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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 THURSDAY @ 5pm EST and 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.  

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

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

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

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

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

Interview: “Komet” Lulu Neudeck (Electric Moon, Worst Bassist Records)

A young Lulu (from her Bandcamp page)

Whether you know her as a cult hero on bass guitar for Electric Moon, a super friendly and generous distributor of vinyl through her Worst Bassist Label, or as a witchy cat lady living in a backwater woods area in Germany, you cannot have anything but the sincerest sympathy for Lulu -Komet- Neudeck. Since it is October 12 and International Hug a Bassist Day, I felt it was high time to honor her with a chat and some well deserved attention for her impressive contribution to the international psychedelic scene. Luckily, she felt the same way! So here we go:

Nice to finally do this interview with you! How are you these days?
Hi Jasper. Thanks a lot for taking your time for sending me some questions.
I am a bit puzzled by the circumstances. Having started my label right before the pandemic
kicked in, was a challenge for itself, that whole situation on the world doesn’t make it better. I have no new release in the pressing plant right now yet, so this means around 12 months
without a release… So I will have to check more artwork commissions to have a slight
stream of income. But it is important to see everything in relation again and again and to remind oneself that having something to eat and not facing a gun is luxury…. So all in all, I am fine, thank you, how are you?

First of all: can you introduce yourself, your music, your label, and your cat(s)? –insert
cute cat pictures here–

Yeah, hi, I am Lulu, nice to meet you 🙂 I am founder and bassist of the band Electric Moon, played bass in Zone Six for 11 years, graphic designed for both too and have founded a little independent label named Worst Bassist Records few years ago, of which my tomcat Johnny is the boss. Since some weeks, we have a new trainee-cat in the house, who learns quickly I must say. Since 2002 I do artworks as Lulu Artwork, commission paintings, logos, record covers, concert posters etc… The past 2 years I was diving into this a lot more again.

Johnny the Cat

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

Yeah, all in all we all know the basic effects of the pandemic on musicians, so I won’t repeat those. But yeah, good question, and yes, there are indeed upsides! At least from my point of view… Times of lockdown forced ourselves to view the insides and I embraced that and took it as a possibility to get to know myself on a much deeper level. We always think we absolutely know ourselves, but spotting some blind spots can be very illuminating….

I enjoyed being a lot on my own, embracing the calmness of this state, create…The financial aspect is a total ruin but somehow it always goes on and on. I also learned to be more relaxed with that and to live more in the moment! Also, relationships changed and some improved, some fell away and that’s fine! Some connections even got deeper due to distance…Sounds weird first, but might make sense…

And how about for you as a graphic artist and label owner?
Well, same as above. For the label, it was and is still a hard challenge. But especially for visual artworks, it was kind of a blessing! It so much fired my creativity and changed my point of view to things. My sight changed. I saw art everywhere. In everything. Everything was kind of inspiring my view, my imagination, my senses, my thoughts…

Can you tell me what made you start the label two years ago?
In 2018, my collaboration with Sulatron Records as graphic designer, business consultant and trend spotter ended, so I needed a new job. I thought about what I can do and I thought, well, I worked with a label the past 10 years, which releases a band I am playing in – why not starting my own label and also release a band I am playing in? 😀 I needed an income and I did not want to go to government and ask for social system money. So I gave it a try and the 1st release started off well.

What does a regular “Lulu day” look like? And what does an awesome “Lulu day” look
Hehe… A regular Lulu day looks like:
I get out of bed quite early in the morning, to have some free time before busting out my work mode… So I get up and cook coffee, feed the cats, sit there, meditate, drink coffee and get awake slowly. This needs time. Later on I check my schedule and start to work on it.
If a fresh release is here, I pack parcels the whole day. Coming to an end of my working day, I do my bookkeeping so that everything is always well prepared for quarterly tax work which I do on my own. In between all that of course, I have 2 hours of break to calm down nerves, muscles and brain, feed the cats again, cook coffee, cook some meal etc…At the end of the day, I take a longer walk to complete work and get rid of the work atmo in
my living space! I love my flexible schedule, so when I am not able to sleep at night, I can work on it either way and take a day off after such a night.

