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Review + Q&A: Temple Fang- Jerusalem/The Bridge (2022, Electric Spark Records)

Temple Fang from The Netherlands is slowly but certainly becoming an undeniable force in heavy space rock worldwide. And yet, they have not recorded a single studio album to this day. They did do two amazing live albums (Live at Merleyn from 2022, and Fang Temple from 2021) but this EP is actually their fist attempt at some studio magic. And magical it is! There are two longform songs on here, Jerusalem, and The Bridge.

Jerusalem is a strong song with huge vocal choruses and deep noodling valleys. It soars epically, combining elements of space rock, stoner, and more progressive elements , ultimately building their own house that is not linked to any other. The Bridge opens up a completely different side of the band, a much calmer version of Temple Fang with a vibe that reminds of Black Sabbath‘s Planet Caravan. Together they show two faces of a band that has in fact many more in them. Just visit one of their live shows to see those. I for one, would welcome a full studio album of their musical prowess like the force they show on display here. Until then, this EP will have to make do.

Ivy, Dennis, Jevin, and Egon by Maaike Ronhaar

I talked to bass guitarist and vocalist Dennis Duijnhouwer, who introduces the band and carefully explains their story. A story that might have just begun…

How are you? How has the pandemic period and its aftermath
been for Temple Fang?

Many bands will tell you a similar story, it’s really hard to keep a band together when the thing that bonds you, playing your music for a live audience, falls away for that long. We tried everything we could to stay active and keep the feeling of a band as a gang, but we still ended up losing a member and almost breaking up. When we found our current drummer Egon, we decided to ditch all we had done before, create some new jams and when things opened back up, we hit the road as hard as we could. Since then we’ve played a zillion shows and have really found a new commitment to doing Temple Fang. We are very grateful for this amazing tour season, everyone was so starving for live-music it made for an intense shared experience.

Can you introduce the band, and how did you meet?
Jevin de Groot
(vox, guitar) and me met when I was doing a barshift and was playing this CD-R from a band called Slint, an album called Spiderland, something I had then recently
discovered and was obsessed with. It was kind of my own private secret this record as I didn’t really know anyone who was into this. Jevin walked in the place and immediately came up to the counter and yelled “Spiderland!” at me, we struck up a conversation about this masterpiece and I ended up giving him the CD when he left. Some time later I walked into a rock bar in Amsterdam called the Pits and saw him fronting a band called The Felchers, I had an overwhelming sense of needing to connect with him and do music together, and that just so happened not long after when one of the bands he played in, a punk band named Brezhnev, needed a bass player and we went on our first tour together. (Interesting side note, my former bandmate Oeds Beydals (Iron Jinn) had also walked into that same bar, saw Jevin and decided to dedicate himself to electric guitar.).

Ivy van der Veer (guitar) was a kid I had heard about around town, he was in a whole bunch of bands either playing guitar or drums, and when a friend played me some recordings he was on I made a mental note that if I ever needed a guitar player he would be the guy I’d call first, very musical dude.

Egon Loosveldt (drums) we met through our drum auditions when we lost our first drummer. We were already kind of done with the auditions when Egon send us a very sincere and interesting email, saying he saw us play Sonic Whip festival in Nijmegen in 2019 and he imagined himself to be our drummer. It took one jam with him to realize he was indeed our guy, we took that jam and basically turned it into the set we’ve been playing on this tour.

What can you tell me about your musical backgrounds?
Oh, that’s a complicated subject. I guess we all have very seemingly contradictory backgrounds. For example, Jevin is the biggest Grateful Deadhead I know, but the first band we played in together was a punk band so besides being a ’70s psychnoodler, he’s also an amazing Ramones style, punk-rock downstroker. Also, listening to him playing Willy Nelson songs in soundcheck is a real treat. Ivy’s first band was a Poison Idea cover-band and he still plays drums in a punk band with his dad called Teenage Tits but is also probably the biggest Yes fan in the band, he might be the most prog guy in Temple Fang. And he has an Opeth tattoo… Egon’s background is still a bit of a mystery to us, he’s definitely the most musically trained person in the band, he’s a jazz guy but he’s always had a thing for loud, underground
guitar music. Egon loves Norwegian jazz-rock, Motorpsycho, Elephant 9, Needlepoint and such. But he’s also spend a lot of time in South America and has strong connections with that scene. As for me, I’ve always kind of been all over the place musically. I was into terrible guitar-shredding when I was a kid and things like Zappa. Since then I’ve expanded my influences to include everything from John Coltrane, Bad Brains, Mahavisnu Orchestra. And Hendrix of course. I have to mention one album in particular that changed the course of my personal musical journey, when I heard Tool-Undertow I got so obsessed with the
bass sound on that record I ended up trading my strat in for a Rickenbacker bass.
Furthermore, the past few years I’ve been really tryin to focus on songwriting and trying to learn from the greats, so I take a lot of influence from Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and such. And contemporary artists like Weyes Blood.

