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After recently reviewing the live album from the psychedelic explorers, Obscured by Clouds, the guys from http://www.progradar.org asked me if I’d like to ask leader of the band, William Weikart, a few questions which William was kind enough to answer with some brilliant and illuminating insights into the life and art of his band…

I really enjoyed finding out about your music when I was asked to review your live album, ‘Thermospheric’. In that review I made the comment that this could easily be the sort of music that Pink Floyd might have made had Syd Barrett been able to stay in the band. How important is early Floyd as an influence on your music?

Thank you Jez, we aim to absolutely inspire and reach further into the quantum perceptive transformative states we all seek in music, life and beyond. We are honored by your forum and clearly open minded focus to include our new music, new videos, and lyrical elements through the journey into musics’ vast continuum.  We do crave the moments you may have in the first listen, having worked on these pieces so arduously over time as we reach the path and goal we set forth for ourselves.  Each song is a lifetime unto itself for us.

We do love Floyd and Syd, David, Roger, Nick, Rick and company, so we won’t hide it.  That is the only thing we won’t obscure.  Though truly we all are an amalgam of so many bands, we started off to compel local Floyd fans to participate through our obvious namesake.  Had we not heard from the Gilmour clan via phone and email we may have changed our name, but once we got the old pat on the back from Mr. Floyd we were off and running!  And the name has taken on new meaning in a world where “the cloud” and clouds now represent a virtual Orwellian oversight.

We honor the name by staying in the genre, but beyond that I think what you are seeing/hearing in our music is our continuing narrative of society’s estrangement from the people/musicians/artists who vitally hold out for their dreams to bring change and new being to the world.  We are holding the symbols and archetypes up to the light revealing the darkness of tyranny, oppression, faith, hope, happiness on the very edge of the cobalt blue abyss questioning the universe into the light that leads a way out of the indefinability of societal delusions. 

The challenge of the Floydian narrative is to bring out such revelatory peaks of conceptual muses through the virtual abyss and experiential highest azimuths to bleed out or flesh out our musical and spiritual journey on the page of  our lives in such a way that the revelation is not only freeing and transformative, but the denouement leaves one with redemptive revelations of the meaningfulness of life. And this is what Syd and the Floyd do.  In quantum physics one theory now is that light travels through dark matter/energy to reach across the universe.

The darkness controls the light, but the light is also freed from the darkness.  Floyd’s narrative of passion, abjection, suffering in the struggle, transcendence, in the penultimate unity of our struggle; it is symbolic of a vast battlefield upon which we must tame the beast-dragon of societies’ unconscious collective, and mend the blind spots of our own perceptive limitations and preconceptions.  And this is what art does, it frees us in the moment from ourselves.

And psychedelia in general? I for sure heard aspects of Hawkwind and The Edgar Broughton Band…

Hawkwind was a great discovery for me in college, I needed more Britt-psych.  Can you imagine?  I learned a song or two on guitar.  I would say there may have been a bit of a genre meld with synthesizers as Tangerine Dream ploddingly seems similar in some of the longer rhythmic pieces Hawkwind wrote and produced.  I never saw Hawkwind live, just Nick Truner’s Hawkwind I did see live maybe twice.  Not the same, but interesting.

Edgar Winter yes, Edgar Broughton Band not so much, but now watching “Freedom” performance it is pretty interesting stuff.  I like the interpretive dance in the middle of the song.  We are less bombastic perhaps, but just around the corner.

Obviously your music isn’t purely just a tribute to those bands who’ve influenced you. What directions did you feel you wanted to take the music in your work?

Music writing and recording are like sculpting, as you reveal the muse captured in the stone by removing the stone entrapping it within, in that moment it appears as something new.  Did I free the muse in my mind, or was the muse always trapped in the stone waiting to come out? 

Five hours into recording sessions you sweat, make your fingers bleed, jest-attack your band members with comedy, drink beer or wine, talk about life, and spend thousands of hours mixing and writing and thinking — it is a discovery of all the dimensions of life in the song and lyrics from top to bottom inside-outside and beyond.  Vocalizations, lyrics, feedback as in instrumental divining melding antics all come out on the recording often like you never could imagine before. We delve especially into experimentation and improvisation to crossover the border into the uncharted advent-grade seas in our madness and pleasure.

I tend to write the song as it is recorded, the magic is in never knowing how the idea of musicality and symbology of the song, and the quantum randomness of unifying music with lyrics will manifest and haunt our psyches, and eventually transform the new songs into new sounds to transcend the original idea entirely dwarfing the original recorded version.  Once the charts are navigated and the pieces come together I bring the band back in so the final takes have lived in their music for at least a few months.

 

Then the final takes are more solid and song-like. Some songs are written and recorded quickly, but I’ll still linger behind and return to add the cinematic undertow to tell the story through sounds and murmurings of the subconscious.  

We have a new studio up in the mountains where the next album will be recorded, I will let you know what’s next through Alex Steininja our fabulously cool PR fellow at IMWT.  

