Podcast 2021.06 One With Everything

Spiritual psychedelia (even if it is a punchline). The music in this episode all tends toward the spiritual. This episode leads off with “Zenith” by Avdey, a track that explores how a person can become one with the universe, followed by “By the Hand of God” by Children’s Ice Cream. The playlist concludes with “Brotherhood of Eternal Love” by Miss Lava. A few of the tracks also explore altered consciousness. Along with “Furthur Ahead” by Word of Life and “Peyote Sunrise” by Robot God is “Turn off your mind, float downstream” from Tim, where are you now? an album that commemorates the centennial of Timothy Leary’s birth.

Karl Stefanovic was one of the hosts of Today on the Australian Nine Network when he interviewed the Dalai Lama. He ill advisedly used the opportunity to tell a joke that was lost on the Dalai Lama. “The Dalai Lama walks into a pizza shop and says, ‘can you make me one with everything.'” The Dalai Lama has a good sense of humor and even if he didn’t immediately get the joke he was a good sport about, even eating a slice of pizza during a subsequent interview. Not to mention that this actually went much better than former professional wrestler and governor of Minnesota related a line from the movie Caddyshack to the Dalai Lama in cringeworthy fashion.

00:00 Turn Me On Dead Man – Intro
01:08 Avdey – Zenith
05:52 Children’s Ice Cream – By the Hand of God
08:52 E.O.D. – The Sign
15:02 Sam Rosenthal & Projekt Artists – Turn off your mind, float downstream
22:48 The Confederate Dead – In Sha’ Allah
28:19 High Priestess [edit] – GNOB
31:14 Mainliner – Blasphemy Hunter
40:30 Robot God – Peyote Sunrise
47:06 Word of Life – Furthur Ahead
54:22 Miss Lava – Brotherhood of Eternal Love

Avdey – Zenith [from Gates of Horn and Ivory, released January 20, 2021]

I corresponded with Leonardo Ramos of Avdey.
TMODM: Who are your main influences?
LR: We work with some rather diverse influences. We have Mustapha and Adel, the two Tunisian members and I am half Brazilian and half Kiwi (from New Zealand). Mustapha comes from a background of rock, krautrock and shoegaze, while Adel draws his influences from doom metal, psychedelic rock, oriental and Andalusian music, klezmer and classical music. As for myself, my biggest influences are Irish Traditional music, Native American music, synthwave, classic rock and jazz. So the band doesn’t have a particular main influence, but the thing is that we can dialogue pretty well, using the music language, bringing ideas that are quite different and making them work well together.
TMODM: Sounds like a very diverse group. How did you meet?
LR: Well, interestingly enough, none of us have ever met in person. Mustapha and Adel live in different cities in Tunisia and met online about 15 years ago. They’ve worked together on another project before Avdey. The project never flew, but it yielded the base for one of the tracks in Gates Of Horn And Ivory, the one named “Hamartia” – actually, Adel is the one playing the guitar on that one. As for myself, I met Mustapha during the early months of the 2020 Pandemics, also online. At the time, I was regularly posting on a Psychedelic Music group on Facebook about another project of mine, a Psychedelic Irish Music band called Harmundi, and he was very interested in my flute work for Avdey, which he was starting to develop. He sent me the rough tracks and told me to go nuts with them – I was 100% free to play whatever I wanted, which is precisely how I like to work. So I recorded several layers of improvisations on various kinds of flutes in my home studio in Brazil, and sent them back to Mustapha for mixing and mastering. So the whole album was recorded in three different locations, by three musicians who never met in person – although we communicated extensively, debating ideas, references and versions for each track – and we’re all very meticulous about our works, so we did go through MANY versions before settling with the definitive album.
TMODM: What’s next for you?
LR: We’d like to perform gigs some day, when the Pandemics is over. Start pitching our sound to festivals, looking for venues where we can play. But for now, we’re starting to work on a second album, cause that’s really the most fun we’ve had since the Pandemics started – plus, we all feel like we’ve grown a lot, musically, since Gates Of Horn And Ivory.
TMODM: It’s incredible that you’ve never met in person. I never would have guessed that listening to your music. Are you making any plans to get together? I suppose things are complicated by COVID-19.
LR: Yes, we’d love to get together as soon as possible, although we’ll have to wait until the Pandemics is over and we’re all back on our financial feet. It would be great to jam together in person – that would definitely be a “level up” for our sound, but we are truly happy with what we’ve been able to accomplish from a distance. The way I see it, these are the cards we’ve been dealt, so we might as well make the most out of them. I think that speaks a lot about these times we’re living! If we’ve managed to have fun and find meaning in these dreadful times, I can only imagine the fun and meaning of a future Avdey tour. And touring is a big dream for all of us, one that we’re quite determined to not give up on.
TMODM: I’m curious about your sense of the future. Are we in some kind of downward spiral or do we have cause for optimism?
LR: I think we’re living in a kind of “breaking point” era. A lot of change will come and humanity may have to reinvent itself in more than a few ways from now on. Change is painful and often makes us feel like we’re living this hopeless downward spiral with no light at the end of the tunnel. But that’s precisely what stimulates change and, eventually, optimism: psychologically, people need to undergo a kind of symbolic “death” before being reborn with a new sense of self and purpose in life. That’s the time we’re living now: it’s painful and may feel meaningless for many, but it will (already is, actually) stimulate a lot of transformation that we can’t really foresee at the moment. By the way, that’s the meaning of the word Avdey: transformation. We are more and more convinced that humanity is (slowly) going through this process of psychological rebirth, and this is what our music, in all it’s psychedelia, tries to express: cultures coming together and realising life is a big oneness of a song, and cultural differences are spices to make that song even more interesting.