TF live by Maaike Ronhaar

What does a regular day in your life look like?
For me right now, TF is pretty much a full time job. I get up in the morning, do some yoga, then start answering emails, checking mixes, collecting artwork ideas from Jevin, uploading
rehearsal recordings, working on new music ideas etc. Lately it’s been hard to find, but I’ll try to get some ‘me’ time in later in the evening, to get in my creative zone, which could consist of me playing bass along to dub records, writing ‘poetry’, listening to records, just anything that has no real purpose behind it other than just being in the moment. Or just getting lost in youtube rabbit holes and feeling really dirty after that.

What can you tell me about the way you have released albums so far? It’s far from the conventional “studio album cycle” right?
Jevin says it best, we work with what’s in front of us. Because our creative process is so collective, it’s difficult to make a solid plan and stick to it. So we just kind of wander in the dark until we find something. Now our band is becoming a bit more of a ‘career’, there’s a bit more pressure to follow ‘album cycles’ but we try to work with labels that understand our way of working and respect it. We try not to make much of a difference between live albums, studio albums, EP’s or whatever, there all just things that we do that capture us wherever we are at a particular moment.

Where do you live and what is the environment like for musicians like you?
We live and operate from Amsterdam, Holland. Ivy grew up here and me and Jevin have lived here for a long time. To say there’s a ‘scene’ here for what we do would be lying, we’ve got a network of friends who are all involved in music and art but everyone is operating in different ‘scenes’. Amsterdam is a difficult city for bands, it’s expensive and crowded and being dominated by money and the people involved in that. We’re lucky to have a great studio now, after having been pushed around by gentrification for years. We’ll just have to wait til the neo-liberal system eats itself and collapses and then artists can move back to this beautiful city and create something new from the rubble.

Dennis Duijnhouwer by Maaike Ronhaar

What are your favorite contemporary bands and albums right now?
We’ve played a ton of ’stoner’ festivals this year which made us pretty weary of downtuned Kyuss/Sleep influenced bands, but there’s been a handful of bands we’ve seen and played with that blew us away, Elder, Yob, Ecstatic Vision, Spill Gold, Neptunian Maximalism to name a few. We’re always curious to see what Motorpsycho and King Gizzard put out, or guitar pickers like Steve Gunn or Ryley Walker. Daniel Romano I’ve been obsessing over lately and also, this 2019 record by Dutch singer Eefje de Visser called Bitterzoet has been on repeat. And I’ve been deep diving in the new Richard Dawson record, the ambition he displays on a songwriting level is something I take a lot of inspiration from.

And because of my friend Abel from Hang Youth, I’ve been deep-diving into a lot of modern Dutch hiphop, the grimier, the better. I bet no one expects someone in TF to be influenced by Mula B, but I am.

Can you tell me about how you go about composing and recording songs?
Also in Jevin’s words, we work in layers. So a song that may be birthed as a riff or chord progression one of us has, gets taken to rehearsal, jammed on, rewritten, tried live a couple times, rewritten again etc. Sometimes there’s themes that keep coming back in jams that eventually become songs of their own. It rarely works if one of us brings a complete song in, I wish it was that easy, but it’s not. And songs keep changing after they’re recorded too, that’s why a song might be on multiple albums we do. Also lately we’ve been embracing riffs or melodies being in different songs, we’ve stopped resisting such things, it’s just
how it works for us.

What is “the dream” when it comes to being an artist?
We’re sort of constantly in a creative zone, our music is in a constant state of flux and there’s always new things happening. If my biggest nightmare is playing in a band doing the same set over and over or having to play the ‘hits’, then this must be the dream!

