If there is a staircase somewhere to measure epicness in music, Elder is definitely quite high up there. Their brand of psychedelic prog rock is towering high above their peers, each song taking its time to build up carefully only to crash down on the listener with mighty waves afterwards.
Innate Passage, a passage from within (beautifully illustrated on the album cover), is Elder’s latest display of power. On it, in my mind, they hark back to the crushing heaviness of their masterpiece Lore, without losing any of their subtle progression on the albums that came after. Your head will need a little time to fully wrap itself around this “inner passage”, but when you do you will be thoroughly hooked to what probably is the highlight of heavy psychedelic prog rock this year.
The band builds a cathedral, rather than a rock album. The base is of course drums, bass, and Nick DiSalvo‘s ever impressive guitar work, but a cathedral needs more than just a solid foundation to impress. With carefully added layers of acoustic guitars, mellotron, and for the very first time some vocal help from German stoner powerhouse Samavayo‘s Behrang Alavi Elder has also added the outer and inner arches, gargoyles, and ornamental features.
Innate Passage feels like a cathedral when you enter it too, in such a way that you can wander in it for quite a while and still be amazed when you look up and scale the ceiling paintings, or when you discover new patterns in the stained glass windows. Elder awaits you at the entrance time after time, and each time seems to give you a more extensive tour.
The Weirdo Shrine travel agency of psychedelic prog tripping cannot recommend it enough…
Paper bomb. It’s a bomb, but it won’t kill you. You can throw it at somebody to communicate your disapproval at them, and the message will arrive, but will it help? In any case, it might mystify your opponent, and that is something too, right? Paper Bomb is also a band, a rather cool band from Victoria, BC in Canada. If my previous ramblings were a bit vague, know that it was on purpose. For vagueness is an attitude that fits this band and their super hazy garage surf stoner album Into The Sun like a warm woolen glove, and that’s totally fine with me.
On display is a forward driven slab of 90s inspired grooving rock that is equal parts Monster Magnet, Together Pangea, Sonic Youth, and Thee Oh Sees. I bet MM’s John McBain had a lot of fun mastering this, a big blunt on his lip, and a wide ghoulish grin on his weathered face. It’s an album that definitely rocks hard, but takes plenty of time to pull its foot off the gas pedal to let it all hang out, and just chill, you know?
So, total “dude” rock this one, and some of the most fun I had while listening to new music this year. It does not pretend to be anything it’s not, you know? It is just what it is. And again, that’s totally fine with this guy….
So let’s meet the band! I hit it off online with band spokesperson and singer Rob Brelsford, and he was kind enough to join Weirdo Shrine and add his As to my Qs…
Hi guys, how are you these days?Can you introduce the band?
we are doing good hanging out jammin lots at home and in the studio.
Rob Brelsford -Guitar/vocals (Wolf Rider/Bumface Productions)
Adrian Gates -Bass (Entanglemints,Walter,Veronica Tangent)
Chris Mackenzie -Guitar (Astrocolor, Robert Roth,Walter, Whip, Rod Iron Haulers)
Conor Matthews -Drums (The Fine Options, Bloody Wilma , Stray Cougar)
The new album Into The Sun was written and recorded during covid times, what can you tell me about that time and the influence on the band and the music?
Yeah it was written during Covid times and it was (a completed solo project/Album by Rob) probably an opportunity to reflect on things and I guess process stuff that’s been on the back of my mind for a long time as life is and so wrote it all out and created some songs. 11 songs in fact had a lot of time during Covid off work so got the equipment and just started recording.
What are the influences? definitely from heavy rock /psychedelia to stoner rock. Over the past few years been listening to a lot psychedelic music really got turned onto it through the Levitation festivals etc. I guess you could say Oh Sees, Black Angels, Allah-Las, etc. so I started out with a few songs on Bandcamp making some videos on Instagram and seemed to get some attention and then it was decided to do a full album.
You are a relatively new band, right? What are your musical backgrounds?
Yes that is actually correct we are a very new band ( from a solo project to now a fully formed band) and just fully formed in October with a few jams under our belts. Myself (Rob) and Adrian were in a band back in high school and reconnected earlier this year to work on Paper Bomb project. Adrian was able to get a hold of another buddy Chris McKenzie to play guitar and then his buddy Connor to play drums.
How did you get a record deal with Weird Beard and how did you get John McBain to master the album?
Al and Dai at Weird Beard reached out after they saw some stuff on Instagram and listened to a few songs on Bandcamp. They asked if I was interested in doing an album with them. This was around the end of December 2020, so I spent at least about the first 3 to months of 2021 writing the songs had some more material from before and recorded at broken waves studio through Bum Face Productions. Was all mixed with Ben Whiterock and then mastered by John McBain. John McBain is who does all Weird Beard’s mixing and mastering. John did an awesome job on the album. Super stoked to have Al and Dai (Weird Beard)reach out to do this album with them. Very grateful and It gave the motivation/push to do it. I’m really glad they dug the music and supported it!