Children’s Ice Cream – By the Hand of God [from Southeast of Saturn, released November 20, 2020]
E.O.D. – The Sign [from The Gifts of Dagon, released February 17, 2021]
Sam Rosenthal & Projekt Artists – Turn off your mind, float downstream [from Tim, where are you now?, released October 09, 2020]

Tim, where are you now? celebrates the 100th anniversary of Timothy Leary’s birth. I corresponded with Sam Rosenthal.
TMODM: How did this album come together?
Sam: Reading one of Leary’s books in spring of 2020, I found myself wondered when he was born. Looking at wiki I realized his centennial was 1/2 a year away. I thought, “This is something that should be celebrated!” so I got to work creating this album.
TMODM: How did you get so many notable people to describe their trip narrations?
Sam: Those are Tim’s words from HIGH PRIEST, which I condensed and did a bit of editing on (with his son Zach’s permission) – so to be clear they are NOT the trips of the narrators. To get the narrators, I asked people I knew and then people I didn’t know. I probably messaged 100 people to arrive at those who read the trips on the album. There are 8 readings in total; the digital bonus has a second set of the 4 trips.
TMODM: Do you work with MAPS?
Sam: Not directly, no. I contacted Rick Doblin and he was interested in reading one of the narrations, which I was really excited about because Rick is the true scientific side of the psychedelic renaissance we’re experiencing. Having him on the album was really exciting. Though I gotta say that all the narrations are amazing. Alex Cox was the first person to say yes and that thrilled me because he’s one of my favorite directors. I love his voice and the rhythm of his reading. But, like I said, they’re each really great.
TMODM: What’s next for you?
Sam: I’m recording the new album from my artrock band, Black Tape For A Blue Girl. Unlike the Tim album, my band has vocals; the music is stylistically reminiscent of some parts of the Tim album. This blacktape album will be pretty different from the past from my band, because this time the musicians are just myself and Henrik Meierkord, who plays cello on two tracks on Tim. The pieces are really lush and moody, his style works incredibly well with my songs. It’s not symphonic, mind you, it’s dreamy, drifty but still with some kind of song structure. At the moment I’m writing lyrics, then will figure out will sing the songs.
TMODM: I’m curious about your sense of the future. Are we in some kind of downward spiral or do we have cause for optimism?
Sam: Oh man, that’s a hard one. I see both sides of this, ya know? As F. Scott Fitzgerald said the test is if whether you have “the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind, at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” I’m always somebody with hope, it’s there somewhere in most of the art I create. Yet, at the same time, I think a large portion of humans suck and are rotten with selfishness and malevolence. We exist at this juncture in the cosmos to struggle within a capitalistic system that is designed to funnel money and power to the top. This really doesn’t give one cause for hope. Then I turn my head and I see the cat playing with one of her toys and I smile and think, “But things aren’t THAT BAD!” Maybe in a microcosmic sense I have hope, and in a macrocosmic sense I have dread. And finally, from what I’ve experienced tripping, I also have to ask myself, “Is any of this real, anyway?”

The Confederate Dead – In Sha’ Allah [from Barakallah, released August 20, 2020]

