The Liquid Sound Company interview
Liquid Sound Company was formed in 1996 by John Perez and Jason Spradlin. Perez is better known for his doom metal band Solitude Aeturnus but has also pursued a life long interest in challenging, psychedelic music. Deciding to write and then record some songs for an album on his newly formed label at the time (Brainticket Records), the Liquid Sound Company was officially born with the release of the debut album Exploring The Psychedelic in the spring of 1996. The album was also released on vinyl through the legendary Rockadelic Records at the same time.
Years passed and a second album, Inside The Acid Temple got released in 2002. Recorded at Cedar Valley College with Dixie Witch guitarist Clayton Mills engineering and mixing. The line up had expanded and changed including David Fargason on bass.
Several more years followed and in 2008 Perez and Spradlin recorded some new material for a new release entitled Acid Music For Acid People. This time with Mark Cook (Herd Of Instinct) on Warr guitar and Bass. Mark also mixed the material for the release.
After several years of inactivity the Liquid Sound Company finally began work on new material in 2016. A new song “Cosmic Liquid Love” was issued on Facebook and most recently the band has recorded a Black Sabbath cover, “Sleeping Village” for an upcoming tribute on Stone Groove Records.
With live shows and a new album planned for late 2017, the Liquid Sound Company got ready to blow out your minds.
What’s the current situation with Liquid Sound Company? Who’s in Liquid Sound Company and what do you all play?
Jason Spradlin: We have just begun our journey as a proper live entity. The band will consist of;
John Perez / Guitars, Vocals, Neptune references
Jason Spradlin / Drums, percussion, Visions
Mark Cook / Guitar, effects, Frepwk’r
David Fargason / Bass, Enthusiastic Obsvervations
Allan “Skip” Wise / Vocals, guitars, Weird Scenes
John and myself have been the core members since the beginning back in 1996. There’s never really been a “steady” line up with the band and we’ve had various people and members on each of the albums, including ex Last Chapter and Solitude Aeturnus alumni, Terri Pritchard, most note-ably on the debut album.
You’re from Arlington, Texas. What is the local music scene like there? Do you feel like the scene there in the 90s played an important role in shaping your musical tastes or the way that you play?
Jason: When you think of Texas and music, Austin is the 1st place that usually comes to mind. Arlington is located directly between Dallas and Fort Worth, and 45 miles north is Denton. In each one of these cities there’s a large supply of various styles: blues, jazz, country, metal and if your tastes are on the fringe and you know where to look, there are plenty of pockets and collectives of experimental, noise, avant garde, prog and psychedelic music in our area as well. It’s interesting that you bring up our 90’s scene as there was a significant space and psychedelic scene that was going on here during that decade. Due to commitments with our other bands we were not able to take advantage of the local psych explosion of the 90’s. I wanna break out my Light Bright Highway, Tone Float, Ohm and Sub Oslo CD’s now!
John Perez: We have a really healthy music scene here in Arlington and for certain the greater metroplex that Jason describes (Denton, Dallas, Fort Worth). Lots of great bands in all genres of music. And Jason is correct, we did have a number of really cool and challenging bands in the late 80’s and 90’s (I might add names like Burning Rain, Bag, Modern Whigs, Thorazine Dreams, Vas Deferens Organization, Fish Eye Lens…). I also liked Course of Empire during this time, very tripped out dark music. But I don’t think the 90’s local music scene affected my/our approach to making music. Our heads were already overflowing with loads of obscure psychedelic, experimental, metal, weird, pop, etc… and my/our influences come more from that than any influences from local bands during the 90’s.
What do you consider to be your first real exposure to music?
Jason: Johnny Cash, Elvis and Hank Williams records were always around my house. I remember digging through my older siblings 7” records. I specifically remember listening to Paul McCartney’s – “Uncle Albert”, Focus – “Hocus Pocus”, Three Dog Night – “Joy To The World”, Derek & The Dominos – “Layla”, Lemon Pipers – “Green Tamborine” and more! My mind was like a sponge for music growing up and I loved to listen to the radio.
John: Mine were my parents records. They didn’t have many but I specifically remember listening to the early Beatles records, early Stones records, Elvis Presley, Tom Jones – “Green Green Grass of Home”, Kingsmen – Best of the Kingsmen. I also got into the Beach Boys really early on from my next door neighbour. I think the first single I owned was Steve Miller – The Joker or maybe it was David Essex – Rock On. I also remember very early in life going to symphonies and hearing things like 1812 Overture and Peter and the Wolf. These were probably school trips but I can remember being very moved by these experiences. Weird, strange powerful and instant connection to music for me at a very early age.