Can you tell me what life in Victoria, BC Canada is like for a musician like you? Victoria’s a great place for music a lot of talent here great musicians bands!Unfortunately we have lost a few venues and I think a lot of this was due to COVID etc. but with that being said I think with that paradigm shift so there’s other places that start up a new ideas are generated. You can see a lot of places in Victoria that are starting to do more like gorilla like underground sort of venues at homes ,different little studios and live shows. I think that’s important because going back to grassroots really gives the music scene a unique foundation and has a lot of creativity/Good vibe.
How do lyrics come to you?
Usually write a song and then add some lyrics in mind. Try to go to a isolated place or beach especially in the winter season.Try to see how it fits with the song but usually it’s like something on the back of the mind maybe something that’s needing processing or a observation. Just trying to create a song having a connection with it and and hopefully listener has their own connection/interpretation with it as well.
Is there a band Paper Bomb can agree on being the greatest ever? What else is played in the band van?
For me (Rob) from I really find Beach Boys/The Wrecking Crew are a major influence on myself as well I love the band Oh Sees.
Chris Mackenzie the Beatles and Soundgarden
Conor definitely is Black Sabbath
(1st 6 albums)
Adrian: Tortoise ,the Cure and the Red Hot Chili Peppers ( old stuff)
Being played in the van: Frankie and the Witch Fingers, Al La lahs, Toys That Kill, Baptist, LA Witch, Tame ImpalaDK, Primus,King Gizzard , Alton Gun etc. so many local bands we listen to next to this: the Hex, Art Deco, Moths and Locusts , Slam Dunk to mention a few.
What is your dream goal? And how about next year?
Honestly I guess some of the dream goals would be probably to be able to get some shows going in the new year start doing a small tour/start playing some festivals! That would be awesome I guess we’ll see how it goes and next year could entail probably writing the next album/making more music
What should the Weirdo Shrine reader do immediately after this interview?
Go out to as many shows as possible and support your local venues/bands!
You are what makes them creates a scene just as much as the music and the bands!
With the re-release of Farflung’s 1995 classic 25.000 Feet Per Second only last year it seems like Farflung has not been off our collective radars for a while, but in fact their last outing This Capsule was released over four years ago! Four years in which a lot can happen, like a freaking pandemic! Luckily our four spacemen can travel space and time, and will not be held back by distance or time. Even with lyricist and guitarist Michael Esther living on another continent (Europe) and the rest of the band in Los Angeles, USA Farflung kept on writing and recording. The result is no joke! Like Drones In Honey feels in everything like a full band operating with all engines running full speed. There is Hawkwind worshipping space rock madness, there is postpunk tripping, there are full blown weirdo experiments fueled by nightly escapades in the Californian desert…in other words, not much has changed.
But hey! Why take my word for it when you can have the full band explaining what is going on in your ears when you are listening to the new album? Tommy Grenas, Michael Esther, Paul Hischier, and Chris Nakata were kind enough to spend some time describing their thoughts on the writing process, and ultimately on taking a full blown walk through the album. So buckle up, it’s going to be a spacey ride…
Hi guys! First of all: how are you and how have you been since last time we spoke? (at the re-release of 25.000 ft per second LP in January this year).
Paul: Hi there. Things have calmed down after turbulent times; the pandemic, the death of my father, collapsing relationships, but those struggles have passed. Now it’s mellow vibes on the West Side. We did an interview the other day and it wasn’t until I saw the other guy’s faces that I realized how much I miss seeing my Farflung brothers. We were so happy to see each other! I’m pleased that Like Drones in Honey has officially released. Stoked to be on Sulatron!!! Dave rules!!
Michael: Things are ok here. Not much has changed…working on the music and art… hoping for more positivity in the world…
Tommy: Things have been good. I ‘we’ve’ been very happy working with Dave at Sulatron, and the releases that have come out so far. I was glad to do it, and with all the guys to come up with the concept and artwork for the new lp , and the groups overall construction on the mixes and vibe of it all. There’s new things on the back burner and ideas are already starting to formulate. There were also a couple of interesting sessions out at Saturn Moon (Nakata’s studio in Yukka valley] and I’ve been working on ideas out here in Woodstock, NY. I hope to get out to the desert to see Chris and Paul soon to continue with things. Out here in the Catskills, NY, things slow way down in winter, so I’ve been taking Jobs here and there to prep for it. This is quite a contrast to the Covid shutdown of the recent past. I’ve also been working with a local cinema, and record store, putting on events that are live music to film, or visual to music also. We’ve had some great artists involved and it’s been a great experience. I also built a small print shop and have been making posters and shirts, sleeves, for the event, and other things. Yes, been a quite busy year so far.