Where we come to a great Lulu day. A great Lulu day can be both, a very, very productive or
a very lazy selfcare day. A great Lulu day starts off with waking up somehow inspired and realizing, not so much physical pain is there right away. Having chronically lyme disease since almost a decade, sometimes fucks my system so hard, so a great day starts off with less pain and therefore more space for good stuff. After realizing my blessing, I cook coffee, take a walk in the morning sun and work a bit but mostly then on artworks, cause I feel so inspired then and happy. Sometimes, a great day also starts after a night I was painting the whole night and feel totally smashed but blissful. The great Lulu day often ends late at night, cause I have such a force of energy and drive on a great Lulu day, that I sometimes overwhelm myself with that, lol.

Where do you live and how does it affect your art and music?
I (yet) live in a very old house in the middle of nowhere in northern Hessonia in Germany. It is
the area where I lived in my early youth also and it’s not far from my dad’s house.
It affects my living as an artist / musician of course, surrounded by nature and the stillness at night… But I have to move out by the end of the year and this is a bit of a struggle right now, as it’s very hard to find something to live in this insane situation at the moment!

Art by Lulu

Tell me about your best memories with Electric Moon so far!
Wow, this is a difficult thing, not cause there are none, but as there are SOOOO many that
as soon as I wanna pick out some, I overtake myself in the brain, haha. Of course, the traveling in general when we have been on tour. It was always a blast, yet very exhausting, but also very inspiring and always a change of perspective, which keeps the mind on the move…

Some particular awesome moments have been on stage, where we all were so connected
and caught by the happening magic, that we all were looking at each other at the same
second, realizing what was happening there and feeling out of breath by that stunning
feeling of getting played by the music not playing it. Weird and intense and magical.
Also, I will never forget our 2 weeks Italy tour back then in 2013, where we traveled down to
south Sardegna, and when we played there in a little ancient town near a old spring with hot
sulfuric water etc…The night after the concert, we went to our sleeping place, which was a super old building, a small school. We arrived and there were some benches with trees around them, so we sat down and heard around hundreds of nightingales singing. When we went up to finally go to sleep, they all flew away which was a mesmerizing, sublime, and stunning moment. Never saw or heard SO many of them on the same spot…..

Or our residency in Tunisia where we stayed around 10 days with several bands, making
music together and hanging together and then, at the end of that, playing a festival where
you could hear a common influence on every band from every band. That was ace! It was in the middle of nowhere about 2 car hours from Tunis away, in an ancient area where an artist had built a cave for his artworks, kind of a showroom. There were so many weird, special and intense trips that I’ll never forget and am grateful for, having experienced them together. They’ll be locked in my heart for my lifetime. And, curious about what to come in the future….

What was your musical background before playing in Electric Moon? What and who made
you pick up that bass?

Mark Sandman of Morphine was the reason why I wanted to play the bass since I was a
teenager. But I learned Saxophone first, also because of them, haha. I have a total different musical background than you might think considering the sound Electric Moon had from the start. Of course, the “ol’ classics” are also in my background, like all that Pink Floyd stuff and so, from my dad. But also, I love electronic music, trip hop, punk, indie and am a huge, huge fan of Jason Molina / Songs Ohia…Also bands like Shellac and God Machine have been a huge influence to me.

Art by Lulu

What are you most looking forward to in the near future? And what would be a dream
goal for the longer term future?

I am most looking forward to finding a super nice place to live with my boss and his trainee, haha, sound like a old cat lady witch, but it might not be the worst (bassist lol). No, really, this is something I visualize every time I think about it and try to manifest it somehow. It is as it is, and what will be will be, is a good state of mind. What does not mean that nothing is a matter of interest to you, it just means to relax the tangling mind a bit more into the present moment…A dream goal for the longer future would be living near the northern sea. I have loved it since I was a kid. And I like the people in the north. Also, a more topic related dream goal would be making music with people like Emma Ruth Rundle

What is something that people should stop doing in your opinion?
Complaining less about others and checking in more on themselves might be a good start
:-D. Also, I think we all should feel more gratitude and should remember, that we’re a family here on this ball of rock, lava and other masses, floating through space, not knowing what would happen. I am not a fan of thinking about other people too much, so in my world, they’re free. But one thing, yeah, we all should stop, is this victim mentality position in which we put ourselves automatically, while complaining about others….