What are your upcoming plans, and what are you looking
forward to most? We’re putting a new EP out on 29-11 and have a new release after that already in the works, more on that soon. Most looking forward to the next rehearsal, we’re working on a bunch of new music that’s starting to take shape so I’m always excited to see what’s gonna happen to these pieces.

What should the Weirdo Shrine reader do after reading this interview?
Take a moment to count your blessings that there’s bands out there really going for it, putting in the time and the miles on the road. We’ve all missed it so much, we should never take it for granted! Peace, XO DD/TF

@ Heldorado, pic by Maaike Ronhaar

Review + Q&A: Cymbaline- Computerleven (2022, Self-released)

It is a Metropolis-like city. Dark, black and white images flicker on our collective retinas. The atmosphere is caustic, and what city sounds are still heard in this pitch black night darkness are melancholic in nature. In a shadow hidden corner of a tall business building there are two humanoid robots getting high on some defected power cable. They reflect on their “lives” and feel dreadful. This is Computerleven.

Cymbaline paints the sonic picture for this gloomy vision of future doom. With musical references ranging from New Order to Kraftwerk to Neu! and Bauhaus, they have built an arching road between krautrock and post punk, also combining their own history of psychedelia with their current more darker personas. The Dutch duo does this in plastering style, smearing layer upon layer, until their sound is very thick and heavy with synths and keys and electronic beats. While the nature of the songs is pretty dark, this sound wall feels warm, and it radiates in fact a rather comfortable glow.

It does not outstay its welcome either, clocking in under 30 minutes. Perhaps it fits the band’s statement of a fast forward future that is coming rather too soon, and far quicker that we can anticipate. For now, Cymbaline has arrived in our present with Computerleven, and unlike their automaton protagonists, their current state of being is just fine. This album is proof of that, and something that might survive even into the bleak outer limits of our mortal existence.

I managed to track Thom and Jeroen Rondeel, the two human beings in Cymbaline, down for a thorough investigation; I found out much about their devious plans for the future, their influences, and their methods...

Hi guys! How is Cymbaline doing these days? How has the band “survived” the pandemic

We’re doing pretty well! We’ve just started our fall tour, promoting the new album, and the
reactions have been great so far. During the pandemic we’ve kept ourselves busy by writing and recording our album. Because of the restrictions and the evening curfew it was a lotmore difficult to come together and play, so a lot of writing/recording was done apart from each other. We actually had quite some fun trying out new stuff, such as experimenting with cassette tape loops and crappy tape machines. Some of that is on the record as well! During that time we also realized that we wanted to head into a different musical direction and decided to continue as a duo, instead of a four-piece. During our current live shows, however, we’re helped out by Moreno Hogervorst on bass guitar. He’s mixed our album and we also recorded the guitar parts for the album with him and some extra synths/percussion.

Can you please introduce the band? Whereabouts, where you live, history, anything you’d
like to share really 😉

We’re two brothers, Jeroen and Thom, making new wave/post-punk music. We’re really into
bands such as Kraftwerk, Grauzone, Vox Low etc., but we actually started out as a psychedelic Sixties band around 2015 in Nijmegen. Back then there were still five members. At one point the band even had six members. That was when we were really into The Brian Jonestown Massacre haha! Now we’re based in Utrecht and it’s just the two of us (and a live bass player).

What are your musical backgrounds? 
Jeroen and I both started playing guitar around the age of 11 and have been playing together for a large part of our life. Jeroen started playing piano about 10 years ago and has moved towards playing keys more and more since then. Jeroen has had some classical piano training and Thom has been into jazz guitar for a while, both of which are reflected in a very subtle way in the songs on the album (f.i. the guitar solo on Falling in Love).

Has your stylistic direction always been clear to you as a band? How did/do you determine
your “sound”?

No definitely not, it took us quite a long time to get to the point where we are now. We started out as a psychedelic Sixties-influenced band around 2015 and, kind of chronologically, moved more towards early-seventies punk and now late-seventies/early-eighties new wave. We even used to do Beatles and Patti Smith covers during our live shows! I think we started to listen to a lot more new wave the past couple of years and also a lot more early electronic music. We realized we wanted to include more of that in our sound and started buying gear that could help us out with that. Jeroen buying an Odyssey synth and a Siel Orchestra has been very important for developing our current sound, but we also got more into drum computers. There’s an old Maestro drum computer on a couple of tracks, but we also used an Eko rhythm box and a 808. Those together with a couple of synths really make for the dark, retro sound on our album.

