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Million Brazilians interview with Grant Corum

Awhile ago I came across this mysterious Portland based group. I checked their New Ideas In Psychic Music Vol. II: Sexual Desert album out on Sonic Meditation Records. I was hooked and decided we had to do an interview with something so different and strange and quite mysterious in a way. For those interested in new sounds this is highly recommended. 

How long have you been a musician and what would you say influenced you to become one?

Sexual Desert is a really heavy album - that's cool it's the first one you heard! 

The influence began to happen after moving to Kansas City in 1999 where I was focusing on drawing and screenprinting.  I started checking out local experimental jazz, noise and punk shows and became really inspired to want to work on music, and found a SP202 sampler and DR770 drum machine. At the time I wanted to make some heavier multilayered beats like Crash Worship but crossed with an inspired hypnotic recording of Marcel Duchamp's "La Mariee mis a nu par ses Celibataires mem" (The Bride stripped bare by her Bachelors, Even) where he wrote a 'music erratum', by the same name, using a toy train with open trucks, a funnel and balls which ended up sounding like shimmering stained glass window.   I was trying to figure out a way to combine some of these trance loops with industrial style beats and share stories about dreams and hallucinations, I was drawing and writing about at the time, with the sample based music. I stared to record with friends Lurker, Jeffrey Rocketmild, and, later, local unprotected sax player Mark Southerland, that eventually formed into the Curse of Dick Wilson.  We were invited to play many shows that influenced my perceptions of how deep music, or sound, could be - like our first show was with Nautical Almanac that ended early with a small riot - Someone shoved me, breaking my equipment, and started wrestling me so I had to somersault him over my head off the stage to get free! - that's when I realized something we were beginning to create stirred us, and the people around, into to a frenzy, or to place of the ecstatic.  Another important moment was being invited to play the ritual gathering of feast of San Simon in a huge old warehouse.  San Simon is the Guatemalan patron saint of vice, dressed in a suit, fedora, and cane and every year is represented by a chosen local - often someone who has made the pilgrimage to Guatemala to visit the saints.  The ground was covered in palm leaves, a projection of moving flames on the wall, a large barrel of homemade sugar cane rum was being passed to everyone and you could take a private elevator to get to the saint to give him an offering of booze, smokes, or whatever vice.  When we played things got weird - we had to lay hands on a convulsing kid (someone in an elvis-style jumpsuit, cape and oversized tiger head appeared to help) - like a possession exorcism! A group of women were burning porno on top of the metal cylinder we used to strike with black hammers that had Dick Wilson's face on it - which was our symbol for what we were trying to expel from our mental system.  It was all really chaotic, exciting and inspirational!  I could begin to see a  path forming by the time the Curse was ending and decided to go down it. 

You have other projects, but lets talk about Million Brazilians. How did the band formed? I'm thinking it must had been hard to form a group of people all interested in sounds beyond sound. You are mixing together elements of free jazz, drone and other very esoteric sounds and shapes.

After living in Maine for a few months, I relocated to Portland, OR in 2006, meeting up with Jones and Stone whom I had played music with in Kansas City.  We began experimenting with what we could find from instruments and junk initially arriving at the shape of the moment bringing together mutual elements of interest from what we all had contributed in previous musical incarnations of Witch and Hare, Mating Dance and I Don't Do Gentlemen.  It was also out a desire to create a sound we weren't finding in Portland - to make the music we weren't finding but needed to hear.  The early sessions were very raw and more 'garage' sounding.  As we continued further into the process of playing weekly we were able to take the inner rhythms and make them cross in way that seemed to make sense and form a unified throb.  It's from this sustained combined frequency that we can go further out, deeper or side to side turning personal visions more into a singular entity. 

I'm not familiar with all the releases. We would love if you can take us through your discography and tell a few words about the releases.

Early cassettes/ CD-Rs include Negromancer,  Higgy Dins,  Live with Jagger Dykes,  Noble Savage,  Wheel-of-Fortune, Papa  Candelo - songs from these were later reworked and compiled as a studio session "Hideous Visions of Million Brazilians" LP.

New Ideas in Psychic Sounds vol. I  - a mysterious package arrived with a reptilian human wax head in it along with images and writings - the contents were scattered and captured on tape.  It also marks the entry of bassman James the Magnificent Skull into the Brazilians circle.

Cult Music of Ajitz - all acoustic reel to reel recording pre-Guatemalan journey based on Ajitz - a mythological figure seen as a witch to some, protector to others. 

New Ideas in Psychic Music Vol II: Sexual Desert - heavy arid 50 ft. tall desert woman mirage invokation using green pyramid magnet - recorded outside Kansas City while on the Psychic Sounds tour.

