Astral Lynx | facebook | bandcamp | soundcloud |
By: Jake Murray
As longstanding fans of interplanetary, multidimensional and mind-altering psychedelic rock music we’ve had our eyes on Astral Lynx for some time. Having just released their pummelling lead-single and embarking on their UK tour in anticipation of their debut album ‘Flow’, we thought it was about time to catch up with Julian for a few beers and find out just what is Astral Lynx?!
(((o))): When we first spoke you were gearing up to the Renegades single launch, How was that?
Do you want to know how it went afterwards? or?
(((o))): Okay tell me what happened before.
Well beforehand was, unfortunate, in retrospect…. we ended up pairing up with the Lost In The Manor guys, which was a regrettable decision really. He made a deal with us to do a lot of promotion and he didn’t really do any promotion at all. So we ended up splitting our ticket sales and the costs, but it turns out that we didn’t have a fair deal.. which is a shame, because I’ve done a lot of stuff with these guys and I trusted them to split it properly, but regardless of that we usually do these shows on our own. We’ve done a lot of shows at the Sebright [Arms] where we’ve rented out the venue and promoted it all on our own. Basically we ended up giving someone a load of money for not doing stuff that we could have done on our own.
(((o))): Aside form the complications of promoter frustration, how did the single launch go? Was it a special one off show?
So, we put three months worth of work in. We put together a special set with was a seamless, hour’s-worth of music which was a non-stop run. Lights go down, no breaks between songs, no introduction, no spiel between the tracks. We set it up to be more of an experience than just a show.
(((o))): So you’re going back to your old [Moon] days, with three projectors…?
We put together our own projections,. We had an hour’s worth of films that we’d coordinated to run with the tracks. It actually worked ten times better than we expected. We’ve got our own projectors, and we set them up so they cross each other on stage. Put white sheets on the walls and the projections cover us; that’s the only lighting we use, we don’t use any other lighting.
(((o))): Sound and vision! People are irrelevant.
Exactly. Exactly. But that was part of the spectacle y’know? because no-one ever really does it anymore, no-one really puts that much effort into making the show a spectacle or an experience. That’s what a load of people said to us after “That wasn’t just going in to see a band, it was an experience.” Multi-sensory. And if we could have done, I think we would have had some sort of smell or some incense. I think that would have been fucking amazing.
(((o))): So the 4D experience is coming with Astral Lynch? Before long it it will be touch and taste and smell, and the sweat of the performers will be in your mouth?
I would hope so! [laughs]
(((o))): But isn’t that what everyone wants now? in this time where recorded music doesn’t sell, as someone who promoted before, don’t you think people need to reconsider performance and what live performance needs to be?
I think if people need to go into the realms of theatrical performance as opposed to just playing the music. As much as I’d love to ride on the idea that your music will push itself and you’ll go forward as far as you can go just on the basis of your music, i don’t think it’s going to happen. I don’t think it’s possible.
(((o))): As someone who has played in a number of current psychedelic rock bands and who ran Collapse of The Cosmic Sock at The Purple Turtle, what do the think the role of modern psychedelia is?
I think in my imagination, not in my knowing brain, psychedelic rock isn’t really psychedelic rock as it used to be. It’s moving into something richer. I’ll always draw back to the Australian thing, like Tame Imapala, and that’s where we started…
(((o))): And you could say they’ve changed recently to become much more American / English synthy-pop kind of sound. Would you say that’s still psych?
I think it is. In a really weird way, because it’s still multi-sensory. I went to their show at Alexandra Palace and it was fucking amazing. They’ve introduced, since I saw them 5 or 6 years ago in Australia, extra synths, extra guitars and they’ve gone from a 2-D sound to multi-sensory with so many layers. It’s become, again, an experience and that’s exactly what we’re trying to achieve. But yeah, we’re trying to experience that fully-body, not just a 2-D, not even a 3-D experience. We’re trying to achieve something which is 4-D or 5-D and totally overwhelming. The only way you’re ever going to push over that boundary is to get smell or vibration or something, I don’t know!
