Monday, 15 December 2014

Cosmic Gallery: Inside My Digital Art Collection #1 (1-4)

After a three-week hiatus of posting on the blog, I have decided to come back with a new series of posts titled 'Cosmic Gallery' - a series which explores my digital art collection. The series will cover roughly four paintings a post, and will hopefully serve as an introduction to a plethora of new artists and collections. 

1.) He Could Not Breathe (Mark Pino - 2014)

This first painting is a recent discovery whose artist's name might ring a few a bells, Mark Pino being the percussionist for the brilliant Could Shepherd, a Do You Even Psychedelic? favourite (read our interview with Mark, and the rest of the band, here). The painting consists of acrylic on Masonite board and seems to depict a skeletal figure writhing around on a brown backdrop. I am particularly fond of the imposition of the cool colours of the figure's body on the warm reds and browns of the background, creating a sense of movement and volatility. I find this painting is best enjoyed with an accompaniment of Ennio Morricone's classic For A Few Dollars More theme (here).

2.) The Endless Way To You (Friedensreich Hundertwasser - 1966)

Moving onwards, the next piece turns the clock back somewhat as we go back to a decade known for its cultural and artistic vibrancy, the 1960's.  In keeping with the era, The Endless Way To You is a vibrant piece utilising organic forms, a scorching colour palette, and contrasting striped compositions. In doing this, Hundertwasser invokes an alternative way of looking at an everyday mundane activity like driving, whilst also crafting a feeling of mystery and eternity.

3.) Le Cap des Tempetes (Rene Magritte - 1945)

The third piece is a lesser known painting that is still recognisable as it was used as the cover artwork for the classic existential essay, The Myth of Sisyphus, by Albert Camus, put out on the Penguin Classics range.

The work pivots on the contrast between the boulder in the background, and the man sleeping in the box in the foreground. The boulder is an imposing monolith, and is almost 2D in its depiction, standing in stark contrast to the much more detailed wooden box housing a the red blanket and bald, monk-like man.    

I would pair this painting with The Myrrors' 15 minute epic, Mother Of All Living

4.) Bee Top (Don Van Vliet - 1970)

Don Van Vliet, otherwise known as Captain Beefheart, is a widely known name, and a much-loved favourite of Do You Even Psychedelic?. 

Bee Top is in Vliet's classic, playful style which mixes abstract forms into an explosive composition. John 'Drumbo' French recently said that the picture is actually a portrait Don did of him, which is certainly believable considering French's appearance in the early seventies. 

The painting appears on the front of the new Rhino Records release, Sun Zoom Spark, which I recently condemned (here). However, the release, although unethical, features some fantastic Beefheart and the Magic Band music, which goes perfectly with the image. I suggest the instrumental take of The Witch Doctor Life (here). 
The concludes the first of the Cosmic Gallery series, and the coming instalments will feature art from more fantastic artists such as Brian Lucas, Edouard Manet, and Frida Khalo. 

Friday, 21 November 2014

破地獄 Scattered Purgatory Interview with Li-Yang Lu!

The Temple of the Drone demands sacrifice, and so cometh Scattered Purgatory to deliver us from our sonic hunger, rising out of the earth with ambient brilliance. Or something like that. Either way, it is with much pleasure we are invited to share this improvisational trio's brain space, discussing the ins-and-outs of their music, and delving into the space behind the Drone. - Interview conducted by Daniel Sharman.

Dan: Where are you from, and who are the musicians in the band?

Li-yang: We’re all from Taipei, Taiwan, a country famous of it’s excessively long working hours.

Scattered Purgatory on this album are:

Lu – guitar, acoustic guitar, percussion, e-bow
Li-Yang – bass, guitar, percussion, chant
Lobo – synthesizer, computer programming, percussion

Dan: Scattered Purgatory is a fantastic name, and your latest record's name is also rather puzzling. What are their respective origins?

Li-yang: Our band name actually has no meaning in English, but in Chinese, 破地獄 (po-di-yu) it is taken from a Taoist ritual. Right after our first jam, Lobo showed us the ritual’s video clip on Youtube and it looked very, very cultist, easy to memorize, and resembles our music in some way, that’s it. And, for the album title, it’s quite geopolitical and historical. In short, there’s a volcano called Mt. Grass located in the north part of the region we’re living in. During The Ching dynasty in the 17th century, an ambassador 郁永河 (Yu-yong-he) was sent there to mine sulfur and other natural resources, he then wrote a book 稗海遊記, which means “Journal of the Miscanthus Ocean”, you can see our album as the soundtrack of his journalism or an expansion upon it. But, why “Miscanthus Ocean”? Literally there is sea of silver-grass during the autumn time on Mt. Grass, it’s breathtakingly beautiful.

