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Wild Rocket | Interview


They’ve absolutely killed it with their wild-rocking new album, ‘Geomagnetic Hallucinations’ – so it’s about time we had a proper chat with Ireland’s own space truckers. Fresh from their well deserved Album Of The Month award on here, Jamie Grimes dons his space suit to communicate with WILD ROCKET.

***

Gents, firstly congratulations on the release of “Geomagnetic Hallucinations” -it looks and sounds fantastic. Firstly are you happy with the finished result and the response there has been to it thus far?

Niall: I am very happy with how it turned out musically and aesthetically. It took a while for the whole lot to take shape. Doing the album the way we did it, there was a lot of extra work involved and although it was a tough slog at times I think the hard work was worth it.

I appreciate when a band puts thought and time into the overall delivery of a release, there are few things better than picking up a record that looks and feels like a quality piece- you know the people behind it are happy with it and that in turn makes me appreciate it more.

As for the response to the album- it has been great to receive solid critique. I’m glad that the album is being looked at by a broad spectrum, each seem to be taking their own interpretation and hearing it the way they want to hear it. All experience is subjective.

Moose: Yeah people from a broad range seem to be digging it which is amazing. It’s proving to me to that putting a proper effort into something and not compromising on it in will reward that effort. Obviously the music comes first but I know I love having something nice in my hands while listening to a record so it’s great that people are appreciating the physical object as well as the music. It’s all fairly mind blowing to be honest.

Prior to the album you said to me that you’d put two demo tracks online, and I know you mentioned to me only other song from that era has made it onto the record. How did you approach the writing of “Geomagnetic…” – was it simply a collection of the next songs you wrote or was there a concious attempt to write a self contained album?

It flows musically and lyrically in a way that really does work as a whole, and I was curious if you approached it as such or if this was a happy coincidence?

Niall:As a band we give each other a lot of space in the din and Aether, we occupy different regions of the overall spectrum so there are clear paths for all of us to follow. The flow you speak of comes from a shared intent and plenty of communication.

Over the last few years we have definitely gelled further than the earlier days and you can probably hear that in the song writing. We didn’t set out to write 6 songs for an album, we just write. The choice of the six songs for was down to us feeling these are an accurate reflection of how we sound right now. Our themes are macro concepts but our songs tend to be more specific. The specifics are the micro of the macro.

Moose:With writing I’ve always wanted to have a live set that would take people on a journey and I think we managed to achieve that idea on the record too. We spent quite a while deciding on the running order for the record and what would work best for the listener sat comfortably at home on the couch, or wherever they listen to records, over being at a gig.

Up til now you’d built a strong reputation for yourselves on the strength of your live shows alone. Given that there’s a lot of space (both figuratively and literally) in the music on the album, are the recorded versions of these tracks the finished versions so to speak?

They seem like they could be jammed on and expanded live, and I was wondering is this something you feel concious of when writing, the potential to mutate the songs in the live environment?

Like is the record a sort of “beginner’s guide” for people of the live sets or do you feel it should serve as a definitive document of what you’re about musically?

Niall:Good question and its nice to hear our live reputation is strong. We enjoy playing live. The songs as they have manifested themselves on the album are the songs as I hear them in my head and feet and hands.

The way we write songs and the dynamic we have between us means we can jam on any aspect of the song for any length of time however sometimes jamming can take the immediacy and panic out of the songs when playing live.

I sometimes find it hard to control my speed and energy when playing so to stop and jam out riffs mid gig can take the wind out of my sails a bit. Having said that we have a 101 different versions of some songs and one song in particular takes a life of its own during every gig. If you heard the album, you will know what we are about.

The the fact that your membership includes both a geographer and a scientist in the band is kind of fascinating to me that the presentation, and indeed a lot of the lyrics seem to marry the organic and the fantastic to some degree.

Is all this talk about interplantery vibrations and the cosmos merely an aesthetic choice or is there more to it, a band philosophy so to speak? Who or what influenced the more cosmic aspects of the Wild Rocket experience?

Niall:Personally my background in chemistry and physics is what opened me up to the fantastic. Science gives you the tools to analyse and interpret events and draw conclusion, I think the scientific method is one of the greatest human achievements.

Using this method, (at this point in time) we know our universe is an infinitely complicated system but it can be argued that there is predictability to it, a pattern that has to abide by a certain set of laws which in itself is more than enough to get excited about.

Wild Rocket is about how we interpret that pattern and how each individual’s interpretation is subjectively right. Each mind is a universe unto itself. Speculative science fiction, the transhumanist movement and Tim Leary’s SMI²LE concept, Robert Anton Wilson’s words on perception of reality and how we can change the world around us with just thought, Kafka’s uneasy and jarring slants, Bukowski and Vonnegut’ss existential leanings, the list of influences could go on and on but for the most part what influences us is how we experience and interpret what’s around us.