When and how did you all originally meet?
Jason: I met John around ’88 or ’89 at a Solitude Aeturnus show. I already knew John by name from an interview that he did with Candlemass for a local fanzine called Grey Matter back in 1987! My girlfriend at the time demanded that I check out Solitude Aeturnus since I was a huge fan of bands like Trouble, Witchfinder General, Sabbath etc… When I saw the band (Solitude Aeturnus) I couldn’t believe that something existed locally that was this heavy! I knew that I wanted to jam with John in some capacity. Anything! He used to give me rides to work in his yellow van and always tried to blow my mind with new and old music finds.
John: That sounds about right to me Jason! I remember meeting you outside of Joe’s Garage after we played a gig and we talked about the sound of HEAVY! Bands like Trouble, Sabbath etc… So yeah about 1989 I would think. Thanks for the compliments sir!
When did you decide that you wanted to start writing and performing your own music?
John: That’s pretty easy. I basically wanted to start writing and performing my own music since I can pretty much remember. I used to daydream about being in The Beatles. I can recall trying to write songs on piano and acoustic guitar when I was in 5th grade. I always dreamed of forming a band and playing live in front of people. Always.
Jason: Around the age of 14 or 15 the urge to wanna rock kicks into to full gear and this was it for me. Music really became a lifelong passion for me.I didn’t really start writing my own music until my early 20’s but the urge to play and perform definitely came about in my early teens.
John (Perez), you were in doom bands like Solitude Aeturnus and Sorrows Path.
John: I’ve never been in Sorrow’s Path although I know the band and its members. They opened for us in Greece. I believe Solitude Aeturnus guitarist Edgar Rivera contributed a guitar solo to their debut CD. I did form Solitude Aeturnus (originally Solitude) in 1987 and continued up until just a few years ago. We are on indefinite hiatus at this time and I am focusing my energies to the Liquid Sound Co right now. Before Solitude in the early 80’s I formed an early thrash band called Rotting Corpse. I’ve also played guitar in the early 90’s with industrial metal band Puncture. Solitude Aeturnus however, was my main focus for over 25 years and we did accomplish significant work during our career.
How did you transformed into lysergic madhouse!? Was it completely spontaneous or did you planned; “OK, we are going to play psychedelic rock!”
John: Well actually yes, kinda! It was both spontaneous but very intentional and thought out. I’m a lifelong fan of psychedelic rock. I was probably in 4th or 5th grade (1975-’76) when I first saw the Monterey Pop Festival film on television and it totally blew my young mind. From then onward I was actively (and still am) seeking out “psychedelic” rock oriented bands. It’s something that I’ve run parallel with my love for true Heavy Metal music. I love both forms of music with equal passion but just happened to be able to pursue the metal end a bit easier because as you can imagine, there were even less fans of obscure psychedelia in the early 80’s. Or at least musicians that were willing to play it! I finally decided in 1995 that my love for psychedelia needed to be fulfilled a step further by writing and recording some of my own music. It was a learning curve for me (and still is) since I basically had been playing 100% Heavy Metal music up until that point. Luckily I had a background in classical piano (my first instrument) and so I was able to free my mind and open it to other ideas about writing and creating music. So about a year later we recorded the Exploring The Psychedelic album!
How would you compare Liquid Sound Company to other projects you’re involved with?
Jason: There really is no comparison to the bands that I’ve been involved with. Herd Of Instinct is a progressive rock band in the vein of 80’s and 90’s era King Crimson, 99 Names of God was similar to Portishead and then Last Chapter was total doom metal. Liquid Sound Company is unlike any other band that I’ve played with.
Joh: Actually there is a similar element in the songwriting that flows between LSC and Solitude Aeturnus. I write a lot of music in the phyrgian minor key in both bands so there are similarities here and there but of course I’m not trying to make Liquid Sound Company “heavy” in terms of metal but maybe space heavy at times. I think quite a few SA fans like at least some of the Liquid Sound Company stuff, especially when it gets a little heavier and cosmic.
Exploring The Psychedelic was released 21 years ago on legendary (mostly) reissue label Rockadelic by Rich Haupt. How did you get in touch?
