Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Male Gaze - Gale Maze (2015) review


Male Gaze "Gale Maze" (Castleface Records, 2015)

A band that is commonly described as a super group, Male Gaze is already full of seasoned vets in the California music scene. Featuring former members of Blasted Canyons and Mayyors, this band is ready to make big waves. This album is full of crunchy guitar driven songs that are leaning more on the "punk" side of post-punk. Heavy 80s vibes are flowing throughout the album that makes you feel like maybe California is a little less sunshine and happiness and more closer to a gloomy London feel. Strap on your most beat up leather jacket, buy a pack of the cheapest cigarettes you can find, and get ready for a ride to a literal Death Valley. Be sure to check out Blasted Canyons while your at it, best band on Castleface Records in my opinion, and that label is a god damn treasure trove of amazing bands!


Review made by Matt Yablonski/2015
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2015

Yury Morozov - Cherry Garden of Jimi Hendrix


Yury Morozov "Cherry Garden of Jimi Hendrix" (1973/2015)

Morozov may be Russia’s most prolific artist, with estimates of more than 100 albums in his discography before his passing in 2006. This reissue of his 1973 masterpiece (hailed as “Russia’s first psychedelic album”) appends a healthy selection of bonus tracks from the same period (ca. ’74-’76). The variety of musical styles is staggering, from Beatlesque pop (McCartney is rumoured to contribute drums to one track!) to experimental musique concrete to avant garde jazzy skronk to eerie, haunted house organs (most of which are present in the offbeat opener “The Day Will Come”. Morozov recorded everything himself in his homegrown studio, often with homemade mixers and other recording equipment. Like Bevis Frond, Balduin, and Rick Corcoran, Morozov squeezes as much as possible out of his primitive surroundings, often dropping every sound effect he could muster into the proceedings.
Vocals occasionally grate, with his excursions into the upper registers particularly unsettling. But for every wackadoodle workout, there’s a pleasant pop song dying to get out, with “My Friend Pony” veering from acoustic folk to  Beefhartian shenanigans all under three minutes. Fans of electronic experimentalist Joe Byrd (United States of America, The Field Hippies) may enjoy Morozov’s “Hippie Song” and the title track, which includes maniacal screaming/singing/chanting that reminds of Ya Ho Wa 13 at their supreme heaviest.
Lyrics won’t help unless you speak or understand Russian, but the English translations may give you an inkling of what transpires inside Morozov’s head: “Requiem for a 6-String Guitar and A Boa”, “In The Kingdom of Masks” (a beautiful, flute-driven folk tune), and “Exhibition of Geishas” are some of the more colourful titles! The rest of the album reveals unusual surprises around each turn, whether it be wacky, helium-induced vocals, fractured fuzz guitar workouts, soothing acoustic folk meanderings, Sgt. Pepperish toytown pop, and other excursions just too weird to put into words! From the Bert Janschy “I Believe Anyway” to the fractured acid folk of “The Last Night” to the wacky, Bonzoid “Everybody Is Hiding Something” to the Country Joe & The Fish-like singalong frivolity “Please Allow Me Just A Little Bit”, this is an exciting collection of home made music from a genuine overlooked talent. Hopefully some of those other 100 albums will start to trickle out. Morozov’s wife Nina is hoping to obtain funding for issuing more of his albums, so visit his excellent, informative website (in both Russian and English) if you want to help out.

Review made by Jeff Penczak/2015
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2015

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Radio Moscow interview


Radio Moscow have been around for some years now and they released some of the finest "steroids" blues rock albums, with absolutely amazing musicianship. The band went through various of lineup changes and settle upon with founder Parker Griggs along with amazing bassist Anthony Meier and drummer Paul Marrone, who are both also involved with other projects, that we previously wrote about. Band is constantly touring, but we managed to get Anthony Meier to talk about the Radio Moscow world.

You are influenced by various underground bands from the late '60s and early '70s including Sir Lord Baltimore, Granicus, Randy Holden and stuff like that (including 'Krautrock'. I hate this term). Is there a certain band that really stood out influence wise and if so why was this particular band something special for you?

As far is big bands go, three bands that stood out to me and got me into playing music when I was younger were Jimi Hendrix Experience, Black Sabbath, and Pink Floyd. All three bands were forces to be reckoned with during their prime periods and they all rubbed off on me. I started getting into more of the old underground music as time went on and discovered loads of bands. Two of the earlier international bands that stood out to me were Flower Travellin Band and early Amon Düül II. They really developed their own authentic style of playing music and were a bit different than most of the rest. The musicianship in both bands was incredible. There are lots more of other bands like that that I love but those were just two of the earlier underground bands that stood out and had a direct influence on me throughout the years. 3 of my top favorite american hard rock bands are Dust, Cactus, and Captain Beyond. 



How did you first come in contact with this kind of music? Was it through your family collection or you found it on internet, because these days quite a lot of underground music is well stored on net, which is pretty great!

My parents, brothers, uncles, etc, did not listen to this kind of music. I came in contact with the underground through friends, books, and most importantly the internet. Sometimes I wonder if the internet never existed if I would have gotten so into all of this music. It played a huge part in me discovering bands that I would have never heard of before hand most likely. There is a lot of accessible ways to listen to music and learn about bands and the history of the era and such. 


The current lineup is not the original one. How did you get in the band? Let us know how did the lineup change during the years?

Before I joined the band, I had seen three different lineups of the band live throughout the years. Paul rejoined the band for the third time and at the time he was also playing in a few other bands. My other band Sacri Monti (interview here) started playing shows with Paul's other bands and that is how we met each other. Parker moved to Southern California and the first time I saw him down here was at a show that we played in Encinitas. I think he liked the band and what we were doing but I did not meet him that night. Then one day I was hanging with my friend Brian Ellis and we went over to Parker's house and jammed for hours, had some drinks and some joints. I did not know at the time he was on looking for a new bass player and I think him and Paul had a talk about who they would want to join and my name was one of the first few to come up. A week later I got an email from him asking if I wanted to join Radio Moscow and tour Europe for a month. I had 7 weeks to learn as much as material as I could. It's been really great playing and hanging with Parker and Paul, they are two of my favorite musicians and are also two of my very close friends.

You are part of psychedelic freak-out band called Sacri Monti (interview here) that has been extensively interviewed by Roman Rathert. How do you manage to do all the bands and what is like to be in Radio Moscow? It must be a lot of fun, since different bands play different music and different members mean different personalities?

Sacri Monti is a 5 piece band of some of my closest friends who I grew playing music with. We all used to jam for years before the band was even formed and all have same musical taste and influences. It is a band that we all started together and some of the members also have other bands and projects they are working on. We formed the band at the end of 2012, played a lot of shows around San Diego 2013, and also recorded a demo in May 2013 with Brian Ellis. We just recently finished recording our first full length album that is due on July 21, 2015 through Tee Pee Records. I am on my ninth tour right now with Radio Moscow. For Me, Radio Moscow is more about structure because I play the songs pretty much how they are on the record while Parker does his thing, although there are a few parts where we all improvise together live. With Sacri Monti I am able to mix things up a bit more during live shows depending on where the band takes things at the time. It's a nice blend of structure and improvisation and the shows are always different. Due to all of our schedules, it's not the easiest thing in the world being able to all get together at once to rehearse with Sacri Monti because or been gone a lot of the time and the others have jobs, and other bands as well. I'm glad we finished our record though and hopefully will have some more opportunity in the near future. Doing a European tour is a goal for 2016. As far as different personalities go within the bands, I love all of them and we all get along great which is important. 