Dan: What are some of the group's influences?

Li-Yang: Doom, drone, sludge metal, traditional folk, krautrock bands like Popol Vuh, and I was listening to Shinichiro Ikebe’s movie soundtrack before recording.

Lu: We have some similar music taste like kraut-rock, japanese psychedeliic. but we also listen to very different stuff, it's quite interesting.

Lobo : Cluster, Harmonia, Sunn O))), Kyuss, Alva Noto, Anouar Brahem.

Dan: How would you describe your music's sound?

Lu: Heavy and haunting... but I would say it sounds more like film soundtracks, and each song describes different stories.

Li-Yang : deep, hazy, brown note.

Dan: Some people upon hearing your latest record might just listen and think ''I just don't get it''. What do you think it is in your music that appeals to your listener's, in spite of its lack of conventionality?

Lu: Lots of people ask us why don't we find a drummer, but what we want is to create massive sounding without being disturbed by drums. so... I think it's more like psychedelic rock without drums??

Li-yang: Our existence in our local scene has always been controversial hahaha. We don’t care if people understand our music or not, because there’s no synthesis or purpose inside, though we called ourselves “Eastern Cult Drone Trio”. Yet we’ve seen some reviews and the comments are like “I saw a temple after I hit the bong listening to this”. Letting others tell you why your music appealed to them is always interesting.

Dan: What is the writing process for the band like? Is it a totally free-form ordeal or semi-improvised within a pre-written structure?

Li-yang: There’s no SOP for composing, it depends, sometimes riffs or ideas come up while testing new pedalboard settings, but sometimes we share stuff we found on web/in book as a vague concept for what it will sound like.

Dan: What guitars were used on your latest record, Lost Ethnography of the Miscanthus Ocean?

Li-yang: Fender American Precision bass special loaded with Lace Sensor “Man O’War” pickups + badass bridge, Standard A tuning. And Lobo’s own Fender Telecaster, all maple, drop C tuning.

Lu: I used a Gibson SG, and a acoustic guitar with some weird modifications, haha.

Dan: How about amps and effects? And how about synthesisers/keyboards (with addendum to other instruments)?

Li-Yang: In studio I use a vintage SWR bass amp and Ampeg SS-150. For pedals, I used Taipei’s local boutique pedal maker, 3Why FX’s, a Green Russian muff clone and a Proco Rat mod, oh, and  one of Mr. Black’s supermoon modulated reverb and some electro-harmonix pedals.

Lu: The main amp I used was a Vox Bruno, unlike the typical Vox amps, this one has lots of bass and it sounded really good. I used Mr. Black's supermoon as my core pedal all the time, it's an awesome reverb!

Dan: And how about synthesisers/keyboards (with addendum to other instruments)? 

Lobo: MicroBrute & Ableton, separately but all goes in to my own mixer, and send to reverb, delay, also multistop pedal then return, mixing the dry/wet.

Another interesting thing is I also used was a contact mic to make more free-improvised sound, especially when doing live shows, it’s more physical, one time I grabbed a plastic bottle and clipped the mic on it, then I used all my effort to tear it apart, it turned out pretty good.

Dan: Additionally, where was the album recorded?

Li-Yang: This album was recorded in Soundkiss studio, recorded and mastered by Alex Ives.

At first we really didn’t know who we could work with, but then we found Soundkiss studio, which is the only studio that do everything on tape in Taipei, since we wanted the sound texture of Bobby Beausoleil’s “Lucifer Rising” so we chose Soundkiss. Alex is a very careful person on sound, who gave us all kinds of advice and was willing to explore new ways of recording in the meantime.

Dan: You've released Lost Ethnography on Guruguru Brain. What was that like?

