Review + Q&A: Mythic Sunship- Light/Flux (2022, Tee Pee Records)

Wouldn’t it be perfect bliss to be able to attend a bunch of jam sessions of your favorite artists, just to be there when they improvise and anticipate their artistic similarities and differences? Perhaps to sit in the middle of the room, on a big comfortable carpet, with the drums on the far side of the room, the guitars and bass all around and a saxophonist walking through it all and filling the space with its euphoric tones when the time is right? Well, Mythic Sunship from Denmark know all about you and your inner longings. With Light/Flux they have released their tenth release in ten years (!) showing their listeners that they have absolutely no problem inviting them to their most intimate jam sessions and revel in their creativity and virtuosity.

The band themselves have told me that with each release so far they have implemented a bit more structure and organization, and so Light/Flux is probably their tightest and most balanced record to date, but you can hear that this band has played together for a long time, and that improv and jams are deep ingrained in their cumulative DNA. The result is once more a terrific jazzy, fuzzy, post rock, post stoner, post whatever session that will appeal to musicians, heads, and musical omnivores alike. The sheer joy of creation and general flow is something that Mythic Sunship excel at, bringing them up to great heights with bar none to rival them at their game at this moment in time.

So if you feel like getting a bit lost, have a seat on Mythic Sunship’s carpet and be present to a wonderful jam, and then another one, and another one, through Blood Moon and Decomposition, past Tempest and ending at First Frost. In this hectic and turbulent world, it is a great joy that we have this band to rely on for their yearly output. So let’s celebrate.

For a band without a vocalist and lyrics it is always the question whether they even like to explain themselves and not let the music do the talking. Luckily I found drummer Frederik Dennen and bassist Rasmus Christensen in a talkative mood, and all my inner questions were quite elegantly answered…

Hi guys! How have you been since the last – and awesome – album Wildfire?

Rasmus: Not too bad, thanks! We finally got to go on tour and play live around Europe again. And now we’re about to release some of the music we’ve worked the hardest on ever – feels good!

Can you give us an insight into a regular day in the life of Mythic Sunship? Do you meet and jam very often? Do you live close by?

Rasmus: We all live in Copenhagen, so we see each other regularly and are close to daily in touch about band stuff. But we all have jobs etc. to take care of, so mostly we meet up once a week to jam or rehearse for the next concert or recording session.

Was there a difference in approach this time when you wrote and recorded Light/Flux?

Frederik: Yes, we have worked more with harmonies, melodies and composition in general. Improvisation is still an essential tool, but we have intentionally worked a bit more structured with this record. Something that I expect will be even more prevalent in our approach going forward.

The last two albums had the same artist doing the artwork, right? How did he pick/create the images to your music?

Rasmus: Tobias Holmbeck, who did the artwork, has his very own distinct aesthetics and works quite conceptually with a few signature techniques. So this current album  trilogy seemed like the perfect opportunity to work with him and get a consistent look for the three albums. We sent him the music as soon as we had it mixed for him to make his own impressions. Then we gave him the titles along with a few words on the vibe and feel we put into the music and finally suggestions for a color palette. ‘Light/Flux’ is — as it clearly shows — our white and blue album.

How much of Light/Flux is improvisation?

Rasmus: As Frederik said, ‘Light/Flux’ is more composed or premeditated than our previous albums, but it’s still mostly improvised. That’s still the core of our working method and has been since the beginning.

How does a band like yours get so good at improvisation? I play in a band myself, but we never seem to be able to completely let go of songwriter structures… What’s the secret?

Frederik: I think the two most important factors are to play a lot and to not be afraid to fail. When you suck, keep at it, and figure out what worked in the jam. It’s also really important to back up other people’s ideas even if you don’t like them (the ideas I mean). For example, maybe your guitarist plays a riff in the middle of a jam, and you don’t really feel it. Well, try to just back him/her up instead of forcing the jam in the opposite direction. Once people start feeling safe to take chances in your jams, you’ll be able to walk on new/original ground rather than chuggin’ up the same ol’ stoner riffs or psych vibes. It’s also incredibly important to stay curious in your approach to music — to us it is at least. If all you listen to is Black Sabbath and Sleep, guess how your jams are going to sound… We actively try to bring elements from all corners of music into our music, and when we listen to music in the tour van, we listen to Beyonce, Willie Nelson, Diana Ross, Mastodon and lots of other stuff in between. Musical arrogance or narrowmindedness is holding a lot of bands back from creating anything of relevance.

Rasmus: I guess the more different kinds of inspirations you bring to an improvisational setting, the more exploratory that improvisation will be. And exploration is a driving force in improvisation, for us at least.

Who were/are your improvisation inspirations? And which band is currently best at it do you think?

Frederik: Again, I think it’s been important for us to draw from anyone that improvises, whether it’s Ash Ra Tempel, John Coltrane or Earthless.

Rasmus: I’m very much inspired by the local scene here in Copenhagen. Going to concerts is for me the best way to get inspired, and there are some great players here.

You have been an instrumental band for quite a while, was there ever a time you considered working together with a vocalist? And if you could pick any vocalist, who would you work with?

Frederik: We have never ever considered implementing vocals. Now, ten years in, is the first time that we are starting to think about maybe, someday

Rasmus: But what would we write songs about? Who would write them? I can’t imagine. I guess I’d be open to the idea of someone vocalizing, but actual songs with lyrics, I don’t hear that for our kind of music.

What are your short term goals as a band? And what is your ultimate goal?

Frederik: Short term, we are looking to make some new music, and work even more with our approach. It’s been quite a while since we were in the studio (ironic, since we’re releasing new music right now), and we definitely look forward to start creating again.

Rasmus: Ultimately to make music that people listen to in 20, 30, maybe even 50 years.

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

Rasmus: Listen to that voice deep inside you, that tells you what to do… really listen… and if it tells you to buy our new album, obey!

Review + Q&A: The Web Of Lies- Nude With Demon (2022, Wrong Speed Records)

Last week I snatched away the -at least for now- very last Amazon copy of Nude With Demon, the debut album by UK’s The Web Of Lies. On their bandcamp, as well as on their label Wrong Speed Records the albums have also gone so I guess for promotional purposed this review is pretty darn void. And yet, if you haven’t been informed about this record I feel strongly compelled to right that wrong for you.

So what’s going on? The Web Of Lies is a duo of British musicians with a great network of likeminded souls who together forged a unique amalgamation of jingly jangly 60s garage rock, 90s noise punk, and freakish folk antics. It’s like they dug up the corpses of The Velvet Underground, took them for a dive and met up with Sonic Youth for an underwater garage noise rock jam. I’m just dropping those references to give your ears something to hold on to because in reality it is rather hard to reference Nude With Demon to anything but itself, and that is also its strongest power.

You need to work on your relationship with this album, then it will reveal itself. The songs usually rely on heavy angular riffing, rather than steady verse/chorus structures which makes the album a tough nut to crack at first, but a very playable album at the same time that will open up slowly and gradually while you spin the hell out of it. Its many layers, contributed by its many guest players will one by one unfurl themselves and the album will in time become like a good friend, always ready for an insightful conversation and plenty of depth.

The Web Of Lies, like their label mates Haress, have delivered a unique piece of modern guitar music that puts their home Wrong Speed Records at the forefront of record labels to watch this year and the next. Make sure to jump on the bandwagon soon though, because their records sell out in no time. Don’t say you weren’t warned!

WoL: Evil rock group

The Web Of Lies is Edwin Stevens and Neil Robinson together with an array of other musicians that Edwin will introduce when I talk to him through the internet. Please take your time to learn about this amazing bunch of artists and check out their other music as well!

How have you guys been lately? How has the covid period been for the band?

