Blues Control's "GOOD VIBES" really hit you sideways. Their drummer is a walkman and sometimes the fake piano/keyboard notes come out so simple but that lucid wash they're buried under, well, it's a world of it's own. Loving bands that aim for that nicenes or beauty or whatever and pull it off in a non-wack sort of way. Their new Siltbreeze album has been on high rotate her ebut a lot of people have said to me they prefer a record like the self-titled one and fair dos I guess, it's just those bizarre blues lurches and airy Kurt Vile-provided guitar notes feel so great. I've gotta apologize though for kind of going on about these guys a lot lately but seriously, get lost in their (back)catalogue and new music-shaped feelings, they're from/in a funny spot. I talked to the Queens-based duo a couple of weeks back for a longer interview over at Tiny Mix Tapes about a bunch of stuff and their old New Age ventures as Watersports but also about their particular cosmicness, or, whether they're interested in it.
The project you guys were doing before Blues Control called Watersports, I was reading you had an interest in New Age stuff. I was wondering what particular attracted you to that?
Lea: Well, I would say that when Watersports started, we didn't know anyone else playing New Age music and we didn't know anyone else who really listened to it apart from a few of our friends who weren't musicians themselves. I remember early on, other more rock or noise orientated friends would come over and we'd be playing New Age records while we were hanging out and people would start laughing at think it was ridiculous. But now, there's this new group of younger people doing New Age music and I've seen a lot more people in different music scenes starting to listen to New Age. I think it's great. We haven't been enjoying it for a while now, but it is a little weird because when we were doing Watersports we didn't know anyone else doing that particular thing. We still haven't officially quit Watersports we just haven't had much time to do it. It seems like a different thing now that the context is completely different, with so many other bands doing it. I think we just got into it from some other people we knew
Russ: Yeah, I don't even know what the impetus was, maybe just hearing one or two things and finding them interesting and then finding further interest in similar projects. I feel like we can't buy into New Age music in a whole sale way, I mean, there are tonnes of terrible, terrible New Age records that exist on the periphery between that world and say, Krautrock; a lot of those German musicians in the 70s moved in that direction as well. There's a lot of interesting stuff you find from tracking that sort of progression and then finding other people who were influenced by those people, doing early midi instrumental stuff. I dunno, it's just another part of psych music in a way.
L: Yeah, psychedelic or early electronic and Krautrock at some point coincide with New Age.
There's always a sort of immersiveness about that stuff which could be a common factor. That maybe comes into the idea of cosmicness that people seem to talk about in terms of Blues Control, but I had read somewhere that you weren't so into overtly cosmicness or too massive ideas of spirituality in that sense. I'm not sure how true that is, but are you guys into that idea?
L: [laughs] I don't remember talking about it that much really, well, what do you mean by cosmicness exactly?
R: Well, neither of us are hippies.
R: Okay, I'll speak for myself; I'm not a particularly spiritual person and I'm definitely not a religious person, I think the idea of religion or ritual or faith may be interesting as a concept but I haven't spent any time dealing with personally in day to day life or anything. It's not something I consider that often, but, okay, for instance, I'm also slightly interest in science, or...space, I guess, but I don't really buy into hippy concepts or spirituality, but maybe that's just cos I grew up too late. It's not what our music is about, we're not trying to connect with those things. I think maybe we approach psychedelia more from the perspective of record collectors, like what you can do in terms of arranging and ordering, like psychedelic signifiers like delaying or panning or whatever, certain frequency ranges. I think we're coming at it more from that record collector perspective, not trying to tap into any larger cosmic states or whatever.
L: I think part of the reason that we're into psych music is, well, obviously there's something extremely spiritual about music and its effect on you, it's not just a strictly academic exercise. But we don't go around spouting shit about aliens or communing with crystals or anything. We are fully aware that we're in 2009 and live in an urban centre that is modern, we don't try to ape some sort of former movement in our clothes or the way we talk.
R: It's possible to reach an altered state of mind while playing our music but that's just the effect of repetition or the drone or things like that.
L: Well yeah, music is highly spiritual or emotional, not only listening to it but making it.
R: It's just that we're working on a much more personal level I think.
Yeah I guess asking you about that is pretty vague, cosmicness, I mean it can be a stylistic kind of thing more than any spiritual thing too. It is funny how much those signifiers can effect you though, thinking about feeling real physically weird after certain drone gigs.
R: Something that may be related is the Yahowa cult and all those records that came out of that. Those people were directly trying to channel whatever religious experience they were having, but then someone who was involved with that faction was just this very urban sort of band, it wasn't really about mysticism but just of that era of the garage rock band and happened to be very repetitive and trancey. That's the sort of thing I can take more seriously, I mean, I prefer The Seeds to most of the Yahowa stuff I've heard, it's easy to take it seriously because it's coming from a place that I can relate to. The Seeds were into the West Coast underground thing that has all those ideas...
L: But you can still enjoy some Yahowa stuff...
R: Oh no no, I can, I can. But I can't necessarily relate to the religious sentiments behind it.
L: Right, but I feel like that part of it does lend itself to the context of that music. I mean you can't listen to yahoa and not think about Father Yod or whatever.
R: Of course, of course.
L: I'm just saying even if you're not believing in it, you can look at it as a musical context.
[Blues Control MySpace]