The new album has been finished for quite a while, right? Can you tell me about the writing and recording process
Paul: From my angle the process was, and the product is, pure ecstasy in the Greek meaning: “entrancement, astonishment, insanity; any displacement or removal from the proper place”. The time of recording this LP is the most free that I have ever felt making a record. 100% the process for me was to disassociate from the pandemic and it’s ripple effects. To me (us?) it’s sculpture and collage, improv avant-freedom-rock, no boundaries. We create & capture everything; the deeply psychedelic and confrontational, the perfect and the sublime, the incorrect and the wrong. Add in existential void screaming, found sound, field recordings, then exploit our limitations, then add in a dash of kosmische moon howling. Reverse everything and start over.
Michael: It’s different than it was years ago…seeing that we are spread across the globe… from my side… the difficult thing is and the thing I miss most is all of us being in the studio at the same time…. we trade track ideas and overdubs back and forth via the internet and Chris does his magic…
Tommy: Well this will be a long answer, but ~Most of it started at Tarantula Ranch [my wife Abby Travis’s old studio in Los Angeles]. It was an interesting time. We ‘were already prepping to pull up anchor and leave that city. Abby was on tour and the studio was basically 3/4 gutted of stuff for the move. All that remained was faulty equipment, pieces of drum kits, stuff too sell, low grade amps and dodgy synth gear. Chris had a mobile pro tools unit he would slung around to jam sessions, and brought it over and set it up. We had no planning, just, let’s try to use what’s here and if it’s crappy sounding well so be it. It turned out to be quite the challenge and totally rewarding. Chris basically duct taped and bolted a kit together using what was around into a rather strange set. He also just set up things to hit that would give off sound. Me and Paul chained our gear together and experimented with the tweaky ramshackle amps to get tones. Between what was glitchy and operating, and with the rather bizarre keyboard selection Chris had at Saturn Moon, I created the synth pad arena. Last but not least, Skott Rusch, old time Farflung, when science fails guitar psych-scaper, showed up with the wired out troglodonic noisemaker, and generators amongst everything else. Mean while in Italy Michael was conjuring strange worlds and patterns at his mobile unit, that would be transmitted to our radar station of sorts. I think this all started around may of 2019. It certainly was not an album session as many of Farflung’s were, but just another field of experimentation. Sessions were whoosey, and magical. It seemed like we’re we’re on another off charts adventure with the band. Sonically, it was an experimentation on a new level for me. I’d like to think Farflung has never been a slave to a genre, even though sometimes we’ve been pigeonholed to it by certain folk, but that’s ok. Whatever there pleasure is. We have never been interested in trends or tags, and this compendium of tracks is clear of that on this lp. Coincidentally, Chris was living in Los Angeles, and that is where the original Saturn Moon was. I’ve spoken about that wonderful lab before, but Chris also pulled up anchor, and found a place to set up studio in Yucca valley . It was a bit later, but we got together and started to flesh out the tracks more into song there. I did not bring any gear really, Just used what Chris had there. We were also joined by Bobby Lee [moso groto] who had played a bit on the original sessions. He put down some great low and driving stuff on a couple of the tracks, and he’s an all all round swell guy. After some long walks in the desert and “stimulation” later, we were laying down the vocals and finishing touches to the tracks from Mike’s emu3 in Italy, and the Los Angeles, and Yucca sessions . We Mixed remotely, but had a good idea of what it should be like. Chris doing most of the honors on that end.
Can you both tell me your favorite thing about the album and why?
Tommy: To me it’s a natural continuation of This Capsule, the previous LP. It felt like it should be. It does go off in its own tangent here and there but they still seem related. The same is reflected in the look and artwork continued in a more sparse and forward visual. We have also become tighter with friends and family. Everyone put a lot into it and I can feel it. I sure the next one will be quite different, but for now this is still the focus. My favorite tracks are King Fright and Tiny Cities [best section is the end of side one, where it really levitates to me.] it’s in the sound on there very clear. I don’t think anyone who has followed what we do will not see that’s but essentially, we [I] also do it for ourselves own goal.
Paul: My favorite thing about the album is the journey. I prefer to listen to the whole LP in a sitting with headphones. Like when I was a kid listening to LPs, hyper focused on every detail. It’s a love letter to decay and collapse from wizened survivors.
What can you tell me about the title Like Drones To Honey?