I can’t speak for Neil- I know he’s finishing the new Buffet Lunch album, so I’m going to assume he’s doing good. I see him post loads of pictures of nice hills and nature and mushrooms and that, which is nice. I’m having the month from Hell but looking forward to doing some nice stuff soon. We put the record together during covid, recording all the main bits at the arse end of 2020 and at the start of 2021. It was shit but I’m glad we got a record done.

Can you tell me about your musical backgrounds? 

I’ve been lucky enough to play in a fair few bits over the years; Irma Vep (a solo thing) and Yerba Mansa (a duo with Andrew Cheetham) are probably the most consistent ‘projects’, or whatever. I play a bit of guitar in The Birthmarks when I can, we are unfortunately separated by a few hundred miles but I love it. 

I first met Neil when he was drumming with a band called Hyacinth Girl in Manchester over ten years ago. He moved to London and played with loads of people, I won’t list them all, he’s a class act and a much sought after legend. We met again when he moved to Edinburgh (has since moved to Glasgow, where I now live) and was playing bass with his current group, Buffet Lunch who are an amazing band. 

All the contributors on the record have rich musical histories that should be dived deep into:

Jess Higgins, who sings, is an artist living in Glasgow who played in an amazing band called Vital Idles as well as doing her own solo work. Rory Maclean who plays bass on Receiver also played with them. He has new project called Essen which is very claaasss.

Kathy Gray who also sings on the album currently plays in two amazing things called Nape Neck and Mia La Metta (her solo stuff). I met her years ago playing in a legendary No Wave group called Beards

Dylan Hughes, who sings on The Golden Road is my closest friend from back home in Wales. We used to play in the bands Klaus Kinski and Sex Hands together. He’s the main song writer in The Birthmarks and released his own solo album last year called Imaginary Shelves

DBH who plays violin on The Golden Road has played with too many people to list. He is a true musical genius. He played on nearly all my solo records. His albums under the name DBH are all incredible and can be found via Thread Recordings

Tim Bishop is this weird guy I know from back in Wales who played in loads of bands in the eighties. Y Legs is the most popular of his groups. 

Neil Campbell is an absolute legend who’s discography is deep and mental and varied, it’s a joy to get into. He plays with Vibracathedral Orchestra and his own solo Astral Social Club, two of my absolute favourite groups of all time (amongst loads and loads and loads of other things)

How did you find each other to start this magical band called The Web Of Lies? 

Neil and I were recruited by our friend Doig to help him play some shows with his project, Robert Sotelo and I really loved playing with him. I demoed a solo record during lockdown and had some songs left over that I felt didn’t suit the ‘feel’ of the album and thought Neil would be good to play on them, and that’s when I decided to start this project. 

The band has a very distinctive sound, its quite hard to pinpoint… how did your “sound” come into existence? 

I’m not really sure. The guitars are tuned to different octaves of two notes, usually either C or G or or D or F. It depends on the song. I can’t remember properly. Maybe it’s something to do with that? Neil is really good at keeping the song solid and consistent and listenable. I’m not very good at that. 

The guests we have on the record are all incredible and singular artists in their own right. I’m very grateful for the music they contributed and help make the record what it is. I think that they all bring their own unique voice to the album and song by song take it to places I wouldn’t necessarily expect. 

What is your connection to Chris Summerlin and Wrong Speed Records?

My friend Tom House sent Chris the record who then sent it to Joe Thompson who then said they would like to put it out, which was great. We also stayed with Chris at his home in Nottingham when we were on tour with Robert Sotelo. A lovely man. They’re both really nice guys and I’m very grateful to be able to put the stuff out with them. 

How did you decide on the band name? Will your answer be a lie and is there a way to know?

No word of a lie: I wanted to use the name for a while; I had made an album called Irma Vep & The Web of LiesWe Don’t Talk About It, where the underlying theme was kind of all about repression through guilt and the aftermath of that. I felt the name was quite powerful, imagery wise, or something, hence why I used it for this. It’s an umbrella for a smorgasbord of non stop idiot thoughts. 

I find the cover art very intriguing, it’s reminds me of the Guernica in a way 🙂 Who did it and how does it relate to the music?

Thank you, that’s nice! I made it. Some of it is taken from a collage I did for a poster for a friend of mine ages ago, and other bits were taken from just stuff I had been messing around for a while on photoshop and that.

I wanted it to be like looking at a map, it has bits from the songs in it. The peace sign on the upside down Dante’s 9 layers of hell thing is a nod to the peace sign that was painted on the mountain where I grew up in Llanfairfechan, North Wales… I don’t know what else to say about it really…Seasons In The Abyss is my favourite Slayer album, that’s why I drew that on there. That was going to be the actual cover but I chickened out. I like the art for Fall albums and Country Teasers records where there’s loads of writing on it. I like words as art on album covers and stuff. I just ripped them off really. 

What does an average day look like in the lives of the members of the band? Do you jam a lot for instance?

We’re not really a ‘band’. More of a duo, recording project or something. Me and Neil record stuff when we can and email it to guests and hope they’re up for it. I can’t speak for everyone else, but an average day for me is farting about with my one year old or going to work at the pub. 

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

Immediate plans are to record a new album. We’re both finishing off other projects at the minute. The songs are written, it’s just a case of going to Neil and seeing what he thinks. “The dream” is to hopefully one day play live. Neil isn’t up for it, and my life is too hectic at the moment to fathom getting people together to play as a full band. Maybe after the next album when we have a few more songs to pull from I’ll see who’s up for it and try and play some shows and all that. 

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

Have a nice day!

(Hi jasper, thanks for this, we don’t really have a band photo but please use this image I drew)

V.A.- International Space Station Vol. 1 (2022, Worst Bassist Records)

art by Lulu Neudeck

Space; is has always attracted and fascinated heavy psychedelic musicians. Ever since Hawkwind coined the term space rock, you could easily visualize why this type of music would associate with the deep dark outer limits. It represent weightlessness, endless travel, and a sense of being infinitely small in the gigantic body of the galaxy. And yet space poses a strange paradox to heavy psychedelic rock as well. For in space there can be only silence, and that is what these bands are anything but.

Take Nashville, USA’s trio ElonMusk for example. They are the opener on this Worst Bassist Records International Space Station compilation. With their instrumental psych rock jam Gods Of The Swamp Planet they paint pictures of serenely floating in space, regarding the Earth from great heights, and feeling completely and blissfully insignificant. The twenty-something minute track is a great opener of this album as it takes its good time slowly unfolding into a full blast before dying out again like a falling star…

ElonMusk

Germany’s renowned space rock power house Electric Moon is next, with a recording that still features the since departed Sula Bassana on guitar. They don’t spend any time lingering around the bush on Duality, but in stead kick off full fuzz force and deeply heavy. You can almost see the planets grinding into another while the bass relentlessly circles and the guitars flicker and howl. Tribal drums appear from the deep, and push the cacophony to even greater heights, ever pushing and pushing until a great crescendo and big comedown halfway. What is next is a piece of sheer beauty, as if all the previously unleashed violence has lead to some sort of thoughtful realization. It is pure peace, a revelation of the beauty of outer and inner space.

Electric Moon

And then it’s time for Swedish instrumental magicians Kungens Män, who offer the brooding Keeper Of The One Key. In its whopping 23 minutes the track shows all the beauty that can be found in the power of repetition. Carefully and meticulously like craftsmen bricklayers Kungens Män adds variation upon variation while they build their gigantic space ship on which they sail us through the sonic boom and far beyond. It feels just great to be in the presence of these master jammers for such a great stretch and be taken on their journey as they completely let go of time and space and just are in the moment for as long as a vinyl record side can last. Wonderful stuff.