John: I was in Hai Tex studio finishing up the mixes for Exploring. Rich’s partner with Rockadelic was Mark Migliorie and he came by the studio one night to pick up some tapes that they had for him. He heard our material, liked it and I just asked him if he would be interested for Rockadelic to put it out and he said yes! I was thrilled because I already knew of the labels reputation and I was honored to be part of the roster. Several months later Mark passed away tragically but the other half of Rockadelic was Rich Haupt and he continued Rockadelic for a number of years and of course put out the first edition of the Exploring LP. We are forever grateful to both of them for getting Liquid Sound Company out on vinyl. Rich Haupt I might add, is one of the really good guys in our world! His knowledge and expertise in records and psych rock is astounding! I love Rich – super cool dood!
A few years later Inside The Acid Temple was released by Nasoni Records from Germany and in 2011 Acid Music For Acid People was released on the same label. Those albums are absolutely amazing acid-jam monsters. What’s the story behind recording all those three albums? How in your opinion do they differ from each other and what’s the story behind recording sessions?
Exploring The Psychedelic
Jason & John: Thanks so very much for the compliments!
Jason: Exploring The Psychedelic was recorded at Hai Tex 16 track analog studio. It was a small studio but very nice on the inside but you’d never know it from being outside. I was both excited and nervous as this was my first time in a real recording studio. The material was well rehearsed, I had a tape from almost a year before that John gave me so we had plenty of time to prepare. At one point during the recording I had some weird sense of synergy where I was channelling the energy through the room and recorded several tracks with my eyes completely closed. It was a truly cosmic experience.
John: On Exploring I was also both excited and nervous since this was my first attempt at something non-metal in the studio, so I was a bit green to the whole process of recording psychedelic music. But what it was truly rewarding and a great learning experience for me. Lots of fun trying out new ideas and methods of recording and I was personally in a very cosmic place during those years. My third eye was wide awake during the mid 90’s and so my mind was really ready to create something that reflected this state of being. The recording itself is good quality but of course I’m always wishing it could have been better. Having said that I’m very happy overall with the debut, despite the sound not being 100% what I had envisioned. But who cares as it’s still a good one to trip to!!
Inside The Acid Temple
Jason: Inside The Acid Temple was recorded at Cedar Valley College. This was a recording school and the engineer that worked there was a friend of John’s, Clayton Mills from the band Dixie Witch. One of the highlights was when Robin Keenon came in and did some percussion and when we were recording the song “Unfolding” we were coming together and making shapes through sound. Another cosmic studio experience. There’s not a lot of photographic evidence of our studio sessions but for Acid Temple I did have a video camera and recorded quite a bit of our recording session. This footage may end up on YouTube at some point.
John: For Acid Temple I remember that we had a Liquid light show all over the studio when we were recording the album. I had just bought these new liquid projectors and we were in a huge room so the walls were covered with amazing blobs to get us in the right frame of mind. Clayton and I mixed the record basically in the dark under the lava lamp lights. We had various psychedelic magazines, books, incense, weird shit all around the studio creating an atmosphere. Lots of guests on this record, Matt Miller on sitar, Allan “Skip” Wise on vox, Robin Kennon on percussion, Sylvia Perez on satanic sexual verses, Clayton Mills on lead guitar (“Robot Hull”). The BrotherHood Of Love studios was actually the recording school, we just re-named it for this recording of course! This album was much closer in sound to what I had envisioned for the debut. Very happy with the overall outcome of this album. The liner notes were written by me but I used the pen name of Timothy Stark. A combination of Ronald Stark and Timothy Leary. Stark was a little known figure but he was responsible for a LARGE part of the acid that was going around in the late 60’s and early 70’s. I’ll let your readers do their homework online but he was a fascinating character worthy of study from any serious “head”!! I will also let the secret out that the title is a reference to the all time classic 60’s film “The Acid Eaters”. The reference points to the end of the film where they are “in the acid temple” eating LSD and having an orgy. Watch it!
Acid Music For Acid People
John: Acid Music For Acid People was recorded at Mark Cook’s home studio. Jason and I had taken a break from Liquid Sound Company for several years after Inside The Acid Temple was recorded and released. Our first get-together was at Mark Cook’s home studio and what you are hearing on those new tracks was us improvising on the spot. We all thought it sounded really good considering we’d never played with Mark before and it had been a good 3-4 years since Jason and I had jammed! The other tracks were a demo recording (“Morning Sun”) that I had done after a VERY long night of cosmic contemplation and the “live” recordings at our one and only “secret” gig.