What should the Weirdo Shrine readers do after reading this interview?
Make love :))))

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!

Review + Q&A: Primordial Undermind- An Imaginal Abydos (2022 Sunrise Ocean Bender/Deep Water Acres)

In a smokey basement somewhere in the cosmopolitan city of Vienna, Austria, a foursome of humans are conducting a sonic experiment. They are finding out where exactly their combined sonic flow will take them, both musically and lyrically. While the guitars creep meanderingly and the drummer and bassist explore the space, a lone lyricist recites the words that could have only popped into existence on that exact moment in space and time…

Tensity beyond comprehension//I’d forgot my ticket//There creeps the primal fear// lost all concept of existence//Is this singularity?//Everything Is and I am everything, I am terrified but fear nothing…

The tension builds up and up and explodes in a crescendo of bursting energy, coming down and down, dissolving, and turning into the next song.

Things only bend until they break…

It’s this cycle that repeats seven times on An Imaginal Abydos, each resulting in seven completely different outcomes. Yet each filled with a certain similar tension, darkness, and urgency. Lyrics come and go, turning up only when they are summoned by the heavily fuzzed up guitars. Drums and bass fill in the blanks with a strong jazz feel, yet this is not that. It’s not jazz, and it is not experimental, it is four humans, listening closely to each other, and following the creative stream, from here to everywhere…

Illuminous echoes from within//tell a story of old//In voices too quiet to hear//Oh I wish it was real

Yet real it is, and ready for you to dig in. If you are truly an open minded worshipper of the Weirdo Shrine, An Imaginal Abydos will take you exactly where its makers want you to be.

Primordial Undermind

Eric Arn, an American expat in Austria, and guitarist/vocalist in Primordial Undermind was kind enough to shed some light on their work. Being quite overwhelmed with An Imaginal Abydos I was only too happy to be given some well needed context from its makers.

Firstly, can you introduce the band? I understand that it has been a coming and going of members and that that is a policy of yours, right? So who’s in the band right now, and are they the same people as on the album?
This little band of misfits has existed for over thirty years now, based in five different cities on two continents, and with yeah, somewhere around 45 people involved over that time.  Everyone involved has participated voluntarily as their life situations, and their own desire, interest and inspiration allowed, so things have naturally evolved. I can’t imagine how we could have come so far otherwise, and it keeps things fresh. The current lineup is the same as on the new album – Toni Rosa de Pauli on bass, Xavi Scholz on drums, and Chrisi Weikinger and myself providing guitar and vocals.

You are an American in Austria, right? Can you tell me about your journeys? How did you come to settle in Vienna? 
Well, for quite a long time academic scientific research was my ‘day job’, and for 20 years that life took me to universities and institutes in different cities around the US, then to Germany, and finally here to Vienna.  I stopped doing that 15 years ago, having finally come to the realization that there’s really not enough hours in a week to put into that and music and be true to both. It seems obvious now, but apparently I didn’t want to admit it for quite a while.  Since then, I’ve been working freelance with music always taking top priority, and life is much, much better. Something different every day.

What kind of life are you leading there? Are you a musician first and foremost, or do you have other occupations?
I guess I mostly answered that above. Since the music doesn’t generally cover all the bills (outside of when I’m touring), I also freelance doing teaching, translating, proofreading, and writing as needed.

How did you spend your time during the lockdown? What downsides and upsides did you experience?
The biggest downside (musically) was of course no chance to play concerts, which is definitely the main point of what we do. We played two shows in 2020, just one in 2021, and so far just two in 2022. Frustratingly few. Hopefully we’ll be doing more soon, depending on the old Covid.  The only upside I can see is that we had time to spend with the pile of hard drives, tapes, etc and work on recordings, so we did get the new PU album finished in 2020 and I’ve released a few solo and duo albums in the last two years as well.