Kungens Män

Finally there is the grand finale from Norway’s Kanaan. Their contribution is aptly named Beyond, and it takes its time to fully display what this powerful instrumental trio has on offer. The digital version was even extended to a mind blowing twenty-seven minutes (!), but of course a vinyl side can only hold so much music so the physical track is a bit shorter. All of this seems to say that Kanaan thinks you cannot really capture outer space within normal Earth time at all. First you have to free yourself from linear time, and only then you can understand what exploring the firmament on your instruments should really be about. Kanaan are builders. They are builders of beautiful atmosphere and spacious repetition. Only after very careful contemplation and very slow building do they unleash more and more of their might upon the listener, adding momentum with every repetitive swing. Finally when they have found their time, they add jazzy rhythmics and crazy distorted fuzz wails to shoot their rocket far up into space leaving us completely exhausted but still wanting more.

Kanaan

In its almost 90 minutes Elonmusk, Electric Moon, Kungens Män, and Kanaan have been given plenty of room to display their take on space travel. Together they have forged a memorable first volume of this International Space Station, of which I hope there will be plenty more to come. After all, space continues to inspire instrumental jam bands from all over this planet, and it will continue to do so until the end of time and beyond…

Review + Q&A: Opossum Sun Trail- Mojave/Klamath (2022, Echodelick Records)

We are out in the Mojave desert, a rocky and dry place with the characteristic Joshua Trees throwing their silhouettes on the barren grounds. Somewhere far out in that deserted area, away from the occasional tourist or drug weirdos, a trio of musicians is channeling their surroundings. Vibing on the pale desert floor, the stern rocks and the worn trees they play a music that could have only sprung here. This is Mojave, the first side of the new album by Opossum Sun Trail.

For you can hear the American-ness oozing out of Opossum Sun Trail, channeling Cash, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, and more modern bands like Reverend Horton Heat or Woven Hand but there are a more ancient roots showing too. Somewhere in this weird hodgepodge of psychedelic rock ’n roll styles there is a basis of profound respect for the earth, its environment, and its previous peoples as well. Without any trouble they drop their twang-y noise making to explore the mystical side of the desert, brooding, still, as if they are listening to the night and emulating the sounds it makes.

The second part of the album is called Klamath, and it was recorded in the Klamath mountains of California. It is a forest-y area, extremely rugged, and lowly populated. OST’s music reflects this environment as well, at times pushing their jams to mountain wall proportions, and at other times bringing it down to serene mountain lake reflection. Singer Nola’s voice shines on this side, in a beautiful shamanic lament.

It is a beautiful, interesting, and versatile journey that we are asked to join by Opossum Sun Trail. The songs never linger too long, and before you know it the band is showing you a completely different vista, in that way they made me think of a wilderness guide showing me all the cool places of his surroundings. I am a lover of nature and hiking, but OST does not require it, you can perfectly enjoy the journey in your most comfortable chair without leaving the house, and let them show you the beauty of Mojave and Klamath.

I talked to Michael Dieter about his band, how the record came into being and the trio’s musical background. This is what he said:

Hi guys, how are you these days? And how have you been during the pandemic?

We are doing well! Nola and I spent a lot of time boondocking in the desert in our 1999 Ford Econoline during the early part of the pandemic, and then eventually moved up north to the woods. Our drummer John spent this time in Los Angeles.

Can you introduce yourselves? What are your musical backgrounds?

My name is Dieter, I’ve spent a lot of time playing pretty diverse types of music and instruments including jazz, country, afro-beat, funk, psych, salsa, etc… I think we all are very eclectic which is why our music is probably so all over the place haha. John Daren Thomas was a percussion performance major in school and has also played in a diverse variety of projects. Nola has a lot of experience doing eastern european and afro-cuban acapella music as well as singing jazz before jumping on keys for this project. 

What can you tell me about the beginning of Opossum Sun Trail? How did you find each other and decide on the music?

It started as a home recording project in 2009 or so and I’d just kinda layer instruments and play everything. I quickly started to incorporate other musicians. I don’t think a live show happened until 2015, and that was also the first year we released any music. it wasn’t until this last record where we are playing live as a band on the recorded music with minimal overdubs. 

It seems to me that the music is very much influenced by your cultural background and the environment, right? The Mojave desert? What can you tell me about that? 

The music has always been influenced by desert type of vibes and of course Ennio Morricone and his western soundtracks are a huge influence. We are really drawn to the sparseness of that environment and I think that comes through in the tunes. 

The abbreviation OST makes one think of Original Sound Track, was that intentional? What is your relation to movies and soundtracks?

That OST thing was not intentional, but I wish it was! It’s a nice coincidence since the music is written with a cinematic approach. A lot of pieces are short. Texture is often a focus. We’d be thrilled to work with someone making a film someday and provide a soundtrack. 

What can you tell me of the album, or are they albums? They are two separate entities, right?

They are two sides of one album, about 20 minutes each. There are recurring motifs, chord structures and tonalities for each side. I think they could stand on their own but end up together for the sake of a vinyl release. The first side was written in the vast Mojave desert of southern California and the second side was written in the twisted Klamath mountains of northern California. We tried to let the depth and extremes of the landscapes inform the music. I’m not sure how well that came through but that was our intent.

Recording in the Mojave desert

Can you tell me any stories from writing and recording the album? You guys out there in nature? It’s very different from any other recordings I reckon 🙂

When we started writing, Nola and I were out in the Mojave Preserve boondocking like I said. This was early covid after returning from a Baja, Mexico road trip. We would isolate for a few weeks until we ran out of food and then drive a hundred miles each way for more supplies. During this time we’d work on writing music for the Mojave side. 

The Klamath side was written in rural northern California, a drastically different landscape, much more dense and dark. We ended up rehearsing both sides with the aid of solar panels in Death Valley in the spring of 2021. We picked up John and practiced with him for a few days in LA before heading up to record with Tim Green in Grass Valley, CA. Our friend Anthony Taibi, a former bandmate of mine in White Manna, added a few tasteful samples throughout the recording as well. 

What are your future plans? And how about your other bands and projects?

I’m headed back to the Mojave desert pretty soon where I work seasonally as a soil scientist. Nola and I are looking to eventually get a cool spot to set up for recording, maybe get a garden going. We just finished a tour, but hope to get some more short runs going in the near future. Nola and I also have a pared-down twangy, cosmic Americana duo project that we do shows with called Landers Drifters. John’s always up to random music things like drumming and drum tech gigs for all sorts of different LA projects. Plans are pretty loose at the moment but we have our goals!

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

Go camping! 

OST

Review + Q&A: Sula Bassana- Nostalgia (2022, Sulatron Records)

Nostalgia, the yearning for a bygone era. An era perhaps without all the incentives and stimuli of these modern times. A world without mobile phones, social media, or even the internet. A world in fact, that not so very long ago was a reality. In the 90s we had to find new music through magazines, word of mouth, real live contact, live shows, or by listening to mix tapes that we made for each other. It was the time of great excitement when crate digging and finding stuff you never heard before, and a time of full venues and bristling underground festivals…

A time you understand a guy like Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt yearns for. He lives by himself now, in a forest-y area of Germany and composes music for himself, for his bands Zone Six and sometimes other projects. But the times of the 90s, that time of true underground excitement, even before he lifted of the ground with Electric Moon and shone, that time will never come back. It seeps through the music on this album, from the grand cinematic post doom opening tones of Real Life, to the indie rock anthem We Will Make It, reminiscent of unsung 90s post hardcore heroes Slint, Sonic Youth, and Lungfish. It’s music that is quiet in all its heavy fuzziness. It has a warm glowing energy about it, but it is burning for the past, and through this fire it bears a heartbreaking melancholy too. For these times will never come back, and “the world has gotten itself in a goddamn hurry” to paraphrase one of my favorite movies of all time, Shawshank Redemption…

Sula Bassana will not follow in this rush of modern times. He will go his own tempo or no tempo at all. His stubborn creativity shines through his love of the music he makes, the effort he puts in it, his desperate attempts to preserve some of that glow that he felt in the early 90s and that slowly lost a lot of its magic but that also somehow still perseveres. That is Nostalgia; it harks back to the good old days, but it also stands strongly in the present. It is an album that could not have been made then, it is also very much now. Through all its reminiscing and melancholy that is in fact an uplifting message, and I am sure the deep diving listeners will agree that after relishing in it for all of its mesmerizing 42 minutes, you will invigorated and are ready for more.

