eclipsed: The title of your new album, "Berkana", refers to a tree rune that stands for fertility, birth and growth and is also a symbol for the earth mother. Why did you choose this title?
Isaiah Mitchell: My wife Camilla (keyboarder for Golden Void; note) came across it by chance, and since we had mentioned the birch tree several times in one of the songs, it was obvious to use this title. We also wanted to make a new start with the record, which is also reflected in the title.
eclipsed: A fresh start? In what way?
Mitchell: The sound and the music are different. We didn't just want to be heavy, we also wanted to feel comfortable with quieter things, which is why we worked much more with dynamics.
eclipsed: Is the music also more life-affirming?
Mitchell: Yeah, that's her. The first album was often about war and destruction, but this time we got away from it. The first three songs are therefore about nature, while "Astral Plane" is about a journey in sleep. eclipsed: Your debut album was recorded and mixed in just five days. At "Berkana" you took a little more time, but were still pretty fast. How did you handle the pressure?
Mitchell: By practicing a lot before going into the studio. This allowed us to record the basic tracks within three days, even though some overdubs were added later. It was good to be able to take a breather in between and then make some changes.
eclipsed: You usually used only one guitar and one amp for the songs.
Mitchell: When you rip these old amps open, you don't need a fuzz pedal or a booster - they just sound good. I only used a fuzz pedal and a wahwah pedal on a few solos. It's always nice when you don't need so many things, and I took about 30 pedals into the studio!
eclipsed: Nevertheless, the record sounds huge and has a great surround sound.
Mitchell: Tim Green, who owns the Louder Studios (where bands like Sleepy Sun and the Melvins have also recorded; note), simply has a talent for making the music sound huge. We also use pretty loud amps, and my marshal and ampeg amps always have all controls set to 11.
eclipsed: The album opener "Burbank's Dream" is obviously an allusion to Truman Burbank, the main character in Peter Weir's film "The Truman Show". Did you use this film as a basis for the text? And what's the song about?
Mitchell: You better ask Camilla, because she wrote the lyrics for it. Wait a minute ..
Camilla Saufley-Mitchell: Hello, Matthias! No, the song is not about the "Truman Show", but about Luther Burbanks Farm, which is located in the rural area of Sebastopol and about an hour away from us. Burbank was a pioneer in the field of horticulture and cultivated many types of fruit and vegetables, which is why it has a special place in our local history. His farm is still partially preserved, and when I sat there under a birch tree and wrote the text, I could feel the energy Burbank had put into this place. Many of the trees he planted more than 100 years ago are still there today, and we enjoy them. A few months after we had finished working on the album, I went back to the farm, and there was a little sign on the door saying, "Luther Burbank's spirit is still on the property, and he'll stay here as long as we make his dream echo." It really blew me away, and I thought to myself, "Wow! We must have been the echo of his dream!"
eclipsed: The song "Silent Season" reminded me of the typical San Francisco sound of the late sixties; while listening I could see the waves of the Pacific before my inner eye. Do you want to pick up the spirit of the San Francisco rock scene with Golden Void and pass it on to other musicians?
Saufley-Mitchell: Yes, but not intentionally. Isaiah and I love this music - in my youth I often went to concerts of the Grateful Dead, and their music is in my blood now. Also, Aaron, Justin and Isaiah grew up in a small Southern California coastal town, so Silent Season has a certain surfing feeling.
Interview: Matthias Bergert