Moose:I think there is a band philosophy which would have to include the RAW idea of mixing fact with fiction and letting the reader decide what’s real, sort of based on the discordian principles.

Having a background in Oceanography and general geoscience means I can tie the fantastical (or not so fantastical) science fiction ideas with real science.

Personally I also feel (and have a decent scientific understanding) that we’ve gone past the tipping point with regards keeping this planet of ours habitable to our species so the futurist ideas of colonising space are very real to me. Maybe we’ll just become pure thought before that happens though… It all boils down to escapism same as most psych and space rock and to a large degree music in general.

Obviously there’s been nights I’ve seen you where there’s been projections behind you onstage too, and given the magnificent artwork by Lost Astronaut that adorns the album, it’s clear the visual element is something you’re keen to push as well.

I know Bres had provided the visuals for the live shows before but I’m wondering given your close ties with Emmett at Lost Astronaut will you be working together for the visuals more from now on?

How collaborative was the (stunning) album artwork incidentally, did you present him with the idea or was it simply a matter of letting him come up with it on his own?

Niall:We have used visuals for gigs in the past and it’s something I’m keen on having as a more regular feature. We have been working with Emmett at Lost Cos more or less since the bands inception. (moose ill let you answer this)

Moose:We all love the visual element of projections which leads to it being an important part of gigs whenever we get the opportunity. Future live visuals (when we get time to get it together) will no doubt include some of Emmetts imagery but with Bres working in film and tv I’d presume he’d still be putting it altogether.

He, Bres, has just finished up a video to go with Blowholes and we have plans to work with some other artist for videos but Emmett will probably be taking care of all the print imagery for the foreseeable future as it’s important for us to keep a unified vision for the band. The great thing with Emmett is we can come to him with an idea and he’ll understand it fully but we also give him the freedom to run with any ideas he has so the end result can be quite different.

We’re all still heavily involved throughout the process to make sure it keeps within the aesthetic vision of the band. I guess himself and Niall having grown up together really helps with the communication here too.

John K’s synths have really come to the fore on this album – I remember on first seeing you live they seemed a little more like they were there for the enhancement of the atmosphere, almost like a background thing, but the melodies he plays have really pushed things forward in the sound on a song like “Don’t Ask When” – traditionally in rock music it’s the guitar that takes the lead but with you guys that’s not always the case.

I wanted to ask John, who I suppose had been best known as a bass player in the likes of Puget Sound prior to WR how he goes about composing his parts? Is it a matter of adding to the pre existing riffs or are songs ever built around the synth lines?

Similarly, given the sound’s fuzzy nature it’d be remiss of me not to talk a little about Moose’s sideline as a pedal builder. How integral do you think having someone who can essentially build something that provides you with a pretty unique tone been to getting the Wild Rocket sound right?

Things are obviously on the up for you locally given the praise the album has been recieving and the aforementioned presence on the live front .. I was wondering are you setting your sights further afield now that the album is out? Can we expect a more concentrated assault on the UK and Europe perhaps over the coming months?

Moose:Jon will either play along with the riffs or write a counter melody depending on what he or we think works best. I’d imagine there’s a direct correlation between Jon’s confidence as the synth player in the band and how much the synth moves to the forefront. We like to think every member of the band gets to take the forefront at the right time. We basically subscribe to the Motorhead idea of “everything louder than everything else”. No instrument is any more or less important than the other.

I don’t think the pedals define who we are as a band and if they did we’d be a pretty shit band I reckon. So while it certainly helps having a pedal builder in the band I’d hope we’d still achieve the sounds in our heads even if I’d never built a pedal in my life. Riffs >> Effects.

We’ve really just been concentrating on getting the album out there the last while which thankfully these days via the internet can be most of the world. Next up is getting over to the UK before the year is out and then hopefully we can get to Europe in the spring.

I guess we’ve purposefully held back on getting off the island til we had a release out there we were proud of, in this way we can work towards having people who are keen to actually come see us play our songs live.

Of course if anyone can help with gigs anywhere please get in touch, it’d much appreciated. Also keep an eye out or a limited cassette version of the album coming out on Saarlacc productions soon.

Interview by Jamie Grimes ::: 08/09/14


4 Comments
  1. Lost Astronaut.. You mean Cosmonaut???

  2. pentagrimes Says:

    I meant Lost Cosmonaut. Sorry Emmett!

  3. Go the Rockets! It would be great to see them on a larger psych bill here or overseas. They certainly have the songs and energy to hold their own.

  4. Thanks for the interview Jamie/CT/MI.

    We’d love to be considered for larger psych bills, locally there isn’t much scope for this sort of music i don’t think. Distorted Perspectives fest in Donegal during the summer was the closest i think we’ve come to anything solid exploring this end of music and it was fantastic. There was Hunters Moon too but from what i can tell that’s dead now. We are happy to play metal / punk / noise gigs because that’s the background we come from and the music we love and the craic we like.

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