18 Eylül 2012 Salı
Zülâl Kalkandelen / Müzik Yazıları:
Müzik tutkusunu ateşe çeviren gruplar
Bu hafta New York’ta izlediğim konserler içinde özellikle ikisi beni çok etkiledi. Birisi daha önceden adını duyduğum ama müzikleriyle fazla haşır neşir olmadığım The Psychic Paramount, diğeri de ilk albümlerinden bu yana yakından izlediğim ve çok beğendiğim Future Islands.
The Psychic Paramount’u izlemem tamamen güzel bir tesadüf oldu. The Jesus and Mary Chain konseri için bilet almıştım ama ön grup hakkında bilgim yoktu. Irving Plaza’daki gecenin açılışını The Vandelles yaptı. Onların arkasından sahneyi ve tüm salonu sis makinesinden çıkan dumanlar doldurdu. Birçok konserde yapılan bir uygulama bu, fakat bugüne kadar o derece yoğun kullanıldığına tanık olmamıştım. Yanımdaki insanın yüzünü göremez haldeydim dersem belki bir fikir verir. Sanırım en önde olduğumdan bütün dumanı da yuttum. Herkes ne oluyor, neden böyle göz gözü göremez bir ortam yaratıldı diye düşünürken birden müzik başladı. Sahneye iki gitarist ve bir bateristin çıkışını silüetlerinden anladık. Hiçbir şey demeden daha ilk dakikada farklı bir konser olacağının işaretini verdiler. Hiç vokal yoktu. Alışılmış şekilde bir süre sonra şarkının bitmesini bekleyen dinleyiciler tam anlamıyla afallamıştı; şarkı bitmiyor, uzadıkça uzuyordu. 45 dakika boyunca aralıksız süren bir set şeklinde çalıp sonunda hiçbir şey demeden ayrıldıklarında herkes birbirine “Bu neydi?” diye soruyordu.
Tanık olduğumuz New York’un noise rock üçlüsü The Psychic Paramount’un efsane performanslarından biriydi. Müziği bir tutku olarak gören, Amerika’da yaşamanın tek yolunun müzik tutkusunu bir aydınlanma aracı olarak kullanmaktan geçtiğine inananan bir grup bu. Bugünün indie rock dünyasını sürekli yakınmaları dile getiren içi boş bir dünya olarak görüyor ve orada yer almak istemiyorlar. Onların yapmak istediği, hissettiklerini doğrudan enstrümana söyletmek ve bunu da çok iyi başarıyorlar.
Konserin başlangıcından bitimine kadar yüzlerini görmesem de, sadece arada bir ışık değişirken gölge şeklinde silüetlerini seçebilsem de, bir dinleyici olarak hisleri tamamen bana da geçti. Bugünün steril müzik dünyasının çok dışında, başka bir yere sürükledi beni The Psychic Paramount.
Onların açısından konserin nasıl olduğunu da biliyorum. Çünkü bunun özel olarak belli bir kişiyle değil ama genel olarak biriyle düşünsel anlamda seks yapmak gibi olduğunu söylemişti gitarist Drew St. Ivany. Kendileri o müziği icra ederek bu duyguyu yaşarken aynısını da dinleyiciye aktarıyorlar. Günümüzde az sayıda grupta var olan bir meydan okuma var tavırlarında. Sahneyi dumana boğup hiç gözükmemek de belli ki bu amaç doğrultusunda tercih edilen bir yol. Dinleyicinin bütünüyle kendi düşüncelerine odaklanması açısından çok etkili olduğunu söyleyebilirim. Ancak birçok kişinin de ne olup bittiğini tam idrak edemediğini, sahnede izleyecek bir şey olmayınca nereye bakıp nasıl duracağını da tam kestiremediğini gözlemledim. Müzikle alışılagelmiş görselliğin bağını koparınca dinleyicinin sadece müziğe odaklanması kolaylaştırılıyordu aslında. O gece müziğin içine girebilen herkes bunu çok yoğun yaşadı ama garipseyenler de oldu.
The Psychic Paramount’u canlı dinlemek, sahnedeki görsellik ile müziğin algılanışı arasındaki ilişki hakkında epey kafa yoran biri olarak benim açımdan sıradışı bir deneyimdi. Bu konuda düşüncelerime yeni bir boyut katmış oldu konser. (Aşağıda paylaştığım videoda benim anlattığım ortam yok; görülebiliyor müzisyenler ama müzikleri hakkında fikir vermesi için yer verdim.)
"Freak Scene: Basilica and New York's Weird Music Scene"
by Sam Hockley-Smith / THE FADER
The event took place in an old factory with cavernous ceilings and massive old windows. It’s a gorgeous space perfect for both the weirdest of the weird and the most conventionally beautiful music around. Saturday night found a comfortable middle point. Beginning the night of music was Blanko & Noiry, a Lynchian performance featuring what basically amounted to an older dude singing in a disquieting baritone over gorgeously dark ambient music made by a couple people in robes. It was as bizarre as things got—enough that I’m not exactly sure how much I enjoyed it. There’s a point where the disconnect between what an artist intends and what an audience gets out of it gets too large, and that happened here for me. I just couldn’t connect. The biggest surprise of the night, though, was Hiro Kone, who built her set on thick pop music that breezed across the huge room—I’m tempted to say it was stoic but there was something unhinged about her performance as well.
With the exception of Prince Rama, who played the tightest set I’ve ever seen from them, the rest of the night was devoted to New York veterans Gang Gang Dance, who, every time I see them, get better at figuring out the parts of their music that people love the most and then drawing them out into full songs and Psychic Paramount, who blanketed the entire room in such thick smoke that you couldn’t see more than a few inches in front of you. It was loud and fully immersive. I think when this nebulous dark period of New York music is talked about, Psychic Paramount are a band that best represents that era. It’s not difficult to listen to, but it’s confrontational.
What I came away with is that whatever anyone might think is missing from New York’s experimental music scene…they’re not wrong, but they’re not right either. It’s just bubbling slightly under the surface, pushing against restraints, ready to be brought to the world’s attention so it can be awkwardly thrust onto a too big stage, and the real weirdness can begin.
September 05, 2012 - NEW ORLEANS, LA @ House of Blues
September 06, 2012 - ATLANTA, GA @ Variety Playhouse
September 07, 2012 - RALEIGH, NC @ Hopscotch Festival
September 08, 2012 - PHILADELPHIA, PA @ Union Transfer
September 09, 2012 - WASHINGTON, DC @ 9:30 Club
September 11, 2012 - BOSTON, MA @ Club Paradise
September 12, 2012 - BOSTON, MA @ Club Paradise
September 13, 2012 - NEW YORK, NY @ Irving Plaza
September 15, 2012 - DETROIT, MI @ St. Andrew's Hall
September 18, 2012 - MINNEAPOLIS, MN @ First Avenue
September 19, 2012 - MADISON, WI @ Majestic Theatre
September 20, 2012 - INDIANAPOLIS, IN @ The Vogue
September 21, 2012 - CLEVELAND, OH @ House of Blues
September 23, 2012 - NEW YORK, NY @ ATP
Sublime Cacophony -
by Dave Segal
The Psychic Paramount is a nuclear missile in a world full of billy clubs. Their songs overwhelm through sheer clangorous power, the extraordinary harnessing of distortion, and a feral sense of dynamics commonly found in free-jazz and noise-rock musicians. You can hear the results of this NYC group's explosive, intelligent interplay on 2005's Gamelan into the Mink Supernatural and 2011's II. The Psychic Paramount—which consists of guitarist Drew St. Ivany, bassist Ben Armstrong, and drummer Jeff Conaway—make their Seattle debut at Capitol Hill Block Party. St. Ivany took time out from blasting the cosmos with sublime cacophony to answer some impertinent questions.
I subscribe to the latter opinion. We gear our music to our own tastes and courage level. We get high from this pressurized intensity, so naturally we indulge ourselves. Like you said, it's more about tapping in and conjuring than anything else. It has more to do with spell-casting than writing a pop song. When it's good, it's very transporting, and that's what we're in it for.