Li-Yang: We got the message from Go (of Kikagaku Moyo) through our mutual friend Molly back in March this year, they’re seeking bands who want to tour Japan or release an album on Guruguru Brain. And I was on a personal trip to Japan in April, so we hung out for a night in Tokyo, that’s how we met. Working on this album together has been smooth; the connection between us is rather strong compared to our previous label, so we can work in a very efficient way.

Dan: What's next for Scattered Purgatory? You have a show planned with Tolchock?

Li-Yang: We’ve been working on new materials and will start recording soon – this will sound very different from this album. And we definitely will be touring somewhere else in 2015. We recently started “Sub-Tropical Flashback”, you can check this out on Facebook, Tolchock & Minami-Deustch are the first two bands we arranged for touring Taiwan in December, which is also Tolchock's first tour abroad ever.

Dan: Is there anything else you would like to say?

Lobo: “Untill we see sound, hear light.” I really like this saying.

Li-Yang: I don’t play bass now.

Lu: ohh I think our first tape still have few copies left, if you are interested you can go to get one!

You can find Scattered Purgatory's latest release, Lost Ethnography of the Miscanthus Ocean, here.

Make sure to like the band's Facebook page to stay up to date, here

Friday, 14 November 2014

Sun Zoom Spark, and Fuck You Too: The Problem With the New Beefheart Release (Editorial)

Recently, you may of heard of the new Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band's release on Rhino Records, Sun Zoom Spark, which is essentially a reissue package featuring classic Beefheart albums that were released between 1970 and 1972. However, amidst all the glee and jubilation of a new dose of the Captain, a darker, more familiar side of the music industry is rearing its ugly head - a classic case of artistic use and abuse. 

The abuse in question was brought to my attention yesterday when I saw that the legendary John French, better known as Drumbo in some circles, had posted an update via the Magic Band's official Facebook page. The update follows a series of similarly enraged posts by French, all of which highlight the gross wrongdoings done onto him and the whole of the original Magic Band line-up in general.

The tale is a familiar one in the cut-throat, amoral business of the music industry, Rhino Records, whom are releasing the reissue, shown to be essentially stealing from French and the rest of the original Magic Band by paying no royalties from the music to any of these musicians, whom were responsible for the recordings being released in Sun Zoom Spark. 

This is a story of innumerable tragedies, one which highlights how even the most revered of history's musicians are taken in and churned out by the uncaring, capitalist machine. In my own mind's eye, what I find to be perhaps the most saddening aspect of this situation is the total lack of respect shown to the men whose input is the only reason for their being any music to reissue in the first place.

Furthermore, it doesn't matter if you've crafted, and played on, records which international media barons like Rolling Stone (corrupt and trite as it may be) have included on their list of top 500 albums of all time, you may not necessarily have the capital to support your music even in to this day. 

The Magic Band have, historically, always been poor, especially when creating their most respected works, such as Trout Mask Replica, and not much changes today. John French, and his current incarnation of the Magic Band, are not turning down how-ever-many millions like Robert Plant. They are just honest musicians trying to create the music they and their fans love, and so it is made even more painful for musicians, like French, when records they created are pulling in expensive pre-orders and the like, whilst they must sleep in moth-eaten motels 7 days a week.

So please, abstain from buying this latest corporate attempt to milk the love of honest Beefheart-loving fans for monetary gain, continuing the saga of successfully cashing in on the now almost otherworldly persona of the dead Don Van Vliet, and go and see the Magic Band when you can, buy John French's new autobiography, and try and support the true men anyway you can. 

Make sure to the like the genuine Facebook pages here:
- The Magic Band
The Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band Appreciation Society
The Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band

Aside from that, spread the word of the Rhino Records' transgressions, and make it clear in anyway you can that you don't agree with their treatment of the Magic Band's musicians.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Ray Russell Interview: Inside the Mind of Legendary Jazz Guitarist Ray Russell!

Boasting a career of more than 45 years of creative endeavour, Ray Russell's innovative and distinctly unique style of jazz fusion guitar work has inspired countless musicians and has produced a back-catalogue of work still appreciated today by jazz, rock, and folk, lovers around the world. I caught up with this living-legend to delve into his influences, playing, output, collaborations, and more. Interview conducted by Daniel Sharman.   

Dan: You mesh the influences of jazz and rock so seamlessly and have a tremendously distinct style of playing, who influences you and how do you allow these to culminate in your own playing?

