Thursday, November 06, 2008

10 Questions

Happy Thursday to all & sundry, time for a new installment of the "10 Questions" survey. Today's guest hails from the wild & wooly barely-inhabited area 'round Resolven, Wales. More precisely, it's Lewie of El Goodo!

El Goodo released their self-titled debut in 2005, (damn! has it been that long?), on the Empyrean label. (after first being released on Super Furry Animals' own Placid Casual.) Stewart Mason, as per usual, of AMG nails a deft accounting of the albums charms:

"Although Welsh psych-pop outfit El Goodo don't sound a bit like Big Star, the fact that they nicked their name from an old cult fave tune is illuminating: there is nothing about El Goodo that any reasonably knowledgeable student of pop history hasn't heard before. That said, the first-names-only quintet do a better job than most of synthesizing enough disparate influences that it doesn't sound like they're just ripping off one band in particular. The wry "Stuck in the '60s" says it all, really: faux Beach Boys vocals, queasy strings out of a Serge Gainsbourg record, a Mellotron part straight from the opening of "Strawberry Fields Forever," Forever Changes' mariachi trumpets, but all of them are brought together by a solid, hooky melody and a knowing lyric that says "Yes, we know we're not really doing anything new here." Other highlights include the accordion-powered waltz "I Tried But I Failed," which has unexpected echoes of Ram-era Paul McCartney, and the sweet-tooth psychedelia of the jangle-fuzzy "Surreal Morning," complete with backwards guitar solo. Blending the druggily experimental vibe of the Beta Band or El Goodo's friends and patrons Super Furry Animals with the kind of retro songcraft the Apples in Stereo mastered on Fun Trick Noisemaker and Tone Soul Evolution, this is strictly for those who like to play spot-the-homage, but the group's better than average songwriting and clear fondness for their obvious influences make this an enjoyable listen."

Me, I could substitute their track "Esperanto" for "Let's Go Away For Awhile" and quite a few would be none the wiser...and put "Stuck In The 60s" right behind it.

Word is they're all busy putting together a new album to unleash upon us. I have high expectations and hope their intake of hallucinogenics was copious and prodigious. (!)

Well then, right, on with the show. Let's travel the circuitry of his neural net and see what Lewie thinks about psychedelic music:

1. In ten words-or less, define "psychedelic music."

Just the best possible way, to spend an evening - LISTENING.

2. What is the most psychedelic instrument, why?

For us, it's everything in context; or in a recorded context at least. Arguably the 12 string guitar, is indicative of psychedelic music; when recorded properly i.e. getting that 60's sound. But obviously you've got to want that sound; otherwise it doesn't do anything for me. Tambourine always does a job. Yes, i'd go for tambourine - the illusion of increased tempo - that's quite abstract.

3. Favorite psychedelic album of all time?

Tough questions - i'm going to mix it up a bit - i've been listening to a lot of Gyorgy Ligeti, recently, and i'm finding that, mind-blowing. Apparitions, Atmosphere's, Lux Anterna's, Requiem - there's quite a lot out there. I got into him, from listening to Kubrick soundtracks. Just a break from the norm; and far more accessible than Trout Mask Replica, for example.
Failing that, the Love Cycle, by Forever Amber. POP

4. If you could be a member of any band in history, what band would it be and what would you play?

Personaly, it would probably be the Doors. Despite always having the Beatles, the Stones, Elvis, on in the house when I was growing-up, the Doors were probably the first band that i genuinely got into, myself; that my parents weren't playing, too. I really started to enjoy music, a lot more, from that point on - A LARGE DOOR WAS OPENED. I couldn't possibly impose on them - maybe a tambourine, if it was mixed out.

5. What album do you consider psychedelic but most would not; what makes it that way for you?

I defiy anyone, to not consider the Ligeti stuff, quite thought provoking. I'm not sure, i suppose it depends what mood people are in - I think the Coral have their moments; are they already considered psychedelic, though? I'm not sure. I'm listening to Scott 4 at the moment - which seems to be floating along, quite nicely. The La's. Satan is Real by the Louvin Brothers, always demands my attention, too - JUST CRAZY TIMES.

6. What era (decade) has the best roster of psychedelic music? Why so?

1965 - 1970 x2. Just the best sounding music we've ever heard - every genre, too. Even the shit songs, sounded great. I guess, just having the knowledge, that your album, was going to at least sound great, was as big an incentive as anything, to start a band. Obviously it's well documented that music was heavily drug influenced during then, too - i guess people knew what the right drugs were. I've put it down twice, as there's shit loads of amazing new music, from that era, that we discover on a daily basis. A friend has just done me a compilation of Belgian and Dutch 60's music - wicked.

7. What band, active today, most defines "psychedelic" to you?

That's quite tough, as we don't really listen to a lot of contemporary stuff. I remember when the Soft Bulletin, came out, i thought Fucking hell, this is amazing - but a strange thing happened with the Flaming Lips, for us, similarly with Granddaddy: they became really successful; but in a way, less interesting, i think. I sound like a right snob, saying that. We're big fans of Super Furry Animals, whose listening habits are very similar to ours - but they've addressed it, in a more contemporary way - it also helps if you've got some of the best melodies, ever written; which should never become uninteresting.
Caribou's live show, is from a different planet.

8. Is the psychedelic genre viable for a band to be playing anymore? Why or why not?

It depends what the band wants, i suppose - you can probably be self-sufficient, whatever genre you get into. There's certainly enough interest out there, for a psychedelic band. But if you're an aspiring Bono, then maybe not - THANK-FUCK.
We're just 60's obsessives, who spend 3 years, on getting 40 minutes of music, down on tape. Love It...

9. Top Ten Psychedelic Songs?

TODAY my favourites are:

Andy Forray - Dream With Me
Women - Black Rice
West Coast Pop Experimental Band - High Coin
The Velvet Undergound - What Goes On
Blood Balls - Blockade
Johnny Greenwood - Open Spaces
Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention - Trouble Everyday
Forever Amber - Bit's of You Life, Bit's of My Life
Ennio Morricone - Il Vizio D'uccidere
Beach Boys - Feel Flows

10. Turn the tables, if you'd like, and ask me a question.

Lewie: Give me your top ten? Or maybe some bands that i may not've heard of?

-valis: How about a combining of both? (Though I've abso' no idea what you do & don't know.) My list would go something like this:

1. The Serpents - Bricweithiau Borth Wen
2. Saddar Bazaar - Neelum Blue
3. Abunai! - Cosmo Gun
4. The Electric Effect - Orbit C
5. The Pillbugs - Neo Mega Quasi ultra Super Groovy
6. Purple Overdose - Holes
7. Sun Dial - Send
8. The Tadpoles - Butterfly
9. When - Footsteps
10. The Chemistry Set - Acacia Gardens

Hoping this helps and answers both parts of your question Lewie. THANKS!
Keep us updated on the progress of the new album, too!


sr-71 said...

every time i hear that guitar solo in vu's what goes on i am transported to my psychedelic happy place.

Cliff. said...

Rest assured Valis, 'tis mushroom season in Wales so Lewie's lysergic intake can be copious indeed right now!

'Goodo' interview and can't wait for the new release. Great to see that impressive list you provide for the tables turned question, gotta investigate at least 4 of those tunes.

gerryboy67 said...

another good one, Valis. I concur entirely with SR-71's assessment of the VU track. My fav of theirs. I must listen more to El Goodo. The guy has excellent taste.

Chris said...

cool top ten song lists from you both... and very cool interview all the way around.