You are an “experimental” artist, a lot of what you do won’t reach large audiences for being too far out of the realm of normalcy. How much of that is/was a conscious decision to you? And what constitutes “good” music to you?
We’ve never actually tried to be “experimental”, that’s just a label others put on our stuff after the fact. We just make music that we like, that excites us, flips our wigs, and that takes advantage of the strengths of the folks involved in it. When the reviews come in, then we find out that it’s experimental, weird, psychedelic, free, drone (not to mention folk, jazz, etc.) and so on. Since we’re all unique and I guess open-minded, somehow adventurous individuals, what we make ends up unique too.  Which I think is as it should be.  I’ve never understood the desire to create strictly within the confines of some already existing genre, or after the template of another group or artist. No time for nostalgia, let’s go somewhere new

One thing that really strikes me on An Imaginal Abydos are the lyrics. They seem to fit the music quite well in a way that they flow similarly. Where do they come from? 
There isn’t a single answer for that. Christoph wrote the lyrics for Makeshift Jury-rigged Assemblage, and he’s never really told us about his process.  I have noticed that for newer songs he starts out by just moaning along with the music as we play and finding a melody, then filling in more and more words over time as we work out the arrangements.  I wrote Until They Break a few years ago, based on a situation in my life that was quite intense and still fresh in my mind at that time. The words came very quickly in a flow, which tells me that my subconscious had been figuring them out for a while before sending them up.  We actually recorded Rekursiv without any vocals, but when we went in to record the other vocals, Christoph told us that he had a spoken word piece he wanted to add, the first one in the song.  I really liked all the cross-references in it to other songs and themes and ideas of ours.  I was inspired by his text to write the second one, which was developed by skimming through online databases of various psychedelic experiences, and grabbing words and phrases that stood out here and there. 

Can you tell me about the creation process of the album? How much for instance was improv and how much was rehearsed? How important were the recording circumstances?
The process was similar to what we’ve done in the past.  We’re always jamming, improvising, and working out new stuff in our practices. We went into the studio when we had enough finished material for at least half an album, and when those pieces were tracked, we used the rest of that weekend for improvising.  On the album we ended up using five of the more or less composed songs, and three improvised ones.  We also had another four songs from those sessions that ended up on a split tape with the Czech band Lebanon in 2020.  We recorded at Primitive Studios in Vienna, which is run by an old acquaintance who gave us a very nice rate for a full weekend.  That allowed us to set up on Friday and then have two full relaxed days of tracking, which definitely led to a conducive atmosphere.

What are you future plans with Primordial Undermind and as a person?
Play music and then play more music. Hopefully with this new album out on such distinguished labels as Sunrise Ocean Bender and Deep Water Acres, and with the attention it’s already been generating, we’ll be able to get back to booking some good gigs and tours again.  We’re excited to get back on the road as soon as it’s possible.  And we’re already ironing out enough new material for another album, so once those new songs gel a bit more, we’ll be back in the studio again.

What should the Weirdo Shrine reader do immediately after this interview?
Listen to An Imaginal Abydos, of course. If the reader doesn’t have it yet, then check out our video for Hermetic Armada on youtube.  And a few of the other songs form the album can already be found in various Mixcloud mixes around the web.After that, why not go for a swim

Review + Q&A: The Ballet Bombs- Mutations 10″ Live EP (2022, Noisolution Records)

The Ballet Bombs from Eindhoven, The Netherlands are one of those bands that are quite hard not to love. That’s because they radiate so much fun and energy when performing, it always rubs off on the audience. So for these young fuzz wolves to release an EP of live recordings as their first physical release makes a lot of sense. It’s purposefully rough around the edges, it squeeks and rattles, and might blow up your speaker if you play it loud enough.

Stylistically the band harks back to 70s garage rock with a psychedelic twist and a little extra fuzz on the side. So basically that stuff you liked from Ty Segall, and Thee Oh Sees; it’s sunny California but seen through the lens of drunken hobos and fuzz addicts. From their band name to the loose way they handle their riffs, it is clear that the Ballet Bombs don’t take themselves too seriously, keeping it hanging freely as they say…

Don’t underestimate them though, because they will wreck your house party, puke in your bed and take your momma for a ride. They live for their rock ‘n roll, and with mr. Covid on a leash, there is nothing to hold them back anymore. You better watch your back.

