La Otracina are three piece band inspired by many different genres, including space rock, Grateful Dead influences and "old school metal". An interesting combination for sure. We spoke with Adam Kriney. Their European tour is still going on.
Hi Adam, what's up? How are you?
Well it is two days before we leave for Europe, so I am very excited. Today we have our last practice before leaving and tonight I go to my mother’s house to have dinner with her, lobster! Just relaxing before we leave on Monday!
Well, finally we can talk about your band called La Otracina? What's the story behind the band, how did you get together?
The band started in 2003. When I moved to NYC I met a guy named Joshua Anzano, and we both knew about Flower Travelin Band and wanted to play heavy progressive/psychedelic music, but also I was very influenced by free-jazz and improv which I was studying at the time. So it was a cool mixture. Basically we were doing the same as the original Krautrockers, mixing heavy psych and prog with experimental and jazz music, but we both had our roots in hardcore and punk music, so we had a good energy and propulsion behind our music. So we started there, and then eventually we had a first line-up, then all the other guys quit and eventually formed TITAN. And then I continue the band since then, always with different people, coming and going, styles changing, very free and crazy! A wild ride. And like 20 albums later, here we are with the new line-up of myself on drums and vocals, Alan Rigoletto on guitar and Brian Murphey on bass, and I love the new line-up, very strong and very musically diverse!
What does the name mean?
The name is a magic spell. It means different things to different people. I am more concerned about what the music means. And the music means La Otracina.
You just released a brand new one sided LP called The Aquarian Wind on Who Can You Trust? It's funny, cos I'm currently doing an interview with the label myself. What can you say about your latest stuff?
Well the new 12” is a very cool project. We have a few things going on here.
“Voyage To Heldonia”: a very deep psychedelic space meditation on a repetitive bass figure, and this is the 2nd version of this song, the first version appeared on the LA OTRACINA “Space Metal” CD-R which came out a few years ago. And playing on this version is Dan Bates (our original bassist from 2003-2004) and Philippe Ortanez (our guitarist from 2008-2010). I recruited some old members to be a part of this 12“ cause I wanted it to be a family album and because we are all still friends, I want La Otracina to be more like a family now. I think that vibe has been missing for too long.
“Lost In The Sunrise”: this is one of the two new songs on the album that have not appeared elsewhere. This is a song that La Otracina wrote in 2011 when the line-up was Evan Sobel (on guitar) and Nick lee (on bass). And finally for the version that we recorded here we completed the writing of it and recorded it with the new live line-up of Brian Murphey (our new live bassist) and Alan Rigoletto (our new live guitarist). This is one of two tracks on the album with vocals, and this song is about an acid trip, realizations, and the metaphors of a ‘trip’.
“Orange California Sunshine”: this song goes all the way back to 2003, written during an improv session with the group, Dan Bates realized this ostinato figure, sort of like a ‘head’ in a free-jazz tune, and really that is the basis of the song, the bass line, and then the rest of the group dances it around, musically as they see fit. This is an example of our influence by improv/freejazz. And a few versions of this tune have appeared over the years on various releases. For this version we have again Dan Bates on bass and Philippe Ortanez on guitar.
“Cornfield”: this is another tune that Dan came up with in a jam in 2004. Basically we have another bass line to hold it down and then everything else floats around it, although this one has a heavier rock feel than “Orange California Sunshine”. A few version of the song have appeared on earlier releases over the years. For this version, again we have Dan Bates on bass and Philippe Ortanez on guitar.
“Forgotten To Be Free”: this is the NEWEST song for the band and the first piece that was written by myself with Alan Rigoletto and Brain Murphey, although the tune was based upon a demo idea I found from an old La Otracina recording from 2009 or 2010, an unfinished idea (we have so many unfinished tunes, unexplored ideas…). And I presented it to the new guys, and we wrote a whole song out of it, it was a great experience and it is a cool tune! This is the other song on the album with vocals, and lyrically it is about remembering that we are all inter-dimensional beings, just trapped on Earth, and we have access to the entire universe, if we want it. We get caught up in the earth-trip, which is cool, but we forget to be astral beings as well, WE FORGET TO BE FREE! So when we wrote the music for this song, I was trying to have vocal melody ideas and I opened my poetry journal and they lyrics were already there, they fit perfectly, so there it is. And on this tune, we have Brian Murphey on bass and Alan Rigoletto on guitar.