Jason: At the time of recording Acid Music For Acid People, I was in the band Herd Of Instinct. My bandmate, Mark Cook, has a studio and was brought into the Liquid Sound Company fold one night when we invited John Perez over for a jam. Little did I know, but Mark pressed RECORD on his machine and captured some magic improvisational moments. So right there in Mark’s studio we took these jams along with archival live recordings and demos and put together what is now Acid Music For Acid People.
What’s the deal with your latest release – “Cosmic Liquid Love?”
John: This song was written and recorded very quickly. We had the initial idea and worked on it one night, then came back to our recording dungeon and recorded it the very next night. I added some overdubs (lead guitar, second guitar track, bass guitar) and we mixed it rather quickly as well and there you go. This was the first song that Jason and I put together since the Acid People album and was instrumental in getting the Company up and running into a more formal outfit. It also happens to be one of my top 4 LSC songs! I’m very happy with my lead guitar on this track and the song itself. It’s space rock condensed into a 5 minute trip.
All of the records were reissued by Nasoni Records! It’s so welcoming that there’s so much interest in psychedelic music.
John: Yes – and R.I.P. to the founder of Nasoni Hans Georg Bier who passed away several months ago. A great label with tons of great releases. Psychedelic music is alive and well thanks to labels like Nasoni. I met Hans from Nasoni in 1996 when he first started the label and would come down to Austin for the annual record convention. He gave me a copy of the Johnson Noise and the live Fish Eye Lens album. Rich Haupt (Rockadelic) formally introduced me to him and he was a quite a character! Really funny and outspoken and Nasoni went on to release a very large number of great records!
All of your releases are accompanied with beautiful artwork.
John: Thanks so very much! Artwork for us, is very important especially when it comes to psychedelic rock music/bands. Exploring The Psychedelic artwork was done by a friend of mine Paul Demus. Paul was a regular customer at a local record shop I worked at (Forever Young Records) and was also a fan of alternative music forms so he was more than happy to work with us. The concept was loosely based on the psychedelic experience (birth, life, death, re-birth) and a few odd references to things like “The Acid Eaters” movie (the person climbing up the pyramid). The back cover was a bit of surprise to me as Paul had only finished it the same day that I was to deliver the artwork to the pressing plant. It wasn’t exactly what I had envisioned but I liked to concept of the “tree of knowledge” and Adam & Eve in the garden. Our “forbidden fruit” was LSD (disguised as the apple) and overall this represents the idea’s behind this record.
Inside The Acid Temple was done by the Malleus art group out of Italy. These are the guys in heavy/psych band Ufomammut as well. I had seen their artwork and loved the ideas they had so I just gave them a title and a loose idea and they came up with the LP cover. It’s another representation of the idea of “tripping through sound” and the sugar cube being offered up as the ticket to the other side. The sugar cube can be the “psychedelic eucharist” which itself can be music, LSD, sex, love, devil, God…..
Acid Music For Acid People was put together by another friend of mine, John “Carcass” Fossum. John had worked with me on a few things already and wanted to explore the idea of psychedelic artwork. I had an idea of using very simple and basic “psychedelic” colors and patterns, like the kind you would see on exploitation records from the 60’s. I also purposely used black and white artwork for the back cover as tribute to the way most LP’s sleeves were issued in the 60’s (color front, b&w back). This is the design I’m most happy with as it accurately reflects the state of being while in trip mode! The b&w photos that we used were from a book in the 60’s called “LSD.” It was a fairly early book describing the affects of an acid trip. One of the subjects in the book – Brian, was also talked about on the early Porcupine Tree release, Voyage 34.
Who are some of your personal favourite bands that you’ve had a chance to play with over the past few years?
John: That’s very easy since we’ve played with no-one. We had that one secret gig we played for the Acid Music album but that was by ourselves. We’d love to play with anyone that will share a stage with us.
Jason: Levitation Festival, Roadburn Festival please call us! We would love to play for a large tribal gathering!
Let’s talk about your influences. What inspired Liquid Sound Company to become such a spaced-out collective?