Ray: The first three bands I was in professionally (John Barry 7, Georgie Fame and the Blue flames, Graham Bond organization) were all made up of  great musicians that played R&B and Jazz. The other common denominator is guitar! It's very hard not to influenced by modern music as the guitar is the main instrument in nearly everything.

Dan: Furthermore, were you directly influenced by any specific free, abstract jazz (or rock, etc.) musicians?

Ray: The first influence that comes to mind is John Coltrane. I wanted to recreate the sound and harmonic structures. I didn't see guitar as a softer sounding instrument. My take on J.C. Was that the guitar version would be a fiery full sound. Miles Davis, Jimmy Hendrix, Archie Shepp, lots of influences but apart from the harmonic knowledge is the Sonic signature. Gil Evans would say that “Everyone has their cry” . This means that people know it's you playing. Make things your own.

Dan: A large part of your discography was released as part of a 8 record deal you had with CBS, how did this come about and what caused them to sign you for 8 whole LPs?

Ray: I owe this to a forward thinking A&R man – David Howells. Unlike these days, the record companies would give the A&R guys a free hand.
David was really into starting the CBS realm label. This was his way of representing the new wave of British Jazz musicians. He did a great job In promoting the music, he was a true fan. Those albums have been re released and are still selling so the shelf life is still valid now.

Rock Workshop was a result of my R&B/rock influences. Again David heard a radio show we did for the BBC. It was a ten piece band that started with the late Alex Harvey as the vocalist. The solos could be very wild and break free of the rock format. This was a unique part of the bands identity.

Dan: You first stepped into the world of recording with your fantastic début album, 'Turn Circle', released in 1968. The album touched on cool modal jazz, and was much more restrained when compared to what was happening in the wider guitar scene at the time - Musicians like Jimi Hendrix trying to be anything but restrained. What motivated this album and can you describe the process of its creation?

Ray: Circle was a mix of styles. I was asked to play Footprints as it was a well known 'Jazz standard'. Some of the more 'cool' tunes were things we would play on BBC Jazz club. The programme felt more comfortable with a cooler approach. The album was a mix of both the older styles and a glimpse of things to come even though I might not have been aware of where it would go. It was music in flux.

Dan: The period of the seventies was a very creative time for you. 1971 saw one of your, in my opinion, best collaborations, which was with Bill Fay on his 'Time of Last Persecution'' LP. Can you tell us a bit about what your working with Bill on album was like, and how it came to happen?

Ray: That album has become legendary. You never think that thirty years later, people still love the way that album sounds. Bill encouraged us to play outside the circle and extend his songs. We recorded it over a weekend at Decca studios in North London. All live. I have just finished a new album with Bill for the Dead Oceans label. He writes great songs from the heart.

Dan: Furthermore, as you moved into the early seventies, your inclination on albums such as Dragon Hill, Rites and Rituals, and so on, became more angled towards crazy, free jazz. Can you tell what started this trend towards the abstract and how do you feel about your playing of this period?

Ray: How do I feel? It was a time of great learning. Playing that kind of music marginalised me with some of the Jazz community whereas the rock guys used to love it. I am proud of the albums produced then. Live at the ICA was a good album. RCA records reproduced a similar situation to CBS when Olav Wyper the head of A&R, made the ICA record and also an album by a more 'commercial' band we had at that time called 'Running man'.

Dan: Your playing repertoire of the time didn't just focus on free jazz, your 1972 band/album 'The Running Man' incorporated rock quite firmly into the mix. What inspired this album and did it allow you to express your rock influences in a way you hadn't had a chance to before that point?

Ray: The first sessions we did at Trident took a while to get the songs into the simulator feeling we had at rehearsals. We got there when we started to record All the fallen teen angels with Medicine Head. It was an interesting mix. We experimented with tracking a lot, going for a sound with lots of presence. I wasn't sure about some the outcomes originally but in retrospect, there was some good tracks. That record started with us being the Running men with a few arrows in our backs but by the end of a mix that was extremely loud, the wounds had healed.

Dan: Did you ever feel like you were ever going against the established mainstream jazz archetype over the course of your own releases? How do you feel about the state of modern jazz and free music?

Ray: An open approach to music would never cause a problem to the established or traditional way of things but living in the dark makes you question the light.

Dan: Speaking technologically for a moment, you've not always been the most conventional in your choice of music gear - for example, you are seen touting a Burns model guitar on front of your début 'Turn Circle' - How has your instrumental gear changed throughout your career? 

