Bad Liquor Pond interview

January 12, 2014

Bad Liquor Pond interview

Hey …
thanks for sitting down with me, this place reminds me of upstairs at Kung Fu
Necktie, but then, so many Green Rooms have this look.

So, where has
touring taken you lately?  And why can’t
I get you to come to New Mexico?
We have been laying low this year, trying to focus on
writing and recording new material. 
Poridge has a young child now and our drummer, Elias had been touring in
Europe and India with The Flying Eyes, so it has been hectic.
Anyone you’ve
been playing with that’s rocked you back? 
Any bands you’d like to be in the company of?
We’ve played
with a bunch of great bands over the years. That’s been one of the best things
about this whole thing; being able to perform among some of the bands that we
admire the most. 
If Ween got back together, we’d like to play with them.
I understood
that the band was basically a duo with some hired guns, have you taken on some
full-time help yet?
Blackwell and myself are the only two original remaining members and we have
cycled through a handful of musicians over the years and although it has been
great, Blue Smoke Orange Sky will probably be the last Bad Liquor Pond
album.  We do have a bunch of outtakes
and left over recordings that may see the light of day at some point, but as
musicians, we have begun to move in a new direction.
Currently, Poridge and I have been playing with Elias
Schultzman (who also plays with the Flying Eyes) and Ryan McBride (former
Warlocks guitarist).  The music is
sounding great, but it is something different than what we were doing with
BLP.  We plan on recording an album this
year and we will see where it goes from there. 
We are still writing and trying to settle on a suitable name for the
project.  It would be great to take the
new material out on the road and I hope that we have the chance, so stay tuned.
While your
early material is splendid, Blue Smoke Orange Sky is a singular achievement,
all the spaces are filled, and you’ve managed to incorporate a variety of
sounds and unexpected instruments without letting things get muddy … what
brought you to this point?
We have always
looked at recording as something separate from the live context.  Our songs are simple and we focus more on sound
textures and mood.  By engineering and
producing all of our own stuff, it allows us time to experiment and play around
with sounds and layering.  This is our
third full-length album, so we have just gradually refined the process a bit.
Do you miss
the more simple productions?
Our stuff is
still very basic in its production technique, we just layer the instruments a
lot and have learned to mix the songs better. We record in our living rooms,
attics and basements, so I would say that we are still keeping it pretty
What makes
for a good psych song for you?  And who’s
on your turntable right now?
Depends on the
mood I’m in. I bought the album by Goat this year. It’s great.
What are your
thoughts on the current psych scene?
There are a lot
of great bands popping up all the time. 
The Austin PsychFest is great and it would be wonderful if more things
like that were happening in more cities.
Your vocals
don’t stand in juxtaposition to the music, but seem to be enveloped by it …
how did this concept come about?
Again, just
overdubing layers and using certain treatments. 
We just mix it how we think it will sound best in the tune.  We look at everything as an instrument that
can be manipulated.
Your artwork
for Blue Smoke Orange Sky is taken straight from the 60’s Acid Test posters,
are you embracing 60’s and 70’s technologies as well?
That record was
recorded digitally, but we use a variety of tube preamps and mics to capture
specific sounds.
The DelMarVa
area has a rich history for music going back to the late 50’s and early 60’s,
not to mention the neo-psychedelic bands like yourselves, it’s spawned Asteroid
#4, War On Drugs, and Music for Headphones, while bands like Spectrum sell out
the small clubs every night … do you see the area becoming recognized again
for its hidden treasures?
I think
Baltimore has certainly gotten mainstream recognition for great acts like Beach
House or Dan Deacon who could both be considered “psychedelic.”  It would be great if more bands were
celebrated, but if you also look at the music that Thrill Jockey has put out
from Baltimore (Arboretum etc.) I think that people recognize the quality of
local talent and that our area is doing pretty well.
Would you
mind taking a few minutes and getting technical for the geeks, and talking
about your electronics, effects, and what they allow you to achieve?
We use a variety
of pedals.  Boss delays, Electroharmonix
reverb, spring reverbs etc. Poridge plays a Eastwood hollow body bass through a
Sunn 100S Cabinet.  I use a Fender Strat,
and a Gretsch G5422 played through a 1979 Fender Twin Reverb.
Are you
perfectionists, or do you let things happen?
We are not
perfectionists when it comes to recording. 
We try to keep things moving and fun because that’s when things sound
good and we are able to stumble into new things.  If it starts getting frustrating then we will
move to something else.
Is your
material set in stone by the time you record it, or is it an evolving
process?  And with that thought, are
there any songs you’d like to revisit and perhaps change?
They are usually
arranged ahead of time, but the way we will build the recording is done along
the way.  As the mix builds we may add or
subtract elements and will change things as needed.  We just follow the music.  In terms of past recording, you could always
go back and make it better, but that’s not the point.  As I said, we’re not perfectionists.
Some bands
delight in making the music, while you all seem to delight in playing it live
… do you discover new aspects of your songs in front of an audience?
Playing live
music is fun for us.  We will often do
variations of older songs to freshen them up for us. 
Aside from
huge success and OD’s in a Porsche 911, what’s eluding you, something just out
of reach resting in the ether, that you’d like to bring back to terra-firma?
We love making
music.  When it isn’t fun anymore we will
Is vinyl part
of that wish-list, or are you embracing the digital age?
We have a 7”
available right now.
You know,
I’ve got to ask this question, what’s the secret behind the band’s name?  [at which point I was pummeled with assorted
sauces] …
It’s a name of a
pond on a farm in our hometown outside of Baltimore.
Most people
feel that psychedelic music is an extension of what they can ingest, and while
that can certainly enhance the experience, would you suggest that psych music
in and of itself can be the experience? 
We just try to
make music that sounds good to us.  I
think music can be therapeutic just like most art.
Do we discuss
the influences of drugs at this point, or is that area off-topic?
We don’t use
drugs to help us make our music. 
With that out
of the way, let me ask you about stage presence, do you see the projections as
an integral part of your show?
We like it.  We have played at spaces that don’t have much
character.  This way, we can create the
character that we want.  Our friend Chris
Stone puts together most of our projection material for us.
How do you
feel about covering material by other artists?
I think it’s
fine.  We do it occasionally, and I
always enjoy seeing a band put a twist on another band’s song.
What was the
“Ah-Ha” moment that resonated for you, drawing you into the psychedelic
web?  And how about a taste of your
musical heroes.
I grew up
listening to Ween and Jane’s Addiction and some of the stranger “alternative
music” in the 90’s.  As we got into your
20’s we started discovering the common threads that were woven through the
great music that we love all the way back to our parents’ record collections
and it became a way to explore 
songwriting and music in general.
I grew up
with what we called Progressive Radio back in the 60’s … do you find the lack
of radio and other airwaves to be a hindrance, or have you found ways of
working around that, [laughing] to bring light to the masses?
We do what we do. 
The internet is a great tool, but it also has cheapened a lot of what
people used to consider special.  An
entire generation has grown up with free music. 
Times change and what can you do? 
I have faith that things will circle back around in some way.
I want to
thank you for taking the time to sit down with me.  Is there anything that I’ve overlooked that
you want to say, and where can folks find you on the worldwide web?
No problem, you can find our music at www.badliquorpond.bandcamp.com
Interview made by Jenell Kesler/2014
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2014
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