I find that I have very little in common with newer musical trends. Most indie rock just sounds whiny and full of emotions that should probably be suppressed instead of vocalized. I don't want to be in that clean, digital atmosphere. It just seems suffocating and spiritually dead to me. If I could escape back to the '70s, I would in a heartbeat. It's really no wonder that we're outsiders.
What are the Psychic Paramount's primary reasons for making music?
It's an addiction. It tends to propel itself, as addictions do so well.
What challenges did you face trying to follow up Gamelan into the Mink Supernatural, one of the most incendiary debut albums ever? Why did it take six years between Gamelan and II?
It seemed like Gamelan was a fully comprehensive statement. I love the material, but we took it as far we could and wanted to surprise ourselves with something new for the next one. So we started exploring and disappeared into our own experiment for a few years. I don't know why it took so long, it just did.
Do you view your music as a conduit to spiritual fulfillment/enlightenment?
Yes, absolutely. We live in America. Is there a better way?
How do you feel at the end of a show? It seems like it would be a physically and mentally draining experience.
If the show was a good one, it's a great release, like having sex cerebrally with no one in particular.
The Psychic Paramount sound like a group that's informed by minimalism, but you seemingly seek to blow out that approach into a maximalist attack, similar to what Glenn Branca and Rhys Chatham were doing in the '80s. Were those artists influential to you?
Neither of those artists were influential to me. From that angle, we were way more influenced by Terry Riley and Tony Conrad and krautrock groups like Can and early Tangerine Dream. Also, Penderecki, Ligeti, and Xenakis in terms of atonal crescendo. I was never really into the New York City punk stuff, except for the Ramones and Suicide, who created some of the best music ever made.
You're playing a summer music festival among a lot of feel-good, accessible acts in Seattle. The Psychic Paramount are way beyond anyone else on the bill in terms of sonic power. With that in mind, do you tailor your sets for specific circumstances, or do you just unleash your most explosive material as explosively as you can every time you hit the stage? (I'm trying to envision how tracks like "Echoh Air" and "X-Visitations" will go down with the typical Block Party attendee; I'm anticipating stunned, panicked looks and soiled underwear.)
Ha! Well, sometimes it depends on how good the PA is and how well we are mixed. We'll certainly do our best to encourage people to soil themselves.
If you had to cover one song, what would it be?
I don't know, maybe "Summer Madness" by Kool & the Gang.
July 17, 2012
The Psychic Paramount have been announced to perform at ATP "I'll Be Your Mirror" USA on September 23, 2012 at Pier 36 in NYC. For tickets and more info, please visit http://www.atpfestival.com/events/ibymusa2012/tickets.php
Jeff Conaway of The Psychic Paramount on the Band’s Current Tour and Christian Nightmares
The tour is going well! For me so far, the highlights have been both shows in Chicago. Playing at the Cobra Lounge on Friday night was great. Saturday we played Pitchfork (watch videos here and here), which was awesome. They did a great job. The sound was killer, which you can’t always count on at large shows like that. I also enjoyed our show in Columbus, Ohio, where we played with Dirty Projectors. I had never seen them, and they were really good.
I think the shows on the West Coast with Phil Manley Life Coach (of Trans Am) are going to be awesome as well. We have done a lot of touring with Trans Am, so it’s going to be fun. I’m also looking forward to playing in Lawrence, Kansas, where I used to live. We are playing with Major Games, the new band of one of my ex-bandmates from Panel Donor. That should be a blast.
You guys have been working on new material. Are you playing new songs on this tour? How do they compare to the others? Still improv-based?
Yes, a few of the songs are new, some are from II and a couple are from Gamelan into the Mink Supernatural. The new songs are culled from improv material, and then we take those core ideas and compose around them. They are still evolving as ideas, so it’s a little hard to pin down exactly how they are different.
TPP recently got to play with Melvins in Paris. How was that? Do you consider them to be an influence? Do all three of you guys have similar musical influences?
Playing with Melvins was great! They are sort of a rare band, one that has been active for a long time, is still making very interesting music, and put on an amazing live show. I really like seeing a band do that. That in itself is influential, it’s something to aspire to, and we are all fans of them.
Ben, Drew, and I share some influences: Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Can, This Heat, My Bloody Valentine, Yes, King Crimson, James Brown—just to throw out a common range we all share. Some of my personal favorites are The Flaming Lips Embryonic, The Roots Rising Down and Game Theory, and The Dustdevils Struggling Electric and Chemical. Those are all great records, and I also think of them as records where there is something great about the production and performance when it comes to the drumming. The Flaming Lips vamp on heavy grooves, I think of it as their own version of Krautrock. The Roots start with a live drum kit, then tweak the production and come up with some amazing sounds as well as performances, and The Dustdevils take that New York sonic intensity of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s and pair it with dexterous, nuanced drumming.
That’s a pretty great compliment! I’m definitely a Black Sabbath and Bill Ward fan, so I appreciate the comparison. Maybe Greg Kot picked up on my secret homage to Bill Ward in one of our songs? That could have planted the seed.
Do you have any Christian nightmares?
Sure. Any time people are convinced they have the answers to unanswerable questions, that has the potential to become a real nightmare. But, on the other hand, I really like some of the jams Christian Nightmares has dug up and posted (like that “Thief in the Night” song, check out the pink drums!), so maybe there’s something to it.
Also, check out this link to an audio interview with Jeff Conaway on the topic of drumming featured in FLABmag -
July 08 - Brooklyn, NY @ Cameo Gallery w/ Stabbing Eastward + Guardian Alien
July 09 - Montreal, QC @ Casa del Popolo w/ Echo Beach
July 10 - Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern
July 11 - Detroit, MI @ Lager House
July 12 - Columbus, OH @ Wexner Center w/ The Dirty Projectors
July 13 - Chicago, IL@ Cobra Lounge
July 14 - Chicago, IL@ Pitchfork Festival
July 15 - Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club w/ The Coathangers + Heavy Cream
July 16 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
July 17 - Fargo, ND @ The Aquarium w/ The Coathangers
July 20 - Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw w/ Phil Manley Life Coach + Sinoia Caves
July 21 - Seattle, WA @ Capitol Hill Block Party
July 22 - Seattle, WA @ Comet Tavern w/ Phil Manley Life Coach
July 23 - Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios w/ Phil Manley Life Coach
July 27 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Satellite w/ Phil Manley Life Coach + Lantvrn
July 28 - Visalia, CA @ Cellar Door w/ Phil Manley Life Coach
July 29 - San Francisco, CA @ Brick and Mortar w/ Phil Manley Life Coach + Barn Owl
July 30 - Oakland, CA @ The New Parish w/ Phil Manley Life Coach + Carlton Melton
Aug 02 - Austin, TX @ The Mohawk
Aug 03 - Norman, OK @ The Opolis
Aug 04 - Lawrence, KS @ Replay Lounge w/ Major Games
Aug 05 - St. Louis, MO @ Cicero's w/ What We Won't See
Aug 07 - Pittsburgh, PA @ 31st Street Pub w/ MV&EE
Aug 08 - New Haven, CT @ BAR
Aug 09 - Brooklyn, NY @ Union Pool w/ Jonas Reinhardt
Aug 11 - Hudson, NY @ Basilica Festival
Village Voice Q&A: The Psychic Paramount's Jeff Conaway On Smoke Machines And Bright Lights, Not Digging Daytime Gigs And Being Really Loud
"It's kind of a blast that comes out of nowhere," is how Jeff Conaway, drums- pulverizing overlord for New York City's brutally loud instro-mental skuzz beasts the Psychic Paramount describes the chaotic scene when the trio erupts into ear-bleeding crusher "Intro/Sp" live in concert. But being rip-face loud is only one piece of the PPs' M.O.
Guitarist Drew St. Ivany, bassist Ben Armstrong and Conaway converge to form a Branca-esque symphonic wall of cutthroat noise chime with a bludgeoning, coiled heaviosity of ear-bleeding magnitude as plumes of smoke billow from within and beaming lights pierce the eyeballs making it a hellish task to see the fuckin' hand in front of your face.