(((o))): Moon, the precursor to Astral Lynx, was a slightly different project. Perhaps more of a traditional psych or times gone. Has that changed intentionally from what was Moon, because it’s the same guys?
It’s always going to be a natural progression. The foundations of our band is organic. As cliche as that sounds, everything we write is written as a jam. We go into the room with no precursor, see how that comes out, and that’s how the songs are written. I think it’s always important to remember that all of that music is always in everyone. You’re not learning that as you’re going. That’s something that’s innately in everyone i that’s playing. It took us a long time to record what we were doing as Moon. What you heard as Moon was probably 4 years in the past, so what you’re hearing now is probably 3 or 4 years in the past. What we’re doing now in the studio is current, and you won’t hear it until 3 years have past. So in three years time you’ll probably hear what we’re doing now!
(((o))): You have a long gestation period before you put anything out. By the time you’ve released something you’ve already moved on, so does it not concern you that you might be misinterpreted every time you release something?
Maybe, but that’s not our concern really. But at the same time, we’re putting out stuff we’ve done 6 years ago which are just jams in a room, and they represent us as a band because they are just jams. We put videos on YouTube which are just recordings of two guitarists, or two guitarists and a drummer just jamming in a room and they will always represent us.
(((o))): Because there’s always the root?
There is ALWAYS the root.
(((o))): And what is the root?
To be organic. Totally organism. Just to be an organism. I think there may have only been one track that might be a premeditated riff or song and that’s the current single.
(((o))): So you could say the song writing process of Astral Lynx is always organic, that ebbs and flows. Is there one person who lead the organism, or is it a group embodiment?
There’s always been a group embodiment. There can’t be a driving force because then you go in one direction. The whole idea is to be fluid. You’ve got to be able to be fluid and take it in different directions, and if you don’t have that you’re not really following psychedelia as far as I’m concerned.
(((o))): And you guys have been around a while now. If we look at the history of Astral Lynx, it’s as a name new, but as a band not at all.
Moon was just a different interpretation of the band that came before that, Silent Republic, consisting of the same people. That started in Australia. Me and [drummer] Dean have been friends since we were 4 or five years old.
(((o))): So you could say the name and the formation is irrelevant because this goes way beyond what most people have in music?
Definitely man. Our relationship musically started when we were 16 years old in our bedrooms, with Dean on a electric kit. We used to just fuck around. I guess you could say the two of us have pursued it as our dream. I mean, it’s difficult to say. There’s no one place to start a band.
(((o))): But where is the best place to start a band? As an abstract question.
In your head! [laughs] You have to embody it. If you want to be a musician, you live like a fucking musician.
(((o))): But that comes back to the old problem of one who deems themselves a rockstar too soon and blasts themselves to obscurity or death.
There’s a difference between rockstar and musician. A rockstar is a lifestyle, a musician is a totally different lifestyle.
(((o))): What’s a musician’s lifestyle today?
A musicians lifestyle is fucking being broke! Being totally broke but living your music. Being a rockstar is not living your music.
(((o))): That concurs with what you said before about your 4-dimension super-sense experience. Is it that music, if it’s going to survive in a live environment for example, must be embodied? Do we need to stop being people and start becoming music characters?
I think it’s more important to be a person, but to embody your life as a musician. Because, you need something for people to connect with, and people can’t connect with something which isn’t human. So, for any other person sitting here that isn’t a musician they need to be able to connect with someone that is a human, but is also something outside of a human that they’re not in tune with or not sued to. So that first point of contact is being a human. You don’t go beyond that. You don’t transcend being a human. You maintain that state, but offer the opportunity to come into that.
(((o))): So, do you think the world needs more David Bowies or more Ziggy Stardusts?
More David Bowies. Because it’s too easy to connect with a fantasy. I don’t think it’s fair to force people into connecting to a fantasy. Allow people to connect with a human. Allow people to know exactly what you are as yourself. Live yourself. It makes no sense to invite people into something which isn’t real, unless that alter ego is totally real.