Michael: We were tossing ideas around and this one worked… I like the open reading possibility of the word drone…(a bee, a sound, a flying device). I think about recording in terms of layers of sound… of ideas that come together and arrive at a song, then a group of songs, then album artwork that solidifies into an object.. sonic and physical…Bees carrying pollen flower to flower…Honey as residue… similar to the way in which ideas float person to person…thought as a productive function of the body…a type of secretion……all these types of things I’ve been fascinated with for years…. it just worked for this album
Tommy: I think Michael came up with it. There was a photo of a woman laughing in a garden by photographer Peter Graham we were going to use, but I don’t think it was in a place were the label were too excited about it. I ended up making collages around the title. It was a lot of fun and I like doing things by hand and not on a computer. I liked the triple meaning of the LP title, a kind of calvertesque sci fi vibe to it. Drunken workers floating in the mead, mind bombs gliding without fuel, the sound of open chords together, something like that.
Paul: We started it in May 2019 without a hint of what would happen 6 months later. At that point we were personally undergoing a ton of changes; Chris moving out of LA to the desert, Tommy moving to Woodstock after living in LA for so many years, and I had just moved back here after living overseas for a long time. Mikey had a lot going on in Italy. A lot of major changes with us were already underway. A good portion of the music was recorded during the height of the pandemic, so there was a lot of strange feelings happening all around us, which the music captures. A lot of fear/uncertainty/doubt permeating the atmosphere. The music and the rituals around the music making were a bright spot during that period, but it was very dark and isolating time for everyone. Like Drones in Honey was a coping mechanism for me (us?).
On to the walkthrough: let’s go through all the songs of the album and their meaning:
Tommy: Lyrically, someone I knew had passed away from dementia, and did not receive much needed help. She left a great sweetness behind her in her past, so both things colliding there a bit. Musically, a little nod to Can, but definitely also one of my favorite movies, Robinson Crusoe on Mars, all those ominous melodies creating a weird score. That was the first track recoded We believe. Paul’s Pro One making fuzzy bass freak outs on the chorus, and lots of vocal mayhem.
Perfect start “klingggg”
3 tix to CS
Tremmmy guitars and pings, such a swirl happening
Gut punches and screams
A rich tapestry of tones, zones zones zones zones zones zones zones
Chris: Yes, this was the first track we recorded. I remember familiarizing myself with the drums, and liking them. Tommy was excited by the sound from the start. That was a great way to begin, and pretty much set the tone for much of the album. I can still see Paul, peering at me through the small opening of the hood of his hoodie, zipped up to the top because it was cold in the garage, his wide eyes growing even larger from the massive sound of his synth.
Earthmen Look Alike To Me
Chris: This one seemed to go down quickly. Just a lot of fun. Tommy could often be seen shaking his butt to this one during playback.
Tommy: Moving to the Catskills forests in autumn was mystical and surreal being in a big city for so long. There was a big male red bull cardinal who would fly into the windows dawn till dusk relentlessly waking us to explore things early, very early. The silence, and sounds of trees and animals that has become normal now. We had discovered weird rock formations on the property that were were told to be paleo Indian. It was magical an foreboding. The title was a working title, and the lyrics came much later, so it just stuck with a quote from and old analog, pulp novel. The musical session was a big jam. I was channeling RCA period Hawkwind a little I think. Then it just goes into Farflung, it reminds me a lot of what a session from us in the 90s would of sounded like.
Sick Casio beat into Uncontrollable Urge acoustic
Super sick turnaround
50 tracks of guitars, or 50,000?
Chrome-esque Helios-y ‘Destroyed My Brain” turnaround is incredible
Tommy: Mike’s original track, overdubbed by the rest of us, then mike back on it again. Lyrically the main thread is Michael. I interpreted it as having an almost Nick Cave vibe to it, but the retort that I vocalized came off rather PIL in a weird way. Political PIL meets Crass ha ha. The sound in the beginning is an old printing rack slamming and creaking with me being, well drunk, blabbering . Chris was percussively playing his whole kitchen on that track.
Another fooking amazing Mikey Surprise
Turns into a face puncher
Then the bells, so many bells, bells and swirls
GREEN HAS LEFT THE BORDER
Chris: Basically, a back-and-forth between Michael and Tommy. A great juxtaposition, and very gratifying to lay down tracks on this.
Tiny Cities Made Of Broken Teeth
Tommy: I was sitting in an old art warehouse in Woodstock, in the middle of winter looking out into a dead frozen woods surrounded by water. It truly looked like an alien planetscape. I thought about how life almost dies but is dormant, in a dream state we can’t imagine. I was listening to a lot of old dub at the time, and there was a cinematic vibe to the jam. We were a little confused what to do with it, but one night a layering session in the desert just blossomed and we’re were all lying around just spacing on it. It just came to be like that. Two worlds collide, and end with someone standing on a flyover in Los Angeles in the rain. Past future present.