The threesome—who notoriously work at a snail's pace (these dudes managed not to release an album for six friggin' years)—is ready to inflict more damage to your eardrums, working on a follow-up to 2011's epic riff-fest II.
Sound of the City met with Conaway at his Astoria local to talk loudness, smoke machines and his love for The Dustdevils.
I saw you guys open for Trans Am. Was that the most recent show Psychic Paramount has played?
I think that was the last New York show.
Yeah, you don't play around that much.
Nah, no. [Laughing]
All three of you live here in New York, though, right?
We tend to go take breaks then we get active again and then we take more breaks. It always seems like we're busy doing something, though.
But you have a short tour coming up starting with the gig at (le) Poisson Rouge?
Yeah, a tiny, little U.S. tour—east coast tour—and then we're gonna go over to Paris to play Villette Sonique. We'll just go over there and come back. We got about five weeks here and then right now a U.S. tour is being set up. We should be making it out all the way to the west coast in July and August.
I saw you are playing the Pitchfork Music Festival also. How'd that come about?
I think they approached Mike Quinn, the guy who runs [label] No Quarter.
Playing that fest seems like a good publicity getter...
... I don't write for Pitchfork, but...
Yeah [Laughing]. That'll be cool [to play]. That was kind of the reason we thought we could do this tour around that. So yeah, we got a lot of stuff going on. We got that coming up, and then some studio dates for new material...
Are you doing this short tour to test out new tunes?
Yeeeeeah... we're gonna have some new stuff for the tour. I wouldn't say it's to totally to test it all out but with the Pitchfork thing it just seemed like going out to Chicago and keep going...
... and base a bunch of gigs around that.
This is a lot of activity for the Psychic Paramount considering the span in between your 2011 record II and Gamelan Into The Mink Supernatural, which came out way back in 2006.
Yeah, like six years [Laughing].
Did you break up or were you an active band during those years?
Yeah, yeah. We were [active]. We did tours, we'd be going to Europe, we did several U.S. tours. We just didn't record. We had one rough tour in Europe and we kinda took a big break after that but never disbanded and that was back in 2005. Basically, the story with that was we recorded basic track for a full record and ended up scrapping all of it. For a while, we were working on the tracks ourselves, doing overdubs and mixing it ourselves and then we just ended up scrapping the while thing and going an re-recording at the studio called Machine with Magnets up in Providence and that's what turned into II.
What happened in Europe that you said was a rough period for the band?
[Laughing] It was just one of those tours where a lot of the shows didn't seem to make sense. Tours could go that way sometimes. The subsequent ones—we have a different booking agent over there now—have been much better.
Are you delegated the official spokesman for the band?
No, I wouldn't say so. We all do interviews. It just ended up being me this time.
Psychic Paramount has a rehearsal after our interview. Do those pracs stretch out since most of your songs are pretty long?
On the weekends, they're pretty epic. They can stretch out six, eight hours, something like that. It's not all playing. There's a lot of talking and hanging out. [Laughing].
Are PP songs born out of jamming?
Yeah, a lot of them are and especially now, all the stuff that we've been working on for this new... the new material is all out of improvs. Then we'll do this thing where we go back and find certain sections that really have something happening and kinda cobble together a few different ideas for different jams, maybe even (some) that are two months apart but somehow they're going to work together. We build songs that way.
Live in concert, you guys seem to stick to the recorded versions and don't extend into long jams.
It's all fairly composed. We will stretch it out on certain ideas: we're gonna start here and end here. A lot of the songs on II, we've been playing pretty much as they were recorded. It was a real interesting process with the songs because there was such a gap between the two records. Like I said, we recorded an initial version (of II) which was scrapped and then the songs just kept evolving through playing live. So by the time we got into the studio, they had been just honed from literally like years of playing the stuff live. This time, the emphasis is gonna be on not having so much time between releases. [Laughing]
When do you think a new record is going to come out?
I can't say when it will be done. We just have a few tentative dates to go in. We like to break it up—go in for a few days, do some stuff and then come back a month later as opposed to going in there and trying to track a record in one session.
How does the new material compare to the old?
It's kinda hard to pinpoint right now but there's definitely on emphasis on maybe a more melodic approach on some of. It's still very rhythmic and still kinda reaches out for the full tilt craziness that the old stuff has. It's very interesting to start working on new things because you kinda have to figure out as a band how it's gonna work and what the process is for this new batch of material. No one really knows—it's very much trial and error and getting in there and trying to hash stuff out. I don't know if I could say or define a very specific new direction but it sounds different from the other stuff.
Some all-instrumental bands have added vocals into the formula. Is that something Psychic Paramount would consider?
I don't think we would rule that out but it probably would be Ben who would do anything vocal-wise. As of now, it's still all-instrumental.
Were you guys into the instrumental music that was big in the '90s, like Don Caballero?
Yeah, we've listened to that, but we also listen to stuff with vocals. It just so happens that [all-instrumental] is the approach that works best for us.
Do the three of you all have different musical tastes?
There's definitely a lot of overlap between the three of our tastes. Personally, it came out a while ago but I've been really into that last Flaming Lips record [Embryonic]. I really like that band Tinariwen from Mali. I got my old favorites, like this one band that was in New York in probably the early '90s called the Dustdevils.
Did you grow up here in New York back then and into the downtown scum rock stuff?
No, I was living in Kansas when I heard [Dustdevils]. I've always been a Sonic Youth fan, but the Dustdevils kinda have that going with their own version of that. That last record they did, Struggling, Electric and Chemical, it's one of my favorites. I love that record; I still listen to it.
How did you, Drew and Ben all meet?
Well, Ben and Drew have been friends forever. They both grew up around St. Louis and they've been in bands together since they were 14. They were in this New York band, which coincidentally, was one of my all time favorites called Laddio Bolocko. So they were in that band, that band broke up, dissolved then they started the Psychic Paramount, I guess a couple years later. They just did this real quick two-week tour in Europe and they had a different drummer and that didn't work out. So, I had a mutual friend who introduced us and then I started playing with them in 2004.
So, it's been a while.
Yeah, it's been a while. [Laughing]
Do you guys bring the smoke machine to gigs?
Sometimes we do, yeah. [Laughing]
Psychic Paramount certainly sets the mood with the plumes of smoke billowing and how dark it is at the gigs, huh?
We have this thing that we love doing now where we have these three super bright lights and we put'em behind us and then have all this smoke going and it's like...
... Really trippy?
Have you guys always done the lights and smoke machine thing?
No, that's been a fairly recent thing. I guess maybe over the past year we started doing that. Sometimes, we can't always use it because some clubs have this sprinkler systems or whatever. [Laughing]
Is the smoke machine easy to haul around on tour?
Oh, it's pretty small. It's way smaller than a guitar so.... [Laughing]
I watched a clip online of you guys playing a show and it was during the day. Do you guys like playing shows in daylight?
No [Laughing]. It's not my favorite; I'd rather play at night. But, you know, it's fine and that festival [Primavera] was fun—right on the ocean, beautiful setting. It was kinda cool to see a bunch of people out there.
Will you have the smoke machine going at the (le) Poisson Rouge show?
I don't know. We're still looking into that. We'll see if that'll work out or not.
As a New York band, the Psychic Paramount seems kind of detached from "the scene," sort of anti-social.
Yeah, somehow we're existing out on our own little tangent here. [Laughing]
The song titles are pretty cryptic, too. On II, there's "DDB," "RW," "N5," N6... "
Very cryptic. We like to keep with the no vocals thing so the song titles, yeah, they all ended up being very cryptic on [II].
You guys are really fuckin' loud live.
Yeah, it's a trademark. [Laughing]
So Drew likes to get loud?
Yeah. We all do. [Laughing]
Psychic Paramount play (le) Poisson Rouge Saturday.