Ray: A Burns Trisonic which was my first solid body guitar. We went through a lot of great times together. Just guitar and amp at that time. I use a strat now. I have a great Bogner amp and some delay pedals for extra soundscaping. I have a few guitars but I seem to gravitate to the Fender as it just love the way it sounds even when it's unplugged you can tell by the wood it's going to be an empowering creative tool.

Dan: One last question that I've been dying to ask... On your 'Turn Circle' album, where does the 'A Day in the Life of a Slave of Lower Egypt' saga originate from?

Ray: I was reading about the pyramids and just thought that the music would depict some kind of ancient scene. It was a little tongue in cheek and the music was written first. Finding titles can be fun!

Do You Even Psychedelic? would like to issue a huge thank you to Ray for taking the time to complete this interview, and I would also like to wish him all the best on his and Bill Fay's new album.

Make sure to check out any of Ray's fantastic bands. These include: Nucleus, The Ray Russell Quartet, The Running Man, Ray's collaboration with Bill Fay, and his various other albums and works (especially those released as part of the CBS series).

Full discography of Ray's records with him as the main artist here, and make sure to look out for his and Bill Fay's new album.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Paraíso Flotante interview with Anna Cuadra and Pedro Fukuda!!

Continuing onwards with my series of Peru-based band interviews, I take a step back of sorts to delve into the minds of two ex-Montibus Communitas (a band whose interview kicked off this series) now performing together in their new group, Paraíso Flotante - a similarly experimental improvisational group. - Interview conducted by Daniel Sharman.

Dan: Where do you guys hail from, and who is in the band?

Anna: Well, for me, this kind of question is long to explain.  my place of birth was in Lima Perú but grew my whole life in Bogota Colombia. It’s was basically  me and Pedro, though before Pedro had been playing with other musicians under the same name. After a while it was hard to get everyone together so it established more between the two of us.

Dan: What were you doing previous to this band, and what inspired you to form Paraíso Flotante?

Anna: I had just arrived from Argentina a while ago and was recording my songs and playing with some local bands. Practically Pedro invited me to play in an acoustic & live environment, the day we had met in Brayan's place for the first jam, we had a real connection in our improvisation that day and we wanted to keep the same rhythm but exploring other “air” spaces.

Dan: Being an improvisational group, how do you go about writing? I mean to say, what inspires you and gives birth to the music you produce?

Anna: For me, is the need to play, then later we manage to remember and write in a creative unstructured way the things we want to rescue from our jams. Though, unfortunately we never recorded any of our jams together with Pedro.

Dan: What sort of bands, and records influence you? I think I heard some Gong-esque chants in gan/río prohibido.

Anna: Normally I listened to Soft Machine, Fleetwood mac, Gong, and King Crimson, whilst going to school,  but also, Herbie Hancock, Jaco Pastorius, Laurie Anderson, John Zorn, Mike Patton etc. and composers like Steve Reich, Arthur Russell, Arto Lindsay, Jun Miyake, Eyvind Kang, Raul Zarate, Brian Eno and the list goes on & on. I listen to albums like “Dark side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd; “The Youngs” by The Youngs; “Tierra” by Julieta Rimoldi; and “Parallelograms” by Linda Perhacs.

Pedro: I like Gong, but I don't really know their music that well. We all have different music that we like in this band. I like the art ensemble of Chicago, they have an influence on me. Secret Chiefs 3, Masada, Hamid Drake is one of my favourite drummers. I'm also into Baba Sissoko, Konono (the mbira band) and Oumou Sangare. Lately, I mostly listen to podcasts and audiobooks like the Church of What's Happening Now and the Illuminatus Trilogy audiobook on YouTube, which is brilliantly performed.

Dan: How/where were the albums recorded?

Pedro: So 'Gan Rio Prohibido' was recorded in my apartment by a friend's (the Singer) laptop . I don't have any kind of studio set up here it's just a rehearsal space, so the sound is not the best. I think you can hear the same dog  barking through the whole session which I kind of like. This particular session features my long time friend's Tete Leguia who is a brilliant bassist, and composer as well, who plays in many bands, and Carlos French who is a singer that also plays a lot electronic keyboards like Moogs and such.