Can you tell me about being a band in The Netherlands? What are some of the pros and
cons? (and have you played outside the country and can you compare it?)

I think the pros are that The Netherlands are pretty small and, especially when you live in de
Randstad, it’s easy to play in a lot of different cities. At the same time it’s also not really easy to find a way in (especially in Amsterdam) and not every city has venues suited for bands that fall between the pub-circuit and club-circuit. And then there’s the Dutch disease.. we played in Belgium, France and Germany and the audiences we played to were so much more attentive. Of course, we had some really fun shows in The Netherlands, but our favorite live experiences are still the ones in France and Germany.

What made you decide to dub your new album Computerleven, what is the story behind it,
and a question that sticks in my mind: why in Dutch-since (most of) the lyrics are in English?

The title track Computerleven is about a person who is so absorbed by the digital world that he turns himself into computer data. For us it is a kind of Kafkaesque metaphor for current social media behavior. Seen as the theme returns in several songs, it seemed an appropriate album title to us. The funny thing is Computerleven is the first song where we sing partly in Dutch, it just sounded better than English. But we’ve always written our lyrics in English, I don’t know why. I guess we’ve always listened to a lot of international bands who sing in English. However, you have a lot of cool bands nowadays that sing in Dutch like Spinvis and De Ambassade. Who knows, Computerleven might be the start of something new…

What can you tell me about the artwork, I like it! Very artsy, dark, fits the vibe!
The artwork was made by Utrecht-based graphic designer Jorgen Koolwijk and is a collage of images he found in a thrift shop. It’s actually the parliament building in Brasil, which is a
funny coincidence seen as Jeroen lived in Rio de Janeiro for the larger part of this year.
Jorgen has also designed our previous artwork and he really knows how to fit the vibe of the music in imagery.

Tell me about your hopes and dreams for the band…
Our hope is that, now we released our first album, we can play more live shows during the
coming year. We’d really love to tour in Germany and Eastern Europe and play some festival
shows next summer. Also our plan is to record a new EP or album somewhere next year and
develop our sound even more. We’re both lucky to have steady jobs, but it would be great to
tour and record music on a more regular base.

What are your immediate touring plans?
We’re playing shows in October and November. A couple of them are support slots for the
Dutch band Smudged and the American band The Vacant Lots, which we’re really excited
about. Here’s the list of shows:

21/10 Toekomstmuziek AMSTERDAM
22/10 Onderbroek NIJMEGEN
28/10 ‘t Oude Pothuys UTRECHT
11/11 V11 ROTTERDAM (support show Smudged)
16/11 Muziekgieterij MAASTRICHT (support show The Vacant Lots)
18/11 Ojc Jonosh HEUSDEN
19/11 Pier15 BREDA (support show Smudged)
30/11 Patronaat HAARLEM (support show The Vacant Lots)

What should the Weirdo Shrine reader do immediately after this interview? 
They probably should go to YouTube and look up the music video of Computerleven. It was made by Glitterjunk (Sam Cuppen) and fits the music perfectly. Also, if they haven’t already,
they should watch B-movie: Lust and Sound in West-Berlin. It’s an amazing movie about life
in West-Berlin during the eighties and we used to reference to this movie all the time when
trying to figure out the vibe that the album should have.

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.

Pacific Fuzz- Scope EP review + Q&A (2022, Self-released)

A diamond in the rough, that’s the first image crossing my mind when I was introduced to this first sign of life by Dutch psychedelic indie adventurers Pacific Fuzz. On their debut EP Scope they recorded a genuine “real life straight to tape” kind of deal that might sound a little unpolished at first, but really unfolds into a wider landscape of color and depth when you give it some time and well deserved attention. It is a good start of something that promises to be much, much more in the future.

It was recorded in a live setting with Sander Haagmans, an icon in the Dutch stoner scene and known from his band Sungrazer with whom he released multiple worldwide cherished albums and toured Europe to great avail. Together he and Pacific Fuzz have brought to live these five songs, and with its grand total of almost thirty minutes they take their time to fully express what they are all about.