Dungeon Jazz Ceremony Nights - live evidence of the hosted series of ritual evenings at Psychic Sounds compound during the summer of 2010. Pine Sap and All-Nighter Martinis around.  (Currently unreleased)

Dyngia Salon - outtakes of Dungeon Jazz Ceremony Nights featuring Idaho Joe Windslow on Sarangi

Is there any original concept behind the project?

The albums are artifacts to be activated by listener.  Figures or landscapes are often suggested through the writing or images but ultimately it's our unified current we tapped into at the time.

What's currently happening in the camp of Million Brazillians?

We just finished recording the Nightside in Jungala album and have been working on a short film for the set we will be touring with in Europe for September.  We'll be projecting visuals to give a directive visual depth to the sound experience that will demonstrate a sort of live environmental spell experience - like a moving painting of some of our inner / outer landscapes that we're at the forefront of - the film is the fourth mind projection between the trio.  Certainly the most focused and 'out there' creations we've made together to date!
We're also recording in July with jazz nomad and key shredder Thollem McDonas for a continued narrative of Nightside with a focus on volcanic gremlins.

What's the story behind the name?

It's like the word 'dada' for a time in art, there is no real meaning or can be several interpreted meanings, but has become a word symbol for the movement. To me it's really a joke that became the rhyming symbol for the music suggesting large mass and southern continent sounds. 

You have another project called "Corum" and "Psychic Sounds Research". What is it about? I believe "Psychic Sounds Research" is a record label and "Corum" is your solo project?

Psychic Sounds was the decided label name between the Brazilians for our first record, Hideous Visions.  It's become the collective label name that each of us contributes to in different ways.  Over the years it feels more like the spirit of the home we all live and create in - more of a way of life - like making our own instruments, effects boxes, light contraptions, Orgone accumulator, offering the space to traveling artists / musicians, group rituals and celebration (Fun Hog festival), transforming structures of buildings for additional experiments, in addition to the music. 

Corum is a signature on the solo vision sessions for landscapes like Beguiling Isles and upcoming ceremony music for spore alter, Effigy Mounds, LPs which are old world access points for understanding the origins, and future, of a developing holographic universe. 

A lot of your music is released on cassettes, which makes it special these days and brings some mystery around it. I'm a big fan of old music formats, especially vinyl…

Up until 2002 tape cassette was the only format I recorded on because it's all I knew how to use. I still use it to make small runs for tours because they can be dubbed at home, and it also has a really warm sound to it that's different than vinyl.  

What's currently on your turntable and what are you reading?

Listens:   Dukas: The Sorcerer's Apprentice / Urarider / Martin Denny: Hypnotique / Heinrich: The Ornithological Combat of Kings / White Gourd: Hermit La Lune / Music in the Karakorams of Central Asia / Metatone, Turkey traditional songs, dances & rituals / In Continuation: Sun Ra and his Arkestra / Egyptian Sports Network / Gottschalk: Night in the Tropics / Les Flutes Grecques / Sublime Frequncies: Brokenhearted Dragon Flys / Thollem, Parker & Cline - The Gowanus Session

Reads:  Just finished Sacred Mushroom and the Cross - John Allegro

Next to the bed: Soma: Gordon Wasson / Huysman's Against Nature / Outer Gateways - Kenneth Grant /   Food for Centaurs - Robert Graves / Exegesis -Philip K Dick / Etidorhpa - John Uri Lloyd / Untouchable - (heavy Michael Jackson read that goes into the last 7 years of his life, an era that many people didn't seem to pay attention to - like him hiring an African witch doctor to curse entertainment industry elites such as Spielburg, or wanting to build a 20ft. MJ robot and set it free to wander around the Las Vegas desert outskirts) 

Is there anything you would like to recommend?

Beekeeping - some secrets of life are in that hive.  Hive alive.

Rosecrucian Egyptian Museum - if you're ever cruising through San Jose, California be sure to go to the cave basement of this occult hub full of wands and ancient statuary.  Mummified catfish included.

Seeking Idaho Joe Windslow - 'Moondoog of the Bay Area' - find him levitating on the street playing his homemade instruments and singing mantras about seeing ghosts and having OBEs.  True hardcore outsider music! 

Vibrations - a seemingly 90's garbagepail film (go deeper!) about a guitar virtuoso boy loses hands after a redneck assault, goes into a major funk and becomes a nightrain bum in NYC but returns to life with the help of a techno crew building him a new body called Cyber Storm to shred on the keys and reawaken his soul - will he kill with his new ability, fame and damaged mind? 

Fourth World Magazine out on Pacific City Sound Visions label.  The next issue is called "Typhonian Highlife" by Charles Berlitz reporting on the reptilian agenda! 

Thanks for stoping by. Do you have any messages?

If you're ever in the Pacific Northwest stop by the Psychic Sounds putty hub and take a dip  - otherwise many thanks!

Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2013
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So good. So good.