THE PSYCHIC PARAMOUNT
Tarif de lancement : 22€ (jusqu’au 8 avril) / Plein Tarif : 26€
Moins de 26 ans : Tarif de lancement 20€ (jusqu’au 8 avril) Plein Tarif : 24€
For more information visit www.villette.com
ニューヨークのスリー・ピース・バンド、THE PSYCHIC PARAMOUNT。前身となるLADDIO BOLOCKOを経て結成され、実験的なノイズやインプロの手法と衝動的なライヴでカルト的な人気を誇る。前作から約5年、待望の新作『II』ではさらに その音楽性を推し進め、あの世界的音楽サイトPitchforkをして、8.2点の高評価。BATTLESがキュレーターを務める今冬の英国フェス “All Tomorrow’s Parties”にも参加、アーティストの中にもファンが多いという、そんな注目バンドの彼らが今回、メール・インタヴューに応じてくれた。
THE PSYCHIC PARAMOUNT : Drew St. Ivany (Gt)
INTERVIEWER : 中里 友
－Skream! 初登場なので、まずはどのように3人が出会い、どういう経 緯でバンドが生まれたのか教えてください。Ben ArmstrongとDrew St. Ivanyは以前、 “LED ZEPPELIN meets CAN”とも評されたLADDIO BOLOCKOというバンドを組んでいたということですが。
LADDIO BOLOCKOが2001年に解散して、翌年俺がフランスで暮らしていたときにTPPを結成したんだ。5日ほど練習して、フランスやイタリアをツアーした のさ。1stアルバムの『Gamelan Into the Mink Supernatural』に収録してあるそのときの楽曲は、敢えて危険を冒そうと自由度の高いギター・リフで作られているんだ。相当盛り上げた部分もあ るから、ところどころすごくワイルドだね。いろんなことがあってバンドは解散寸前だったけど、かろうじてツアーだけはやりとげたよ。１年くらい後にアメリ カに戻って、ニューヨークでおれたちはJeff Conawayとプレイし始めて、それからはずっと同じラインナップだよ。
－今作『Ⅱ』は前作『Gamelan Into The Mink Supernatural』と地続きでいながら、音は立体化し、さらにスケールアップした印象がありました。サウンドに関して、一貫したコンセプトはあったのですか？
俺たちが目指したのはエキサイティングなロック・ミュージックで、人々を夢中にさせる幻想的な音だ。もともと俺らは すごくラウドだし、それがうまくいくとパワフルかつエキサイティングに場の空気を燃え上がらすことができるのさ。その盛り上がりをレコーディングに反映さ せることが目標だったんだ。ヴォーカルがいないから、言葉とか歌詞なんて要らないと思えるほどのサウンドを作らなきゃと常に思っているよ。俺たちにとって は理に適った方法でも、このコンセプトはなぜか今日の音楽では普通じゃないみたいだけどね。
|Photo : Josh Sisk|
この質問には満足してもらえるような答えは絶対出てこないな。この作品に限って、おれたちの楽曲制作のプロセスは ゆっくりで、オーガニックな感じに見えるだろう。最初に手を付けたのは2008年で、そのときにマテリアルの一部を録音し、セッションは捨ててね。その後 1年くらい経って、今度は違うスタジオで同じ曲を数曲、新曲と併せてレコーディングし直したんだ。全部で12日か13日スタジオにいたんじゃないかな。ス イスの画家、Paul Kleeの“芸術に完成はない。途中で手を止めるだけだ”という言葉を知っているかい？つまりマテリアルの持つ可能性をおれたちは長いこと探究し続けてい て、そしてある地点でその実験が終わったということだよ。
この観点は好きだな。すごくロマンチックだよ。おれたちはみんなアメリカの中西部で育ち、高校を卒業してまもなく ニューヨークへやってきたんだ。その共通項だけでも実際大きな意味を持っているよ。自分をよく知ってるヤツに己のことを説明するヤツはいないだろう？でも 俺たちは未だに言い争うことがあるんだ。それは例えば、Jeffの好きじゃないアーティストの中にも、俺とBenは気に入っている曲がある、みたいなこと さ。だから俺らの音楽にそういう口出しはナシってことは決めたんだ。
ヴィジュアル的な部分はいつも最後の仕事で、それがサウンドの雰囲気に近づいているならすごく満足だよ。スモークの 中でバックライトに照らされて演奏するのが好きで、この音楽にはそれが最適のセッティングだと思っているんだ。影と照明のあたる部分が大事で、そこでサウ ンドが生きるんだ。
－灰野啓二やDON CABALLERO、LIGHTNING BOLTやSteve Albiniなどの影響を感じますが、実際どのようなものから影響を受けていますか？音楽以外でも構いません。
ここに挙げられたアーティストはみんな好きだけど、特に誰かに影響を受けたということはないよ。Steve Albiniは別だけどね。俺たちが彼のレコードを聴いてきたように、1990年代初頭はどのバンドも彼のサウンドから影響を受けていたよ。俺たちが曲作 りで自身のサウンドやスタイルを見出したのはもう随分前のことで、今は己のスタイルの可能性を探索することにフォーカスを当てているんだ。その間ずっとさ まざまアートにインスパイアされてきたし、それを要約するのは不可能だよ。変と思うだろうけど、俺たちのなかにあるクラシック・ロックは、伝統的なフォー ク音楽に最も近いものなんだ。それを土台にノイズからフリージャズ、モダン・クラシカル、アフリカン、エレクトロニックといった音楽の要素を導入している のさ。最後には同じ曲のなかでBo DiddleyからKRAFTWERKまで描くことになるかもな。結局は本当に一体感を持てるものと繋がるんだろうし、そうじゃなければ放棄するよ。
今注目しているのは、PANICSVILLE、EARTHLESS、TERMINAL LOVERS、Steve Moore、ALUK TODOLO、MELVINS、BOREDOMS、だね。
－12月にはBATTLESキュレートで、イギリスで開催されるフェスティヴァル“All Tomorrow's Parties(ATP)”に出演されますね。TPPのサウンドは是非ともライヴで体験したいと感じさせますが、どのようなステージングを目指していますか？
Above photo: Britta Leuermann. Video footage by Bryan Zimmerman.
featured in Paper Mag
"5 Loudest New New York Bands"
by Simon Toop
Like a phoenix, The Psychic Paramount rise from the ashes of one of New York's other loudest bands, forgotten '90s noise-rockers Laddio Bolocko, to unleash a greatly improved, more focused version of that band's deranged racket on audiences everywhere. Although TPP made a minor splash in the experimental rock scene with 2005's Gamelan Into The Mink Supernatural, this year's follow-up, II, is their real coming-out party. Built around an obscenely tight bass-drums-guitar power trio, II is thrilling, a diamond-sharp bulldozer of an instrumental rock album that effortlessly demonstrates just how much noise three people can make playing in a traditional format if they really put their minds to it. None of this would matter if they couldn't fully realize their dynamic space jams live, but, lucky for us, they totally bring it during their smoke-machine-and-light-show-assisted live show, one of the most punishing and relentless I've ever seen. Catch one of their rare hometown shows and relive the glory days of Hawkwind and Blue Cheer through the lens of '80s no-wave and early '00s math rock. And get your eardrums blown out. Stream excerpts of their two albums here.
Show review from July 26, 2011 at Union Pool in Brooklyn, NY
from NYC taper
Posted by acidjack - 15/08/11
New York crowds are notoriously, almost epically jaded. As much as bands love the exposure of America’s largest city and cultural capital, they also tend to be dispirited by the “show me” attitude of crowds that have seen it all before. Being from Brooklyn themselves, The Psychic Paramount must know this all too well - which is why they pulled out all the stops at Union Pool on a recent Tuesday night to deliver a jaw-dropping set that was one of the most incredible I have seen this year. Cloaked for the duration in thick billows of smoke, their set, culled primarily from their latest release, II, left the crowd in awe at the vortex of sound coming from this three-man band. I don’t know that I have been to another show this year that had as many audience members actually talking about the show when it was over - and stark silent during. These instrumental songs seethe with emotion; even staring into shadows in the smoke, you can’t help but be moved by them. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that they are rendered by players of obvious talent and technical skill - bassist Ben Armstrong and guitarist Drew St. Ivany first met in the now-defunct art-noise-jazz band Laddio Bolocko, a less rock n’ roll but no less compelling outfit, and drummer Jeff Conaway is (as in most three pieces) the glue that gives the band its propulsive, driving sound. Bands like TPP are the artists that live shows were made for - even this fine recording cannot capture their brilliance. Mark your calendars, folks - their next show is September 3 right here in Brooklyn...
