Friday, October 07, 2011

10 Questions

Hail Voyagers! Happy Friday as well....

Back in May we featured today's guest as our Pick of the Week, so they should now have pummeled their way into your brains. We're honored to have The Great Society Mind Destroyers' Andrew Kettering take on the survey.

Andrew seems -like our man Plastic Crimewave, to be a force of nature on the Chicago Pyschedelic Scene; he's a huge part of the Commune Records label, as well as the organizing force behind the Chicago Psych Fest!

(* there's a great interview recorded of Andrew discussing this year's Fest with CHIRP DJ Alli Klein, here.)

He's certainly got the CV to take this on, so let's go! Ready?

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

Music inspired by, relating to, or embodying the psychedelic experience.

2. What is the most psychedelic instrument, why?

Just based on sound alone and not so much how they are being played I would say India instruments like the tambura, the sitar or the shruti box because of their natural droning qualities resonating like the OM. Although lately I have been more tranced out by the poly-rythmic tribal drumming of African folk music. Syd Barrett did a good job of embodying the psychedelic with just his voice and an acoustic guitar, so there is also something to be said about who is at the helm.

3. Favorite psychedelic album of all time?

This has changed over the years and will probably continue to change as I dive deeper, but the record that has resonated the deepest with me in the past year or so has been "Heavier Than a Death in the Family" by Les Rallizes Denudes. It's probably the most raw hypnotizing and destructive music I heard this side of "Sister Ray".

4. What live performance in history, if it could've been recorded as a bootleg, would you most like to have?

It would be cool if there were some street recordings of Moondog playing crazy things he built. Maybe there are? I also wish there were some recordings of the last Elevators shows when Tommy got back with them. They were supposedly playing this more droned out tune called "Jerusalem" that I wondered about.

5. What song or album that wouldn't fall into the classic "psych" definition is, nevertheless, psychedelic to you?

I am hugely into "dub" music. The droning echo and repetitious grooves are very psychedelic. My all time favorite dub album is the Scientist's "Rids the World of the Evil Curse of the Vampires". It's the perfect mix of heavy bass 'n riddim with fantastic vocal and horn melodies mixed in by a genius dub master. For a dub album it is much more expansive and layered then most. I have also been really getting in this collaboration record between Creation Rebel and New Age Steppers called "Threat to Creation" that is infinitely far out, just covered in echo and reverb splendor.

6. Is there an advantage in being the pioneers (60s psychedelic bands), or being the continuing explorers armed with the knowledge of those pioneers work (the modern psychedelic bands)? Why?

It all depends on what you are exposed to and how deep you go down the rabbit hole. There are plenty of 60s groups that just jumped on the psychedelic bandwagon and probably never took the time to understand what a psychedelic experience is, they just played the part. Just as there are modern groups that probably saw DIG! once and decided to form a "psychedelic" band. It ultimately depends on what kind of people are in the band and what they want out of their music. When you look at how the psychedelic experience influenced music across the world in the 60s it is incredible to hear all the variations and interpretations of how that translates into music. Groups like Parson Sound were obviously interpreting their experience a bit differently then The Beatles or the Jefferson Airplane. Nowadays with so much information and obscure music available I think the more interesting modern psych groups are the ones soaking it all in blurring genres and dispelling conventions but are still tuned into that greater consciousness experienced from the altered perception and expanded awareness of the psychedelic experience.

7. Who are The NoMen..?

A modern underground British group?

* (Editor's Note: They are actually Scots.)

8. Your band elects to cover an album, entirely, even though you may be the only ones who ever hear it; what's the album, and why that one?

It would be interesting to try and cover something by Fela Kuti, maybe "Expensive Shit". I think that would translate into being pretty far out because it's already pretty much there, just add the massive reverb, echo and drone.

9. Top Ten Psychedelic Songs?

from the top of my head and in no particular order

Slip Inside This House by the 13th Floor Elevators
Sister Ray by The Velvet Underground
Kalyani/You Can't Ever Come Down by Joe Byrd & the Field Hippies
Dancing Gods by Silver Apples
Amboss by Ash Ra Tempel
You Made Me Realise by My Bloody Valentine
Der LSD-Marsch by Guru Guru
Night of the Assassins by Les Rallizes Denudes
The Psychedelic Saxophone of Charlie Nothing by Charlie Nothing
10 Minutes by Parson Sound

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

Andrew: Who is your favorite 60s era Austin, TX psych band besides the 13th Floor Elevators and why?

-valis: I'll take The Golden Dawn. Their Power Plant album seems about as close to another 13th Floor Elevators LP as possible. The similarities in the vocals are uncanny, as well as the lyrical bent of George Kinney. (He's not Tommy Hall, but then who is?!) I also think the lyrics stand up well to the passage of time, now 43 years on from its release, unlike quite a sufficient amount of other tracks by bands which seem to have disappeared up their own fundament. Hysterically.

There's an emotional pull on Power Plant that saves it, to this day: Raw, honest, unflinching and earnest.

Thanks Andrew! Also, for our Chicago-area readers, The Great Society Mind Destroyers will be playing the Viaduct Theater with Panda Riot, Lightfoils, and (great friend of the blog, Collin A's band) Chatham Rise, tomorrow night, October 8th!

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