Dan: What were some of the instruments used on the recordings? E.g: percussion, strings, ect.

Pedro: The instruments on that song I don't remember that well, but there's an acoustic nylon guitar  played with drumsticks (like Cairo Heroin-infused Street musician style); Tete on bass, there's an irish flute, a quena, drums, and we all sing.

Dan: What is next for Paraíso Flotante?

Anna: We have plans of recording virtually, but most important now is playing on live. Meanwhile, I guess Pedro will continue in Perú and me here in Argentina.

Pedro: I don't know. We´re not active now, although Nik Rayne [of Sky Lantern Records) is releasing a tape of our's. But, everyone from the band is playing, doing their own thing. I play in a crazy jazz trio with the bass player and Marco Mazzini - an amazing clarinet player from here. Carlos has his doom band. El Jefazo and I still play with Chicho who was a mayor presence in Montibus Communitas too.

Dan: Right, so you are an ex-montibus communitas member, can you tell me about that time?

Pedro: I met Brayan, who at that time called himself Brayan Buckt (his real name is Brayan Tipa), at this concert in Lima and I asked him to play, we jammed at his place and the second time I went there I met Anna and Sergio and that's when we recorded the material on the first LP. I started playing a lot with Anna and Chicho after that around that time Montibus had its first gig in Koca Kinto, which in my opinion is the only really good gig we ever played. After that people got excited and we wanted to rehearse and share ideas but Brayan said ''NO''! He said that the band was free-wheeling, that there would be no rehearsals... So we  kind of went fuck that and did our own thing.

Dan: We reviewed Pilgrim to the absolute recently, what do you think of that record?

Pedro: Well, now we're not in the Stone age there is Google. You know one time I went in there and put Montibus Communitas into search and there was all these interviews saying anybody could be in that and that we are mystics living at the edge of a river and that's when I got upset. No one ever asked if we liked that name Montibus Communitas. And it was a band with fixed members since Chicho played with us, Brayan brought in another bassist who didn't really click with us. 

Also most of the parts I played are credited under Brayan's name. After that we all left and we don't know anything about the band and we don't receive anything for any releases.

Dan: Lastly, is there anything else you would like to say?

Anna: Let there be more musicians able to risk their oneself to become one with music. Fashion and fame are good and motivating, but it comes and goes as fast as the wind. Kill your own idols & maintain yourself to be true to your real own essence.

Do You Even Psychedelic? would like to thank Anna and Pedro for taking the time to complete this interview. 

Make sure to like the band's facebook page here.

You can hear the band's music on their Soundcloud, here.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Happy Trails: John Cipollina's Guitar Rig + Technique Analysis - Chapter 2: Amps and Effects (Editorial)

Rig Rundown - Guitars - (see introduction here)

Several months ago I started a series on the guitar rig and playing techniques of the late, fantastic John Cipollina. This instalment will touch on Cipollina's amps and effects, you can read the first chapter, which focuses on his choice of guitars, here.

Amps: The amp set up Cipollina implemented was an integral part of his signature sound, and can be seen as driving force in solidifying the psychedelic sound of the San Francisco music scene of the 1960's. 

Cipollina's unusual selection and combination of amps resulted in an entirely unique amp stack. On the bottom of the stack sat two solid-state Standel bass amps, each of which were equipped with two 15 inch speakers. In contrast, on the top of the stack sat two Fender tube amps: a Twin Reverb sporting two 12-inch speakers, and a Dual Showman which had been modified to drive six Wurlitzer horns. 

As previously mentioned in chapter one, this set up was deliberately designed so as to form a symbiotic relationship with the guitar. Cipollina's SGs were wired to have one pickup going purely to the Standel bass amps, and have the other pickup going purely to the Fender guitar amps. This meant Cipollina could play with the low crunch of the Standel amps and the classic spiky cleans of the Fenders simultaneously. 

"I like the rapid punch of solid-state for the bottom, and the rodent-gnawing distortion of the tubes on top" - John Cipollina

Lastly, Cipollina also used the driven Wurlitzer horns to good effect, using a foot-switch to turn them on and off. When pushed by the Dual Showman, they provided a familiar rounded tone with overtones of distorted tube breakup (An example of the horn tone can be heard in Quicksilver Messenger Service's 'How You Love').