The sound has hints of that Dutch stoner past, with fuzz heavy guitars and slow burning pace, but their is a more subtle thing going on here. Pacific Fuzz writes real songs, even if they allow themselves to embark on more progressive adventures while doing so. In that way they remind of Norwegian psych prog heroes Motorpsycho, while the hammond organ and the clean smooth vocals also hint towards Dutch psychbluesers Birth Of Joy with a modern take on 70s rock a la Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin.

It’s a rich sound that can still twist and turn any way these fine gentlemen pretty much please, so it is a pleasure to start following this band, and see what seas of opportunity stil lie ahead for them.

I talked to singer/bassist Erik Steegh about his new audio baby and what the past years have been like for him and his band:

Hi guys! How have you been the past corona years? Can you tell me about the influence it had on Pacific Fuzz?

Hi! We’ve all been doing well these times. Obviously, we haven’t had the chance to do a lot of live performances, which is a bit of a bummer. Nevertheless, this gave us both the chance and the time to work on different things. We’ve been developing a housestyle for our socials, along with a logo (all hail the mighty designer Menno Prins). Also, we crafted a lot of new songs out of raw material from jams, finished the Scope EP, made plans for two new EP’s and an album, and set up a livestream concert. Last but not least, we had plenty of time to work on sounds and arrangements. 

Long story short, we were far from bored during the past years.

You are a new band, right? Can you introduce yourselves? How did PF come to be? 

First of all, we’re not that new. Pacific Fuzz started around 2017 with Ian van Wolferen on guitar, and myself on bass and lead vocals. We met during our time at the Conservatorium in Maastricht, and shared a love for classics like Led Zeppelin, the Doors, Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd. We have been writing, and playing with a couple of different drummers for a while. 

Now, there’s four of us: Wesley Kerkhofs on keyboards and backing vocals. He joined Pacific Fuzz somewhere in 2019.
And finally Mees Riechelman, our drummer with indomitable spirit. He has been playing with us for about a year and a half, and has been the last step in our evolution. 

Can you explain the nautical theme? It’s very clear from your socials that it’s there, can you shed some more light on it? Is it a recurring theme for the band, and in what ways?

The nautical theme plays out in two ways:
The oceans can be calm, peaceful and nourishing, but also treacherous, vicious and wild. We like to embrace this shifting dynamic, and encompass it into our music. Sea and sky are great places to draw inspiration.
Secondly, the nautical theme has a more narrative function. We see Pacific Fuzz as a vessel, on which we travel, observe, and document. We are simply its humble crew.

Can you tell me about the new EP, the writing process and the recording process?

This EP is a collection of songs that deal with human flaws, life and death, and the ever-changing world around us. 
During recording, we tracked all the instruments at the same time, in the same room. Simple. There’s no heavy editing or studio trickery. We wanted the EP to sound gritty, dynamic, and live! 

What was the role of Sander Haagmans (Sungrazer) on the process?

When we knew what sound we were looking for, Sanders studio was the best choice! He is an overall great dude, and he brought seriously chill vibes to our recording sessions. 

For me, Sungrazer was one of the first heavy psychedelic bands I heard, I was about 17. They hold a special place in my musical memory. If you’d have told me back then, I would be recording with my own band in Sander Haagmans’ studio, it would have blown my mind!

What were your influences starting the band? And did you gain new ones during the process together?

Like I said before, Ian and I were inspired by classics like Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd. Personally, I was also fresh into Sleepy Sun at the time. Lately, we’ve been vibing on bands like DeWolff, Motorpsycho, All Them Witches, King Gizzard.
Also, Ian is studying classical music theory. He often brings interesting ideas to the table, from places most of us would have never looked.

What are your plans- immediate and long term?

Immediate: Plan and play shows in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. We have some good ideas for live-performances, time to put them to use!

Long term: we have plenty of ideas and material for an instrumental EP, a conceptalbum, and more. These still require some work, but the fundamentals are there.

What should the Weirdo Shrine readers do after reading this? 

Whatever they want. Go to the beach. Climb a cliff. Cross a desert. I dunno. Maybe keep an eye out for a second EP while they’re doing what they’re doing.