We recorded all songs in 1 day in 1 room with everyone there, it was very cool, and we did it all by ourselves, except for the mixing and mastering, done by our friend Jeff Berner at Galuminum Foil studios in Brooklyn, who also just recorded the new NAAM 12”! So that’s the music part! Then the amazing artwork on the album is by our dear friend Federico Bolagno, an amazing artist and musician. Oh also I should say that myself, Dan Bates, Federico Bolagno and Philippe Ortanez have a new band together called ZONED OUT, which is deep psychedelic jams/improv, like a mix of CAN, ASH RA TEMPEL, GRATEFUL DEAD, and DZYAN, etc…so look out world!
Man, I can feel, you are a Deadhead as me, haha. Tell, what else does inspire you?
Everything is a metaphor. Breakfast inspires me. Birds inspire me. Friends inspire me. Music inspires me. Magic inspires me. Etc…
Your discography is fairly big and you released more then ten albums. What are some highlights points in your opinion and why?
Love Love Love” 2xCD-R, now out of print 2 cds of early line-ups, really awesome shit. Who wants to officially re-release this?!
“Tonal Ellipse Of The One” CD, I knew when I made this it was one of my masterpieces, although the band is very different now, it was a huge step for me. The perfect merger of psychedelic prog and improv, well at least for a young me in 2006-2007. It was a crazy endless album to make, but I think that compositionally it was everything I set out to do at the time. This CD is almost out-of print too, final copies on tour in Europe. I don’t need to repress this one, let it slide into obscurity!
“Gardens Of Blackness “ CD-R + “Woven Wanderers” CD-R, showing off our influences of abstract music, electronic space music, improv, and sound collage, these two EPs are very cool and mostly stuff we just did in the studio, experiments mainly, some of which turned into tunes or where based on other tunes, it is a bit confusing. But I would love to release a 12” of the best of this material we did, anyone want to?!
“Reality Has Got To Die” 2LP/CD, wow this was my first 2LP ever, a huge album of everything we had worked on from 2008-2010, took years and hundreds of mixing/recording sessions. I will NEVER spend that much time on an album again, haha!
“The Aquarian Wind” 12”, because of course it is the NEW one and I love the artwork, the music, the titles, the lyrics, it’s all so very representative of exactly what is going on with me as a person, with US as a band and with the universe around us right now. For me this album is a statement of psychedelia in 2012!
You will be going on European tour. Are you excited?
A little bit. I am going to miss my job. Haha! Actually I will ONLY miss my other bands that I play with and some people back here in the USA that I love. But we are happy to get the fuck out of NYC, it sucks here!
Tell me what are some crazy moments you experienced in the concerts?
Cocaine. Mushrooms. Weed. Mosh pits. Basements. Fog machines. Light shows. Making mistakes. Things breaking.
So in late May you and Kadaver are coming to Ljubljana to Klub Gromka (you better prepare yourself!). What can we expect from the show?
We have prepared a HUGE set. Very long and dense like a GRATEFUL DEAD concert we have assembled a set of tunes and medleys of songs from throughout the years, and if you are a big fan and know all of our music you will hear all of the references and all of the re-arrangements, and basically we give the people an old-school experience, a band playing long form psychedelic music that is transportive, takes you on a trip, but also with memorable moments, quiet moments, emotion, passion, energy. Oh and maybe even a drum solo. Also looking forward to seeing my old friend Ales Uratnik, a Sloveian musician, we collaborated many years ago via email, and then he and his wife visited me in Brooklyn long ago, and now we all hug again, it’s a crazy dream for me!
Thanks for your time and see you soon in Ljubljana. Any final words for It's Psychedelic Baby readers?
Thanks for the interview and we are looking forward to seeing YOU and all of our other new friends! Also watch out for my new band ZONED OUT!
Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2012
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