Zone Six

I had to speak to Dave Schmidt again. The pandemic “ended” since last time we spoke, he left his longstanding band Electric Moon, and the world had gotten a lot more challenging for small underground labels like his bread and butter Sulatron Records. And now this brilliant new album, here is what he said about that…

How have you been since we last spoke in December of last year?
With the start of the war against Ukraine the sales went even lower, but the production prices rose a lot, so life for a small but professional indie label like mine became pretty hard. But we started recordings for a new album with Zone Six. It was short time after the war started, so it became dark and heavy. We try to go on working on it soon, but bureaucracy rose too so I have a lot of shitty office stuff to do and less time to be creative. My new album arrived and promotion started and soon I will ship all pre-ordered copies out etc. You see there is always work. 🙂 Also I went to concerts and festivals as a visitor, spend much time with friends and enjoy life. And I found 3 very cool other musicians to form my Sula Bassana Band and we start rehearsing soon and want to rock the nice stages in Europe from next year on. 🙂 This gives me a lot of good feel and power.

You mentioned back then you were burnt out, are you feeling better, and/or how are you dealing with that?
I’m still off power very fast and need a lot of rest. Now I also recover from Corona which makes me even less powerful. But I hope I will find back my energy soon.

In the meanwhile you quit Electric Moon, would you like to elaborate on that decision? Do you feel it is over for good or is there room for a reunion at some point?
I went off the band for private/personal reasons. Maybe we will be ready for a concert together in a bunch of years or so. No idea, and I focus on new things, especially my own band.

When one door closes, others open, right? I heard about your new project with Ax Genrich? What can you tell us about that?
Exactly! I guess I haven’t seen Ax Genrich since our last gig with Psychedelic Monsterjam (or Neumeier, Genrich, Schmidt) in 2006 (at Burg Herzberg Festival) but met him on the Take Me To The Moon Festival a few months ago and we decided to make music again. At the same festival I met Steff Bollack again after many years and met Conni Maly. So we had the idea to do something together which led to the new project called Die Raumpatrouille, and to our first concert in November. This will be completely improvised krautrock and I’m really looking forward to this gig and hope we will go on then. Last weekend I joined Ax Genrich and his band for a little jam at their show in Kassel, at the Free Flow Festival, and it was soooo good to spend time with Ax! And the jam was great too.

Let’s go on to Nostalgia, your new album. What can you tell me of the recording sessions?
I started recording new songs in 2013 when my freshly bought Mellotron arrived, sadly only the new digital one, sampled from the original mastertapes from the sixties. Anyway, I love these sounds so much and recorded a track instantly (Mellotraum). Later I recorded more tracks here and there which not fitted to other albums, so I collected them and decided they fit perfectly for a album. But man, 2 of them were real songs, where I need vocals. And writing lyrics is definitely not my superpower, hahahhaha. So they stayed unfinished for years. And in late 2021 I forced myself to finish them, what I did. The title track based on a guitar-theme I had in mind since the early 2000’s, but it changed to a Mellotron dominated track. In 2015 I played around with my Korg Polysix (a early 80’s synthesizer) a few days before the first Electric Moon concert at the Planetarium Bochum, where I used this synth. I found a nice arpeggio thing and recorded it without knowing what to do with it. Some days later, at the mentioned concert, the synth died due to the leaking memory-battery (you can hear that in the first song of the concert: https://electric-moon.bandcamp.com/track/the-last-words-of-mister-p). Later I added drums, bass, guitars and more sounds around the arpeggio and the result became one of my favourite songs of the last years. 🙂

Who was involved apart from you and what did they contribute?
Musically I did everything alone. But for mastering Eroc did his great work again and for the cover I used a fantastic painting by french painter Hervé Scott Flament. I also used some pix a friend did (Kilian CabGuy) and the title font painted by Ryan Koster.

A song like We Will Make It has a strong 90s feel, it kind of made me think of Slint, one of my favorite records from that time! Do you know them and do you feel the same?
To be honest I don’t know Slint. Will search and listen to it. After recording the basic guitars it reminded me a bit of Sonic Youth, what I heard a lot that time (around 2016 or so, when I did the recordings). Back in the 90s I was much more into electronic music first and then into late sixties and early seventies psych, kraut and space rock. Haven’t heard much of the 90s music.

I’d say the general mood of the album is quite melancholic, was that intentional? Can you recall what brought that up at the time?
I’m a very melancholic person. I guess you can hear it in a lot of my music. And the words in these 2 songs with vocals are impressed by the feel of these times…

Will you play any of it live? And when in which band will we be able to see you live soon?
There are too many things going on on that album, that I don’t think a four piece can nicely perform these tracks. But we will rehearse some older Sula “classics” and some more new songs. Also I want to play much more with my old bands Zone Six and Interkosmos. And of course with Die Raumpatrouille.

Would you like to pitch any upcoming Sulatron Records releases? What should we be looking out for?
There will be the new Farflung album Like Drones In Honey out in October (hopefully) on CD and LP. And I just received the testpressings for the debut LP Echo Colonnade by Ukranian krautrockers Reflector and listen to them right now. Sounds
great on vinyl! :-). In the same package I got the testpressings of the split LP of Speck (The Metz Sessions) and Interkosmos! Both LPs will be out in early 2023. And Tetrao Urogallus from Hamburg work on their new LP right now which will be released next year too.

What should the Weirdo Shrine readers do after reading this interview?
Hug someone, spread love and listen to great music. 🙂

Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt

Upcoming Gigs:
With ZONE SIX:
02.09.22 GER-Bielefeld, Potemkin Bar
With DIE RAUMPATROUILLE:
10.11.22 GER-Heidelberg, Commissary PHV (South-Gettysburg Avenue 45)

Find Sula Bassana and his projects here:
http://www.sulatron.com
http://www.facebook.com/Sulatron.Records
https://www.facebook.com/groups/573333580261594
http://www.soundcloud.com/sulatron
https://www.instagram.com/sulatron_records
http://www.sulabassana.de
http://www.sulabassana.bandcamp.com
http://www.facebook.com/sulabassana
https://www.instagram.com/sula_bassana_music
http://www.zonesix.bandcamp.com
https://www.instagram.com/zone_six_official
https://www.facebook.com/zonesixz6
http://www.zonesix.de
http://www.interkosmos-official.bandcamp.com
https://www.instagram.com/interkosmos_official
https://www.facebook.com/interkosmosofficial

Review + Q&A: CB3- Explorations (2022, Majestic Mountain Records)

I put on Explorations by the Swedish trio CB3, find a comfortable chair and close my eyes. Immediately I let my defenses go and feel myself drop in a gigantic pink translucent jello pudding. Everything becomes soft and fuzzy, and a rosy smile appears on my lips as the world has become slower, softer, and pinker…

I hear a wonderful mixture of sounds ranging from the shoegaze haze of My Bloody Valentine, through the fuzzy sludge wall of noise of early Baroness, to the angelic voice of singer Charlotta reminding in a far and distant way of 90s icons The Breeders and Sonic Youth. As gravity starts becoming weaker I feel myself slowly spinning upside down, letting the full impact of the killer song To Space And Away hit me with all its hazy repetition. In all of this crazy pink gooey reality it is the perfect soundtrack to just losing control and letting go.