(((o))): Considering Astral Lynx is a consciousness shared between all of you, what is Astral Lynx? Is it a giant space cat? A googleable concept? What is Astral Lynx now? What will it be?
Realistically all it’s ever gonna be is four guys in a room, conveying emotions and feelings, because that’s all there ever is when we write, when we play. it’s just us in a fucking room playing music. That’s all it’s ever gonna be and that’s all it ever needs to be.
(((o))): With this length of time of time that you’ve contribute together and collaborated, do you find yourselves locking phase and becoming telepathic?
100% man. That’s the beauty of it. When we started playing with Matt it was fucking instant. There was no need to grow into the role of being a threesome, or trio, because it was already there. He’s a really attentive musician, and as an emotional being he reads everything that happens… as do we all, now! So for us we’ve never had to work for it cause it’s seems to have already been there
(((o))): Because you have an innate synergy between each other?
It must be! I think it’s because all of us are attentive people. We’re emotional people.
(((o))): Who is the most emotionally unhinged? Who’s the wild card?
I think that’s probably me! I think I’m the most expressive. The other guys are quite controlled. I think I’m a lot looser than they are! They premeditate their actions. It’s difficult because everyone’s got a part of their personality that’s part of everyone else’s
(((o))): Well clearly one thing that can be said is that at least one person in your band has the personality to create a riff like ‘Renegades’.
[laughs] I am the riffmaker of that track. But, there are many other instances where the riffs have been made by Dean introducing a drum beat and someone feeding off that, or Matt.
(((o))): How do you find that? Because that’s less common, taking riffs from the drummer…
Well, I’m really used to it because of the length of time we’ve been playing. There’s not really any way of explaining it. It’s an innate ability to sit on the same plane, and just ride with what the other person’s doing. It can be a single beat or a pattern of beats, but there’s this innate ability for the core three of us to sit in the same place and just ride with what happens. Luckily for us we record everything we do so we feel as though we can’t grasp again we can go back and listen to that. Despite that it’ll never be the same as it was in the first instance. You can never replicate something which comes out of an organic situation. We’ve learned over many years, it will never be as good as it was in the first instance.
(((o))): Concepts only exist once. From then you have repetition…
Exactly. And repetition isn’t too beautiful in that sense. Though repetition in a songwriting sense is kind of beautiful. But when you’re trying to replicate a beautiful moment, it’s not beautiful. It becomes very robotic, and you don’t have the soul that you would have had in the first instance. Which is why a lot of the shows that we play we try to allow ourselves some space to improvise onstage. It may be really bad, but it ay also be really good. We want to be able to exercise and to give over the beauty of improvisation live onstage. Something that you’ll never do again, you’ve never done before, and nobody will hear it again unless it comes out on a recording.
(((o))): In the scope of beauty and improvisation what is the future for Astral Lynx?
Is stays much the same as it is now for us in terms of the writing process. The only way we can work to our best potential is to improvise and to play of our emotions in a room. To all that feeling where we sit and look at each other in a room and go “Fuck! That is amazing. We’ve got that recorded, we’ve got something to work on.” It’ll never be a case of someone walking in saying “I’ve got a song written, let’s work on this” cause for us it doesn’t work. It’s not an organic process and it’s not a total collaboration. It needs to be a total democracy.
(((o))): So that democracy and fluidity may lead you to the tour and from there an album?
I’m really anxious to put the album out. Because it’s going to be a display of what we are as a band. The single puts us in a different light, but the album is a showcase every style, every endeavour, everything we’ve ever tried to do as musicians because it’s four years worth of work. It’s four years worth of songwriting, four years worth of ideas. I’m anxious to get it out because I want people to hear every angle instead of just the one they’re hearing at the moment.
(((o))): And after four years of work, how would you summarise it?
My main belief in life is process. I love discovery, process, working, learning, people, ideas. Different ways of working out how to do things. New plays to play. If there’s one way to describe that album it’s as a process of discovery and that is really evident. When it comes out people will know, the way it flows, the difference in songs and styles, that process is going to be really evident.