The Ballet Bombs

I had the pleasure of talking to singer/guitarist Rubin van Nistelrooy, who talked me through the pandemic years and their absolute career highlights so far: playing live at Roadburn and signing to German psych/stoner label Noisolution.

Hi Rubin and The Ballet Bombs! How have you guys been the past pandemic years? How have you coped personally and as a band?

I believe the past pandemic years have been hard for many people in many ways. For the band there was a period where everything was so unclear, we couldn’t play shows, we didn’t really see each other (only through a phone screen), we weren’t even allowed to rehearse at one point and time. So that was no fun. But… We tried to make the best of it of course. I (Rubin: guitar/vocals) built a studio with a friend of mine. Here I did all the mixing for our new live EP Mutations.

At this place we now can rehearse as a band, I can work day and night on our music, and we’re planning to record our debut album here… Exciting stuff!! Our drummer got a kid during the pandemic so yeah, he’s a dad now! Which is beautiful to see, we wish him and his family all the love and health in the world. But of course, this was also a major change for the band. Strangely enough Frank had loads of inspiration and wrote a lot of new songs, ideas and created the artwork for our live EP.

How were things for bands in The Netherlands? Were there things you could do that you otherwise would not have been able to?

Things here were okay-ish I guess. I mean it was no fun but that was the case in the whole world. We just had to wait it out…Well, we did do a few cool live streams. We wouldn’t have done those for sure if there was no pandemic. And of course, our live EP. I don’t know if we would have done that. Because during the pandemic we just had so much time, I (Rubin) just spent day and night working on this live EP to finish it. We wanted to release new music so badly… and during all those lockdowns, it seemed to us it was the perfect idea to just bring our liveshow to everyone’s home in the shape of a live EP!!

I saw you played Roadburn! Can you tell me about that experience?

Roadburn was truly AWESOME!! We’ve been waiting for 2 years to play Roadburn, since we were supposed to play Roadburn 2020. So, we want to thank Mr. Roadburn aka Walter Hoeijmakers so so much for keeping us in his mind and making this happen. We love him! It was everything we wanted it to be really. The line-up was awesome, all the people there are so nice, it’s organized so well, and a lot of people showed up at our show which made the gig even more magical!!

Why did you choose this new physical release to be a live album? 

Well… since there was this thing called Covid-19, we didn’t really know what we could do, if we should record/release music or how long all these restrictions would go on. We didn’t have the money to go to the studio because we spent almost all of our money on merch to sell at Roadburn 2020 (which got postponed..) and other shows that also got canceled or postponed haha. But we had a highly energetic live set we loved to play and during the pandemic we did a really cool small tour in The Netherlands with Pendej0 where we got to play these nice venues. So, I (Rubin) just asked those venues if I could get all the tracks of our show. And the Mezz and Doornroosje were so sweet that they gave me the recordings of those shows.

During the lockdowns I built a recording-studio with a friend of mine and just started to work every day on these live tracks. I thought, well since I got the time, I will try my best to just make these recordings into a worthy live EP for the band. At the end of the process, we were so proud of this record that we just had to release it. The record is a perfect capturing of what we are, an energetic, raw live band!

Are your favorite albums also live albums? And what are your favorite

albums 😉

MC5Kick Out the Jams (Live)

MotörheadNo Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith (Live)

Ty Segall – Deforming Lobes (Live)

These are a few of our favorite albums and… they’re also live albums! We just love that live albums are so honest and capture the magic happening on stage. You can really feel the energy between the people on stage.

Which current bands would you love to be touring the world with?

Thee Oh Sees! I think we could really learn a lot from those guys. They’re playing so many and such energetic live shows, touring the world, keep on releasing great albums, and every show is just a massive party! We saw them a couple of times live and man… from the first note they played, there were people flying through the venue haha. That’s awesome. And they have been doing this for such a long time, that really inspires us!

What was your best live experience so far? Can you describe it?

Roadburn. Like we said, we had been living up to that show for two years. And then it finally happened and it was everything we wanted it to be. The show felt like the best dream, that ‘rockstar’ dream we all had when we were young. All of a sudden, you’re on a big stage, loads of excited people headbanging to your songs and just completely letting yourself go. And it felt like that for the whole band, we were all just having the best time of our lives!