The album continues with more killer riffs and skycraper walls of fuzz, completely encapsulating me while I am listening and disappearing further and further into the sweet and warm pudding. I know this will probably the end as oxygen will have to run out at some point, and yet I want this hazy pink bliss to continue. I want it to never end. I am In a Rainbow With Friends and it is just the best.

When the final tones of Through Space And Time have drifted away I feel the ooze and jelly melting away. I am still alive, but now I feel empty and wishing very much to return. Luckily there is a repeat button…

I was pretty lucky to reach out to CB3 and find band leader, vocalist, and guitar hero Charlotta Andersson willing to answer some of my most burning questions. Here’s what she made of them:

Hi guys! How’s CB3 doing these days?
Hello! We are good.

How have you been holding up during the pandemic? What kept you going?
I work as a guitar teacher when I’m not doing this band and projects, so it was as usual, almost. I’m a creative person and like to create stuff and I sit at home doing demos to the band. Then share it with the members. The pandemic gave me extra time to think about our music and at the time I was bored by playing endless guitar solos, repeating myself. I wanted to tell a story with words not just with melodies. When teaching guitar, I have to sing, or else it can be kind of boring just playing a chord progression. That’s when the idea of singing emerged. I started to experiment with vocals and how to find my sound and incorporate it into our songs.

CB3 stands for Charlottas Burning Trio, right? Did the meaning evolve over time or is it still a kick in the face of the jazz world? 🙂
Yes, CB3 is Charlottas Burning Trio. The meaning has evolved, but I think history still stands. So both I think. When I started out the band I felt that I was an outsider playing guitar and soloing, that I always had to prove something, that I wasn’t ordinary and I hated that. Then also there was or is some kind of “anti-shred” – thing going on. So the “burning” was a statement, in your face, against all people saying “You can’t play like that, or like that…”. I felt and still feel that everyone can play whatever they want, the important thing is having fun and that it feels good. I think it also has evolved into meaning: a band that explores music, being ourselves, not trying to fit into an agenda.

Are you the band’s “leader” in a way? How would you describe the dynamics within the band?
Yes I am sort of. I organize almost everything. Natanael, the drummer, has been in this band since almost the beginning and he helps me out with different organizing things. When we look at new material I’ve written, we jam on it. For example: Sometimes Pelle adds a cool bass line and it turns out a little bit different and so on, so they are a part of the writing process as well.

How’s living and playing in Sweden for a band like CB3?
Not so easy, we play too uncommercial music and funds can be hard to get. I think that goes for most of the bands to be honest. To live a life only playing music in Sweden is hard, but you can do it by combining it with other work or other musical projects. I do this band and some other projects I feel are meaningful and combine it with my work as a guitar teacher. So it works for me.

You’ve started out as jazz musicians but are now somewhat adopted by the “stoner” scene, do you feel comfortable there or do you see CB3 eventually branching out into different, perhaps even bigger stages?

I love the underground/DIY/stoner scene. People, fans, bands and so on are genuine music lovers. They go to concerts and I feel there is a nice atmosphere, like everyone is welcomed. When I started to go to a live scene called “Plan B” in Malmö, Sweden, I first made contact with that underground/DIY/stoner or what you will call it. If I felt that I was an outsider before I felt totally at home. It was people doing creative stuff. And I was so inspired and I wanted to play at scenes like that. I would love to play more scenes like that in Europe for example. But to evolve as a band and play other stages would be exciting as well.

What made you pick the bright pink for the album cover? Was it perhaps in some way inspired by My Bloody Valentine?
Not inspired by MBV, but I love that band, they truly explored music with that album. The artist we have collaborated with since the beginning is called Robin Gnista. When we collaborate I only give him the music, the title and what colors and themes we think about.
Then he is free doing his thing. He always does awesome work. So I thought that the album felt kind of pink and purple.

The album title is Exploration, what was the most interesting thing you explored in making the album?
For me it was creating songs with vocals, finding my vocal sound and to develop our song structures.

Were there any psychedelic experiences during the writing or making process of the album or is that just my imagination ;)?
As the drummer of our band said during our last band practice: “We are the most sober stoner/doom band in the scene.” 😀 When I think more about it, the most psychedelic experience must have been the high rush of love, a mesmerizing sci fi tv-series and jamming with the band.

What are your immediate future plans and what is “the dream”?
Releasing the album, release concert and a small tour with a local Malmö band during the autumn. My dream is continuing this band and hopefully go on tour in Europe. Another dream is to play Desertfest Berlin, Roadburn and Levitation or other experimental music festivals. Also doing something collaborative with another form of art.

What should the Weirdo Shrine reader do immediately after reading this interview?
Check out our new music. And if you like it, tell your friends 🙂

CB3

Label Report: Broken Clover Records

Mickey Darius of Broken Clover Records

Broken Clover Records is a new underground label run by Mickey Darius from San Francisco, California. Apart from its very cool and extremely diverse roster I was drawn to find out more about Broken Clover Records because of their policy. They strive to be very honest and clear about their relationship with their bands and pay 100% of the royalties up front. I was curious to find how Darius was doing with such a progressive way of running a business. It turned out a fascinating moment of getting to know one of the true originals in underground independent music today.

Hi Mickey! How are you doing these days? How was the pandemic for a small-ish label like Broken Clover?

These are 2 seemingly innocuous questions, but they have countless (complicated) answers, depending on the day/hour.  As long as we’re acknowledging that humans are treating each other and the planet worse than ever before (and potentially irreparably) and that’s our bar, then my day-to-day is OK.  I’ve got my hurdles (mostly financial and emotional), but with my little family and my music and work and soccer and the other joys I can find, I’m faring pretty well.  My pandemic experience, specifically relating to how BCR is doing, is hard to qualify.  We had only put out 3 releases before COVID hit and I was really just getting my sea legs.  The following 17 releases came once we’d embarked on this new reality, so I don’t really have a comparative frame of reference.  I can say that I think we’d have fared a little better if we’d been able to have release shows AND weren’t battling for attention…and by that I mean that we’ve been steadily fighting for column space from journalists, since there is not only a lot happening in the world, but also A LOT of music coming out.  We are then also fighting for social media space from fans, as everyone has so much more to process and share.  Beyond this, from what I hear, the journalistic competition is crazy fierce right now and everyone just wants to write about a safe/sure thing.  What we’re doing at BCR is certainly not safe or predictable, so it’s been hard to gain momentum.  All this said, because we’ve stuck to our guns and just do what we do, it seems that the tide is starting to slowly but organically turn.  It is also helpful when folks share our releases or posts through word of mouth, reviews or their social media channels.

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

I have always been involved in music.  I don’t say that facetiously.  With both parents being musicians, our house was a noisy one since I was a baby.  Early photos show pianos and shakers and microphones and drums and harmonicas and anything else I could play on or sing along to.  The same went for my brother (Charles Darius), who is 5 years my junior.  The only difference was/is that he is wildly talented and can somehow seem to master instruments and scales he’s only just discovered.  Anyhow, from early bedroom recordings to school bands to organizing shows to DJing to starting my own bands to recording other bands to starting a label (where I am owner/operator) to starting a booking agency (where I am owner/agent) to managing a venue and a lot in between…I was called in to this music world and don’t know if I could really do anything else.  This is my happy place and this is the language I speak and this is where I feel I can do the most good.