Weird ain’t good enough, the next album will be exponentially stranger.  We can’t hide the cold comfort for change, irony is a double-edged sword cutting both as it goes in as much as when it is pulled out.  We are here to make a sacrifice as a band, and that sacrifice will enlightened us further in our battle against an unconscious collective.  It is a battle worthy of our artistic struggle in our creative significance and challenge to stand on our path to ward our clear goal to land the message of music.

‘Thermospheric’ is obviously a live album based on your studio album, ‘Psychelectic’. How important was it to you as an artiste for the studio album to transfer into the live arena?

I am not an artiste.  We are not here to be entertainers.  Anyone can go dance or rave or be a seer of visions anywhere, we don’t try to land the entertainer fish on our stage.  I also don’t flail my arms much.  If you watch the new “Thermospheric” (Live) videos you can see the band is connecting with each other on stage, we are inspired by hearing each other players knock out the sound together.  There are great sound and lighting effects and even freak’n lasers at some shows.

All Music Guide and other reviewers have appointed our genre to include “Art-Rock”, “Arty Grunge” Classic Rock Magazine, and “Psych-Art-Rock” which we gladly accept as being the extent to which we delve through the dimensions of strangeness to our music; as our voice of univocal estrangement we aim to artistically dream-weave the mind bending perceptive wall splitting and perceptive door transforming ambitions that are obscured by clouds preconceptions. The clouds of unknowing obscurity reveal the clarity and obfuscation in our music.

We also tend to have expensive lights/lasers and other large stage video screens to add the psycheclectic aspects of cinematic storyline to our live show.  The videos are projected onto the live stage footage integrating the music/lyrics with the actual cinematic revelations to each song, and it’s not random.  Louder yet, we are so damn loud we plan on enveloping you with our sound and digging a hole to take you through the rabbit hole to forget the sun. 

And through the course of thought and the onslaught of guitar  improv and feedback — there rises the sun-ray of redemption and revelation to relieve the tensions we bare forth on the listeners spirit and being.  It’s in those moments we can reveal our message.  Call it art if you want, but it’s really the depth psychology/philosophy of our music, creativity, musicality, tonality, atonality,  asymmetry, lyrics, cinematic spirit and continuity of our psycheclectic music genre blender.  Psycheclectic Records as a label first, then an album, and the bands you know who are true to their music to stand for what they believe.  

There are no breaks planned between songs as the conceptual performance flows like a cinematic undertow through the set list.  We are reserved a bit up there on stage focusing on all the incremental layers ahead, and the other moving parts like HD effects behind the curtain.

Floyd’s cool sensibilities on stage were paramount as audiences could see the band was so determined and focused during their performances, and the music was so loud that the audiences were passengers completely immersed in the trip. Progressive Rock is participant theater, the audience participates even if only as a witness.  The light/laser show is for the participants seeking inclusion for the trip. When I’ve seen Floyd live I was expecting  mayhem, cometary explosions, diamond-light beings emanating from lasers — Roger Waters wasn’t going to walk through the audience to bring us flowers, or hold our hands to sing us a lullaby. 

Instead it was like Orwell on bass screaming thy last scream with lasers!?!?! It was not an easy listen at all in their early works.  Early Floyd’s music was built by deft indulgence and was disturbingly primal as necessary, still vaulting choruses of soothing melodious redemption would follow just before more chaos. Just the opposite really of the melodiousness we sink into in the modern Floyd charting, sound, and musicality. It was meant to be more jarring back then as less so now, and early Floyd was not an easy listen.

We attended Floyd shows because we knew they were going fuck shit up and you better like it or stay out of the way, right?  It was art as the force over the commercialists; in that it challenged the commonality in our malaise of the ignorance of societal struggles, as vast symptoms of the universe were revealed, and then we understood a way forward to turn the tides of ignorance for the sake of wisdom. 

Floyd songs are as much about the unveiling of anxiety as thoughtful revelation through music and lyrics subtly transforming our consciousness.  Without the paradox, we could not be freed of the paradox.  And maybe the paradox was never even there.

For a long time now Obscured By Clouds expected to stand in the shadow of mystery.  We are challenging the status quo of the unconscious collective of the us and them to unify on all fronts.  This type of challenge and conflict does not promote well in commercial settings.  So be it.  Our art as music includes the conflict we are trying to dispel through revealing our message.

When I reviewed the album I made note of the fact that the music is challenging, reminiscent of a journey into perhaps madness, for certain something that owes a lot to opening doors of perception. Was it your intention that the music could come over as some kind of cosmic head fuck?

Hmmmm, yes I think more so mind-bending or freeing the injustice of our systemic oppressors needs a good championing, why not. These common affronts to our peaceful or thoughtful existence are truly ridiculous. Societal apathy of the unconsciousness collective limits our actions, perceptions, future, and dreams of a more mindful-artful world we could otherwise have today.  Why else would we need a soundtrack or music in our lives if it doesn’t produce the change we seek?

