Podcast 2020.08 Flatten The Curve

The COVID-19 pandemic goes on and we are all trying to come to terms with the new normal. This episode of the Turn Me On, Dead Man podcast opens and closes with tracks from the Burger Records compilation Quarantunes: Songs From Self-Isolation. Burger Records organized this ambitious undertaking to support its artists during the COVID-19 pandemic. The label is covering all the costs and all proceeds from Quarantunes will go directly to the artists. There’s also a track from another COVID-19 benefit album, CosmoPraesidium compilation by Eiderdown Records. All proceeds from this compilation will go to food banks in Washington state, California, and New York.

COVID-19 comes out in other ways in this podcast. Kikagaku Moyo released a track earlier this month called “Ouchi Time” (“Home Time”) that I take to be a response to stay-at-home orders. Other bands, like the Watchmakers, Flowers Must Die and CCR Headcleaner used this opportunity to release recordings from years past. I asked the artists how they were faring through this time, and I got some varied responses.

Like 2020.07, this podcast features audio from Apocalypse Now. This time we hear from Dennis Hopper’s unnamed character.

00:00 TMODM – Intro
00:52 Exploding Flowers – (There’s No Arms Around) The Isolationist
02:45 The Watchmakers – Illumination
07:10 The Haze Parade – P-ills
09:27 Sky Burrow Tales – Photons
16:02 TMODM – Little Man/Great Man
17:45 Prana Crafter – Cloud Ambassador
20:15 El Viaje De Los Antiguos – Capitulo 1
24:45 The Cove – Come Down Easy
30:01 Doug Tuttle – No, No, No, No
32:07 CCR Headcleaner – Unified (Dubified)
34:39 TMODM – Dialectics
36:33 Kikagaku Koyo – Ouchi Time
40:09 Tonstartssbandht – Olde Feelings
45:14 Flowers Must Die – Funki
54:05 O.S.H. – Let’s Try To Have Good Times
56:52 TMODM – Outro

Exploding Flowers – (There’s No Arms Around) The Isolationist [from Quarantunes: Songs From Self-Isolation #6, released April 16, 2020]

TMODM: how have you been affected by COVID-19?
Sharif: On the micro-level I’ve been very lucky to have my health, my surrounding loved ones health being good so far, and my job. In this time, Exploding Flowers are releasing our second album, “Stumbling Blocks,” on Burger Records (Vinyl) and Beautiful Music (CDs) coming out July 21st, In The Red Records have released the Alice Bag “Sister Dynamite” album (I’m the guitarist in that band), and in the next few weeks a project, still without name, with Jesse Michaels (Operation Ivy), will be up as a digital release on Bandcamp and eventually a 7″ single, and my first book of prose and short stories entitled “I Am A Hurricane” will be published at the end of the year. So basically, as the Covid-19 pandemic forces mass pandemonium globally, exposes the incompetency, greed, and absolute corruption of this countries administration, in my opinion one of the greatest acts of both rebellion and humanity against the monstrosity of this country’s presidency is to just persevere in whatever way that works for you. I once read a fantastic article written by activists who were of color and queer, relating to approaches in both activism and survival theory. It was an eye opening and profound statement, “joy as activism.” The first thing any oppressive person, movement, or administration wants to do before you are smashed to a pulp, is to break your spirit, and render you worthless. The opposition to that, is to live with joy, love, and self worth. As an artist, there is no greater joy and self worth, than the potential beauty that one can create, that then others can take, hopefully enjoy, and make the day brighter to shine on for another day.
TMODM: How did the Burger compilation come about?
Sharif: Sean and Lee (Burger Records) are old friends that I’ve known since their band Thee Make-Out Party. We were talking before this compilation, and working out the release of the Exploding Flowers upcoming album, when they came up with the compilation idea and hit us up. So we jumped in the studio real quick and whipped the song up in a day and sent it off. It was a good way to spend time being creative right when the first weeks of adjustment to the quarantine hit.

The Watchmakers – Illumination [from Stole From Yesterday: Recordings 2013-15, released May 12, 2020]

TMODM: First, how are you doing as the COVID-19 pandemic goes on and on? Second, what are your plans for returning to normal life (if that ever happens)?
Adam: We started working together again as there was a glut of unreleased and unfinished music that we felt needed to be heard. Initially it was just for our own creative urge but the response from people has been really enthusiastic and so we decided to take up some of the offers we’ve had to get back on stage. We’d planned to be back at our first gig this week at Dot2Dot festival in Manchester as well as releasing the first of our new tracks but sadly that wasn’t to be. That kind of ties in with your next question about the current situation. We’ve tried to make the best of it and have been using the time to rework some older unreleased tracks. The first of which is called Awake and will be out in the next few weeks. Its a pulsing psychedelic track with 4 part harmonies, tablas & analog synths that builds up into a crescendo of a mantra. The new tracks will be released this autumn when (hopefully) we’ll be returning to the stage!

The Haze Parade – P-ills [from EP II (DEMO2020), released May 12, 2020]

Sky Burrow Tales – Photons [from CosmoPraesidium compilation, released May 01, 2020]

Prana Crafter – Cloud Ambassador [from The Drop Bear’s Song – An Australian Bushfire Relief Album, released April 22, 2020]

TMODM: How are you doing as the COVID-19 pandemic goes on and on?
Prana Crafter: Things have been strange out here in Washington but living in a more rural place I think it was less traumatic because things are already kind of isolated and people are used to having to stock up a little bit because of the distance of things (e.g.our grocery store is an hour round trip drive) but it’s still been the strangest of times for sure
TMODM: What are your plans for returning to normal life (if that ever happens)?
Prana Crafter: when this is behind us, I really hope we find a new normal that is better than what was going on before some ways, I’d like to think we come out the other side of this more balanced and appreciative at least, but hopefully there are wider systemic changes for the good at the end of this tunnel. As far as live music, I have no idea what I’ll be doing next and when, it’s impossible to say at this point.