Chris: A very soothing trip. Such a groovy bass from Bobby. In the last section, Tommy hummed the bassline for me to play, and I really liked the orchestral sound of the bass part. Then, Michael sent his parts with such an orchestral approach, fermenting the gentle crescendo that allows for the exhale to end the side.
From where do these seeds sprout?
I’ve hitched my space-steed to the goddamn ring mod on this one
Early Pink Floyd chord progressions
Michael’s slide, perfect as always
The tremolo guitar has so much sustain
The ending is straight off of a LA ’68 Love re-issue
Chris: Honestly, I wasn’t sure where this one was going, but somehow Tommy’s other-worldly mind managed to bring it all together. Originally, a working title (again, from Tommy’s mind) that I insisted on keeping. Resistant at first, Tommy relented after he saw how particular I was about the original spelling and pronunciation.
Tommy: 3 sessions fused into one, but strangely , also recorded in that order. I really love Manuel Göttsching‘s inventions for electric guitar, and it’s funny that, well, I always thought Steve Hillage’s, Rainbow Dome Music LP is also related musically. I got this new guitar pedal thing in the mail, that just happened to sound like that and went for it. Old Farflung luminary Skott Rusch [hunting lodge] just happed to be around and added his trogotronic transmission device to the whole track, levitating it out of orbit. Part two, a little Rudimentary Peni vibe on it. Just a great fun punk moment for us that’s always there. Paul phrased “self cleaning oven” as a way that nature gets rid of an irritating presence on its skin, the rest of the lyrics just ran in. Title ? No idea.
Infinite pings and unceasing pongs
glissando guide master Michael
Chirps, tweets, and sweeps
Jaki Liebezeit beat to the T
Delay 68 Can meets Heldon
With INSANE turnaround after “OKAYYYYY!!!!”
The teeth on that guitar and the drummer, Jesus what a drummer . . .
Sneaky fucker on bass, the balls on that kid performing those sick runs
A SELF CLEANING OVEN – a lack of empathy will destroy us
Baile an Doire
Tommy: I always thought some surf music sounded kinda Celtic, or euro ethnic. Or maybe it had an influence on it in the 60s, probably the latter, anyhow always loved the rousing element to it. We laid down the track and thought it was also kinda goth sounding. My grandparents some aunts uncles spoke a little Gaelic, and I remembered the pigeon English that would happen after a few drinks behind the piano or even transistor in the kitchen. I was burnt out that day and could not come up with any theme or idea, so I started to run off in that banter. Paul and Chris both loved it, but also we’re amused by it. I decided, why not. the rousing tribal drums almost sound like a battle call and I was reminded of an area where I grew up, where the river crossed into the Lough Neagh through an oak wood. I used to go fishing there. But I was told a site of great turmoil. If you’re up for some history, look it up, Baile an Doire, Ballinderry. Just probably channeling spirits, of sorts.
Chris: My main memory is the night we recorded vocals. As soon as Tommy started singing in this style, we knew it was right. Or was it? Who knows. All I know is that Paul and I couldn’t stop laughing.
Why don’t you try the lyrics in Gælic?”
Turns into a Killing Joke song
Who did the haunting lead?
All of a sudden it is an Echo & The Bunnymen song
Absurdddd-uuu ringgggg-uuuu moddd–uu klannnnggzzz
The forever-ending is too beautiful
Touch of the Lemmings Kiss
Tommy: Mikes lyrics. Sounded ominous and soothing. Felt like I was lying down in a meadow somewhere, waiting for it to end.
Mikey flying in from a deep and beautiful place to give us his blessings
Dolce piano pianissimo
Goddamn always with the bombers, love it!
Chris: Michael’s tracks were trippy and didn’t need much, really. We just added a few instruments here and there.
A Year In Japan
Chris: A late-night video-call led to making the background for Tommy’s whispers.
Tommy: Talking birds in the forest one night. I just recorded me speaking back to them after enjoying things I found to eat there. These birds fly to japan in winter. Hope they took my message. I miss Japan a bit. Would like to go there again. Very different.
Beefheart gone wild
Right into a later Wire song
What are your immediate future plans? (hoping for some tours!!!)
Paul: The immediate plan that I want to happen is for all of us to hang out in person again. It’s been far too long. A tour will happen at some point after all the uncertainty dissipates. Until then I’m good to stay in the studio and work on the next batch of songs.
Michael: It would be great to tour. We have to see how things shake out ….
Tommy: Oh boy I don’t know. I’d do it with Sula Bassana or a Dave Sulatron thing. Cosmic minds, for like minds. Good vibes, no neg stuff. We play better when it’s connected. I’m kinda over the random stoner rock night out, and we’re the lemon band not riffing off 3 bars to hard shit. I’m not that into getting sick on the road either. We’ll see. I’d love to travel with my friends, no pressure no worries. We’re a bit older, just don’t want to be away from home and sick. That may not sound very rock n roll, but fuck that shit. I don’t care. Recording stuff can be way too much fun sometimes. Especially with the guys in Yucca valley, and Milan.