I corresponded with Butchy Davy of The Confederate Dead.
TMODM: Who are your main influences?
BD: If you listened to the main body of our music you would hear it drops of Lou Reed and bands like Galaxie 500, Spacemen 3 and BJM but the track you have chosen is inspired by a moment in my life when my heart stopped. What I could hear and feel was a complete spiritual moment of spiralling towards the end of something, until being brought back to life.
The sounds inside our album Barakallah encompass a lot of that spiritual time and there are bits throughout the album that try to capture that feeling. It was originally released as two EP’s but put out on vinyl last year by label Psychedelic Salad. It’s best to listen to it with headphones on, to understand the true meaning of that record.
TMODM: What’s next for you?
BD: We’ve been busy during the pandemic and have 2 albums near completion and have also been working on Barakallah 3 & 4, two EPs to carry on from the previous 2 and it is something I will continue doing until the end; so as long as I’m breathing the more will be recorded.
TMODM: I’m curious about your sense of the future. Are we in some kind of downward spiral or do we have cause for optimism?
BD: In a live music sense, I think it will take a while for everything to get back to normal but I don’t think we’ll ever get to play in a venue where everyone is packed in like sardines again, they’re the best shows in my opinion. I hope I’m wrong but it feels light years away if it does but it will be good again, I’m sure of that.
I worry about the long-term effects of what has happened in the last year, not just in a psychical sense but a mental sense, I fear we don’t know the true impact of what has happened yet.
I’m pretty sure there will be lots of great music being released over the coming year though, so I’m very optimistic about that.

High Priestess – GNOB [from High Priestess, released March 06, 2020]

TMODM: Who are your main influences?
GNOB: We’re all into quite different vibes but a few (possibly relevent) influences would be Pink Floyd, AIR, Yawning Man, Gong, Hawkwind, Fela Kuti, Osibisa, Goat, Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, QOTSA.
TMODM: What’s next for you?
GNOB: We were booked in to record a split album with out friends Madmess last April but due to the first lockdown it had to be postponed. We’re just hoping to get back up and running in the next few months, play some shows and get back in the studio!
TMODM: I’m curious about your sense of the future. Are we in some kind of downward spiral or do we have cause for optimism?
GNOB: I think we’ve all got to be hopeful but we can only ever really take existence as it comes. Where Humanity is involved, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Mainliner – Blasphemy Hunter [from Dual Myths, released February 19, 2021]
Robot God – Peyote Sunrise [from Silver Buddha Dreaming, released October 01, 2020]

I corresponded with Raffaele Iacurto of Robot God.
TMODM: Who are your main influences?
RI: Main influences would be the typical suspects such as Black Sabbath, Hawkwind, Hendrix, Pink Floyd blues players like Stevie Ray Vaughn, Gary Moore and newer bands such as Elder, Earthless, King Buffalo and Saint Karloff.
TMODM: What’s next for you?
RI: We are currently jamming on a batch of new songs and hoping to release our follow up to Silver Buddha Dreaming in the second half of 2021.
We have some killer new songs which we hope to record around the April/May timeframe.
TMODM: What’s your sense about the future?
RI: The music scene in Australia is solid but Covid has placed restriction on crowd size so we are holding off playing live show for the next few months to work on our new material. We are confident that live shows will be at full capacity again soon and we look forward to showcasing some new songs as well as songs for SBD when the time comes.
TMODM: Are we in some kind of downward spiral or do we have cause for optimism?
RI: In the midst of Covid in March 2020 we recorded our album and turned the lock down in a positive by recording debut release. We did it as a DIY project and used that period to create an album we are really proud off. Even with all the global turmoil related to Covid we feel very positive about the future and am sure we can produce a killer follow up to share with the world. If we keep safe, respect each other life will continue on for the better.

Word of Life – Furthur Ahead [from Furthur Ahead, released January 24, 2021]
Miss Lava – Brotherhood of Eternal Love [from Doom Machine, released January 15, 2021]

I corresponded with K. Raffah of Miss Lava.
TMODM: Who are your main influences?
KR: We all have different backgrounds. I think the convergence is definitely Black Sabbath. Me and Johnny listened to a lot of thrash and death metal when we were teens, but then we got heavily into C.O.C., early Monster Magnet, The Obsessed and Kyuss. Garcia was deep into thrash and hardcore. Ricardo has always been into old school rock, like The Who, for example. Mix it all up, plus the bands we play with when we tour and i guess you have our main influences.
TMODM: What’s next for you?
KR: Well I really don’t know. The obvious thing is to get out there and play live when this ends. We hope to do more European stoner festivals in the future when the shows get back. In the meantime, I guess we’ll start writing new stuff.
TMODM: I’m curious about your sense of the future. Are we in some kind of downward spiral or do we have cause for optimism?
KR: We definitely are in a downward spiral when you see lack of solidarity everywhere. Around 80% of the total covid-19 vaccines were snagged by the richest countries… my wife has family in Africa and they have no clue when the vaccine will get there. The hate spiral has also been growing on social media and we are seeing many extremist parties and thoughts gaining strength. It’s crazy. Look at Myanmar. Last week, the military took over the country and arrested the President, “pausing democracy” for the sake of a supposed emergency state that will last for an year. I mean, we’re in 2021! But we do have cause for optimism, because each one of us can make a stand, can talk about these issues, can go out on the streets to be heard and can go out and vote. There’s always a light.

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