The cosmic joke is we’re all fucked if we don’t act, and we better find a way out through meaningfulness.  Indulgently my music plans the escape through raw musings and improved guitar, vitriolic anthems, rants, and lyrics as far flung prose about faith, death, love, transcendence and beyond.  

It is the irony of systemology that we strike against, not the mind of the individual.  So I get the primal head disruption you may seek or find in the music, but that is the quantum charge in your universe of your perception; as we are really freeing the ideas from our midst not limiting the ideas.  My origin of thought comes from a different place, a place that challenges being over the cosmic head fuck.  I’d rather you feel what you want to feel rather than we make you feel what we want you to feel. 

Floyd albums pre-Ummagumma and Animals, Meddle, Atom Heart Mother, Dark Side are concepts of humanity’s weight and society’s disillusion over the individual, and the transitions are with the revelation of the individuals struggle through the door and through the wall. My music supplants unworldly anxiety to dispel and dispatch the listener to walk through the doors of perception and tear the wall down. 

The door opens and you see that being should never be held above beings themselves, there is no privilege we must serve under to exist in sovereignty.  In our moment of life’s anxiety, anguish, or loss; we all can transform suffering into hope, faith or change.  In this way we are all fucked if we don’t change.  So let’s unfuck it up before it’s too late.

The music is I feel eccentric, and all the better for that. Do you see yourself as eccentric at all?

Our music must land a message often form left field as this psych-art-rock, so we better deliver, if we are too obvious and not subtle enough it won’t have that magic sneaker-wave affect you crave from your Floydian sensibilities.  The abstract must come from an unknown place before it can be revealed.  Breaking down archetypes and hypocrisy is eccentric and by definition asymmetrical.  The music’s abstractions of feedback, musicality, lyrics, tonality/atonality, improvisational leads, and from screams to cinematic murmuring all are asymmetrical by design — as the asymmetric must be eccentric. 

Syd and Floyd fell nursery rhymes as doors and walls of perception opening juxtaposed against societies’ unconscious collective where the challenges to our preconceptions and archetypes led our rally to tear down the wall. So for us to compel trippy contrasts we switch symmetry of chords-bridges and choruses in aspects of the music/lyrics to unify the redemptive feeling of being comfortably numb on our path as well. The guitar improvisational leads assemble asymmetrical eccentricities are part of the spell that divides and unites us. 

So if we dare fall short on the estrangement spectrum or of essential weirdness we may step out of our genre demands and into some sort of commercial endeavor leaving the doors of perception half closed.  Without eccentricity there is no Us & Them.  The secret we see and remain focused upon is that “us” really wants to unite with “them.”  We still are holding out for right reason in music, there is no division it is just perceived division and we are trying to dispel disunity.

Floyd is cinematic music, it is entwined with film and art ascribed in our perceptions of the murmuring dialog and haunting lyrics.  Eccentricity is the magic carpet ride.  Who doesn’t want eccentricity, who wants commonplace and predictable?   Not me.  I’ve heard it all and I want something different.

I love recording.  It is a dream to create strange music, lyrics, sounds and effects to push the universe out and beyond for the cinematic murmurings you hear in our work.  You can’t challenge the status quo without appearing eccentric as any challenge is always outside the scope of normality.  And some would say Pink Floyd is an activist band trying to change the world with their music defining the struggles of modernity.

We need that irony and eccentricity we feel from such bands’ directives that can subtly challenge  society’s blind spots or recondition such delusional preconceptions that limit us when exposed to the light.  Our band must be eccentric otherwise we would just be speaking herd.  I do not speak herd.  So that dance-along sing-along may be best discovered in a different genre. We are not interested in performing for popularity.

Really, what people perceive as eccentric today often is merely the fear of the idea standing against the crowd. And we are so damn loud live that the out-crowd yields to unite us and them in the fog of feedback. You never saw Gilmour complaining about feedback, or apologizing for playing the live Echoes solos searingly loud like an asteroid strike or a rocket crash. You can trust us to never give in to conformity.

What’s next for Obscured by Clouds?

Well you can watch all our live recordings in Seattle, Washington in HD @Youtube Red or a few teaser released videos on Psycheclectic Records @ obscuredbyclouds.comBlu-ray release date to be announced.

We built a new secret studio at around 1600 feet elevation under the shadow of the mountains we begin the next record, off grid, off world, and off to see the wizard!  We have a sky-deck stage for the band to play outside this summer on some acreage, the recording studio is inside where the amps are in the sound rooms.  With our head phones the band can dial in our mix and improvise our guts out to our hearts content on the deck outside.  The summer days sessions will transition into night as we work on vaulting our musical dimensions to ward the heart of the sunrise.  Stay tuned.

I would like to thank Kevin Cozad, Matt Bradley, Merrill Hale, Ian, Bob Raymond, Kentucky Overload, Sandin Wilson, Nick Moon, Reinhardt Melz, Alex Steininger (IMWT) and many other people for all their great work and passion they produced you can hear in the music and see in the videos.

 

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