John: Inspirations are many, both non-musical and musical. Speaking for myself, the many experiences I’ve had with LSD and psychedelics expanded my understanding of music greatly. I have a greater understanding of how music is put together, the emotional elements of musical notes when strung together in a particular order, the journey’s that music can take your mind on when you listen to it on a “deeper” level. And I don’t mean that you have to ingest psychedelics to listen on “deeper” levels. Music is the drug and does this on its own as well. I’m also influenced by the atmosphere’s around me (rainy cloudy days, cold weather, desolate landscapes etc…). Musically speaking both Jason and I have a very wide palette of tastes that have influenced our music. For certain all of the great mind altering music that we’ve listened to for years has had an impact on our sound. I like to throw a little bit of everything into our mix so I could say that bands like Group 1850, Agitation Free, Ash Ra Temple, Freak Scene, Plasticland, Dead Can Dance, Black Sabbath, Hawkwind, Ozric, Soma, Dead Flowers, Beatles, psych-punk, early Porcupine Tree, 80’s underground psychedelia, Delerium Records, Spacious Mind, Word of Life – the list could go on for quite some time…
Jason: We used to drop acid that had a picture of Jesus on it and have little album listening sessions. John would play the most obscuro psych records I’d ever heard, and he owns all manner of books on psychedelic history/folklore/culture. During these sessions I can recall hearing music by Agitation Free, Group 1850, Word Of Life, St. Michael, Plasticland, and the early Porcupine Tree stuff. There’s an extensive list of influences on the inner sleeve of Exploring The Psychedelic.
Are you currently involved with any other bands? Please feel free to share with our readers.
John: At the moment The Liquid Sound Company is my only band I’m working on. Solitude Aeturnus is on indefinite hiatus, however I do have quite a bit of doom metal songs that will see the light of day sometime in the future. Just not sure when and under what name.
Jason: My full commitment is to Liquid Sound Company and no other bands at this time. Sorry Led Zeppelin but I’ve sold my soul to the LSC!
What are some future plans? Live shows, new album, more songs?
John: Yeah, pretty much what you’ve just said. We will be finally doing some long overdue live shows, starting in Texas and then we’ll take it out as far as we can, hopefully at least as far as Saturn for certain (I’ve always wanted to see those rings up close), but I’d like to venture as far as Neptune if at all possible. New songs are being concocted now, getting the right chemical mixtures and sounds together. Some nice heavy space epics, a few paisley pop influenced moves, lots of purple liquid fly fuzz, next album is going to be another kaleidoscope adventure into head sound!!
Jason: We just had a breakthrough on a new song last night, so we’ll be squeezing that onto the next album. We’ve recorded a version of Black Sabbath’s “Sleeping Village” for a tribute album called Sabbatarianism coming out on Stone Groove Records. You can view this on YouTube right now as well.
Let’s end this interview with some of your favourite albums. Have you found something new lately you would like to recommend to our readers?
John: In the spirit of the magazine here I’ll keep this to my top 11 PSYCHEDELIC rock albums for me. My tastes run deep from Heavy Metal to Pop, Experimental etc… but for now psych rock only!
Dukes Of Stratosphere – 25 O’ Clock
Grateful Dead – Anthem Of The Sun
Word Of Life – Further Ahead
Spacious Mind – Cosmic Mind At Play
Plasticland – Wonder Wonderful Wonderland
Soma – Epsilon
Group 1850 – Agemos Trip To Mother Earth
Agitation Free – Last
Freak Scene – Psychedelic Psoul
Unfolding – How To Blow Your Mind
Dead Flowers – Altered State Circus
I’ve also just seen a great new paisley psych band called Shadowgraphs! The LP is called Venomous Blossoms. From North Carolina. Great phased out lava lamp psych with killer vocals and guitar work! Saw them by accident a few weeks ago at a small local bar in Dallas. Awesome!
Jason: My favorite groups – Black Sabbath, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Van Der Graaf Generator, The Who, Mothers Of Invention, Captain Beefheart. My love for Prog is equal to my love for Psych. Here’s a small list of some newer favorites:
Thinking Plague – Hoping Against Hope
Gosta Berlings Saga – Sersophane
Dungen – Haxan
The Black Angels – Death Song
The Sonic Dawn – Into The Long Night
All Them Witches – Sleeping Through The War
Thank you. Last word is yours.
John: Thank you Klemen! We’ve got our entire catalog up on bandcamp! You can stream our titles and you can also download all of our music! Check it out here bandcamp
We also have some T-shirts available for sale! $15 plus post ($7 priority mail in U.S., $22 overseas air mail). You can send payment to us via paypal at email@example.com
Jason: Thank you Klemen! You’ve got a really cool thing happening here with It’s Psychedelic Baby and we appreciate the interview!
Interview by Klemen Breznikar/2017
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