What does the band mean to you guys at the moment?

This band is such a big part of our lives, and we love it. We’re very proud of the cool things we get to do as a band. It’s hard work, but when you see the results of that, like: playing Roadburn, holding your self-produced EP, signing with Noisolution…That makes it all worth it, every time!

What are your shared ambitions as musicians? 

All of us just want to have the best time we can have as a band. We live for playing live shows! And at the moment we’re really focusing on making new music and having fun in our new studio. Having fun in doing all of this is most important to us, having fun and making music we love.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Just some shameless self-promotion… Check out our brand-new live EP Mutations! It’s also available on 10-inch vinyl, thanks to our lovely label Noisolution. ❤

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

Uhh maybe… Check out our brand-new live EP Mutations! Haha.

Kaleidobolt- This One Simple Trick (2022, Svart Records)

Can’t help showing you this snippet I wrote about Kaleidobolt’s album The Zenith Cracks ages ago on the Bearded Gentlemen Blog:

From Finland hails the awesomely monikered Kaleidobolt. On their second album The Zenith Cracks they prove to be an excellent jam band, conjuring the spirit of ‘70’s rock bands like Thin Lizzy and Blue Cheer while having absolutely no regard for songwriting rules or sense of time in general. What makes their sound so recommendable is its grittiness, the feeling of being surrounded by angry hobos that have accused you of stealing their meth. A band like Bison BC is similar in this respect, only Kaleidobolt are less heavy and more expansive in their approach. Hobo psych rock jam extravaganza. A perfect soundtrack for getting “strunk”, or whatever your mates call it when your stoned and drunk at the same time.

Plenty of hardworking and hard touring years, another album (Bitter), and a couple of rounds on the grindstone called life later and Kaleidobolt present their latest version of themselves: This One Simple Trick. It is a nice and composed work, still featuring some of their wild hairs, but definitely also turning into more accessible grounds and perhaps even opening up completely new markets for these Finns.

Album opener Fantastic Corps still storms out of the gate like some fuzzed up pack of Hellacoptered wolves. First single I Should Be Running is a completely different ballgame though, with a catchy chorus and gradual built-up towards ferocity near the end. It is a song that might have been written by a bigger band like The Black Keys, if they worked out more and weren’t so stuck up their own backsides.

Open mindedness and pure rock ‘n roll joy is key here, as the record jumps up and down from surf rock to psychedelic twirls, always with heavy sixties feels. The heavy fuzzed out bass and pounding drums are pushing the album towards the present, and it is also worth noting that while the songs are a pretty varied bunch of daffodils, they all have a very definable Kaleidobolt stamp.

Here is a “stoner” band that dares to defy the mold, while maintaining the fuzzy heaviness, they explore different nooks and crannies in the rock ‘n roll spectrum. Weirdo Shrine notices and applauds this. Let’s see how the European crowds respond…


Review + Q&A: Kevin- Aftermath (2022, Riot Season Records)

Who is up for me some noisy Can-inspired jamming with heavy angular riffing and some guy yelling gibberish on top? All of you, right?! Right!???

Good, because KEVIN from Japan is here to give it to you.

Heavily inspired by Damo Suzuki era Can, and his extraterrestrial vocal delivery, these three gentlemen definitely got their Kraut stomp going on correctly. On top of that, they have a righteous type of noise thing going on, and they don’t ever shy away from being genuinely weird and impossible to pigeonhole.

Better check that jazz out for yourselves!

I had the honor to talk with drummer Yuichi Umemoto from the band, who did a great job answering my questions…

How are you doing? Can you tell me how the past couple of years have been for you as musicians in Japan? 

Due to COVID-19 and other factors, the days spent only in the confines of Japan were tedious. We wanted our music to cross borders and reach people all over the world as soon as possible. That’s why we worked hard every day on our live shows and songwriting. We are grateful that we are finally able to release our album to the world now.

Can you tell me about how Kevin was formed? And -most intriguingly- what does the band name stand for?