You recently released Magical Dirt. Comparing with your previous releases, what would be the difference? I think that with every release you are becoming more "mature" as a musician.

So far in the past Parker has done all the song writing in the albums for this band and I haven't been a part of it. I was fortunate enough to be able to play on Magical Dirt though. At this point we are all very fluid with the material. Not sure exactly how the next album will be though. We will maybe all three write songs together or Parker will continue to do it by himself. Only time will tell. You can definitely tell that he has matured a lot in his songwriting from listening to the first 2004 demos up until Magical Dirt. I really like the production work on this album and the overall sound of it all. 



You are touring quite a lot. What are you currently up to as far as touring goes?

At this point in time (March 26, 2015) we are in Europe and have 8 more shows to play. We just played Rockpalast last night which was  very important show for us. This tour started on feb 17 with a total of 37 shows. We did 16 of them supporting Colour Haze which was an honor and a lot of fun. The shows and the crowds were really good. Once those shows were over we continued on with our own headlining shows. Going to make our way through Spain and finish the tour in Portugal at the Sound Bay Festival. We plan to come back in July for a festival run and some club shows. 


And other future plans?

It would be cool to be able to make it out to Australia or Japan and more of Scandinavia or something like that but who knows if that will happen or not. Hopefully we can get another album together for a release in early 2016 for Radio Moscow. As for Sacri Monti, we will see what happens after our album releases on July 21. Would be nice to keep writing more material. Aside from all the music I will spend time with friends, family and my love, Carolina, when not touring. Right now she is living in Portugal so before and after tours I spend time there and she will be out in the USA soon.

Some time ago our writer Carlos Ferreira catch you up on a show in Stairway Club in Casicas, Portugal and he wrote a live report describing your show as: " This was one of the most unbelievably good concerts I have ever attended. In fact, it was so good that a new adjective has to be made up to qualify the quality of such a show. Radio Moscow should be placed up high as any of the greats people regard as cornerstones of heavy rock. They have soul, talent and songs of unearthly quality and groove. What a night, man! What a night." (Live report here). You are one of those bands, that gives everything for a live show and that should be really respected these days!

That show in Portugal was a lot of fun and the crowd was great. It was sold out and there were a lot of people jammed in together and crowd surfing. I remember talking to Carlos after the show, he was a really nice cool guy and I am honored that he had such nice things to say about us in the review he wrote.  


Who is taking care of cover artwork Radio Moscow and Sacri Monti?

An artist name Anthony Yankovich did the artwork for Magical Dirt. I believe he also did the artwork for the first two albums as well. For Sacri Monti it was a collaboration between friends of ours, Danica Molenaar and Dana Trippe.

How do you see the current rock scene? There is quite a lot psychedelic bands coming out. We probably won't see united psychedelic scene like it was back in the days, but with a help of internet, bands are popping out everyday and it seems, that we are all well connected. Are there any bands you would like to mention, that deserve some recognition?

If you compare the rock seen to how it was from 2004 until now, it has definitely been moving in a positive direction. There are a lot of hard rock, psychedelic, stoner rock, and other bands that have come about in the past decade and I think a lot of those hard rock influences that most people thought were dead are really starting to resurface. The scene seems to be bigger in Europe I noticed. Majority of America seems to still be more based around pop music and indie and this neo psych thing. We have a large handful of rad bands from San Diego right now doing the hard rock and psychedelic thing some of them being Earthless, Astra, Harsh Toke, Psicomagia (interview and review), Artifact, Red Octopus, Arctic, Joy, Loom, Monarch! and more. I really like the bands Prisma Circus from Barcelona and Heat from Berlin too. Also we just played with a new band called Sunder from Lyon, France. It's all the same members from The Socks, and their new project is awesome. 


What do you like to do besides music? 

The past years my life has been revolving mostly around music whether its been jamming, rehearsing, touring, going to shows, reading about it and a lot of listening to albums/records. When I was younger I used to skateboard a lot and grew up around the scene too where there are a ton of skaters but I chilled out on it some years ago and focusing on music and not getting hurt. I still do it every now and then. When I'm home I like to hang with my friends too to pass the time. 

Are you reading anything right now?

I recently finished a book written by Noel Redding about his time with The Experience. I found it in Portugal for 2 euros and didn't know it existed. It was a very nice read and very interesting. They really got screwed over big time big then. 

What's on your turntable right now?


I am on tour now so there is no turntable but there is wifi and YouTube and also a bunch of bands in my iTunes library on my phone. Just finished listening to Ash Ra Temples second album called Schwingungen. Before this I was listening to this progressive album named Future Legends by a band called Fruupp. 



We can not deny the comeback of vinyl records. They are coming back stronger than ever. Maybe a bit more in USA than in Europe, but I think this is really great and that vinyl with digital download is truly a perfect format. You can have your own ritual at your home listening to vinyl and when you go out you can put those digital tunes into your player and off you go. I think, that all of your records are available on vinyl. Do you all have a collection? Can you comment this comeback and maybe share a few words about your own  collection.

Yes I agree that it is really nice that vinyls have been coming out with digital downloads too. I do have a collection of over 500 LPs that I have purchased throughout the years. Sadly at this moment they are in storage because I am in a transitional period from moving houses. It's mostly a collection of old hard rock, psychedelic rock, progressive, krautrock, blues, classics, and also some more recent gems as well. I spent a lot of time digging through different record stores and still do but it is an expensive habit. It's really nice going to some Record stores on your in Europe too because there's a lot of stuff there that you don't find in the States.

We should return back to the album making. Where was your latest album recorded and what gear (equipment) were you using?

Magical Dirt was recorded at one of the best studios North County has to offer called Big Fish. I happened to end up using a 1964 Gibson Atlas bass amp head through an Ampeg 8x10 and an old Danelectro bass that Parker has. On the Sacri Monti album we recorded at a studio called Audio Design in San Diego. I used my Rickenbacker through and Acoustic 360 with a little kick from a vintage Ibanez super tube screamer. 


Since you're playing heavy psychedelic blues I want to ask you about the use of hallucinogens. I have been reading and experimenting with psilocybin quite a lot and with a help of masterminds like Terence McKenna and our beloved Patrick Lundborg, who recently passed (author of book Psychedelia) you can really learn a lot about your consciousness. What's your opinion about these plants and other assorted mind-benders? Do you like to use them? Do they have any impact on you as a musician or as a person in general?

I like psychedelics and am not against the use of them. I've had my fair share of trips in the past ranging from playing shows on mushrooms, smoking salvia in the forest, drinking San Pedro cactus and some LSD trips. I think there's a time and a place for all of the psychedelics and for me personally I don't use them excessively but I enjoy them. I feel that it all as had somewhat of a positive impact on me as a musician and a person in general. I had an epiphany when I watched parts of Pink Floyd live at Pompeii and Zeppelin live at Royal Albert Hall on LSD. Last time I used them was before playing a show in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Luckily I was on a good one that night.