I have to say I am very intrigued by the set up of your label; can you explain your vision when you started Broken Clover Records?

This is a hard question to answer, as there are myriad ways for me to answer.  In a nutshell, I saw things that I wished other labels would do/avoid and decided to try and lead by example.  Some of these things are around streaming, artist payment, promo, album-oriented music and the general care of curating a roster/catalog.

Can you take me back to the start? When did you start and how? What were some of the highlights/lows?

I wouldn’t be here, doing this (or anything), if I hadn’t stopped drinking 5 years ago.  As I was freshly navigating this new alcohol-free landscape, I was working with a therapist who had also become my friend.  It started very much as patient/client, but after connecting over a lifetime love of music, we slowly became pretty close friends.  At one point, it came up that he had a significant sum of money that he wanted to invest in a music project.  I’d long had the idea of running a label, but that was really just a way for me to think about artists I like and would love to meet/work with in any capacity.  I now had a very real way of making this half-baked dream a reality and after discussing things, it seemed that he was willing to bankroll a new label and let me drive…which I quickly realized I wouldn’t feel good about.  If I am steering the ship, I needed to feel free of shackles or responsibility to anyone other than the artists and fans and myself.  I quickly told him thanks but no thanks and then committed to BCR001 with my own savings.  

With each new artist relationship and release, there is a new high.  So much of this job is incredibly rewarding.  Even (and sometimes especially) the hard stuff.  My 3 biggest lows are…

1) Turning away cool/interesting projects due to financial concerns.

2) Having to deal with damaged shipments and a lack of responsibility from manufacturers/shippers.

3) A new album not landing/resonating with people in the way we’d hoped.

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?

Evolved vs. devolved?  I dunno.  I kinda see running a label in our fragile music ecosystem like child-rearing…I don’t know that there’s a right way to do it (if there is, I haven’t found it), but you know right away when something feels wrong.  Specifically regarding streaming, my opinions are strong/loud.  First, I want to be clear that I have zero issue with streaming.  I love streaming music and being able to share tracks and add to playlists and all of that.  What I do have a huge fucking problem with is everyone’s sense of entitlement to instant AND free AND across all platforms.  Because of this, we hold off on pushing content to the major streaming sites until 6 months after the release.  I actually had initially set it at 12 months and then flexed to 9 months and have again recently shifted to 6 months.  We do this so that buyers can have the excitement of showing the music to people and feel like their commitment to the music is reciprocated.  There’s a relationship there and I don’t want to cheapen it.  This is not at all to say that anyone else’s method is wrong or harmful.  I’m just running BCR in a way that I think is helpful to the industry and in a way that I think is respectful to the art and in a way that honors the customers who support.  

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

Anyone who is making challenging music.  In order to get through all the uncertainty that we face daily now, everyone seems to be leaning in to the classics and things that they find familiar.  I get it.  With the world on fire again/still, we find comfort in those friendly faces/sounds.  I’ve definitely found myself returning to classics like Midnight Marauders (A Tribe Called Quest-red)and Physical Graffiti (Led Zep-red) and Against The Grain (Bad Religion-red) far more than normal.  That kind of music (and security) is very important right now, but the folks who are really inspiring me are the folks who are creating music that requires a little discomfort or disorientation.  They’re likely to lose listeners – listeners that are at a premium these days – but they feel so compelled to create that they can’t help it.  That’s powerful to me.

What kind of artists are you looking for when you scout new music?

The criteria is pretty simple.  Does the music move me?  Are the humans that make it horrible people?  If it’s a yes/no situation, then we’re in good shape and can figure out the rest.  Make music I’d want in my collection and give a shit about people other than yourself. 

What should bands do that would like to be on Broken Clover Records?

I will listen to anything sent to me and will reply to anyone who reaches out.  That said, it behooves you to wait until the thing you’re sending is ready to be listened to without a bunch of explanation…ie: here’s a demo, but the hi hats on #2 are gonna be gone and the bassline on #6 needs to be tweaked or whatever.  I shouldn’t need a map to decipher how to navigate your demo.  Beyond that, be straightforward with what you want from the relationship and make sure you’re prepared to do some basic self-promo.  If talking about yourself and asking folks to buy your stuff really feels that terrible, then maybe I’m not the label for you.  I abhor the current standard means of promo on social media channels, but I’m not seeing other effective ways to get people to listen/buy, since folks also don’t want to make physical flyers or do mailers or anything like that.  Look at things though the eyes of a label owner…what would you want to see/hear and how would you want it delivered?    

Do you have a tip for other small labels and people who’s like to start one?

Only do it if it moves you…ie: don’t get in to it for $.  There will be a lot of thankless days and the only thing that keeps the fire burning for me is feeling confident that I’m putting out a quality product and treating people well and putting my best foot forward.  Think about being a fan.  Make the thing that you’d want to buy.  Your output will be amazing if you’re doing what feels good to you and it’s who you are.  I can not talk about authenticity enough.  If it really means something to you, it’ll show.  Conversely, if you’re just going through the motions of what you think you should be doing or what you think people want, it’ll also show…and that is not a good look.

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

1) Please visit the Broken Clover Records Bandcamp page and check out the roster/catalog.    

https://brokencloverrecords.bandcamp.com

2) After that, please follow our social channels…

https://www.facebook.com/brokencloverrecords

https://www.instagram.com/brokencloverrecords

If I’m being honest,  while the past few years have yielded great records for our catalog, our business has been dangerously slow.  In order to keep releasing the diverse international content that we’re now known for, we need to sell records…accolades don’t pay advances.  I hope that doesn’t sound snotty.  I am being real.  Our catalog is pretty vast and I would bet that even the most finicky or adventurous crate digger/downloader/streamer can find multiple titles that do something for them.    

3) Tell someone that you love ‘em and pet an old dog and play your favorite record LOUD.

Want to hear more about Mickey Darius and Broken Clover Records? Listen to this episode of West of Twin Peaks Radio

Review + Q&A: Motorpsycho- Ancient Astronauts (2022, Stickman Records, Rune Grammofon)

Once again we enter the Motorpsycho realm. If you have not been living under a rock the past twenty years you know what kind of realm that is. It is a world in which anything is possible, at any given time. The only determining factor is the creative flow that Snah, Bent, and Tomas are picking up at the time they press “record”. The result often is surprising, breathtaking, engaging, and always an adventurous trip.

So different all yet still the same//all travellers on the astral plane…

Opener The Ladder takes its time to built momentum and then starts out with a familiar heavy riff reminiscent of the more heavy rocking moments on Kingdom Of Oblivion and the Gulvag Trilogy. But it fully takes use of its six-plus minutes building up with the theatric mellotron madness Motorpsycho has been making their trademark for some time now.

Next track The Flower Of Awareness is a bit of an intermission affair, building up its ambient noise soundtrack for two minutes, mostly to prepare the listener for the next full song.

Some say shit, some say sublime, a quest, a deep dark crime…

Which is Mona Lisa Azrael, a song that starts off very sensitive and serene, and quite beautiful. It almost becomes an archetypical love song and ballad, but just as Motorpsycho skillfully lulled you into a daze they throw a fire cracker on the fire by quickly spiraling out of control and turning into a hot and hip shaking jam fest. It conjures up images of The Mars Volta kicking up full salsa mode, never caring about anything else then following that muse, and worshipping the god of letting it flow on waves of extremely flammable improvisation. It is this kind of completely flipping the mood and going from calm and sensitive to absolutely crazy freak jazz jam rock that makes Motorpsycho stand out from so many others. It is a band at the very top of their game, caring about nothing else than that game, and winning it all the way.