At first, four of us were invited by a friend to form a band. One of the songs we wrote at the time was called ‘Kevin’ and we named the band after that song.Over time, due to musical differences, the bass player left the band, and in January this year the vocalist also left the band, so we are now a two-piece with guitar vocals and drums.

How did you decide on your sound? What were your inspirations for the “Kevin” sound? 

The first thing that struck us was German music(krautrock). We were shocked by Can amongst others. Their human, dry, somewhat explosive beats shocked us. We took the explosive guitar sound of  Kawabata Makoto(Acid Mothers Temple) and combined it with an unprecedented ‘stillness’ and ‘movement’, which is the starting point of our music.
Kawabata is from Osaka like us, so we have seen him live many times and performed with him. He was also a big influence on us.

What are your musical backgrounds? How did you “grow up” on music as a musician and music fan?

We are brothers and we both learnt piano in primary school. That was our first exposure to music. It still helps us to this day. From there, we were exposed to various kinds of music, such as video game music and J-POP, which was popular in the early 2000s, over time. When we were in high school, we traced our roots to hard rock, heavy metal and punk rock, and when we formed a band and started performing live, we encountered psychedelic and jazz, which gave us an unprecedented shock, which is probably the source of our music today. We like any genre as long as it feels good to listen to.

Can you tell me about the role of the vocals in Kevin? I don’t understand a word of it, so any offered context would be very helpful of course 🙂

The vocals on this album have no lyrics. They were improvised and recorded. We hope you will listen to his voice as one sound or imagine what he is saying.

Do you feel part of a “scene” in Osaka/Japan? Are there likeminded artists you like to play with? Is there a club scene with regular shows, etc?

We feel part of the underground scene in Osaka.There is a live music club ‘BEARS’ in Osaka and ‘HELLUVA LOUNGE’ in Kobe. Mainly underground bands from Osaka play there, and we often play there. We play there with HIBUSHIBIRE, Mainliner and others.

What is your main inspiration to do what you do as an artist and release records?

We try to play what we like, the way we like it, without being restricted by genres or boundaries. We are happy if our live performances and records awaken something dormant in people all over the world.

What are your short term and long term goals for Kevin?

The short-term goal is to leave Japan as soon as possible and perform abroad. The long-term goal is to keep making good music and playing good gigs. This is more of a lifetime than a long-term goal.

Anything you’d like to add?

Thank you for reading.Please come see Kevin’s gig.

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

Please listen to our records and come to our live shows.

Review + Q&A: Wild Rocket- Formless Abyss (2022 Riot Season Records)

Astronauts, when looking at the planet Earth from high above in space, have often felt epiphanies in which they felt compelled to protect it from our own silly behaviors. More than once these epiphanies led to climate activism, or at least an urge to tell as many human beings as possible what a great thing we have here, and that it would be such a pity if we wasted it. A change in perspective can do so much, and here is where Wild Rocket flies in.

The Dublin based band offers a ride into space for anyone willing, and you don’t even have to be a rich asshole like Musk or Bezos. You just have to squeegee your third eye and hop on the Wild Rocket, as it embarks on its massive space rock journey away from our tiny little blue planet and bound for anywhere your imagination dares bring you. While your facial skin tightens from the rocket’s warp speed, the gigantic engines thunder with orbit flinging gravity; this band knows that space rock needs to be heavy to mean anything.

On Formless Abyss, the Wild Rocket has three stages: the heavy Farflung goes postmetal scorcher Formless Abyss, and the dark ritualistic space drone Interplanetary Vibrations. They each last about ten minutes, and then there is the grand finale of the 20 minute monster space jam The Future Echoes. The track becomes heavier and more metallic as it unfolds, even reaching straight up doom metal boiling point at times. The shamanic vocals remind of US sludgy space doomers Zoroaster, evil and low, conjuring up all kinds of imagery that depicts that our future echoes might not be all that bright…

Still, in all its heaviness, Wild Rocket’s space rock journey does give us some perspective on our meaningless life on this little blue dot. We might not all become climate activists after this, but we will be a bit more humble.

Wild Rocket from Dublin, Ireland

I spoke to Cian “Moose” Meganetty (bass) about Corona, being heavy, and influences…

Hi guys, how have you been these past pandemic times and how has it affected being in the band and making music for you?