I think we covered quite a lot of your story. I wish you all the best and hope to catch you soon...

Thanks a lot Klemen. Hope to meet you in the near future.

OK! Last word is yours!

Thank you to anyone who took the time to read this interview and supports the two bands I am in. Hopefully we will be coming to a town near you soon. Keep an eye out for the San Diego underground too.



Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2015
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2015

Friday, March 27, 2015

Interview wishlist


These are some of the names we would really like to interview, but we can't find any contacts. If any of you know anyone or have contact please help us out. Thank you.

Beacon Street Union
The New Tweedy Bros
Bear Mountain Band
Circuit Rider
Ant Trip Ceremony
Aorta
Bohemian Vendetta
The Bachs
Brain Police
Country Weather
Fraction
Haymarket Square
D.R. Hooker
Ill Wind
Lazy Smoke
Lyd
Maze
Marcus
Music Emporium
Neighb'rhood Childr'n
The Paisleys
Phantasia
The Savage Resurrection
Shiver
The Third Estate
Top Drawer
The Tripsichord Music Box
Zoldar & Clark
The Viola Crayola
The Aggregation
American Blues Exchange
Banchee

The Heavy Co. interview with Ian Gerber


You like heavy rock? Blues? And maybe a hint of stoner? OK, then stop right here, because the following band is just want you need. They released three albums, their last Uno Dose came out on cassette and it's a true gem of heavy blues rock, that will blow your socks off. Check them out at:   

What can you tell us about the beginning of The Heavy Co.?

I started the band in Indianapolis after moving there in 2008.  I was in another band at the time and wanted to do something more roots rock based, groove orientated, and psychedelic than just pummeling stoner sludge.  I put an ad out on the local music site.  Right away, about 5 different drummers asked about it, but they thought I was going pay them to play my music.  I guess they didn’t understand the idea of joining an original rock band.  I guess these guys consider themselves “professionals”.  More power to them.  However, Jeff messaged me about a month after I posted the ad.  He said he wasn’t much of a drummer but he was interested and had a studio.  I knew the band he had played guitar in previously and the fact that we could record ourselves was pretty much exactly what I was after, not to mention that he listened to Nebula and Fu Manchu.  Shit, we’re still waiting to get paid. 
    
Where are you coming from?  

That’s a pretty broad question.  I think I like the explanation that we are stars observing ourselves the best.  Enough funny business though...  We are based out of Indianapolis, IN, USA.  Indy is a pretty kicking town and the music scene really isn’t bad.  Everybody bitches about their scene, unless they are from Nashville or NYC or somewhere similar, but I think Indianapolis does pretty well for itself.  It’s not big enough to have too many fuckers with big egos.  Everyone ends up with a place to play and people like to come out to shows.  The metal scene is really where it’s at.  It’s a good place for THC to play out.  Everyone has seen all of the other bands here at least once.  We don’t play in Indy a ton.  We don’t get to play out a whole bunch, so when we do play a hometown show, people show up.  We try to go somewhere or play bigger profile shows whenever possible.  That has worked out for us, luckily, pretty well.  People enjoy seeing us because it’s probably been a hot minute since the last time and we aren’t the typical ‘heavy’ band.  Your mom and girlfriend will probably enjoy our set as much as the metal heads.
    
What was your local music scene like where you grew up? Were you involved?

I grew up in a town about an hour north of Indianapolis by the name of Lafayette.  I got to go to the shows in Indy, but luckily, Lafayette is attached to Purdue University and has it’s own really unique scene.  It’s not quite as hopping as other college towns with music scenes; Bloomington, IN  or Madison, WI come to mind, but the people in town are dedicated and the last decade has been pretty good for a town of 100,000 (counting students).   I started playing shows in high school with THC’s original bass player, Ryan Strawsma. We were fucking terrible.  However, we got to meet a lot of people who helped us get it together and we also go to watch a lot of music.  It helped keep us out of jail and off of nasty drugs and the like....fact.  While every musician has dreams of the big time, I have always been focused on my local music scene.  I believe that you should invest in your community if you want them to invest in you.  If you go to a place like, say, Nashville, and fail, what do you do have to come back to?  I have been more concerned with playing at The Lafayette Brewing Co. than Madison Square Garden.  These days I want to get THC to Europe for the festivals there, and I personally have a goal of playing The Ryman in Nashville, but you have to respect your roots...no matter how far away you get from them. 

Are any of you in any other bands right now or do you have any active side projects going on?   

We recently recorded an album of heavy psychedelic jams with a different drummer so Jeff could play guitar.  It was supposed to be a Fu Manchu tribute show for this past Halloween, but the show got cancelled.  Since we had set aside the rehearsal time to play with Nick, the other drummer, we decided to jam for a month and record it.  We got some real gnarly stuff.  We have named the project Fuck Earth.  The record is going to be a real awesome head-fuck of a time.  I consider it to be ‘Nihilistic Psychedelia”.   It should be out digitally this summer on our DPR Records label.  We also started a side project with a friend of mine who basically came back from the dead, more or less.  She has a crystal clear, angelic voice and does coffeehouse/alternative folk material, but she is also a fan of heavy music.  She doesn’t have a lot of exposure to the stoner/doom scene...so naturally I thought it was a great idea to have her sing in front of stoner/doom band.   We have just gotten started on it.  It’s the most straight up ‘stoner/doom’ stuff we have written.  It’s a lot heavier than typical THC.  We tuned down the guitars and cranked the amps.  I think people will flip their gourds if we get through the project.  It’s going to be a 3 song EP based around the experience of drinking absinthe.  Hopefully we will get to release it digitally this year as well.  

Have any of your released any music with anyone else in the past?  If so, can you tell us a little bit about that here?  

I was in a stoner/sludge band called The Moundbuilders for a hot minute, along with Ryan -the original bass player-.  Jeff was in Necropharmacon with our current bass player, Michael Naish, before THC started.  They were groovy and sludgy.  Naish was also in a really heavy doom band called Sleepbringer.  THC is pretty much my full time project.  Ryan and Jeff started a stoner/punk/doom hybrid band called The Hedons that released two records.  I think you can find all of that on Bandcamp.  I have been working on some Americana/Country/Rock material that doesn’t quite fit THC’s sound and I hope to take that to Nashville to shop around to publishing companies and labels.  However, everyone is still real focused on what THC is doing and we haven’t strayed much.  I think it’s good.  I like being in a band where everyone is invested and committed to the goals at hand.
     
When did you decide to start writing and performing your own music?  

I have always been focused on writing my own music.  I rarely learn cover songs.    I picked up the guitar to express myself.  I have always considered myself a songwriter.  I think that shows in THC’s sound where most other bands in the genre are more centered on the riff.  It’s what sets us apart.  Not everyone gets it in the scene...but I think the ones who do, really support that aspect.  You might have a great riff...but it’s just a riff if you can’t write a song around it.  People like choruses and hooks.   Sabbath and Zeppelin could riff and jam all day...but at the end of the day, they wrote KILLER songs. That’s why we still listen to them, not because of the solos.  

