My dream is that my music looks the closest as possible from the Devachanic one. It takes at least one life !

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

They should ask to themselves: ”Why can’t I remember the Devachanic music whereas my astral body and my self spend all their nights there, and that I have resided there between each reincarnation?”

Review + Q&A: More Experience- Electric Laboratory of High Space Experience (vinyl release 2022, Sound Effect Records)

Birds are singing abundantly in a Polish forest near Lublin in the East of Poland. It is how this album by More Experience starts and ends, and where we find bandleader Piotr Dudzikowski musing about music, life, and the current affairs in his home country. Together with his band, his family, he has been perfectly re-creating the 60s atmosphere since the 1980s. And like their previous work, Electric Laboratory of High Space Experience sounds like some obscure and unknown album from that era that has been carefully unearthed, mixed, and remastered. It is nothing new under the sun, and that seems exactly the point.

Female and male voices interchange duties, a Hammond organ wails, and an electric guitar twirls and twitters. All the while it is like the 60s never ended, and echoes of Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Soft Machine, and Captain Beefheart reverberate all around. Sometimes rockin’ out, sometimes weirding up in smoke, always playing it from the heart. What more can you ask from a listening experience?

Of course we contacted Piotr, and asked him about his band, his life, and his passions. This is what he told us…

How are you? How has the pandemic period been for More Experience?

Well, I’m getting old, so I’m not strong enough to still be a psychedelic hippie warrior trying to celebrate the cosmos on stage. So actually I was under the ground in my recording studio and making music with great musicians just for ourselves and we had great fun without the witnesses.

Can you introduce the band, and how did you meet?

More Experience is a kind of artistic project. In the beginning (that was late 80’s) it was just the music and fascination of psychedelic 60s a especially Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane and Pink Floyd. But it must be said: that was Poland – wild, rotten, communist swamp without any musical tradition to listening anything which is avantgarde, any places to play and create the music and any professional equipment like guitars and amps. All that stuff was unavailable for young people. The first band we’ve made was on musical school and we were playing on pianos and old classical guitars. But instead of this we started to play as a psychedelic quartet with female vocals in my room! On the beginning of 90s there was spark in this dark tunnel and we started to play in some small, underground clubs and youth fests. Our friends helped us to make this gigs magical with some lights and dioramas and later on some para-theatrical spectacles. In that times there were probably only one band in Poland making music like this and that was More Experience. Of Course no one cared about that.

What can you tell me about your musical backgrounds?

Well, I’m a classical pianist and I really like Chopin, Debussy, Stravinsky and so on. But my life has changed since I heard Hendrix! (More Experience played a really lot of gigs titled a tribute to Jimi Hendrix but there is surprise: in Switzerland there is another great band called More Experience which is a great tribute Hendrix band!). Now I’m traveling to some progressive-psychedelic-space-jazz-rock bands like Gong, Soft Machine, Steve Hillage and stuff like this.

What does a regular day in your life look like?

I’m PhD of art history and I’m trying to study the relationship between Polish art and philosophy of the Far East, especially Buddhism. I’m also working on preservation office and giving a second life to very old documents and books. But the most important stuff in my life is music. I’m a studio owner and this is what I do, much to my wife’s despair!

What is the story about the band name? More experience of what exactly?

In the beginning it was about Hendrix. There is concert from Albert Hall London, first part of it is called Experience and second: More Experience. But later on the name started to be connected with east philosophy: and the meaning is that everything is the experience and all that stuff is creating your consciousness and making you a living human.

Where do you live and what is the environment like for musicians like you?

I’m from Lublin, the biggest city in the east of Poland. We have here five state universities and a few private ones. So lot of young people in one place but this is sad place, with sad history and no perspective to live and work in it. So almost nothing is happening! We have no clubs or serious places to play live music (like jam sessions) and there are no people interested in that stuff. We have two state jazz schools and no place to play jazz! Psychedelic stuff is deep under the ground and no one cares about it. In Poland we’ve sold five CD copies of our new album! (six in Australia!)

What is your main aim with your music, is it complete artistic expression, or an escape from the everyday world? (or something else ;))

Music is my life, I am the music, I live inside the music, everything in my life is music. I’m not thinking of any strategy, I don’t have any plans, I’m just the musical man doing his life possible and physical. My studio is the tool. Many years ago I’ve tried to show this miracle to people, now I’m old enough to be myself without any outside needs and fame.

Can you tell me about how you go about composing and recording songs?

It’s like out of the blue. Bang! and there is a song. It’s hard to say how it works. Probably is going about having an open mind and experience, more and more experiences. Recording is a process. Modern studios give unlimited possibilities. Your imagination is the only limit. So if you don’t know what you want, you’re done! It’s also knowledge if you want to recording music that sounds good for you, you need very specialistic knowledge and loot of experience. So I’m still trying to be better and I spend long hours and days in the studio and I love it!

What is “the dream” when it comes to being an artist?

I really don’t like my country. We have really stupid government that harms the country and I think there is no hope for our generation. But I have very talented son who is actually great drummer (you can hear him on the More Experience album). I hope, some day he will be independent artist, creating his art in more pleasant space for more educated and interested audience.

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

Take a deep breath, be kind for others and get more experience!