The Psychic Paramount return to Union Pool for two nights - Oct. 8 + 9 with Trans Am. Leading up will be appearances in Baltimore at the Talking Head (10/6) and at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC (10/7).
Tuesday August 9th
The Psychic Paramount live on Brian Turner's WFMU show
91.1 fm (NYC/NJ), 90.1fm (Catskills/Hudson Valley) or stream/listen live at wfmu.org
Listen or download the taped session here.
07.18.2011 Pittsburgh, PA @ The Shop w/ AE Paterra + Broughtons Rules
07.19.2011 Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop w/ Terminal Lovers + Primitives
07.20.2011 Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle w/ White/Light + Implodes + Andy Ortmann
07.21.2011 Detroit, MI @ Lager House w/ Disappears
07.22.2011 Toronto, ON @ Sneaky Dee's w/ Disappears
07.23.2011 Montreal, QC @ Casa Del Popolo w/ Disappears
07.24.2011 Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall w/ Disappears
07.25.2011 Northampton, MA @ Iron Horse Music Hall w/ Disappears
07.26.2011 Brooklyn, NY @ Union Pool w/ Disappears
07.27.2011 New York, NY @ Cake Shop w/ Disappears
07.28.2011 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda's w/ Disappears
07.29.2011 Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar w/ Disappears + Arbouretum
Yellow Green Red
Sunday, May 15th, 2011 | Interviews | YGR
Blowing minds with one’s guitar/bass/drums rock band is nearly impossible in 2011, but if there’s any band doing it, it’s The Psychic Paramount. Formed out of the ashes of (the under-appreciated until after their demise) Laddio Bolocko, The Psychic Paramount take the simple concept of instrumental rock music and set the whole thing ablaze, using their superior musical ability not to dazzle or confuse but to translate the musical experience into a physical one. Their sound hits with force, charisma and vigor, as if the natural limitations of drums and amplified guitars don’t apply to this band, acting not as three separate players but a single indestructible unit. This is why their great new album, II, packs more emotion and provokes more thought than any other rock band I’ve recently headbanged to. I chatted with guitarist Drew St. Ivany about The Psychic Paramount, and while I wouldn’t have blamed him if he spoke only in the form of an obtuse metaphorical haiku (when your music sounds like this, you get full rights to be as pretentious as you want), he’s actually a pretty down-to-earth, awesome guy.
How did you guys know each other before starting The Psychic Paramount? I understand that some if not all of you played together in Laddio Bolocko…
Both Ben (Armstrong, bassist) and I played in Laddio Bolocko, which formed in 1997 in New York. Laddio split up in 2001 and soon afterward I moved to France. In 2002, Ben and I decided to form a new band and booked a tour of France and Italy. Ben suggested getting Tatsuya Nakatani to play drums, basically at the last minute. Those guys flew out to practice for a few days and do the tour. That formation split up after two and a half weeks. Jeff Conaway, who was playing in Sabers, joined as drummer in 2004 when Ben and I started playing again in New York. Since then, it’s been the same line-up.
Do you feel like the band has progressed since Gamelan Into The Mink Supernatural?
Gamelan summed up the essence of what we were doing at that time. Enough so, we thought, that it seemed redundant to go on pushing those extremes onto new ideas. I’m not sure how to assess where we’ve arrived in terms of progress. On a good day, I do feel like we’re a better band now than at any time in the past. I feel like II is definitely a logical continuation from Gamelan… the power and force is still there, but it also seems to stretch out a bit, in certain ways.
Has your song-writing process changed at all, or has it always been a certain way?
Gamelan was composed entirely on the guitar, which is probably the way most rock songs start out. A lot of material on II originated from drum beats we would use as a rhythmic foundation to experiment upon and build ideas. Sometimes radically different variations of tracks emerged. For instance, “N5” and “N5 Coda” are two different compositional approaches to the same drum figure.
The song titles on the new album all seem to be based in practicality, versus any sort of artistic purpose. Was this an intentional move, or do you just not put a lot of weight into the name of a song?
It just worked out that way. Song titles are usually expected but seemed irrelevant for this record. The abbreviations are convenient, but they also help to reinforce our decidedly non-verbal atmosphere.
Is the “non-verbal atmosphere” an intentional one, then? I can see how a band like The Psychic Paramount has no need for a singer or lyrics or evocative imagery… you guys seem to be about the music and only the music, in a way.
An escape from words can be liberating. On a recording, we are dealing only with sound and leaving any implication or storytelling up to the imagination. It may be interesting to find out what kind of mental imagery our music evokes in the listener, if any. I’ve had people describe it to me as being very dark and menacing. I feel it full of light and uplifting. In that way, I don’t see the absence of lyrics in our case as reductive. It challenges us musically to come up with something interesting enough to compensate for the lack of vocals which, for most people, are an integral part of rock music.
Do you feel like today’s fast-moving culture has less of a place for a group like The Psychic Paramount than say, two or three decades ago? It seems like unless a band is releasing a consistent flow of new music, they are nearly forgotten about. Is this something you ever consider? Do you care?
We care about that, but it’s further down the list of life concerns. Letting five or more years go by between records doesn’t help public awareness very much, but releasing two or three more Gamelans in the meantime is obviously not going to land us in the Billboard 100 either. Our audience is small and probably, like us, has high standards. We can relate to that. As such, we’d rather take more time to do it right than to release something we aren’t totally happy with.
How long will it be until you start writing new material? Do you specifically take breaks after a new record, or have you already started working on new ideas?
We’re planning on going back into the studio this summer. We’d like to have something new come out this year, but with us who knows? We’ve learned not to predict when that might be until a project is completely done.
Is there room for instrumentation besides bass / drums / guitar in The Psychic Paramount?
Jeff sometimes plays a contact mic running through effects and an amplifier. You can hear it on Gamelan, track four. It sounds like an android. Sometimes he plays this live. On the new record, Ben plays air organ on a couple tracks.
From listening to your records, it’s pretty evident that you are all incredibly talented players, but often the songs themselves aren’t necessarily difficult to follow. Do you purposefully dial yourselves down when it comes to songwriting, to not go off and try to be “crazier” or whatever?
We want our music to be inviting. We’re not trying to throw people off the train. People sometimes describe us as math rock, but it feels more like alchemy than mathematics. You could say that compositionally it’s very basic, but there is a lot going on. Our songs are still very challenging for us to play well.
That’s one thing I really appreciate about your music, that on paper the notes and riffs are probably pretty easy for anyone to play, but I don’t think any other group of people could play them and sound like The Psychic Paramount.
Thanks! That’s also true for most good bands. Classical music needs virtuosos, but rock prefers identity and confidence. You might only need two notes, but you definitely need a sound.
Confirm or deny: The Psychic Paramount have “stage clothes” that you wear at all/most of your performances.
Absolutely, all my clothes look the same.
How do you describe your band to strangers? Is it rock music?
I usually just say loud rock. It’s hard to gauge common reference points with strangers. A while back, this kid who looked at least 18 or 20 years old asked me what we sounded like. I described it as kind of like Jimi Hendrix doing guitar feedback for 40 minutes. He said, “Jimi Hendrix, am I supposed to know who that is?”
How does that make you feel? I can understand someone born in the ‘90s not having a deep knowledge of ‘60s rock, but does that sort of thing make you wonder if the youth is just less interested in rock music?
I don’t know. The genre is so broad. Even though most of the current rock scene may not be very good, I’m sure there’s still a young audience there. The best stuff is underground, and that’s probably more true now than ever before.
The Psychic Paramount - Live at Death By Audio March 5, 2011 in Brooklyn, New York. Video footage by Bryan Zimmerman. Photos by Gisel Florez.