Same as most people I presume. Was very hard to get all of us in the same room for most of the pandemic. Myself (Moose) and Niallo did get to jam fairly regularly which was good and defo helped keep us sane. We wrote the guts of a record but there’s still plenty of fleshing it all out with the rest of the band. Things always evolve quite a bit once everyone gets involved so don’t be expecting anything too soon.. Obviously we had no gigs to play or attend which was very strange but we all have our health which is the main thing.

Can you introduce yourselves? Where do you come from physically and musically? 

We all come from various parts of Ireland, mostly based in Dublin or Wicklow (bordering county) except Bres on drums who’s been living and working in London a good few years now. We broadly come from a punk/metal background with some experimental beat music/electronics/noise/kraut along the way too. Music with a high level of intensity is the connecting factor across what we listen to and this is reflected in what we do as a band.

In what ways does your geographical situation influence your music?

We like to think we have a fairly strong Irish identity to our song writing and avoid sounding like a band trying to be English or American. Our use of the Irish language reflects this too. The sea surrounding us here plays a big part of our lives too between swimming in it. Having to cross it to play another country. Being in pure awe of its power. Then there’s a fascination with the ocean depths and it’s parallels with deep space.

Formless Abyss sounds freaking dense! What has been the biggest influence for that do you think? And, always a question with space rock. was there a lot of chemical enhancement involved?

We aim to make music that is tangible and can be felt as well as heard by the listener. We also live in heavy times so it makes sense to us that our music reflects this. I love the sound of thundering rivers after heavy rain and waves crashing on the shore so want to also reflect that kinda heaviness in our sound.

There’s also two drummers of course, nothing really sounds as full as two lads on two full drum kits. The effects used play a big part too. All dirt for guitar and bass comes from Moose Electronics, on this record guitar is mostly Battlehammer drive/distortion and bass is the Nomad fuzz. We’re tone chasers too so all the guitars/bases have been customised along the way. Any space after the above was pretty much filled up by George with his modular synth. Production philosophy on all our records has been “everything louder than everything else”  So the answer to that question is really that everything together makes the record what it is so there’s no real biggest influence on it’s sound.

Not a lot of chemical enhancement, we’d be more into beer/stout. Ireland does have a long deep relationship with the other world and we certainly try to tap into that too.

What is the favorite letter in your record collection and why?

Can’t go wrong with B. Close to the start of the collection and includes Black Flag, Black Sabbath, Bong, Blown Out, Bloody Head, Beak>, Beastie Boys, Bongzilla, Bad Brains, Big Country, Bruxa Maria, Buczzcocks, Big black, Black Eyes, Buttholes Surfers. Yepo defo a good letter.

What constitutes “jamming” to you. When do you know it’s been a good one? 

We jam riffs and see where we end up. A good one is when everyone has enjoyed it and/or we get a song/song section from a jam. Live we mix up tight structured sections with sections that allow more exploration while sticking to the core theme.

With what goal in mind do you play shows? Is there a big difference in jamming when there are more people there?

Jamming for us is us in a room together exploring riffs and sounds. Once there’s an audience it becomes a performance. We may explore with the audience present but most if not all we do in front of an audience will be within a predefined structure. We’re certainly not a jam band. If both band and audience can achieve a sense of catharsis and/or otherworldliness we’ve been successful. We also try to have as much fun as possible, it’s pointless playing music if you’re not enjoying it.

How did you end up releasing a record with Riot Season Records? 

We’re all huge fans of the label. Andy has released some of our favourite records over the years. I (Moose) became friendly with him when he did a tape release for Worst, a band I played in too. We’d spoke briefly about working together with Wild Rocket so when this one was ready I sent it to Andy to check out and he was into it and offered to put it out for us. We’ve been more than happy working with Riot Season Records and hope the relationship continues.

What are your immediate and more distant future plans? 

Get back to playing live regularly starting with our record release party in a couple weeks here in Dublin. Get the next record written and recorded. Keep moving forward.

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

Obvious answer, check out our record Formless Abyss if they haven’t already and dive into the Riot Season discography.