Do you have a certain creed in the band?  

We do what we want to do. That’s the idea.  We show up to have fun and jam.  As much as we’d like for a label to put out our albums on vinyl, we revel in the fact that we are DIY...and that lets us be as creative as we want.  No deadlines....no expectations.  If we want to release something...we do it.  We are fans of the genre first and foremost and we are happy to be able to get to play shows with bands that we dig as fans...like The Heavy EyesMos Generator, and Elder, to name a few.  Because we can play whatever music we want, it has opened up a lot more options for playing shows with jam bands or country bands or whoever we feel like playing or collaborating with.  If anything, THC was meant to be a core group of guys who could collaborate and jam with anyone.  

What are some major influences on your sound?  

Everything.  We are all big ‘stoner rock’ rock fans.  We all agree on Fu Manchu, Nebula, Clutch, Monster Magnet and Kyuss.  We all like Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd. Rock music in general.  If I was to hand out stereotypes for the band;   Naish seems to go for the REAL heavy stuff before the rest of us,  I’m the classic rock/soul/R&B/country fan, and Jeff likes a lot the bands like Samsara Blues Experiment, Radar Men From The Moon....space rock.  I don’t think we hide our influences at all. I mean, we have a song called NEIL YOUNG!  We listen to everything and take notes.  All of us are students of rock and roll, but we bring in influences from all over.  That’s the name of the game, you know?  Otherwise it gets real stale real fast.    I have wrote for blogs like The Soda Shop and The Ripple Effect in the past, so I have a pretty good flow of the newest stuff going on in the scene.  It helps us keep relevant, but we refuse to be derivative or follow a trend if we can help it.  THC was lucky that the heavy, psychedelic, blues sound was real popular in the scene when we started.  That wasn’t on purpose.  We were just making the music we liked hearing and I wrote the songs because that was what I heard in my head and what I could get to come out through my fingers.  We aren’t going to change our sound just because some band got real popular on a sound that we can reproduce.  That wouldn’t be fair to anyone.  
     
What’s the songwriting process like for your band?

Well, lately it’s been super collaborative and very jam influenced.  It’s super exciting actually.  We are playing telepathically and experimenting more than ever.  We are getting real comfortable doing that.  When they aren’t long instrumental pieces, I usually have a lot of the songs mostly written ahead of time.  The first two albums were written by myself and then I’d present them to the band.  I like doing that and hate doing that at the same time.  I think it’s good for the band to sound like the band...not just one person’s vision.  That’s taken a lot of learning on my behalf to get used to, but it’s for the better.    I think a lot about songwriting though.  I think that every song I write is just a gift from the universe.  More often than not, it just pours out in a couple of minutes. Rarely do I have to work on it.  I don’t know where it comes from or when it’s coming...it just happens.  I hope that never stops.  You can get ‘good’ at writing songs, but I doubt I’ll ever be the songwriter who could just sit down and do it on queue.  My universe just gets in tune with itself and *poof* THC has another song to rehearse.     Naish is a riff machine, to his credit.  He’s been really pushing Jeff and I’s playing since he joined the band.  When we were without a bass player (when we recorded the studio tracks for Uno Dose)  Jeff would sit down at the drum kit and I’d kick on the fuzz pedal and away we went.  Still, it just happened...almost telepathically.  Jeff could tell when I was on to something and he’d hurry to get the recorder going and get behind the set.  It’s one of the most amazing things in my life and I cherish greatly.  It’s not to be taken lightly or for granted if you have that gift, no matter what level you get to take it to.
      
How do you like to record? Do you all enjoy studio work?

We LOVE recording.  We haven’t gotten to do a lot with Mike, but Jeff and I would just stay in the studio all of the time if we could.  We’ll probably end up with a real deal studio in the near future and run it as a production team (THE DOUGH BROS. ! :) ).  For real.  The thing about recording is that you do it the way it works best for you, the best tool for the job is the one you already have, and it has to serve the song...not your personal desires.   I could write a whole thesis about recording.  I like playing live, but I would be perfectly happy if I just push record and handle faders for the rest of my life.    To be specific to your question, we record at Jeff’s Crunchtone Studios.  All of our stuff has been recorded there except the live tracks on Uno Dose. We did that in our friend’s, The McGregors, big barn in the middle of a corn field, somewhere in the Indiana country side.  They like there privacy, so that’s all you get on that.   Anyway, we record digitally.  I have a tape machine, but it broke right in time for us to start on Midwest Electric....so it all got done on a computer.  We’d love to record to tape in a professional recording studio, and we might end up doing that for the next record, but we have more technology to record than anyone of us thought we would when we started, so we are grateful.  We don’t have as much as some people, but more than most musicians who do what we do.  It’s a blessing. 

Your very first album came out a few years ago. The Heavy (Please Tune In...) was digital release. What can you tell us about it?  

Well, I wrote those songs right after I moved back to Lafayette from Indianapolis.  I was real depressed.  The bottom had just fallen out from under me.  I lost my girl, my job, and a lot of self-esteem.  It really marks an era of immense personal growth for me.  Most of those songs are just about depression though...you know, THE HEAVY.  But there was a sound that kept coming to me.  We had a good idea about how the songs went, but after I moved back, I knew what I was supposed to sing about.  “There’s a town south of here...” is about Indianapolis, but it’s also a metaphor for depression.  I’m in a better spot these days...less angry for sure...so I hope to never visit that place in my head again.    That record went over REAL well.  This is where I have to thank The Evil Engineer (formerly The Soda Shop’s) Bill Goodman.  He did THC a super solid. A LOT of other people got behind us...Todd at The Ripple Effect and JJ at The Obelisk for sure, and more recently Pat Harrington who plays us on his Electric Beard of Doom podcast.  Pat even played slide on State Flag Blues from Uno Dose.  Anyway,that is just the TIP of the iceberg, so to speak.   
So, back to the topic, I’m still shocked anyone listened to it.  When I realized that it had been listened to a couple thousands of times by people all over the world, that was the moment that I knew I wasn’t going to stop playing music...ever.  People in my hometown didn’t even know about it...and it is a musical place where people pay attention to bands that are on a roll.  It was so crazy that I could fly it under the radar here and people from Sweden, Itally, Ireland, Scotland, etc. kept tuning into it.  

Only recently have people here realized what we have been up to.  I have to say, that even though we have an international audience who really does support the music...and we REALLY appreciate that...when my hometown caught on, that made me real proud.  It feels like I get to give back to something that has given me so much.  


Your next release was Midwest Electric, which came out on CD. What do you think is the difference between your debut and your second album?  

Well, some things fell apart. That’s what that record is about.  I’m not a real big fan of it, personally.  The important this is that it eventually got done and that the band kept going.  There was a LOT of interpersonal struggle in the band.  Also, I learned a lot of hard lessons in rock and roll.  My ego was unchecked and it got taken down a notch or a hundred after that.  I learned that I had a lot to learn about recording a record and that I have to be more open minded to other people’s input.  It went over OK with the scene, but I know it’s not the record I wanted it to be.  Hey, even Neil Young has though records though.  I’d say that is my Neil Young record more than anything. It got done my way...whether it was a good thing or not.....but it got done...MY WAY.  I was reading about Neil a lot and I thought I had a leg to stand on.  Wrong.  I learned to appreciate what I have and not worry about what I don’t.  Like I said, hard lessons in rock and roll.  I want to remix that record and put out a shorter, more concise, version of it in the future.  I think the songs deserve that.  Regardless, it showed that the scene was still behind us and I am grateful that people stuck with us.    