To prove the point of creative independence the fourth and final track is a breathtaking 20+ minute affair called Chariots Of The Sun- To Phaeton On The Occasion Of Sunrise (Theme From An Imagined Movie). The song takes its time to introduce itself in a style that fits the title; gentle, soundtrack like, very slowly but steadily building up to the choral vocals in the first five minutes. A minute later the guitars kick in and the trip is finally ready to take off, still building and gathering steam for a good six more minutes until culminating in the grande finale. After the grande finale there is a big comedown to reflect on what just happened. Is it strange to go through twenty minutes of your favorite band jamming at full force and not notice the lack of lyrics for a second? Not if that favorite band is Motorpsycho, who could not write a dull piece of music if they tried.It is thoughts like these that shoot through my mind during this time. The choral voices pick up again and lead up to a final sweeping goodbye, and then the album is over.

Thanks again for another great trip Motorpsycho. In a world of so much instability, hypes, and crises it is a blessing to have you churning out so many magical jam sessions like this. Keep ‘m going guys, the Weirdo Shrine will always welcome them with ears wide open.

Bent, Snah, and Tomas: Motorpsycho in 2022

To my great surprise and delight the band was available for interviews, even for obscure and teeny tiny fanzines like this one! A long cherished wish came true as I fired these questions at bassist/vocalist Bent Saether who proved a funny and enthusiastic writer himself!

Hi Bent! How are all of you doing these days? I am so thrilled that you wanted to do this interview!
Hey, no sweat! we are, as usual, taking most of July of from band work, and I am chilling in the sun on an island in the Oslo fjord with the family for two weeks, feeling blessed and sunburned in equal measures while waiting for the new album to be released. what the others are up to, I have no idea! 

Can you sketch Motorpsycho’s current living situation when you’re not on tour? I imagine you guys live close to each other and a studio, right? You have been so prolific!

Well, the three of us (with families) all live in Trondheim (Reine is in Stockholm), in an old converted farm building with three separate living quarters, where the barn is converted into a studio/rehearsal room. my wife is the manager, Snah’s the cook/psychologist, and Tomas’ girlfriend the babysitter/teacher. There used to be a lot more communal activity, but these days we mostly do dinner etc separately. rituals are obviously obligatory for all.work hours are from 10 in the morning and for as long as we have focus. usually until 14 15-ish. this way we get a lot of work done 🤷🏻‍♂️

Have you always built your home situations around the band? Has it always been your main focus?
more or less. practical and also extremely focused. Snah and I met in high school and have never had outside jobs since starting the band in 1989. extremely lucky, we know, but also a result of putting everything into it. 

Can we go back in time a little bit? Can you take me back to before you started working on the “Gulvag Trilogy”? Did you oversee it would lead to all this music it actually became? Because apart from the three albums Kingdom Of Oblivion also stems from those recordings, right?
whoo, big question, but I’ll try! Kenneth K quit after the 2016 spring tour. not unexpected, but still rough. we had some theatre work lined up for the summer/fall that year, and dove deep into that while contemplating the future and writing more songs. Tomas got in touch in December. we played for a bit and soon figured this would work. we rehearsed that winter before starting recording The Tower in California in March 2017. those songs were the most finished ones we had, and most of them were written after KK left, but there was no overarching theme as such – except for the political one that was unavoidable with the rise of Trump. another new aspect at this time was the artwork. Kim Hiorthøi did most of our covers from 1994 until Here Be Monsters (2016), but the last few covers he did for us felt like they belonged in a different reality to the one we felt we existed in, and on this new album we started working with designer Håvard Gjelseth instead. while discussing possible artists I mentioned Gullvåg. Håvard really liked that idea and organized it so that we got to use existing art for The Tower and The Crucible and that Gullvåg painted the cover for The All Is One on spec. It was perfect for us and for those albums, but three was enough – we didn’t want a Snaggletooth/Eddie thing to develop and ended it there. except for a synchronicity in feel, and it being a total honor to work with him, there is no other theme to this ‘Gullvåg trilogy’ than his art. the songs were written all the way through the period, and were not from some big pool we had going in. but the albums do feel like they belong together and it was a strong presentation that we are very happy with! to go on from the Gullvåg albums, we felt we needed contrast, and Malling is pretty much as technically far away from Gullvåg as you can get! Great drawing though, and a really memorable and evocative cover!Kingdom of Oblivion was – like almost all our records – not recorded in one spot at one time: it had recordings from a two year period on it, but it was in no way a compilation of leftovers or any such thing: it was a full blown proper album that took the mayhem and riffage further but also had moments of quiet and beauty. to me it is perhaps the best balanced of the four albums we’d done with Tomas so far. the new one is still to close for me to say anything smart about, but it is very much a snap shot of where we were – mentally, groupwise – the week we recorded it, and it feels like the world felt to us in the summer of 2021. as an artist you can’t ask for more than that. The pictures on the cover were taken the week before the album was recorded and helps show what it felt like to us. we hope! and that is new: we have not been on the cover of many of our albums before! 

How do you relate Ancient Astronauts to what yo did with the Gulvag Trilogy? It feels somehow more open, flowing and “jammy”, did it exist more out of a free form approach?

well, it is less dense, for sure! one of producer Deathprod’s bit things was to make it open sounding, so it is a bit more sparse, with fewer instruments on it than usual, and since the two longest songs were arranged while developing a dance performance, they are not compact pop structures at all, but rather more meandering and exploratory structures we hoped would suit the occasion. since this is kinda what we like doing the best anyhow, it felt very natural. but the album has a vibe of its own, and since it is a rather short album, it doesn’t outstay its welcome either. ‘leave them wanting more’ is an old showbiz adage, and a true one in this case!

These days Motorpsycho would be more categorized in “psychedelic” music, but it wasn’t always that way. Is this scene where you most feel at home? I bet being as self-minded as you guys are it could sometimes feel like you did not belong anywhere at all…did it ever feel lonely?
we never felt comfortable being a part of anyone else’s club or scene or … what have you. even today we find it extremely awkward to play genre-specific festivals, and are never less eager to pile on the riffs than when playing e.g. a ‘stoner’ festival. to paraphrase Groucho Marx: ‘we don’t want to be a part of a club that would want a band like us as a member’! since we hate being told what to be or indeed who we are more than anything, we always intuitively go against the grain if given the chance. we are not two-dimensional entertainment puppets, but hope and try to be three-dimensional humans in all our work. and we only ever play motorpsychodelic music :-)( i also think that if you go into music for the community spirit you are on the wrong track: this biz is full of self obsessed ego maniacs who don’t give a shit about anyone but themselves. at least we don’t rely on them for our sense of self! )

With Ancient Astronauts you lyrically take up some big themes, like the arch angel Azrael, and Phaeton out of Greek mythology…where do those subjects come from? And how do they relate to our current world?
the dance performance was called ‘Sacrificing’ so I wanted relatable themes for the lyrics/titles. these somehow showed up in my head, made sense in some way, and stuck 🤷🏻‍♂️it is easier to deal in myths and archetypes than in personal specifics when the musical structures are as big as these too, so that is an important reason why these made sense to use. such references are more open and interpretable than very personal stuff, which is what you want, and since themes like these are eternal they are always as current (or not), so i guess it depends on the listener how relatable they are to our world?

You have played live so much and in such different ways and places too, is there anything you till dream about in that area?

The next one! always and only the next one, because that is the first chance to find meaning through art that is available to us. every night is a new chance to experience transcendence through music, and there is nothing more rewarding than that. where it happens doesn’t matter. we’d like to play more and in more places, but have no ‘Big Gig’ dreams. 

What advice would you give a new and upcoming band/artist that looks up to Motorpsycho?
do not trust every story we tell to be 100% factual! we lie. a lot. some of the answers in this interview is total bullshit, but are more fun to read and more inspirational to any young band/artist than the truth would’ve been. when we don’t lie, we always try to tell the truth. always be honest in your art though: that is the only thing that matters. 

