Cranium Pie are certainly one of the most interesting psychedelic bands with lot's of progressive elements. Concept vise they are living in the future, where the machines are ruling the world, leaving only a few traces of humans left. The band started out of fun some years ago and in 2011 they finalized conceptual album Mechanism pt.1 on Regal Crabomophone Records (a sub division of Fruit De Mer Records). The album was featured in a beautiful conceptual cover artwork and was released on vinyl and pretty soon it has been sold out. The Geometry of Thistles was their next project and also a couple of singles and compilations followed. The band is currently working on finalizing Mechanism pt.2, which will be the final chapter of this interesting concept. If you're into early Pink Floyd (pre Dark Side Of The Moon) this will be brand new adventure for you. Here's an interview with Rob and Tim of Cranium Pie. We talked about the current situation and the upcoming part 2 of their spacy Mechanism LP.
It's a great pleasure to talk about your music, guys. Lately there has been a whole psych explosion going on and in my opinion you are one of the best out there. Not just because you have very unique and interesting sound but there is also an interesting concept behind your albums.
Hi and thanks for that. Yes - we're ok thanks... in the middle of putting together Mechanisms 2 from a few surviving radioactive tapes that were found in the post apocalyptic rubble of the Pie's old underground studio.
Before we start talking about Cranium Pie, I would like to ask you about your music involvement. When did you first get interested in music and what are some of the early influences?
This is quite a big question. For us I think '67-'72 is a pretty major influence for sure. So much music from that period was written with real intent and from the heart, as well as being pioneering and experimental. I think we feel that there is still much mileage to be had from the instruments/production styles used in those times. I understand how social events have shaped certain music genres, but back then they had a certain sound nailed (both in production as well as instruments) that we really love, and so are trying to tap into that atmosphere (hopefully in an uncontrived way).
How did you guys came together?
Well it kind of fizzled together over several years, starting with just me and Tim. I guess being asked to play the greenman gig by the Amorphous Androgynous forced us to get the band together properly (2009).
You also have your own studio?
Yes - we have our secret research station where we do our baking (which has since relocated somewhere in the Alps). Its good as it allows us to take as much time as we like with production etc. Perhaps that's a bad thing thinking about it...
If I'm correct some of the earliest recording you did is a soundtrack for "Charlie Why". Then your were featured on both volumes of "A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble" and you also released singles on Fruits de Mer Records + your music appeared on their compilation and also on Bracken label. Would you like to tell us the story behind releases?
Well The Charlie Why thing was just a project I did with Julian years ago (a soundtrack to an imaginary '60s detective series) - it's not really related to "The Pie". The Bubble Comps were great for us, and like I mentioned, they're responsible for us forming the rest of the band. Our first single with Fruits De Mer was the "Richman/Madman" single. Julian suggested we did a cover for a compilation some friends of his were making. We chose "Richman", and recorded it in an evening at our old organarium studio. The compilation never happened, so I sent a video of the recording to Keith and Andy at Fruits... and that's how it all started with them. Andy later asked us if we'd like to record the last single for his label Bracken, so we did "Remember" and "Mothership". They're both great guys and have done a lot for us - so we're very appreciative and enjoying the challenges they've thrown at us.
Now the most interesting part for sure are your LP's. Your debut titled "Mechanisms (Part 1)" was released back in October 2011. I have some ideas behind the concept, but if you can tell a bit more about it, that would be really cool. You will also be releasing part two. Will this be the final volume that will uncover the whole concept?
Well yes - we should try to explain the concept in Part Two as you may have guessed, Part One was set in an imaginary future where the only form of life appears to be the crayfish, and the rest of the world is dominated by machines. The ex-human consciousness somehow migrated into the crayfish, and they have become very spiritual and enlightened, though violent also, as they are in perpetual war with the robots. The mysterious blinking eye has given the creatures the task of growing a human honunculus, and delivering it to the wall safely, in order to reseed a newer version of the human race....
Part 2 will be set mainly in the time running up to the apocalypse...the last days of 'civilisation' or something....
What gear do you guys use?
We try to use mostly vintage instruments (and pedals/effects etc), just because they help us get the sound we like. Mechanisms 2 has a very tapey sound to it, but we also rely on editing and mixing with the computer.
Since Part 2 is coming out soon, you should let us know more...
Yes - am sure there'll be something new on youtube soon - had hoped to get a single out, but not sure if that'll happen before the release (aiming for late Summer btw)
"Mechanisms (Part 1)" was limited to 430 red/pink and to 100 black ones. It sold out really quickly. Will the next also be limited to 530 LP's?
Yes it's nice to sell out...Pt. 2 might be 800 perhaps...then again we'd need to make more of Pt. 1 so people could have them both...gets complicated...
You released another LP titled "The Geometry of Thistles" on Lunartica. What can you tell me about this release? It's basically a compilation of songs from 2006 to 2009. Pre Cranium Pie. One thing I really admire is your cover artwork. You really put a lot of work into it and this 500 limited edition is unique, because every copy has an unique design.
Yes - The Geometry of Thistles LP was made because we wanted to release our older work, as it's very different to our band sound. We didn't want it to just fade away.. it has elements that we really like, and may return to in some way.
If we return back to "Mechanisms" concept. What would you say inspired you in non musical sense. Any particular writers of Sci Fi or something else?
Well, the weird and insane world around us and general struggle in accepting reality is our primary inspiration I think.
Hmmm...not great at those...some of us are now overseas, so the band is a bit fragmented at the moment - Tim and I spend much of our time in the 11th dimension at the moment - there might be some sonic reports back from us in a while...
It's incredible how the psychedelic scene became quite big again. Any thoughts about it?
Psych inspires the imagination (same with prog...it stretches the mind I think). People are possibly bored or mentally unsated maybe? I dont know - thats not a good answer is it?
I think ultimately good music doesn't go away...maybe it get's forgotten for a bit, but at some point it's always going to get noticed again. The internet/youtube etc has done a great job of bringing good music to people who wouldn't ordinarily find it perhaps...so hopefully it's here to stay.
Well, thanks a lot for taking your time for this interview. I wish you good luck completing "Mechanisms". Would you like to add something? Perhaps a message for It's Psychedelic Baby readers?
Thanks for that Klemen - I hope we manage to complete Pt. 2 before the mechanisms beat us....looks like it will be a double too.