We first heard your latest album, Uno Dose. It was released on cassette and is truly a nice heavy blues (stoner?) gem. What's the story behind making it?   


Jeff and I were left without a bass player for a while.  We stopped playing together because we were trying to figure out some of the logistics of keeping THC going.  Jeff had just started his massage business, I was in college and also dealing with some stupid personal stuff...relationship drama and what not.  Sidenote....if you ever think you might want to be in a band...having a girlfriend might not be the best idea.  Anyway, it gave me the time to accumulate some material and Jeff and I really enjoyed playing and recording it by ourselves.  It helped focus our energy and gave the band direction again.  It was really the start of the album we are working on now, but when Naish joined us, we decided we wanted to start the writing process fresh with him.    There was a lot of sonic experimentation and we were working on the groove too.  I really like the studio songs on the tape.    When Mike joined up, we had to get him ready to play shows, so like I said earlier, we went out into the country and set up shop for a day.  We were going to release the live takes with accompanying videos, but when you do it all yourself (writing, recording, mixing, and editing video and audio) it can be overwhelming and we didn’t get all of the video done.  The video from “What’s Eating Harry Lee” came from that day though...so it wasn’t a total wash on the video side.  Somewhere in there, we decided to put it out on tape. More than anything, we didn’t want to do another CD and putting out a tape was financially reasonable.  It was well received and I think it’s a pretty decent release.  Josh Gurley really did us a solid on the graphics and layout too.  That dude is the 4th member of our band and he deserves way more credit than he gets.  I certainly appreciate it and I know the other guys do too.    Anyway, since we had two EP releases, I brought back an old idea of release them both at the same time. The cassette format was real conducive to the idea...so side one is Uno and side two is Dose.  It’s pretty catchy... in my humble opinion.  :)       


What gear are you using?   

Man, we use a lot of different gear.  My main rig is what is on the Uno side of our tape.  It’s a Gibson SG into a Matchless Clubman 35 and a clone of the the Triangle BIg Muff.  That’s the main sound.  We could go on and on about our gear but it’s easy to say that we use pedals built by Tom Dean and amps that Tom and Jeff built as Hot Bottle Amps.    I’ll say this...if it sounds good...use it.  Don’t try to copy someone else’s sound.  It won’t work.  FInd what works for you and then play it....A LOT.  Eddie Van Halen sounds like EVH on whatever guitar he picks up.  Better yet, I just heard this the other day:  Chet Atkins was playing a guitar in a shop in Nashville when a lady said to him, “that’s a really nice sounding guitar”.   He put in on the stand and said, “how does it sound now”?    So, yeah, that.     


Lately there is a comeback of vinyl records. What's your opinion about vinyl comeback? Can we expect something by your band released on vinyl?  

I love it.  I know this is cliché, but I had a stack of records way before the comeback. True story.  I was always buying busted record players to try and fix them because there weren’t any new ones to buy so I could listen to my collection.  It‘s been said before, so I won’t beat a dead horse, but putting a CD on just doesn’t compare to the experience (not just the fidelity argument) of playing vinyl.  That is how rock music is supposed to be heard, again, in my humble opinion.  If we are going to have a vinyl release, someone needs to release it for us.  We aren’t really well off enough financially to do it ourselves at the moment and we have to pay our bills before we can even think about putting out a vinyl record.  That’s just being honest.  I’d really flip my lid if Kozmik Artifactz/ Bilocation, Small Stone, Ripple, or STB would take us on.  I really like those labels....HINT HINT.  
      
What would be perfect format for you?

I think it would be cool to JUST release a vinyl record.  You can’t download vinyl.  Someone would inevitably rip it digitally and put it online, most definitely, but I think it would be the best motivation for someone to actually buy the record instead of pirating.  I’d rather someone steal the record than not listen to it all...but I think you get what I’m saying.  I have wanted to release a real vinyl record since before I found out that you still could.  It’s kind of on the bucket list.        

Are you collector?

Yeah, but I don’t have a huge collection.  I’m more of a listener than a collector.  I try to buy the vinyl off of the bands that really blow my mind...but it’s easier to play them on Spotify in the long run. Plus, they get a LITTLE something extra when I do that along with the album sale.  Lately, Sturgill Simpson, The Heavy Eyes, Geezer, Brant Bjork and The Low Desert Punks, and All Them Witches have gotten my lunch money.     

What about gigs? Do you do a lot of touring?

Not a ton.  I think once we get this new record done, we will more ambitiously pursue doing a real tour.  Live, we are a new band with Naish in it.  We have a lot of chemistry.   I’m sure this interview will post after we play the gig, but we are about to compete for a spot on a festival called Summer Camp.  Normally, I wouldn’t get excited about a ‘battle of the bands’, but this one is special.  I realized that I had to get a band together after going to Summer Camp with a band called The PMG a few years ago.  It’s safe to say it was a big catalyst of THC.  Long story short, if we win the spot, I think it will bump up our band’s stock up, regionally speaking.  It’s sort of a big deal to get to play that festival, at least around here, and with the local community showing support like it has been lately, I think it’s possible.    We went to Milwaukee last summer and got to play a pre-show slot at Days of The Doomed.  I can not express how COOL those fans are.  I have never been to a show that has shown that much support for the scene...the bands AND fans. I wish Mike Smith was doing another one this year, but I understand why he isn’t.  Everyone in THC will remember that gig.  We were excited to get to play out of the state...but to be so well received, fuck man, I’m trying to keep my eyes from watering about it as I type.  I want to tour just so I can go visit with that community again.  Such rad people.  Also, we got to play at a venue called The Vogue, in Indy, and open for Brown Sabbath.  First, if you are from Indy, you HAVE to play The Vogue if you are going to do anything, so to speak, in that town.  It doesn’t mean you will, but it’s a necessary step if you are going to.  Also, Brown Sabbath is Black Sabbath songs played with a HORN SECTION. So powerful.  It couldn’t be a better representation of where my musical tastes cross up.  So, I think we have played some great shows lately and I am excited to see what else we get to do with the band.  I know we are down for it.  We have worked too hard to give up on it now.   

Can you share some less known bands, that you would like us to hear?