What should the Weirdo Shrine reader do immediately after reading this interview?
Michael: It’s difficult times these days in the world…I’d say, produce some joy. Think of joy as a transformational act…
Tommy: Do whatever is possible to support the true people to end this global tyranny wherever you are, and also support those who do it. It’s a frightening world, and I’m very concerned for the next generations. There’s no way you can’t be concerned about that. Things have to be better than this.
Paul: Give Like Drones in Honey a spin and ride the cosmic tides. Then head out into nature.
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.
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 like? 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!
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.
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 :))))
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…
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.
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.
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.
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…
The third and final chapter of the album threesome that King Buffalo recorded during the pandemic lockdown in 2021 is called Regenerator and once again it shows a different side to the band. Where The Burden Of Restlessness was an aggressive, heavy and metallic record, and Acheron was the psychedelic jam album, Regenerator does exactly what it says on the tin: it lifts up the spirits and revitalizes the band and its listeners with its open and spacey sounds.
Before I could listen to the full album I had the chance to see King Buffalo play at the Valkhof Festival in Nijmegen (Holland) and two things stood out; how frontman Sean McVay used a loop pedal to create massive guitar walls all by himself, and how motorik and hypnotic the new material sounded in a live setting. Songs like Regenerator, Mercury, and Hours all have a certain forward drive that has a definite kraut rock feel, especially when King Buffalo bring on the spacey synthesizers.
There are some softer, more melodic moments as well, and album closer Firmament showcases McVay’s most intimate vocals to date. This too fits the band like a glove, and once again you feel as a listener that this is a band at the very top of their game. It is so incredible to think that these three albums sound so differently and varied, and yet they were recorded in such a short time of each other. Regenerator is a perfect closer a well, a positive outlook on the band and its future, and a testament to what this band is capable off under duress. What will the future bring? I decided to ask Sean McVay himself.
How are you guys doing? And where are you at the moment? You are playing so many shows these days!
We just returned home after an incredible European tour. I’m currently sitting on my couch drinking a big bottle of water while typing out this interview.
Can you tell me your most memorable moment of the tour so far?
Probably playing PALP Festival in the Swiss Alps. It’s not everyday you get to play literally on the top of a mountain.
Listening to Regenerator, and also (finally) seeing you live (in Nijmegen!) I got the feeling that some of the dread of The Burden Of Restlessness and Acheron has been lifted, is that correct? What changed?
At the time of writing Regenerator I don’t think much had really changed in all honesty. Things were still pretty much locked down, and the world continues to be a bit of a horrific mess in a lot of different ways even still, but I knew I wanted the 3rd record to wrap up with a more optimistic tone and kind of stand as an inverse to Burden. With how dark and grim that record was, I felt like it was necessary to counterbalance it with something brighter, if only for my own sanity while writing them honestly. I feel like it was maybe me trying to find something to look forward to and strive for while reckoning with a swath of negative things.
You guys are playing live a lot at the moment, how do you keep up? And how do you keep it fresh each time you are playing?
We make little tweaks to the setlist just about every show to help keep things interesting on our end. Also a lot of our songs have spots that lend themselves to little bits of improvisation so I always try to add some sort of different twist to at least one song every night. The kind of thing that might not be super noticeable, but maybe a fan who’s seen us a bunch would notice and find it interesting or refreshing. Shows are the best thing about being a band in my opinion. That block of time onstage riding a sort of energy wave with the crowd is a feeling like no other. So really it doesn’t feel like its that hard to stay engaged and excited.
Listening to your set and to the new album I felt a certain stronger emphasis on repetition and groove I guess?It’s almost kraut rock at some point! Also some more uplifting stuff going on? What is your take on the most important changes for Regenerator?
I really made an effort to highlight melodies on this record. Whether that was in the vocals, guitar hooks or even with some of Dan’s bass work (see Mercury for an example of the bass really carrying the melody of the entire song). I wanted to go for a little bit more of a stripped down, sort of “band in a room” sound than previous records (especially Burden). Everything is a little bit warmer, a little bit dirtier, and a little bit drier than a lot of our previous work. I cringe at using the word “organic” to describe it, but I honestly can’t think of a better word for what I was aiming for with the production style haha. It was a challenge, and a bit scary for me personally. I’ve always been super fond of lots of reverbs and delays on either my guitars or vocals. Making a conscious effort to strip away some of that was a bit terrifying. The opening verse of Firmament is probably one of the scariest things I’ve ever recorded.
With Regenerator you made right on your promise to release three albums in a row, congratulations! Although the plan to release them all in one year did not work, was that all pressing plant delays, or was there more to it?
