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Temple of the Smoke interview

"Music may be abstract, just like technology, magic, or nature. Sometimes, it's hard to find a logic even in patterns of our abstractly created universe.

Bio-luminescence of fireflies and stellar moths will light through our eyes, melting meadows and skyscrapers in acid-like bliss. Winds will change and the Crimson dawn is just about to appear to embrace the wildlife of our karmic shells.

Birds are singing chants, summoning Mother to re-invoke our primal dreams, like echoing drums from the deep, alien slumber, mankind's eternal sleep... Moon is just a picture, oscillating sound, materialized circle of our astral archetypes.

It was written that were many ways to make portals. We believed, as we do believe... And we have seen fractals of mana butterflies creating mountains of love and light, an island in ocean of thresholds on starlight skies, radiating color out of space to shape the dreams of mankind.

It has begone. The floods came, and the astral wave has brought an instant change."

Temple of the Smoke, The Lost Art of Twilight

Hi guys, for a start tell us how you formed Temple of the Smoke?

Dušan: Hi. We are four friends playing for years in various bands, and three years ago we formed prodigy called Temple of the Smoke.

Janko: Nothing special happened, Dušan and Dragan were already playing together and they even had a name Temple of the Smoke. In 2010 me and Marko joined them and we are playing, making songs and hanging out since then.

Who is in the band at the moment?

Janko: Marko Ilić is playing bass, Dragan Mirković is our drummer and percussionist,
Dušan Žica is like some octopus between guitars, analog and digital synthesizers, dubs, samples, vocoders and all sort of other gadgets. I am playing guitar, synthesizers and organ mostly,  acoustic guitars and vocals on records.

Who were your idols or role models?

Janko: I honestly never thought of anyone as my idol..  There are people that I admire because of their talent, songwritting and their ability to create songs as a complete pieces of art, legends like Lennon, Hendrix, Page, Ginn, Cobain, Shields, or our contemporaries like Emil Amos, Matt Pike, Reine Fiske, Bradford Cox, Kevin Parker, etc.
After your 2011 debut "...Against Human Race" you turned a lot of attention. At this point you are among the popular psychedelic bands in Serbia. What are your plans for the future?

Dušan: We play music almost every day, doing old songs, jamming and improvising new stuff. There is always something new to have fun with. We are almost at the mid point of making our third album. We are trying to book some dates for some small tour scheduled for the end of the year, we are booking shows right now actually.

Janko: People always ask us when we are going to tour for real, like a big tour. That is something that we all want to do but for financial reasons that is not really possible for us at the moment. We simplly don’t want to pay to tour, that’s tourism not touring, so we are more into really small tours, few dates, few festivals and that’s it.

Practically you are instrumental band. Is it hard to gain success with instrumental music these days?

Dušan: What do you define with “success”? For us this means to play music we love, both live and in studio. We will never gain commercial succes and that's not our intention. On the other side, it's great to tour and play cool festivals, meeting nice people. We are happy that both of our albums were released (on vinyl and CD) and got great feedback.

Are there any plans to explore and introduce Europe and world with your music?

Dušan: We are working that on daily basis connecting with people. It's hard today, especially when you're from Balkan. But music has no barriers and we are hoping the best.

How would you describe modern psychedelic scene in Serbia? Is there enough space for “space rock”? How often do you perform live?

Dušan: There is no something you can call “psychedelic scene” in Serbia.

Janko: Term “psychedelic” is really popular in music these days so you have a lot of bands labeling themselves as “psychedelic something”, pop, rock, whatever. That is really cool and I think that way people allow themselves to do crazy stuff, but that is not enough to have a scene.

Let`s talk a little bit about your new album “The Lost Art of Twilight” that has been released in the end of 2012. Where did you recorded it, and tell us a little bit what`s the story behind it, maybe the situation in “the kingdom of apples”?

Dušan: I wrote a few lines about our album recently and think that it is everything we want to say about that album, so here is a quotation from that text:
"The Lost Art of Twilight" may be described as conceptual, mostly instrumental album and is ontological sequel of firstborn "...Against Human Race". However, the songs are metaphorical fragments of the story, telling a tale of destruction and reinvention of the known world.

Imaginary from George Sterling's nightmarish poetry or celestial fiction of Howard P. Lovecraft, Thomas Ligotti and Clark Ashton Smith, endless “pencil and paper” RPG wanderings (Kult, Changeling: The Dreaming and Warhammer), along with ritualistic acid drops on blotter canvases, revealed some of the portals... but there are thousands of them.

It is a our kaleidoscopic journey through various musical forms, a new age psychedelic space rock opera at the dawn of XXI century...”

Janko: We recorded album in Digimedia studio in Belgrade. That was our second time there and second time working with Goran as our mixing and recording engineer.

You maintained the high production level that is very important for this kind of psychedelic music. Where did you record the album and how long did it take to do it?

Dušan: Thank you. We really tried. "The Lost Art of Twilight" album was recorded during 2012 in Digimedia Studio like Janko said. We did record it within one week and mixed it for a few months. Our friend Goran Crevar recorded and coproduced both of our albums with us. We also love and have vintage amps, nice guitars, boutique pedals, analog and digital synths, nice studio effects, vintage tape echoes and new digital fxs, a bunch of stuff… It is very important for us, as a psychedelic band, to be able to produce a pallet of sounds we dream of. 

Janko: I did a lot of thinking before our recording on how I wanted that album to sound like, so we had a general idea that we implemented in a mix right away. There was also a lot of help from Goran, I still have our mail thread with more than fifty emails on how we want that record to sound, so I guess if you say that production level is high we did a right thing. 

Do you intend to maybe enlarge your formation with the singer, in order to expand the possibilities of music expression?

Dušan: Actualy – we don't think so. Janko already sings on some songs and I am using vocoder. Maybe all four of us will sing one day together like Queen or the Beatles, but we won't have singer for sure. Haha. 

Janko: Hahaha, for sure. We are planning to invite people to collaborate with us on certain songs, that is always fun thing to do, you can see how other music freaks from other bands are working on songs, their cretive process and learn something from it. It is very inspirational to have a lot of people in a band and expand possibilities of a band even further but times are hard and it’s much better for us to stay in this lineup, we are great friends and after three years of constant playing and making music we are getting in the same place without any words.

Beside your band, which other psychedelic bands from Serbia would you recommend to our readers?

Janko: I would definitely recommend space rock pioneers from Belgrade “Igra Staklenih Perli”, they are playing again after so many years. Their early records are amazing, my favorites. There is also a band/project called Belgrade Noise Society, led by experimental guitarist Woo. They are playing instrumental improvisations and free jazz with psychedelic vibe, always great live. Dušan and Dragan were both part of that group at some point.

I know that it is maybe a common question, but two albums in two years – are there gonna more to come in 2013?

Janko: Making and recording music is what I really love to do, that is much more enjoyable thing for me then playing shows. We will certainly record one or even two albums by the end of the year, but I can’t really say when will that be released.

Dušan: Of course. At least one more for 2013.

To conclude this interview, quick name first three songs that came to your mind! (BUT DON`T CHEAT! FIRST THREE, NO MATTER THE GENRE THEY ARE!)

Dušan: That’s kind of hard to separate exactly, we were listening to this three albums while answering this, so I guess that was in our mind then. Thanks for reading this!

Trans Am - Surrender to the Night
Grails - Doomsdayer's Holiday
Miles Davis - Bitches Brew

Interview made by Andrija Babovic/2013
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1 comment:

spacefreak said...

"The Lost Art of Twilight" on vinyl (Cosmic Eye label) can be purchased here: