Twenty-five years you've got on your back now. After four albums with english lyrics the norwegian psychedelicers now fulfill a long-cherished wish with the new "Weltschmerz, Baby!": no, not an album in german, as the title might suggest, but a cosmic psychedelic album in norwegian. eclipsed asked Burt Rocket (vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass) and Jürgen Kosmos (also vocals and guitar) about the background.
eclipsed: What is immediately noticeable: you are now singing in Norwegian. What's the matter with you?
Jürgen Kosmos: We have made it our business to try something new every time. Being a small band has its advantages. One of them is that we have the freedom to do whatever we want. As a big band with a lot of expectations, we couldn't have done that. Personally I always wanted to record an album in Norwegian, but it still sounds cosmic and spacey. I know my band mates didn't necessarily share this desire, but I think we did well.
eclipsed: And then the German album title "Weltschmerz, Baby!". Does your soul suffer from the global situation?
Kosmos: Good question. Maybe a little. Anyway, this album isn't narcissistic me poor guy pessimism. That would be boring crap. I see the album much more than a detachment from unnecessary, unfulfilled youthful dreams. We're a small band. We know we're not going to be cosmonauts anymore. But maybe we're still being kidnapped by aliens. The word "Weltschmerz" works equally well in German, English and Norwegian - probably also in many other languages. It has the same meaning there as in German.
eclipsed: On the album you present different styles: rough rocky tracks, atmospheric sounds, elegant, smooth songs. Nevertheless, the album is a great harmonic flow. How'd you manage that?
Burt Rocket: Well, that took time and a lot of work. The songwriting process took over three years. We have recorded and discarded many drafts. Sometimes we would come to a standstill and have to take a break. In the end, when we felt that we had enough good material together, it was about putting the parts together - taking into account that it had to fit on the A and B sides of a vinyl record - so that the listener didn't want to hear anything else.
eclipsed: Some of the tracks are connected, they merge into each other.
Rocket: I've always been a big fan of albums where the songs flow into each other and are connected by musical passages. Artists like Bo Hansson or Camel have done such things frequently on their classical albums in the 70s. We have already tried this on previous silk albums. It's piling up now, though.
eclipsed: Despite all the different styles you use, the 60's Psych and the 70's Space Rock is your biggest source of inspiration.
Rocket: I think that psychedelic and space rock are so interesting for us because there are no rules that have to be followed. You can do whatever you want and create whatever sounds good. When we grew up in a small Norwegian town in the 80s and 90s, this style of music was like a refuge for us, because all the other musicians seemed to be stuck in the fixed rules and boundaries of the style they were playing, without crossing any boundaries.
eclipsed: The band members in Seid and your guest musicians don't have Scandinavian names like "Janis Lazzaroni" or "Günther Mannheim" or "Burt Rocket". Are these all stage names?
Kosmos: These are all pseudonyms. Seid is an all-Norwegian band. I don't know how that started. Probably because we are big fans of the Norwegian psych band The Smell Of Incense. The band had a big influence on us in our early days and on all their records they didn't use their real names but pseudonyms. I think we thought it was cool and we wanted to do it that way.
eclipsed: Where's your keyboard player organ Morgan? He's not on the new album anymore.
Rocket: He's alive and well. A few years ago he decided to devote more time to his family and his job. We tried to find a new keyboarder as a replacement. But in 2015 we decided to continue as a quartet. Organ Morgan is currently playing in the Norwegian garage psych band The Pink Moon.
eclipsed: You're celebrating your 25th anniversary. A good time to think about 25 years of silence.
Kosmos: I am very grateful that so many people still remember us. Especially considering how little we've toured in the last few years. I am happy about reviews that show an interest in our orchestra. I realize we're just a tiny island in a big ocean. But at least we're on the map. So many bands have gone under, but don't be. That's one of our strengths that makes me a little proud too. Maybe we're just swimming upstairs because of an unhealthy body mass index. Who knows? Who knows? A highlight for me are the many concerts we played in the early/mid 2000s in Scandinavia, Germany and the Netherlands. They were cool locations and interesting, crazy people. All thrown together in a huge mix of cosmic joy. If I had a wish, I would like to return to the Burgerweeshuis in Deventer. Seeing a bunch of strangers totally go off to our vibes like it happened there. But also in other places. That would be cool. Being on a tour and creating a special atmosphere has a strange dynamic that I really like. Another highlight was when our current drummer Martin Viktor Langlie joined us a few years ago. No disrepute for our former drummers, but Martin is totally crazy. In a positive sense. He wandered with me through the mountains of Haiti. He plays the drums like nobody I've ever met before. He builds his own equipment and is a good racquetball instructor. What more could you ask for?
eclipsed: But in 25 years you've only released five albums. How's that?
Kosmos: Of course we could have released more albums, but life offers so many distractions that cost time. And that's why silk sound like silk sound. For better or for worse. Balkan flutes, cow bells and mellotron. Orphan boys and borrowed cannons of all kinds. All distractions. Yeah, right, five albums in 25 years isn't much. But I'd rather have a decent album every five years than a big pile of crap. Of course, the best thing would be to be productive and brilliant at the same time. The second best thing is to be a rare fruit that only appears every few years, but tastes all the sweeter and you like to wait for. I hope we're such a band.
*** Interview: Bernd Sievers