What should the Weirdo Shrine readers do immediately after this interview?
laugh at it and think ‘what a pretentious git’, then listen to our music to see if it doesn’t all make a little sense anyway. maybe?or go kiss their girl-/boyfriend before making some art of their own. that’d be better!

Thanks a lot for your time!!!

This was fun! have a good one! Bent 
Credits: Kostymer: Teateratelier v Leo Thörn og Berit Haltvik With Masker lånt av Sjiraffen Kultusenter Assistenter: Øyvind Gregersen og Kristin Nordsæter Foto: Terje Visnes

Review + Q&A: Snakes Don’t Belong In Alaska- Interstellic Psychedelic (2022, Up In Her Room Records)

So the new Snakes Don’t Belong In Alaska album…is freaking dense! It’s like they took all their dark thoughts and frustrations with the past pandemic period and channelled them into these five slabs of heavy psychedelic space rock. There’s even a sense of sci-fi horror and evil lurking over Interstellic Psychedelic, oozing out of it. A sense of dread that is fed by the spoken word snippets left, right, and center, theatrically building images of lost souls and dark visions…but keeping their tongue firmly in their cheek at the same time.

Because at the same time that some of this record will give me the shivers, the campy keyboards, the over the top theatrics, and the thick emphasis on spaciness also made me conjure up images of Douglas AdamsHitchhiker’s Guide To The GalaxyInterstellic Psychedelic could well have been one of its hazier chapters. You know; it’s about total death and the destruction planets, but it’s gruesomely funny at the same time. You can totally see Zaphod Beeblebrox throwing down some Pan-Galactic Gargleblasters and rocking out to this in his space ship.

Nothing about their true intentions becomes entirely clear though, and that is on purpose. Snakes Don’t Belong In Alaska are true improvisationalists; they love taking things as they present themselves. That’s how you have to listen to this album as well. You’ll never know what lurks beyond the corner, because neither do they! Anything is possible, from playing the electric Kazoo to including a 12-year-old kid’s poetry. It makes this mostly instrumental journey all the more exciting. It moves from dangerous to funny to epic in minutes, like the good sci-fi movies of yore used to. Best thing to do is light one up and let these intergalactic Englishmen take you to the next dimension…

Snakes Don’t Belong In Alaska

So with this being the second time I reviewed Snakes Don’t Belong In Alaska, I could certainly not just leave it at that? I had to talk to them! Luckily Aaron Bertram (bass snake) kindly and swiftly replied...

How are you guys doing these days? How did you deal with the dreaded pandemic?

Absolutely awesome. We were very lost in the beginning of the pandemic but I (bass snake) decided to buy equipment to record and produce from home and spent hundreds of hours watching YouTube video tutorials. our first home recording experiment was Electric Bong Water. After finishing that we realized with a bit more hard work we could probably record an album this way, so we set to work on The Eternal Electric Landscape. The strangest thing about it was actually having to write music as everything up until this point was completely improvised. After electric bong water Dan from Up In Her Room Records got in touch about working together. So overall i’d have to give us a pat on the back and say we done pretty well through the pandemic. If you listen to Enter The Psychedemic from the new record the lyrics reflect this.

Can you introduce the band to the Weirdo Shrine readers? Anything people really need to know up front about your band?

Our motto is try everything and anything, record it, see if it works. This mindset has led to the use of things such as electric kazoo on The Eternal Electric Landscape and Interstellic Psychedelic. Our live sets are mostly improv jamming our own tracks loosely. The weirder something sounds the better.

What can you tell me about the making of Interstellic Psychedelic? In what way did your approach to record differ from The Eternal Electric Landscape?

We begun the writing and recording of this record in October 2021 and at first approached it in a very similar way to The Eternal Electric Landscape. However the record slowly started becoming its own entity and we viewed it that way. The last song on the record called Nature Of The Evil Within is A poetic story direct from the twisted psychedelic mind of 12 year old honorary baby snake Layland Bertram (my son). Sound tracked and performed by dad’s band. He won an award at school for it and once I read it I knew we had to work on it to make it into a sound tracked version of the story. So we were taking influence from places we’d not normally think to explore.

How important is jamming and improvisation for SDBIA? How do you make sure that comes across right on record?

It is the core of what we are. Even in this record although it has been written, it was all written and recorded in one take to maintain the core vibe and we stay away from thinking too hard about structure, you’ll never hear us doing verse, chorus, verse, chorus.

You guys are from Newcastle, right? In what way does living there influence you as an artist? Is there a psychedelic scene for instance?

We are yes, although Jarrid is actually Canadian. When people think of Newcastle they think of poverty and a tough social attitude and i think that comes across in our rough and ready, high energy sound. There isn’t much of a music scene at all in Newcastle now, many touring bands completely miss the city. That being said there is still a pretty cool underground scene that consists of many genres working together, which is pretty cool.

In what way is playing psychedelic music and using psychedelic substances interwoven with each other do you think?

Oh dear my mum will be reading this haha, Hi Mum. I think the two are part of the same entity. Psych music, at least our psych music is completely about exploration of the mind and I’d say that psychedelic substances have the same purpose. Although we’re mostly good boys these days haha.

What would you say is your biggest influence, both musically and otherwise?

We all have a similar core of influence, Hawkwind, Floyd, Earthless, 35007, etc. But we all have our own individual musical influences too, myself being into a lot of punk, Alex being into British indie and Jarrid being classic rock and folk. We also take a lot of influence from the psych world in general, people like Kenneth Anger.

What are you looking forward to most in 2022? And in 2023?

We are going to put way more energy into gigging, we’ve all been so buys in our home lives recently. We are currently organizing a short UK tour for the back end of the year and hopefully looking to slither our tails a little further a field next year.

When will your spaceship land in The Netherlands?

We are hoping to put together some mainland Europe shows next year but it’s difficult with finances, if we can get the right deals with promoters so we can actually afford to do it, the Netherlands will definitely be one of our top priorities of places to play.

What should the Weirdo Shrine readers do after this interview?

Go listen to Interstellic Psychedelic and some of our historical stuff so you can hear the evolution of SDBIA and continue to support your local psych scenes especially the DIY ones. Thank you everyone!

Hooveriii- A Round Of Applause (2022, Reverberation Appreciation Society)

Oh sunny LA, city of sunglasses, surfing beaches, and fakin’ it til you make it. It is no surprise that Hooveriii (pronounce: Hoover three) reside there. The rays of sunshine radiate from AROA, and you can see them riding their bikes across the boulevard to band practice, sipping rum and cokes, and taking life easy. Their music sounds warm and sunny as well, carefree, joyful, and full of life’s energy. The tempo is up up up, and the melodies are abundant.

Stylistically the band find themselves on The Beatles‘ side of the psychedelic spectrum, always opting for melody and songs over getting high and cranking up the reverb. A British indie pop band like Supergrass comes to mind at times as well, in its fiercely energetic young dog songwriting and dramatic overtures. I enjoy it most when they allow themselves to jam more freely, and deliver a crisper and cleaner version of the King Gizzard weirdo wanderings we come to know and love so much. It is when they channel their energy to the max and their extremely high level of tightness and musical capability is allowed room to shine.

With Covid on the backburner and all the summer festivals blossoming at this time the timing of the release A Round Of Applause could not be better. You can see these American surf dudes arousing crowds and pushing venues to boiler temperatures as they share bills with contemporaries such as The Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, Franky And The Witch Fingers and Triptides. The world needs this type of uptempo psycho energy and then some. Be on the look out when they tour your local grog shop!

Hooveriii
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