You HAVE to listen to All Them Witches.   SOOOO GOOOD.  Jeff and I saw them last week and we drove back to the studio with our jaws dropped while we tried to put back the pieces of our musical ambition.  It was a near religious experience.     Also, Jeremy Irons and The Ratgang Malibus....unreal.  It’s like Jeff Buckley if he would have pursued his Zeppelin influence over his NYC coffeehouse/art scene ambitions....or maybe just got to make more records.  They have to be tired of hearing that by now, but it’s the only band I have heard that has a singer that even comes close to having a voice like that.  I don’t know how big he is in Europe, but Sturgill Simpson made the best record I have heard in at least ten years.  It’s country. It’s psychedelic. It’s amazing.  He got on the Billboard Country Charts (last I heard, he had made it to #11) with a record he put out himself.  He most recently got the #1 position on the Nashville Writers Poll.  He was nominated for a Grammy.  Just a three or so years prior, he had all but quit playing music.  It’s a really great story. He just signed to Atlantic Records.  I like the guy’s music so much that I even have a tattoo with some of his lyrics in it.  I can’t sing Metamodern Sounds In Country Music’s praise enough.  I saw him live two nights in a row and he is just KILLER live.  His whole band is airtight, but most notably, his guitar play, Laurs Joamets, had never even played country music before joining the band. He was playing rock music in Estonia when the drummer from Rival Sons (Sturgill and Rival Sons have the same producer, Dave Cobb) referred him to Dave.  It just blows my mind.  Records like that don’t come along very often.  I just can’t stop listening or talking about it.  To know me these days is to know that you should listen to Sturglll Simpson.   The Golden Grass (interview here) is really rad and pretty unique. They have those good time hippy vibes but still carry a heavier rock boogie sound.  I got the opportunity to record some songs for their guitar player’s last project and I’m sold on just about any rock project he undertakes.  He and Adam are crackerjack musicians.  They are fancy dressers too.  I’m just jealous...I can’t pull that off.  I just saw The Well open for All Them Witches too.  The gal on bass fucking brings it.  They groove hard.  I dig the whole band and the sound they make. I even had to give them a spot on my patch jacket because they brought it so hard.  
  Finally, Geezer.  I’m not usually one for rough vocals, but Pat Harrington is the fucking man at it.  It’s such a good combo with the heavy blues sound that they make.  I just love it.  He’s such a great supporter of the scene too.  I wish I was half as cool as that dude.

Thank you very much. Last word is yours.

I just want to say thank you to anyone who has listened to our records, shared a link with us in it,  bought our record, came to a gig, wrote a review or done an interview.  I mentioned how low (heavy) I have gotten in the past and if it wasn’t for you guys, I’m not sure I would have made it.  I know that Naish, Jeff and I show up to the studio every week and our so thankful that we get a chance to just blast our amplifiers and drums knowing that somewhere out in the world, someone is going to really dig it.  It’s a privilege that we don’t take lightly.  For real.  It means the world to us to do so.  So, thank you guys and gals, most sincerely, for tuning in.  We’ll keep playing if you keep listening....and even if you don’t.  Thank you.   


Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2015
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2015

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Shape Breaker interview with Patrick Hickey


There’s a little bit of anything that you want going on in Shape Breaker, with deep fried fuzz cloaked guitar freak-outs and catchy as hell vocals soaked in reverb, left echoing and shivering out in a distorted winter of frozen noise.  There are equal parts early 60s garage and mid 70s psych rock teamed with a ridiculously devastating proclivity for wicked hooks and gnarled and twisted pop sensibilities going on in Shape Breaker’s music.  From early beginnings as a one-man solo-project to the fully-realized lineup that performs the music live at this point, Patrick Hickey has been refining and perfecting the sound that will define him to the world then they bother to catch on for years at this point; and trust me it’s only a matter of time before people start to take notice!  Philadelphia is home to so many great bands that it boggles the mind, but Mike Polizze’s Purling Hiss and Birds Of Maya jump to mind immediately and it’s kind of hard to top that for me, it’s some of my favorite stuff to have come out in the past decade frankly.  Shape Breaker however is far from left in the dust, instead they hover shimmering and glowing in the smoked out haze of a dusky sunset, sultry crooning tunes floating over decimated and punctured sound waves, winging and hemorrhaging directly into your eardrums.  Eyes Wide, Hickey’s second release under the moniker, is with out a doubt some of the coolest home recorded stuff I’ve heard in forever and I’m particularly fond of that stuff so I listen to a lot of it to be honest.  The raw, simplistic, and at times, feverishly intense and personal ambiance of the album lend themselves perfectly, not only to the songs, but to the very heart and soul of what Shape Breaker’s music seems to be all about.  Limited to only 50 copies Eyes Wide ain’t gonna be around for long, luckily though Hickey is working on recording a new album right now and I may have just managed to finagle a couple of details out of him in our recent powwow about all things Shape Breaker.  That’s all the tidbits you’re getting out of me though sucker!  If you wanna know anymore you’re just gonna have to read on, check out one of the coolest interviews I’ve had a chance to conduct in a long while, get the skinny on Shape Breaker for yourself and then eventually cave in and buy some music if all goes according to plan, mwha-ha-ha-ha!  Shape Breaker for global domination in 2015!!!
- Listen while you read:  https://shapebreaker.bandcamp.com/

I know Shape Breaker has been around for a number of years at this point.  Is this the original lineup or have you all gone through any changes since you started?

Pat:  Well, Shape Breaker is a semi-solo project.  The first two records were almost all me.  My friend Piotr started playing drums with me like a year and a half ago, he’s on the Gary Records 7-inch.  Then about a year ago, my cousin AJ started playing bass so we could play out, and that’s the current live lineup.

Are any of your currently in any other bands or do you have any side projects going on currently?  I hesitate to call stuff side projects as I know most musicians really trying to make a go of it these days often have more than one thing going on.

Pat:  We've all been in assorted different projects, but as far as stuff that’s currently active, I play bass in a band that my friend Kiel Everett fronts called Tin Horses which is in kind of a traditional phase because of some band member changes.

Have you released any music with anyone else in the past besides Shape Breaker?  If so, can you tell us a little bit about that here?

Pat:  Tin Horses has a few releases, and another that should be out sometime in the next couple months.

How old are you and where you originally from?

Pat:  I'm thirty-one, and originally from Norristown Pennsylvania, which is like a half hour outside Philadelphia. 

What was your home like when you were growing up?  Was there a lot of music around or anything?  Were either of your parents or any of your close relatives musicians or extremely interested/involved in that when you were a kid?

Pat:  There wasn't a ton of music around the house when I was growing up.  I mean, I definitely remember my dad listing to music sometimes, but neither of my parents were huge music nerds or anything.  One of my uncles was in bands, and toured, and that kinda blew my mind as a kid.  He liked the Smashing Pumpkins, so I started listening to the Smashing Pumpkins, ha-ha.

What about the local music scene where you grew up?  Did you see a lot of shows or get very involved in that scene?  Do you feel like it played a large or important role in shaping your musical tastes or shaping the way you perform at this point?

Pat:  We moved to South Jersey when I was like ten, and there wasn't a lot going on in general there.  Right before high school I discovered punk, and like most kids that age that start to get into punk music, that was immediately all I gave a shit about and I started going to any shows I could.  It played a big role in shaping my music tastes for sure. 

What do you consider your first real exposure to music?

Pat:  I remember going with some friends to see the band Plow United at a VFW hall, and that being the first time I was exposed to the fact that there were these smaller bands around playing shows that where not in real venues, and that they were putting out records on their own.

If you were to pick a moment, or a series of moments, where your mind seemed to open up to the infinite possibilities that music presents, what would it/they be?