"The Dark Light"
BY MARYAM MATH
appearing in The Daily
- March 16, 2011
The Psychic Paramount pushes the sound beyond songs
At some point in the late ’60s, a certain brand of loud guitar music began to form. Black Sabbath’s doomy plod was the rough base for this new sound, though it also drew from the work of obscure ’60s bands labeled “psychedelic” (mostly because nobody else knew what to call guitar music that buried the vocals and refused to play nice). Over the past 40 years, much of this music has been called “heavy metal,” even though this particular music has little investment in charging forward or telling stories, and metal often does. Eventually, “heavy music” became the going term for this sound; local promoter Adam Shore has created a concert series called Blackened that specializes in booking “heavy” acts. This appellation works slightly better than most genre names because it is so loose — and there is no single way to describe heavy bands. All are loud, some painfully so; most are centered around a traditional rock-band setup, though some aren’t; and all of them make some part of the experience unusually intense.
New York’s the Psychic Paramount is as heavy as it gets. The guitar, bass and drums trio uses no singing, and stretches most of its songs past the five-minute mark. Last week at Death By Audio in Brooklyn, The Daily watched the band play to a small, passionate crowd (made up mostly of men in their late 30s with beards). The room filled with smoke, and the band was backlit with strong lights that made the members’ faces impossible to see. When the music was over, it felt like we’d all been driven around the block in a van full of bowling balls, blindfolded, and then placed back where we had started. (In a good way.) Not ones to play shows or record often, the band answered a few questions from The Daily.
You have been together a fairly long time but haven’t released many recordings. What’s the story?
Drew St. Ivany, guitarist: [Bassist] Ben Armstrong and I were in Laddio Bolocko until that band broke up in 2000. We formed the Psychic Paramount in November 2002 and did a tour in France and Italy with drummer Tatsuya Nakatani. The band lasted only two or three weeks. The decision was made to reignite the band in 2004, and we began rehearsing in New York. [Drummer] Jeff Conaway, who played in Sabers, was introduced to us by mutual friends. We went into the studio shortly after and recorded Gamelan Into the Mink Supernatural.
We decided to start work on a new album in 2007. In 2008, we went into a studio and recorded basic tracks for the album, which were ditched. Another two or three years went by in a flash. Finally, we went in to another studio and rerecorded everything in 2009, and finished mixing it in 2010.
During all that time, we toured sporadically in Europe and the United States. To say we spent an excessive amount of time experimenting and exploring new ideas in our studio is an understatement. There are heaps of abandoned material.
The combination of backlighting, smoke and music is fairly assaultive. How do you navigate the line between music and pure overload?
Drew: We tend to navigate recklessly, and sometimes exciting things happen. It’s not fail-safe. We want the show to be action-packed, sonically, but we’re not trying to be aggressive. People have different thresholds.
Jeff: It can be jarring. Our friend Aran Tharp was in charge of the lighting and smoke at Death by Audio. During certain shows, he is shooting film and has a hand-held spotlight.
Someone called out Big Black’s “Jordan, Minnesota” at the beginning of the show. That song is over 20 years old — what does a reference like that mean to you guys?
Jeff: I thought they were saying “Jojo Monshtafo.”
Drew: I guess the atmosphere reminded them of Big Black. We should have brought firecrackers.
Are there other bands you feel a kinship with now?
Drew: Aluk Todolo.
Jeff: I always had a great time at Coptic Light shows, but they are defunct now. I thought we fit well together.
Music like the Psychic Paramount’s is probably not hugely commercial. In light of that, what do you see as the mission of the band?
Drew: There is no good way to justify an addiction.
Jeff: I always think of it as making what you would want to hear yourself. Not only are we heavy, but there is no singing. I love the challenge of making instrumental music, and so many times singers and/or lyrics are the downfall of otherwise good music.
The New York Times
“Rhythmic Riffs of Explosive, Manic Instrumental Energy”
By BEN RATLIFF
The Psychic Paramount doesn’t use words. It’s a rock trio without a singer, just guitar-bass-drums, and it lives entirely in the brawny lead-up, the big gestures of riff, rhythm and echo that generally point toward the real composed beginning of a song, the part that we end up whistling.
But there is no such song forthcoming. So the group’s show at Death by Audio, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, late Saturday sounded like the instrumental way stations within a bloodthirsty performance by a band with songs (like, say, the Who’s in “Live at Leeds”) stretched across more than an hour. Or like free jazz with rock syncopation and dynamics. There’s some pacing, some narrative, lots of purpose, but the basic idea is to be always exploding in your face.
It makes lots of sense. The idea is right, the scale is right, the time is right. (Repetition is mother’s milk to all of us, and who needs another rock band with lyrics?) Sure, this music can grow tiresome. It was also very loud on Saturday. But the tired feeling you might have gotten was not solo fatigue. The guitarist Drew St. Ivany, the center of the band, didn’t play traditional solos in any sense. With Jeff Conaway’s syncopated drum groove and a blown-out repeated bass line (by Ben Armstrong) that contains an octave jump, suddenly this felt like progressive rock from 30 years ago except that the songs didn’t become fancy with chord changes. Instead, Mr. St. Ivany just repeated an extended-harmony chord for minutes at a time. He strummed fast, his guitar running through a couple of digital filters to make the sound ringing and rubbery. Or he took his hands off the fretboard and manipulated loops and feedback, making whining and roaring and percussive sounds — amazing sounds really.
Saturday’s show wasn’t improvisational, either. It drew directly from the shape of the pieces on the band’s new record, “II,” and the previous one, from 2005, “Gamelan Into the Mink Supernatural,” rather than expand and contract and move forward in free improvisation, as the band did back at the beginning, nine years ago.
In all that time the Psychic Paramount has moved pretty slowly up the ladder of local sound systems, and Death by Audio’s didn’t quite cut it; the show could not replicate anything like the pressurized feeling of “II.” You should see the group at a festival that will put the band in the right place with the right sound. Or you should hear “II.” Or you should just experience someone raving about what the Psychic Paramount amounts to at its idealized best: a manic ongoing present.
A version of this review appeared in print on March 7, 2011, on page C5 of the New York edition.
1. Black Sabbath - Sabotage
An easy one that kicks right in with "Hole in the Sky.” The ultimate Sabbath party record.
2. Gunter Schickert - Samtvogel
Possibly the best echo guitar record ever made; either this one or A.R. & Machines - Die Grüne Reise.
3. Nurse With Wound - Merzbild Schwet
Listening to this is a perfect way to get in the mood for just about anything.
4. Institut für Psycho-Hygiene / Rudolf Eb.er - Lieder Zur Anal.ytischen Selbsverkrüppelung
The title pretty much says it all.
5. Kim Duk Soo - Samulnori 2xCD
Samulnori is Korean farmer percussion music which apparently dates back to 300 A.D. Traditionally comprised of four musicians on specific types of gongs and drums, Kim Duk Soo expanded this form for a larger ensemble and that’s what you’ll hear on these amazing discs.
6. Chrome - Half Machine Lip Moves
Back in high school, Ben’s Ford LTD had a piece-of-shit car stereo. I think he was punching it out of frustration and this album got stuck in the cassette deck. We literally tripped on it for weeks. When he finally got the cassette out, the Surfers’ Locust Abortion Technician became firmly implanted.
7. The Aesthetics - My Right to Riches
A cool band from New Zealand. Sort of like Chrome but more punk garage.
8. Angus MacLise - Astral Collapse
Ritual music from the elusive and complicated first drummer of the Velvets. This beatnik can teach you how to do it.
9. The OKeh Laughing Record
This record is so magical, it can turn a man into a baby.
10. Flipper - “Sex Bomb” b/w “Brainwash”
Punk storytelling classic.
Brooklyn, New York's own The Psychic Paramount brings us another sonic assault of noise, psychedelia, and prog with their brand new album, II. Life's Sweet Breath got to talk further about some of the influences going into the new album.
Life's Sweet Breath: You did a small East Coast tour this past November with Maserati. How did that tour go, and are you guys planning on doing a tour in support of II?