Well the initial plan was actually to RECORD 3 albums in 2021 and ideally have them all released that year. Things snowballed a little bit with the announcement and it became RELEASE 3 albums haha. Lesson learned to be a little more careful with language haha. With that said, I can’t put all of the delays on the pressing plant. They were certainly backed up and completely swamped with demand. That on top of global supply chain issues really slowed things down. But we also had some studio/equipment issues that slowed down production at a couple points. There were of course a couple COVID scares in there that prevented us from meeting up occasionally. And we had a couple of issues receiving final artwork for a couple of the records past their deadline. So basically there was a lot of small inconvenient delays that added up on top of the already existing pressing plant delays. It was an absolutely chaotic and hectic year trying to get everything done, but we are super happy that we were able to stay busy and focused, and are incredibly proud of the result. We can’t thank everyone enough who participated and helped in some way, and especially appreciate the patience and support from our fans when it became obvious that we weren’t going to have everything released in 2021.
How do you look back on the albums as a trilogy, they have the same protagonist and overarching themes right? Do you feel it turned out exactly the way you envisioned it or did the plans also shift a bit when time passed over it?
There definitely is a single protagonist, with an overarching storyline encompassing all 3 records. Each record focusing on a different part of the story. In a very general way, yes I think it turned out how I envisioned it, but in smaller more specific ways not at all. No matter how well planned something is during pre-production, the final product always comes out different than expected. That’s simply part of the process. I think its important to be open to the possibility of things changing. Falling too much in love with the demos creates a sort of tension and stress during the actual production that just slows things down. It’s important to have a grand vision that your excited about, but you have to be open to changes when it comes time to actually make it. So there a lot of little things on the records that are completely different than what was initially conceived, but that’s simply part of the process.
So what now? With such an ambitious project now finished I can imagine your just want to tour a lot, which you are doing at the moment, but do you already have album plans for after that? Any dreams you want to make true in the studio environment?
The focus for now is definitely touring and playing live, especially with all the time we had to take off from touring. There aren’t any solid albums planned at the moment. There’s definitely some stuff that was left on the cutting room floor that we’re still excited about. Who knows if they’ll ever get dug back up. We’re always a little bit antsy. So I’ll say that we don’t have anything planned release wise for now, but that can always change in an instant haha.
What should the Weirdo Shrine readers do after reading this interview?
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 Adams‘ Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy…Interstellic 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…
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!
With a band name like The Swell Fellas you’d expect a barber choir, or an acoustic bluegrass group from a Coen Brothers movie. What you might not expect is the psychedelic riff monster these guys really are. No, bands like this are often called after something involving buffaloes, witches, or crows. As their hazy fuzz waves conjure up images of the old America, wind swept plains, stern mountains, and galloping horses…
On this 33 minute EP/mini album The Swell Fellas have clearly set their gears to “epic”, as they pull off big riff after big riff without breaking a sweat. However somewhere in the back of my mind I can hear that they have been under the spel of All Them Witches, as well as King Buffalo, as they subtly mix their epic riffery with more subdued vocals. Like their bigger brethren they do rock hard, but they never take it over the edge and become larger than life. They keep it real and believable, which is a rare thing in rock ‘n roll, and especially in epic riff land.
I do hope they get picked up then, because we can all use some intelligent psych rocking in our lives. And whether they are called The Swell Fellas or King Mountain Witch Crow Buffalo, it really don’t matter to me. As long as the rock rocks, and the roll rolls as much as it does on Novaturia.
I was lucky enough to catch these guys in between touring and writing their new album so that they could answer all these questions that popped up in my brain when listening to Novaturia. Drummer Chris Poole was kind enough to answer.
Hey guys! How has Swell Fellas been doing the past period of pandemic weirdness?
We’ve been really good, as good as we can be. Stayed busy writing and doing a lot of skating while the world was locked down. We all live together so it makes it pretty easy to just hang and create on a whim. Seems like things are looking up for the most part as far as covid goes, so we’re excited to put some more miles behind us on the road and crank out more music.
Can you introduce the Weirdo Shrine readers to the band?
For sure, we’re a trio from Ocean City, Maryland interested in creating something unique together that we all enjoy and feel connected too. The band consists of Conner Poole (Guitar/Vox), Mark Rohrer (Bass/Vox), and Chris Poole (Drums/Vox).
How did you meet? And how did you determine your initial sound?