Effects: Moving onto the last element of Cipollina's famously extraordinary rig, we come to his effects. Although much of Cipollina's sound was provided courtesy of his eclectic amp selection, some of his tone was derived from effects pedals and units.

Most notably, Cipollina's Twin Reverb sported two tape echo machines, one fixed to either side. On the left clung a Standel Modulux, and in similar fashion, so did a Astro Echoplex on the right (scroll down to bottom for image of stack). Like the horns, operation of these was controlled by foot-switch. Quicksilver Messenger Service's 'Mona' provides a perfect example of these echo machines in use. 

Alongside these units, Cipollina also used several Vox wah pedals, which he often used to modulate his guitar signal when using his tape-echo's (once again, hear 'Mona'). For a fuzz, a Gibson Maestro was used (the same pedal used by The Rolling Stones on 'Satisfaction' and by The Doors on 'Hello, I Love You'). Volume pedals were also used when a song called for less distortion for example. 

Saturday, 25 October 2014

The Social End Products Interview with Sta Stea!

Tired of sampling your rock and roll only from the American school of musical psychedelia? Well, threat no more as we take a journey into the mind of Athens-based  quintet, The Social End Products. Drawing from the golden era of European psychedelia, the group captures all the pop rock spook-psych charm of the generation, but modernises it into a fresh, Greek package. - Interview conducted by Daniel Sharman.

Dan: Hi Sta, would you like to introduce yourself?

Sta: I'm the drummer and lead vocalist of the band. I also write the lyrics and some of the music.

Dan: Who else is in the band, and where is the band situated?

Sta: Manos plays guitar and performs vocals, Sara performs guitar/organ/vocals, Themos performs bass/vocals, and Myrto plays flute.

Dan: The band name 'Social End Products' is a very poignant name, where does it originate from?

Sta: We took our name from the title of the song of the same name by New Zealand's THE BLUESTARS. It represents us!

Dan: You guys have a sound reminiscent of the old, European psych groups of the sixties. What are some of your influences?

Sta: I would say we are more influenced from the American bands of the 60s and even more from the South American ones like Aguaturbia, Laghonia, etc. and also very much from sixties Greek bands like Peloma Bokiou, Nostradamos, etc. I feel those influences are more obvious to our new recordings.

Dan: On the band's facebook page, many interesting pieces of vintage gear can be seen. What guitars where you using on your latest sonic outing, Nutre Tu Cabeza?

Sta: Yes we love vintage instruments and when we find something interesting (and cheap) we buy it! Unfortunately, when we were recording our LP didn't have all that so we used a Fender Jaguar and a Fender Jazzmaster. But, on our new recordings we used our EKO guitar collection! 12-string Cobra, Auriga and Melody.

Dan: And how about amps, and effects?

Sta: We have a Fender Twin Reverb and an EKO Herald IV. We use a lot of effects, but think the most interesting is our sixties EKO Multitone.

From left to right: (top) Twin Reverb, EKO Cobra,
Fender Jaguar. (bottom) EKO Auriga. 

Dan: What about any other instruments, such as keyboards, drums, ect.?

Sta: We also use a 70s EKO Tiger Junior Organ.

Dan: Where did you record the latest album?

Sta: We do all our recording's at FEEDBACK SOUND STUDIO in Athens. It is the best for a vintage sound and our producer Harris Zourelidis is a true master of sound!!!

Dan: What have you learnt from Nutre Tu Cabeza's completion?

Sta: It's been very nice in the studio and tripping in the world of sound. Especially when you want to reproduce a sound of the past, you get to have a journey through time.

Dan: What's next for the Social end products?

Sta: We are recording new songs now. Two of them 'FEELS MUCH BETTER ON THE OTHER SIDE' and 'UTOPIA' will be on a 7". That will be out next month on Garden Of Dreams Records, the coolest label in Greece right now. The rest will be in a full LP, which is coming some time in spring. We also have some gigs this month with TOMORROWS TULIPS in Athens and with ALLAH-LAS in Thessaloniki.

Dan: Lastly, are there any shout-outs you would like to make?

Sta: We would like to thank everyone supporting us worldwide. 

Do You Even Psychedelic? would like to thank the band for taking the time to complete this interview.

Find the band's latest LP, and their past 7", here.

You can hear the single from the band's upcoming 7", Utopia, here.

Make sure to keep up to date with their Facebook page here.