Jeff Conaway: The 5 shows wish Maserati went well, and it was nice to see Steve Moore, who was on most of the shows, and A E Pattera, who was drumming for Maserati. We had toured with their band Zombi before.
LSB: It has been six years since Gamelan Into The Mink Supernatural; what was the band up to in that time?
JC: We were always active on some level. We did several US and European tours during that time. We did some recording, but ended up not using it ultimately. So we began the recording for II in late 2009, and spread out the tracking, mixing, and mastering instead of doing it all in one shot. It was a long time between records, but I would always prefer taking the time to hone something rather than wishing you had later on.
LSB: From first listen of II, there seems to be more space and breathing room in the sound as compared to your last record. Was this intentional or something that just came naturally?
JC: I think it was a pretty natural evolution. In a way, Gamelan is about this kind of maximalism; I think a song like “Echoh Air” exemplifies that approach the best, where there is a lot of space being filled by each instrument. Then you can contrast that with a song like “N6”, which best exemplifies a minimal approach to playing a song. The palette is very limited, there is a constant 16 note pattern that all three instruments are stating. There are minor variations in the rhythmic patterns, some chord changes, and a moment where things break out of that pattern. Having more sonic space allows you to play with groove more, and that is something that has always been important to us.
LSB: One of the most interesting things that some notice with your band is how the band is very rhythmic and have sort of a math rock sound, but still manage perfectly to barrage the listener with psychedelic noise. What are the band's, and your own, influences that attribute to that?
JC: I don't really think of it in a math rock way. We don't really disrupt grooves with tricky changes or pauses. Our particular combination of rhythm and psychedelia is us using the elements we love - we are absolutely instrumental, so you have to push other elements to the forefront. I always have loved music that goes somewhere else, for lack of a better term. You can achieve that with atmospheres and sounds, but also rhythm. There is a real pleasure in trancing out on a groove; it suspends time for a while. On the sonic front, Drew is great at getting a huge range of sounds out of his guitar and effects. Ben brings a lot of loops and recordings to the table that add to the noises, and occasionally I do some contact mic and effects live, a departure from drumming that I definitely enjoy in a live set.
As far as influences and inspirations go, I would just throw out a few that we all like for a range - Led Zeppelin, Miles Davis, My Bloody Valentine, This Heat, James Brown, Can, The Stooges, Black Sabbath, Kraftwerk. Personally, I would add some stuff like The Dustdevils for their sonic intensity. Their album Struggling Electric and Chemical has always been a favorite, and they had a great drummer on that record, I think his name was Rick Nance, but I didn't know who it was for a long time, they only listed first names on the album. Tinariwen is another personal favorite.
LSB: You're actually the second drummer for the band and were in the band Sabers before the Psychic Paramount. How did joining the band come about?
JC: My friend Bryan Zimmerman knew Ben and Drew and told them about me when they were looking for a drummer for a tour they had set up with Acid Mothers Temple. I had been a huge fan of Laddio Bolocko, but I hadn't heard The Psychic Paramount or met those guys yet. We did the tour, and then recorded Gamelan, and just kept going. I was doing both Sabers and The Psychic Paramount for a while, but Sabers ended up dissolving due to various circumstances.
LSB: In this day and age you see a lot of bands "take advantage" of the ability to fill an entire CD with 80 minutes worth of music, and many times you hear lots and lots of filler. With your records, they are short and very concise. Is this sort of the band's philosophy on making a record?
JC: For us, I think it's definitely better to have less in terms of total play time than to strive to fill up an entire CD. We also didn't want to wait 12 years to release an 80 minute CD.
LSB: So how did it feel when you found out that NPR wanted to showcase your new album on "First Listen"?
JC: I was surprised, but really happy about that. I think it reflects the fact that people have much more access to music these days, so tastes have widened, and NPR is both reflecting and contributing to that. I would have never guessed that we would be on their radar.
LSB: Last question. What are some new releases from last year and so far this year that you have had in heavy rotation?
JC: I will just tell you what I've had in heavy rotation - Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti, Alice Coltrane’s Universal Consciousness and Ptah, the El Daoud, The Flaming Lips’ Embryonic, The Roots’ Game Theory, Trans Am’s Thing, and very lately PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake.
-Jordan Leman, March 18, 2011
Exclusive First Listen: The Psychic Paramount "II" in its entirety on NPR until Feb. 22, 2011.
NY Times record review
Pitchfork album review
11.12.2010 Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie ^
11.13.2010 Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Bowl ^
11.14.2010 New Haven, CT @ Lily's ^
11.15.2010 Boston, MA @ The Middle East *
* with Maserati
^ with Maserati and Steve Moore
Koncert The Psychic Paramount był jednym z powodów, dla których Scena Eksperymentalna najbardziej przypadła nam do gustu spośród scen Offa. Miło zobaczyć w Polsce zespół, który wykorzystując rockowe patenty buduje coś nowego, zarazem idą trochę pod prąd modnym tendencjom. Choć motoryczna, przestrzenna muzyka The Psychic Paramount skrzydła rozwija na koncertach, coś nam mówi, że ich (wreszcie) nadchodząca nowa płyta uchwyci jej sedno i moc. Przed Wami wywiad z trio z Brooklynu.
Na pierwszym koncercie w Polsce zagraliście dwa utwory z „Gamelan Into Mink Supernatural”, a reszta utworów była nowa. Od „Gamelan…” minęło pięć lat. Skąd aż tak długa przerwa?
[Ben Armstrong – bas] Cóż… Od czego by tu zacząć.
[Jeff Conaway – perkusja] Nowy album jest już skończony, niedługo powinien się ukazać.
[Drew St. Ivany – gitara] Nazywa się „II”, co okazało się nieco prorocze, bo nie nagraliśmy go w pierwszym podejściu. Nie byliśmy szczególnie zachwyceni pierwszym nagraniem tej płyty, więc spędziliśmy trochę czasu na nicnierobieniu, a później nagraliśmy ją drugi raz.
[Ben] Nie chodziło jednak tylko o kwestie techniczne. Zmodyfikowaliśmy piosenki, poprawiliśmy, stały się bardziej zwarte. Gdy nagrywaliśmy pierwszy raz wystąpiły też pewne problemy z brzmieniem, których nie potrafiliśmy przeskoczyć. Postaraliśmy się więc o nowy budżet, by nagrać od początku.
Kiedy odbyła się te sesja?
[Jeff] Pierwsza była chyba latem 2008. Drugą zaczęliśmy pod koniec października 2009. Już prawie skończyliśmy, musimy jeszcze trochę popracować nad dźwiękiem, ale w 95 % płyta już jest gotowa.
Kiedy możemy się jej spodziewać?
[Ben] Jeśli nie pod koniec tego roku, to na początku następnego. Tak jak pierwsza płyta, wyjdzie ona w No Quarter.
Wasza pierwsza płyta powstała na żywo, na w trasie po Francji i Włoszech. Koncert na Off pokazał, że Wasza muzyka jest typowo koncertowa – na żywo brzmienie nabiera rozmachu. W studio też nagrywacie na 100%?
[Drew] Zasadniczo staramy się grać razem jak najwięcej. Na nowej płycie nagraliśmy jednak parę kawałków w zupełnie oddzielnych partiach.
[Ben] Większość płyty nagraliśmy na żywo. Jednak pewnych rzeczy nie da się zrobić w ten sposób. Jeśli pomyślisz o komplikacjach wynikających z nagrywania dziesięciominutowego kawałka, łatwiej jest to zrobić w częściej. A już gdy chce się podwoić partię gitarową, po prostu nie można tego zrobić na żywo.
Kiedy słuchałem Waszych nowych piosenek, miałem wrażenie, że jest w nich więcej narracji i budowania atmosfery niż w starszym materiale. Czy w tym przejawia się ta zwartość, o której wspomnieliście?