Lamp Of The Universe- The Akashic Field: Review + Q&A (2022, Headspin Records)

Sitar-emulating guitars and snippets of mellotronic violins lead up to the hazy vocal lines of Return As Light, the first song of the new Lamp Of The Universe album The Akashic Field. New Zealand native Craig Williamson has once again taken a dive into an ocean filled with kaleidoscopic transcendentalism, and this is what he came up with.

I thought about how cool it was that we came into contact, just shortly after he was recommended to me by Scott Dr Space Heller in his interview on this very blog. He felt Williamson with his bands Datura, Arc Of Ascent and Lamp Of The Universe was a kindred spirit and wished to meet him some time. On The Akashic Field it is demonstrated where those warm feelings stem from.

The music is a mixture of classic 60s psychedelic rock, intertwined with Middle Eastern folk elements, and extremely dreamy multi-vocal patterns. Further on the album sometimes his spaceship takes flight into heavier, fuzzier, space rock territory. It is music made for mind traveling, and meant to take the listener on a magic carpet ride over multi-colored dunes, acidic green oceans, and through wondrous caverns and glowing riverbeds. It is such a satisfying flight, tailor made for headphone heads, with lots of nooks and crannies to explore by ear for days to come.

Spending the Corona years in New Zealand, Craig Williamson wasn’t too much affected in his daily routines. I talked with him about this and the new record, and luckily he was willing to shed some light on all of that and more…

How have you been in these pandemic times? How has life been in New Zealand for a musician?
For me musically, it hasn’t changed anything. Obviously there has been a few disruptions with work and what not, and life in NZ isn’t quite the same as it used to be yet, but its getting there… fortunately we haven’t been too effected like the rest of the world.

Can you explain what living in New Zealand has meant for your music? What was beneficial, what less so?
It’s hard to say, as I haven’t lived anywhere else and it’s all I know. But from visiting other countries I feel the amount of extra space we have here gives you a different perception, and that seems to help quite a bit. There are downsides to being so far away from bigger scenes, but its something that is known, and worked around, so isn’t so bad I guess.

Can you sketch your career so far for our readers? What are some of the absolute highlights?
My career started in 1999, as Lamp of the Universe…and has slowly expanded in many different ways. I’m about to release my 13th full length album next month (January 2022) and am still excited by the new music I’m hearing from others too. Highlights would be releasing the first Lamp of the Universe album “The Cosmic Union”, hearing about artists I look up to say they’ve heard about me or have said they like my stuff. To be honest all the positive reactions from everyone to what I do is a highlight for me.

Craig Williamson

Can you tell us about the way the new album came into being? How was it written and what did you set out to achieve?

I always write for myself first, and I’m continually writing. But this time around I wanted it to be more energetic, more band sounding, so I think that’s how it’s going to be perceived. I wanted to achieve a bigger sound too, improve the overall vibe by making everything a bit more clear and full.

When are you satisfied with your music? Is there a certain formula for a Lamp Of The Universe song?
There’s no real formula, I just go by what feels right. It’s hard to say when I’m actually satisfied with each track, because you could go on adding things forever, but usually just when it just feels and sounds as close as I can get it to how I hear it in my head.

What music are you listening to these days? Are you more of an oldies guy or do you still like to explore new artists?

I like to explore, constantly. I still love the “oldies” too though. My latest things I’ve been listening to would be Aphex Twin, Radiohead, Electric Wizard, Naz, Mastodon, Adam Geoffrey-Cole, Miles Davis, Napalm Death, Pete Namlook, Klaus Schulze, Archgoat, Laszlo Hortobagyi.

Can you tell me about the lyrical concept of The Akashic Field? 
It changes from song to song so there’s no concept as such. The Akashic Field as a title though could basically be seen as a receiving of all influences, an accepting of all information I can process to create a new album from influences that I’ve experienced over many years.

If you could curate your dream band, who would be in it and why?
I certainly wouldn’t play!!! I’d just watch in amazement!!!! The band would be Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, Klaus Schulze, Ravi Shankar and Ringo Starr.

What does the word psychedelic mean to you in the fullest sense of the word?
It means freedom to do what you want musically… to drift into the worlds beyond and back again.

What are you doing after this interview? What would you like our readers to do?
After this interview? Probably have dinner and then, like I usually do, work on new music into the night, and listen to LPs. The readers can do as they please, just be nice to each other!!!

Craig -Lamp Of The Universe- Williamson