Pat:  Probably that show I just mentioned, ha-ha! 

What was your first instrument?  When and how did you get that?

Pat:  My first guitar was an old acoustic guitar that I got from my uncle.  I had it for years before I actually gave a shit about it.  Sometime around sixth or seventh grade, when I started getting more interested in music, I dug it out of a closet and had someone in the neighborhood show me how to play some songs. 

When did you decide to start writing and performing your own material, or was that just kind of always the case and it was naturally that way being given a new opportunity to create something of your own and express yourself in a new way?

Pat:  I really started working on writing and recording my own music like, nine or ten years ago.  I had been in bands for years, but was just kind of getting frustrated with the lack of progress at times, and realized the only real way to make the music that I really wanted to be making was to just do it and not wait for anyone else.

How and when did the members of Shape Breaker originally meet?

Pat:  Well AJ is a second cousin of mine, so I’ve known him forever.  Piotr actually just responded to a post I put up online looking for a drummer.  We had never even talked before the first time we played together.

What led to the formation of Shape Breaker and when would that have been?

Pat:  Around 2009 I had a handful of songs that were pretty different from the mostly acoustic stuff that I was working on at the time, and I just decided to try to form them into an actual project, and that became the first Shape Breaker album.

What does the name Shape Breaker mean or refer to in the context of your band name?  You seem to pull sounds from a wide array of different places and kind of defy simplistic genres and didn’t know if that had something to do with your name?  I’m pretty prone to reading into things a little too much sometimes…  Who came up with it and how did you go about choosing the name? Are there any close seconds that you almost went with you can recall at this point?

Pat:  Yeah, that’s actually kind of right.  I was just kind of playing with words trying to come up with something I liked.  Somehow Shape Breaker just kinda popped into my head, and since it was a solo project, and my musical tastes kinda jump around a lot, I expected that the sound of the band would change over time, so it kind of felt appropriate.  I'm actually surprised the sound has stayed as stable as it has. 

Is there any sort of shared creed, code, ideal or mantra that Shape Breaker shares or lives by, spoken or unspoken?

Pat:  Hmmm...  Not really. 

Where’s Shape Breaker located at this point?  How would you describe the local music scene where you’re at?

Pat:  Philadelphia.  Philly’s got a great music scene.  There are lots of great bands, and lots of venues of different sizes and types, bars, DIY spots, so there’s usually something going on somewhere in town.

Are you very involved in the local scene in your opinion?  Do you book or attend a lot of local shows or anything like that?

Pat:  I don't usually book shows, but I go to as many as I can.

Do you feel like the local music scene has played an integral role in the sound, history or evolution of Shape Breaker or do you think you all would be doing what you are and sound basically like you do regardless of where you were at or what/who you were surrounded by?

Pat:  Yeah, definitely.  I have lots of friends in bands in town that are doing all different kinds of great stuff, it’s super encouraging, and I’m sure has influenced things that I’m working on.

Are you involved in recording or releasing any music for anyone besides yourself/Shape Breaker? Are you affiliated or involved in the running or recording of any material for any labels or anything?  If so, can you tell us about that here briefly?

Pat:  Not really.  I record all the Shape Breaker stuff myself at home, but I haven't really worked with other bands as much.

I kind of hit on this before, but I feel like you all pull sounds from a lot of different places and make them your own.  I love doing interviews for Psychedelic Baby and getting to talk to awesome bands such as Shape Breaker is always awesome, but explaining how they sound to our readers who might not have heard them is a rather daunting task at times.  I always feel like I’m screwing it up, putting too many of my own perceptions and stuff in there.  How would you describe Shape Breaker’s sound to our readers who might not have heard you all before?

Pat:  Oh man, I have the same problem.  I hate trying to describe music I’m working on.  Honestly, I would just say they should check it out for themselves!  

Who are some of your major musical influences?  I feel like there has to be a pretty big pool of stuff that you draw on.  What about influences on the band as a whole rather than just individually? 

Pat:  Yeah, I’m definitely into lots of different genres.  I would say that Shape Breaker comes from a combination of early punk, 50’s rock n roll, late 60’s-70’s rock/psych, and fuzz heavy 90's bands.

What’s the songwriting process like for Shape Breaker?  Is there someone who usually comes in to the rest of the band with a riff or a more finished idea for a song to work out with you all from there, or do you like to just get together and kind of kick ideas back and forth until you hit on something that you’re all interested in working on from that point?

Pat:  I usually have stuff mostly structured and demoed before we start working on it as a band.  Now that there’s an actual band though, it isn't unusual for one of the other guys to play something, or suggest something that changes the song in a way that I didn't expect, which is pretty great.

What about recording?  Over the years recording has been the death of a lot of great bands in my opinion.  While I think that most musicians can appreciate all the time and effort that goes into making an album when they’re finally holding that finished product in their hands, getting to that point, getting things recorded and sounding the way you want them to as a band; even seemingly little things, like getting it properly mixed and mastered can prove to be monumentally annoying tasks.  What’s it like recording of Shape Breaker?

Pat:  I do all of our recording at my house.  With Shape Breaker I like recording in layers rather than live because it allows me more room to experiment.  Basically, I have Piotr come and play drums to a demo, and then I re-track everything to those drum tracks.  For the other guys, I think the most annoying part of recording is just wondering what the fuck I’m doing with the work they did after they left, ha-ha!

Is there a lot of time and effort that goes into working out exactly how a song’s going to sound before you record it, with the arrangement and composition all worked out and airtight beforehand?  Or do you like to get a good idea of what something to sound like while allowing for some change during the recording process where you feel is prudent?

Pat:  A little of both.  I demo a lot, so I usually will have lots of parts that interact in a way that I’m dead-set on.  But once I’m tracking the finished version of a song, I almost always end up changing something or adding another layer that I hadn't originally envisioned.

Do you all like to take a DIY approach to recording where you handle most of the technical aspects of that on your own, maybe so you don’t have to work with anyone else or compromise on the sound with them?  Or do you like to head into a studio and let someone else worry about that headache so that you can concentrate on the music and getting things the way you want them from the start?

Pat:  I like to have a lot of control.  I’m thinking about taking the new release I’m working on out to get mixed though.  It can really be helpful to get someone with fresh ears to work on a project.

I think a lot of people don’t know how to take the next question, but I’m always curious so I ask anyway.  I don’t mean it any base or demeaning fashion, people have been tapping into the altered states that drugs and alcohol produce for thousands of years for the purpose of creating art and I’m always curious about their usage and application when it comes to the art that I personally enjoy and ‘consume’.  Do psychoactive or hallucinogenic drugs play a large or important role in the songwriting, recording or performance processes for Shape Breaker?

Pat:  Nah, not at all.  Haven’t done any of that for years...

Let’s talk a little bit about your back catalog.  Your first release that I know of is 2011’s self-released CD no fun.  Can you talk a little bit about the recording of the material for no fun?  Was that a fun, pleasurable experience for you all or more of a nerve-racking proposition at that point?  Where was that recorded at?  Who recorded it and when would that have been?  What kind of equipment was used?

