SMOKEMASTER - From old to new

23. June 2020


SMOKEMASTER - Aus alt mach neu

Smokemaster - these are five young guys from Cologne: TobMaster (bass), Tobias T (keys), Lukas (drums), Björn (vocals) and Jay (guitar) have made it: their untitled debut is out. Six tracks full of the sounds of the 60s and 70s. Stoner Rock meets Psychedelic meets Blues. All with handmade charm, with sweat, with passion. In an interview with eclipsed the band talks about the background of the album and the band itself.

eclipsed: You are still a blank musical page. Please describe how and when you met and came together.

TobMaster: Lukas and I have been playing together for about five years. Before we founded Smokemaster, we were in the band Cunning Mantrap together. Since we both left the band mainly for personal reasons, we started to work on some ideas that I had in my head. Since Lukas is a trained sound engineer and had a small home studio at his disposal, it went relatively fast. In three or four weeks we recorded at least six or seven demo songs and arranged some basic arrangements. With these demos we first searched the internet for fellow musicians. However, Lukas was able to recruit all band members through his job at the Music Store. That was at the beginning of 2018, but our former singer, our former rhythm guitarist and our organist left the band relatively quickly. Afterwards we were able to replace the rhythm guitarist and singer with Björnsen Bear [also: Björn] and our organist with Tack Tack [also: Tobias T].

Tobias T: I joined at the beginning of last year. My girlfriend worked at that time just like Jay in the "well-known Cologne music store" that Tobi [also: TobMaster] mentioned. He told her that his band is urgently looking for a keyboard player who plays organ and synthesizer and is into psychedelic. So she recommended me and we quickly came to an agreement.

Lukas: Exactly, and I knew Björn for a very long time, because we met years ago at a session. I myself had forgotten all about it, but every time we met, we brought each other up to date. When we had actually finished with the thought of looking for a singer and wanted to become an instrumental band, Björn came up to us and was on fire to join us. (Bjorn grins)

eclipsed: You're still "young guys." How do you come to dedicate yourself to a "so old" style of music at such a young age?

Björn: The 60s/70s are actually not so long ago. I mean, what are the classics supposed to say when they deal with pieces by Beethoven, Mozart or Chopin that are far older than 60 years. Maybe we are simply continuing a certain musical expression that was created in a wild time and is now continued in today's crazy world. For me there is a lot in the 60s/70s sound. After all, modern rock and pop from that time is always happy to help itself. Furthermore, there are hardly any big live shows of "legendary bands" like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Doors or Deep Purple etc. anymore. Either they have already died or will play their last tours in the next years. We try to follow in their footsteps to keep this sound tradition alive, because it is timeless.

TobMaster: Well, for me, the vibe that comes from this music plays a role first of all. Beautifully colorful and musically diversified, perfect for (almost) all situations in life.

Tobias T: I can actually deal with just about any style of music, as long as I find that the pieces express something, are somehow particularly cleverly done or evoke certain emotions. In this respect, many current music genres and also many current bands don't appeal to me that much. I have the feeling that there would be a self-imposed pigeonhole thinking: People think too much about music they haven't written before. But the fact that I am now playing in a psychedelic band is also a good piece of coincidence. Before I played church music and jazzed at home. If we would make nice Thrash Metal, I would like that too. But I canŽt play guitar (laughs).

eclipsed: You played some tracks live before the album was released. Did this have an impact on the development of the songs? Did the songs change by playing live?

TobMaster: Definitely! Only when you have played a song live on stage, you know how it looks. Because we always try to create sound images that make the listener forget the everyday life, the reaction of the audience and the effect of the live sound is an important component.

Jay: Right, and to make it even rounder. Most of our songs are created as live versions with a fixed frame but enough space for improvisation. The audience in front of the stage and their reactions create a different flair, which we can take with us to the rehearsal room and finally to our recordings.

Ear of the Universe

You can find the complete interview as part of our online magazine