[Jeff] Myślę, że samo połączenie wszystkich składowych naszej muzyki tworzy swego rodzaju narracyjność. Ale z drugiej strony, dzieje się to w bardzo zredukowanej formule. Nasza muzyka opiera się na repetycjach, próbujemy stworzyć utwór z najbardziej podstawowych elementów, wręcz celowo zawężając paletę. Nadal jednak chodzi o uzyskanie skończonej piosenkę, przy użyciu bardzo prostych elementów.
[Drew] Na pewno zmieniły się okoliczności, w jakich powstawały starsze i nowe utwory. Pierwszy album, czy też pierwszy zestaw utworów na drugi, składał się raczej z ogólnych pomysłów, proces komponowania był tak jakby bezterminowy, nie miał domknięcia. Wiedzieliśmy od czego zaczniemy i mniej więcej wiedzieliśmy na czym skończymy, więc w środku utworu w pewien sposób podróżowaliśmy wspólnie, by dotrzeć to tego punktu. Natomiast nowe kawałki są zdecydowanie bardziej skomponowane. Bardziej przemyślane. Nie tyle na samej zasadzie kompozycyjnej, co raczej w wyniku tego, że o wiele więcej ćwiczyliśmy. Podczas prób naprawdę ograliśmy ten materiał i decydowaliśmy, które elementy muzyki zostaną. Dotyczy to szczególnie gitary. Na pierwszym albumie sednem gitary były sola, teraz dużo ważniejsza jest motoryka, powiedziałbym nawet, że minimalistyczna.
[Ben] Oraz bardziej rytmiczna. Tych punktów, węzłów, o których wspomniał Ben, mieliśmy przy nagrywaniu drugiej płyty zdecydowanie więcej.
Wspomnieliście o takich charakterystykach jak repetycja, motoryka, minimalizm. To fundamenty krautrocka. Czy zespoły krautrockowe Was inspirują?
[Wszyscy] Tak, zdecydowanie.
[Drew] Dorastając w środkowo-zachodniej Ameryce, jak my wszyscy, wychowujesz się w klimacie klasycznego rocka z lat 60tych/70tych. Teraz, szczególnie dla mnie, choć myślę, że dla chłopaków też, wszystkie te zespoły jak Can, Faust czy Kraftwerk, koniecznie trzeba też wspomnieć o This Heat i nawet Boredoms, stały się obecnie klasyką rocka. Może wielu ludzi nigdy nie słyszało takich zespołów jak Harmonia i tym podobne. Ale my słuchamy ich od tak dawna, że chyba nie mają już na nas tak bezpośredniego wpływu, nie usłyszysz ich wyraźnie w naszej muzyce. Wpływ był widoczny jakieś piętnaście lat temu, gdy naprawdę przetrawialiśmy cały krautrock. Teraz jest to dla nas naturalne środowisko.
Czy fakt, że krautrock był europejskim tworem, zwiększał dla Was jego atrakcyjność względem amerykańskiego kanonu, na którym się wychowaliście?
[Drew] Tak naprawdę, większość zespołów, których słuchałem w młodości, było z Anglii. The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin. Haczyk w dorastaniu w środkowej Ameryce polega na tym, że wszyscy są przekonani, że to Amerykanie wymyślili rock’n’roll, bo wywodzi się on z czarnej muzyki. Ale przecież wszystkie naprawdę innowacyjne zespoły, jak te wyżej, ale też chwytliwe, jak The Kinks, są w większości brytyjskie. Tak więc krautrock jako europejski, był po prostu trochę bardziej egzotyczny te piętnaście lat temu, ale już nie jest. Nie wydaje się odległy.
[Jeff] Chciałem jeszcze powiedzieć, że kiedy ja po raz pierwszy spotkałem się z krautrockiem, byłem naprawdę pod wrażeniem. Moim zdaniem te zespoły w pewien sposób wyprzedziły, przewidziały nadejście muzyki dance i wielu innych rzeczy, które wydarzyły się w muzyce elektronicznej, muzyce opartej na rytmie, na groove. Moim zdaniem było to bardzo świeże, zwłaszcza, że wydarzyło się wcześniej od muzyki stricte elektronicznej. Według mnie istnieje duży kontrast pomiędzy tym wszystkim a klasycznym rockiem, dominującym w Stanach. Ale myślę, że sam teraz próbuję wrzucać do jednego worka z klasycznym rockiem, który lubię, współczesne zespoły, których kompozycje nie rozwijają się w organiczny sposób, są więźniami zwrotkowo-refrenowej konwencji. My staramy się, by nasze utwory właśnie ewoluowały organiczne, żeby kolejne pasaże wynikały z siebie, nawet jeśli jest dużo repetycji i zmiany, które następują, są subtelne.
Odniosłem wrażenie, że Wasze koncertowe brzmienie jest bardzo dojrzałe, że macie je pod kontrolą. Czy ewolucja i coraz lepsza kontrola brzmienia pomaga Wam tworzyć bardziej złożoną muzykę na drugim albumie? Bardziej zaplanowaną?
[Drew] To delikatna sprawa, bo kiedy brzmienie jest w centrum, to możesz komponować, zmieniać, przebudowywać muzykę, ćwiczyć się w detalach, ale jeśli brzmienie nie będzie takie, jakiego oczekiwałeś, nie czujesz się z nim dobrze, wtedy cała reszta przestaje mieć znaczenie. Zawsze pierwszą rzeczą, o którą się martwisz, jest sound. To zawiła kwestia, ale właśnie w tym leży problem.
[Ben] Wiele zespołów używa na trasach pożyczonego sprzętu różnego rodzaju, monitorów, bębnów, itd., żeby zarobić pieniądze. My zawsze wypożyczamy vana i bierzemy ze sobą wszystko, co będzie nam potrzebne. Chcemy mieć pewność, że mamy pod ręką nasz sprzęt i możemy kontrolować brzmienie najlepiej, jak tylko możliwe. Za każdym razem jest oczywiście trochę inaczej, ale staramy się tak właśnie działać. W efekcie, na trasie ginie nam połowa sprzętu (śmiech). Dzisiaj używaliśmy wyjątkowo dużo nie naszego sprzętu, swoje mieliśmy tylko gitary i efekty – przylecieliśmy ze Stanów tylko na ten koncerty. Ta scena miała sporo pogłosu, co powodowało problemy, z którymi człowiekowi nie chce się borykać gdy gra, ale musi.
[Drew] Tak naprawdę kontrolować brzmienie jest ciężko, trudniej niż się wydaje.
[Jeff] Brzmienie jest skrajnie ważne, gdy tworzy się rockową, instrumentalną muzykę. Nie mamy wokalisty, który wyjdzie na scenę i przyciągnie uwagę widowni. Więc każdy instrument musi brzmieć naprawdę świetne.
Jeśli brzmienie jest tak ważne, jakie zespoły najbardziej cenicie za ten właśnie element?
[Drew] Często jest to przypadkowe. Tak czysto dźwiękowo rzecz biorąc, powiem, że pierwszy album Suicide ma cudowne brzmienie. Płyta „'77 Live” Les Rallizes Dénudés ma kapitalne, bardzo romantyczne brzmienie, choć nie wiem, czy tak planowali. Te dwie rzeczy przychodzą mi od razu do głowy.
[Ben] Lubię rzeczy wydane przez Chrome Records. Są nagrane pozornie w złej jakości, w naprawdę dziwnym, kiepskim studiu. To są najbardziej magiczne płyty. Nagrywane na mały magnetofon, potem składane do kupy i efektem jest nieprzewidywalny, szalony dźwięk. Nie możesz tego zrobić w studio. My staramy się używać naprawdę dobrego sprzętu, co również daje świetne brzmienie, ale jeśli się z tym przesadzi, można stracić całą magię.
[Jeff] Ciężko jest utrzymać równowagę. Jeśli coś, co planujesz od początku ma w sobie tę dziwną energię, to gdy brzmienia jest tanie, kiepskie, właśnie ta energia decyduje o atrakcyjności całości. Próbujemy uzyskać równowagę stosując bardziej wyrafinowaną jakość dźwięku i nadal zachowując tę energię w muzyce.
Dzięki za rozmowę.