Pat:  no fun was recorded in a one-bedroom apartment into a laptop.  It was kind of a learning experience for me.  I was still learning Pro Tools, and had never mixed a full album before.  A friend played drums for no fun, and I tracked the rest.



You followed up no fun in 2013 with the Eyes Wide cassette tape.  Was the recording of the material for Eyes Wide very different than the earlier session(s) for no fun?  Who recorded the Eyes Wide material and when would that have been?  Where was that recorded at?  What kind of equipment was used this time around?


Pat:  Well, I was trying to put together a live band after no fun, and then the guy who had been playing drums for me bailed.  I wanted to start playing shows, but being back to square-one I decided to focus on more recording instead.  Eyes Wide I did all on my own.  I’m not a drummer, so I took a really simple approach to the drum tracks, mostly just using a floor tom and a snare, and layered cymbals.  It kind of resulted in the album feeling stripped down and raw I think.



Last year in 2014 you all dropped sick split 7-inch for Gary Records with Fuck Mountain who I’m also going to try and talk to!  The split features an exclusive track “Spellbound”.  Was that left over from one of your earlier sessions or was it written and or recorded specifically for the single?  If it was recorded for the single, can you tell us a little bit about that?

Pat:  It was recorded just for the 7-inch.  The track was something I was working on, but wasn't really sure if it fit with the other songs that are going to be the new record.  So, when they asked us to do the split it was immediately the song I thought would work best as a stand-alone track. 



With the release of the Gary Records Fuck Mountain split last year, are there any releases in the works or on the horizon for Shape Breaker that you can talk about?

Pat:  The new record should be finished in the next couple months.  Hoping to have it out in the world one way or another by late spring/early summer, we’ll see....



Where’s the best place for our US readers to pick up copies of your stuff?

Pat:  Honestly, right now the easiest thing is to just go through our Bandcamp, or one of the stores listed here for the Gary Records split. 

With the completely insane international postage rates I try and provide our readers with as many possible options as I can for picking up imports. Where’s the best place for our poor overseas and international readers to pick up your music?

Pat:  Same deal.  I’d say to just download stuff, or go to one of the shops listed on the Gary site

And where would the best place for our interested readers to keep up with the latest news from Shape Breaker like upcoming shows and album releases be at?

Pat:  Find us on twitter or Facebook.  We’re easy to find. 

Are there any major plans or goals that Shape Breaker is looking to accomplish in 2015?

Pat:  Finish this god damn record and get back to playing shows!

What, if anything, do you have planned as far as touring goes right now?

Pat:  Nothing planned right now, just been taking some time to work on recording.

Do you spend a lot of time out on the road?  Do you enjoy touring? What’s life like out on the road for Shape Breaker?

Pat:  We've mostly played in town at this point. We’re trying to get our shit together as a live band. Hopefully this year...



Do you remember what the first song that Shape Breaker ever played live was?  When and where would that have been at?

Pat:  The first show we ever played was at Kung Fu Necktie in Philly.  Not sure about the first song, probably “Climb Down”.

Who are some of your personal favorite bands that you’ve had a chance to play with overt the past few years?

Pat:  OBN IIIs, Juniper Rising, Raw McCartney, Purling Hiss (Interview here), Amanda X....

Do you all give a lot of thought to the visual aspects that represent the band to a large extent, stuff like flyers, posters, t-shirt designs, cover artwork and the like?  Is there any kind of meaning or message you’re trying to convey with the visual side of Shape Breaker?  Is there anyone you usually turn to in your times of need when it comes to that kind of thing?  If so, who is that and how did you get hooked up with them?

Pat:  I just try to go with visuals that I feel make sense for the sound of the band.  No real master plan.  My buddy Dan Judge will help with art design sometimes.  He did the first two records.


With all of the various methods of release that are available to musicians today I’m always curious why they choose and prefer the various mediums that they do.  Do you have a preferred method of release for your music?  What about when you’re listening to or purchasing music?  If you do have a preference, what is it and can you tell us a little bit about why?

Pat:  I’ll always prefer vinyl, I just feel like it's more satisfying in everyway.

I grew up around my dad’s enormous collection of killer music and both of my parents encouraged me to listen to just about anything that interested me from a pretty young age.  I think it was my dad taking me out to the local shops on the weekend when I was a teenager that left the biggest impression on me though.  I developed a whole ritual for listening to music, one that I’ve never abandoned and has led to a lifelong obsession, or fascination, depending on who you talk to, with physically released music.  There’s just something about having a physical object to hold in my hands, something that’s concretely connected to what I’m hearing that seems to offer a quick glimpse inside of the mind of the artists who created it, if even for a fleeting moment.  Do you have any such connection with physically released music?

Pat:  Yeah, I think that’s one of the reasons I prefer vinyl, you have to physically interact with it more.  For some reason that’s just more rewarding than pushing a button.

Like it or not digital music is here in a big way right now.  I think it mostly depends on how you look at and deal with things, I mean, there are always going to be ups and downs to any given situation. Digital music is really just the tip of the iceberg anyway.  When you combine it with the internet, that’s when things get really interesting!  Together they’ve exposed people to the literal world of music that they’re surrounded by and allowed for an unparalleled level of communication between bands and their fans, thereby eliminating geographic boundaries and limitations that would have crippled bands in the past.  On the other hand though, while people are being exposed to all this amazing new music they’re relay not that interested in paying for it at this point. I think a lot of people have begun to see music as a sort of disposable entertainment to be used and then discarded when they’re done with, a kind of free soundtrack to their lives that will always be there whether they pay for it or not.  As an artist during the reign of the digital era, what’s your opinion on digital music and distribution?

Pat:  It's got its pros and cons for sure.  I mean, I can put out a record on my own tomorrow morning online and someone on the other side of the planet could be downloading it a minute later, that’s wild!  But, at the same time, I do think it’s caused recorded music to be kind of devalued by a lot of people.  

I try to keep up with as many good bands as I possibly can but there’s just not enough time to sort through all the amazing stuff that’s out there right now.  Is there anyone from your local scene or area that I should be listening to that I might not have heard of before?

Pat:  Tons!  Amanda X, Spacin’, Purling Hiss (Interview here), Mary Lattimore & Jeff Zeigler, Chris Forsyth, Hound, Birds Of Maya (Interview here), Ecstatic Vision, The Writhing Squares, Ruby The Hatchet, I'm sure I’m forgetting some...

What about nationally and internationally?

Pat:  Honestly, I’m way behind on new bands. 

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me so much about the band.  I know this took some time to finish but I seriously appreciate you taking the time to make it this far!  Since you’ve been so generous with your time is there anything that I could have possibly missed or that you might just want to take this opportunity to talk to me or the readers about?

Pat:  Not that I can think of...  I think you covered most of it.  You’re welcome, and thanks!

DISCOGRAPHY
(2011)  Shape Breaker – no fun. – CD-R, Digital – Self-Released (Limited to 50 copies)
(2013)  Shape Breaker – Eyes Wide – Digital, Cassette Tape – Self-Released (Limited to 50 copies)
(2014)  Shape Breaker/Fuck Mountain – Gary Records Split with Fuck Mountain – 7” – Gary Records


Interview made by Roman Rathert/2015
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