Well, Conner and I (Chris) are brothers so that sums that connection up haha. Mark and I met when we were 11 or 12 on a school bus during a field trip. We shared some headphones and next thing you know we were recording shitty demos in a bedroom on Audacity together. He was and is primarily a guitar player, so getting Mark to play bass naturally turned into basically having a sub-octave riff outlet. Finding our initial sound was tough at first, it took about two years before we really fell into a groove of writing songs that seemed universally agreed upon between the three of us. A lot of which made up our first record “The Big Grand Entrance”. The process of writing that record really opened a lot of doors for us as a collective consciousness, we’re big fans of conceptual records. Albums with a good flow. So feeling out how to intertwine songs and parts seamlessly was integral to our initial sound, and ultimately threw us into a world of writing longer explorative songs in our recent releases. Also, great pedal boards are essential.
Can you tell me your relationship with All Them Witches? (one of my favorite bands actually…)
One of our favorites too! They rip… hard. We got the opportunity to meet up and record with Ben while he was in the process of mixing our first record. We were on a diy tour that landed in Nashville for a few days in October of 2019 to cut “The Great Play of Extension”. He took us in, we tracked the EP, drank beers, cooked out, and chilled with his cats. It was sick. Later on met the rest of the guys. Really cool humans, a serious inspiration.
In what way did your geographical situation effect your music?
Growing up by the ocean is a beautiful thing. Life feels a bit slower there, it gives you more time to think and opens you to ponder the world a bit. There’s a feeling of being close to that force that’s overwhelming. Definitely have written lyrics about it… and I suppose that headspace could be a bit of where we pull some psychedelic aspects from? I’m not sure, I’ve never really thought about it until now.
What is your general aim when writing a song?
Make it our best and capture a feeling.
Who influenced you most musically and otherwise?
Family, friends, sick riffs
When you play music in the band van, what do you play? And what is an absolute no-go?
Some DO’s to name a few: Knocked Loose, ASG, MF DOOM/CZARFACE, Alice in Chains, The Psychotic Monks, OM, The Black Angels, Fuzz, Meatbodies, Oh Sees, Portayal of Guilt, Gangstarr, Queens of the Stone Age, Kikagaku Moyo, King Gizz, The Melvins, Meshuggah, Raekwon, TOOL, Betty Davis, Chamber, Harms Way, Wheeler Walker Jr.
DON’T: Bud light. Dirt roads.
What are your immediate and more distant future plans?
Right now we’re focusing on writing the next record and booking more shows! Releasing our new EP, Novaturia this Friday and just going to keep at it. It’s hard to plan a distant future, so we’ll take the opportunities as they come and see where it leads. We’re excited for it, that’s for sure.
What should the Weirdo Shrine reader do after this interview?
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…
Last time when I talked about instrumental music I discovered the German outfits Kombynat Robotron and Shem and did a double feature. Then Tonzonen Records and Echodelick Records sent me these instrumental records and I told myself it was time to do it again, but tripled this time. For instrumental music is a different kind of animal. It leaves something to be filled in at the dots for the listener. And it often invites its audience to dive into their minds, or out, which makes for a completely different listening experience than with their more, ahem, “vocal” brethren…
Der Neue Planet (The new planet in German) are an instrumental stoner prog band that takes full advantage of the fact that they don’t have to bother about stuff like verses or choruses, rhymes, or repetition. Opener Heavy Dream Prog describes their sound quite aptly in a song that shoots back and forth from heavy stoner walls to chilled out dungeon jazz, to stoner disco and everything in between in a near ten minute journey. It’s seriously heavy music, but there is room for tongue in cheek humor too, just like on their album title and cartoonish artwork. Area Fifty-Fun is exactly that; it’s a heavy psychedelic fun trip that rides like an amusement park.
Noorvik are the heavy brothers of this triplet. The music on Hamartia is serious, epic, and leans pretty close to metal at times, from massive doomed out postmetal, to more uptempo riffage and even a couple of blast beat volleys. If you picture a singer like Michael Akerfeldt fronting this band with a good deep grunt they would actually do a pretty good oldschool Opeth/Katatonia crossbreed.
Now, without human voice, the music forces you to use your own imagination for the imagery. The music becomes a painter’s palette picturing vast glacial landscapes, tall and impenetrable mountain ranges, but also peaceful ponds of calmness and serenity. Noorvik are a force of nature, conjuring up the rawness and beauty of our planet quite vividly.
The only non-German band that I will talk about here actually plays the most kraut oriented music of the three, and starts off with a song called Von Graf…but that’s pure coincidence of course. Trigona from Australia does motorik instrumentals like they were born somewhere between the 80s of Neu! and the 90s of bands like Karma To Burn with a sound that holds a pretty good middle ground between the motorik repetition of krautrock and the heaviness of stoner.
The strength of the album is that each song swirls away in a different inner mindset, taking the listener on six completely different trips, but without losing a strong band identity. I like it best when Trigona pumps out a Joy Division bass line, and then completely drives it into outer space with its gravitational reverbing guitar parts. It’s transcendental music, made for levitation and rising above the daily grind. Stuff to aspire to.