El Viaje De Los Antiguos – Capitulo 1 [from El Viaje EP, released May 06, 2020]

TMODM: What is life like now in Venezuela? How are you facing all of the challenges, what with the political/economic instability and now COVID-19?
EVDLA: Life right now in Venezuela is full of limitations in very basic things due to the deterioration of the oil industry that was the economic engine of the country and because we lack basic services such as water, food, electricity and supplies and everything revolves around the economic and social status in which you find yourself, but in general, the vast majority live a tireless struggle to satisfy very basic needs coupled with the lack of freedom of expression and political persecution and discrimination and brutal repression by the current regime. that many made us flee the country that to make a summary equal to this point seeing it from the outside each time the situation worsens in all aspects and logically a life as anyone wants or simply assumes in normality is surreal in Vzla from many years ago.
Right now with the situation generated by the pandemic you can imagine it is a higher level of complication for all our brothers and families in Vzla because it is already quite difficult not to have basic services and much less social security and the health system is extremely precarious almost nonexistent is something very hard the truth!
TMODM: What are your plans for returning to normal life (if that ever happens)?
EVDLA: The ideal plan would be to see our country free and to build it again free from so much hatred and absurd political separations that all Venezuelans can be calm in our country and of course fill it again with music and joys as at some point it was.

The Cove – Come Down Easy [from Revolution Mantras, released February 03, 2020]

Doug Tuttle – No, No, No, No [from Anywhere You Run / No, No, No, No, released March 10, 2020]

TMODM: How are you doing as the COVID-19 pandemic goes on and on?
Doug: I’m doing well, I’m self employed/work from home–building these: midfielectronics.com–so not a terrible amount of change in my day to day, which certainly helps.
TMODM: What are your plans for returning to normal life (if that ever happens)?
Doug: After many years of mainly making music by myself, I think I’m ready to be part of a proper band again.
TMODM: So does this mean reuniting with any of your MMOSS bandmates or moving in a completely new direction?
Doug: Nah, all the MMOSS folks are spread out around the country. No plans at the moment, just something I’ve been pondering.

CCR Headcleaner – Unified (Dubified) [from 2020 Vol. 1: The Scourging of San Francisco, released April 17, 2020]

Kikagaku Moyo/幾何学模様 – Ouchi Time [released May 01, 2020]

Tonstartssbandht – Olde Feelings [released May 16, 2020]

Flowers Must Die – Funki [from Återbruk, released May 01, 2020]

TMODM: How are you doing as the COVID-19 pandemic goes on and on?
Rickard: We are not effected that much as FMD as we have always been spread out and are rarely meeting up or rehearsing, but we took some time to dig through our archive and released the recycled digital album “Återbruk” so that was something good. Also, some members play in the trio OCH and was due to go on their first tour and celebrate the release on Rocket Recordings.
TMODM: What are your plans for returning to normal life (if that ever happens)?
Rickard: For the second question, I think we will stick with the plan we had before, to finish up some more tracks that have not been mixed and hopefully can plan a new release and maybe some more shows.
TMODM: So what’s your creative process? How much of your material is improvised and how much is mapped out ahead of time?
Rickard: Well it’s either that someone bring a bassline (usually the guitarist Jonas) which quiet often is recycled from some old Soul, Funk, Afro or Pop tune. Or Jonas have a whole idea about a track and have recorded a “demo” track at home where he often play all instruments. Or its just a improvised jam.
I think for the recordings that mainly made it on ‘Kompost’ we had a bunch of different tracks we had maybe tried before in the rehearsal studio and some new. Some from Jonas some from Sven (the other guitarist) and some from me Rickard. Other time we meet up have ideas and tracks with us and then end up mainly improvising, and to point out even if we have played a track several times, recorded it, even released it, we could use it again and it will turn out to a quite different track. The tracks Why? from ‘Kompost’ on Rocket and “Varför” from the EP ‘Sista Valsen’ also on Rocket are the same track.
TMODM: Just wondering if you regard your music as having a deeper significance, environmental or spiritual? Is your music just an exercise in improvisation or does it mean something deeper?
Rickard: Good question, so as FMD as a musical project have always been consider a project, we meet when we feel and we don´t have any pressure to rehearse and play a tune again as it “should” be. so first of all we want to have fun and enjoy our time together, we all met through friendship so that is important to keep. We come from different backgrounds and musically very diverse, but the different energies often come together when we play. Many times when we have played we had not said many words to each others before we start so we let the music talk instead. Our music can be very far out and we often try to do things differently to surprise ourselves, taking in guest musicians that have never rehearsed with us for example. And I know someone said “the most psychedelic band who doesn’t take psychedelics”, so I think we are able to hit that nerve in the brain, where music take you on a journey and you lose touch with reality (or find the real reality).

O.S.H. – Let’s Try To Have Good Times [from Quarantunes: Songs From Self-Isolation #6, released April 16, 2020]

TMODM: How have you been affected by COVID-19?
Régis: I actually lost my job but I’m not complaining cause I can do a lot of music. The worth part is our first album is supposed to be released this fall and I just don’t know when we’ll be back on stage so it’s kind of frustrating!
TMODM: How did the Burger compilation come about?
Régis: It’s a very hard time for musicians, bands, artists… So burger records had a cool idea! They made a giant call. They wanted to put burger bands from all over the world on an over the top compilation. All the funds from sales go to bands!

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