The German psychedelic/neokrautrock duo Sounds Of New Soma presents their fourth album "Live At The Green Festival". After the acclaimed "La Grande Bellezza", which indulges in beauty and quirkiness, the new work goes in a new straight-line direction. eclipsed spoke with the two protagonists Dirk Raupach (also owner of the independent label Tonzonen Records) and Alex Djelassi.
eclipsed: The title of the new album is a fake. The album is neither recorded live nor is there a Green Mushroom Festival. Nice gag, huh?
Alex Djelassi: The recordings of the base tracks are actually from a live situation. This time it's about creating a feeling in the listener how a "Green Mushroom Festival" would feel and sound with our participation.
Dirk Raupach: Well, Alex doesn't tell the truth, of course. The festival is small and absolutely secret. One is invited there and guided shortly before to a place which one does not know beforehand. In a darkened bus we then go to the event somewhere in the middle of the forest, with many exciting freaks.
Djelassi: It's clear who's talking nonsense. Raupach: Don't hide the truth.
Djelassi: Fake News.
Raupach: I ..
eclipsed: In the last interview about the album "La Grande Bellezza" you said that it's about capturing moods. What mood have you captured this time?
Raupach: We wanted to capture the live atmosphere that we created in interaction with our guest musician Armin Schopper (drums). The tracks we created in situ are something completely different for us than when Alex and I go into the studio to pursue our experimental ideas for new sounds.
eclipsed: Where does the new straightforwardness of the new album come from?
Djelassi: As part of the concept "Livealbum" more structure and a certain comprehensibility are in the foreground than usual. Hence the clear presence - almost dominance - of the drums.
eclipsed: It is said that on the new album "the tendency towards space rock dominates". What made you go to Space Rock?
Djelassi: The one or other track of the last two albums could already be assigned to this genre in the broadest sense. We simply wanted to live out this facet of the SONS cosmos a little more.
Raupach: The drums made this happen and gave us a lot of pleasure. That's what matters. We're having fun.
eclipsed: On the inside photo of the CD you are submerged in a green field. Only your heads look out. A spontaneous action?
Raupach: Well, one of those things of the moment. On the road, camera, our roadie and friend Tom Engstfeld in the luggage. Green is the hope, he said, and has contributed some photos to the overall concept of the album. As a supplement to the LP there is more to see.
eclipsed: Do you also live the psychedelic? Or is it purely musical?
Djelassi: I would rather not say life for my part. I like psychedelic music and psychedelic artwork very much, but not exclusively.
Raupach: The psychedelic way of life. This could be thwarted by many things in everyday life. Psychedelic in itself accompanies me almost the whole musical life.
eclipsed: One song on the album is called "Henriette Mutterkorn". Who or what is "Henriette Mutterkorn"?
Djelassi: The play is dedicated to a mutual friend who tragically experienced the toxic effects of ergot alkaloids. Luckily, she's doing reasonably well by now.
Raupach: She always called herself "Fly Henri Fly".
eclipsed: Another song is called "Crying Lizards". Can lizards even cry?
Djelassi: I just like titles that trigger images or even an entire film in my head. In this case, a subtle kind of oxymoron like the one in "weeping lizards".
eclipsed: Now it's already four albums. What development do you see? What highlights? What didn't work out?
Djelassi: I think we have consistently developed our sound since "Beyond The Acid Dream" and found the right mix of experiment, improvisation and structure for us. For me it is always a highlight when someone approaches me who has dealt with our music - admittedly not always completely accessible. Unfortunately, the audiovisual implementation has not yet been successful. We are still looking for creative people, who fuse their visions as visual elements with our music.
Raupach: Yes, I agree. All albums have a SONS recognition factor, but also stand for themselves and show that we pursue our ideas completely free of conventions.
eclipsed: The reactions to "La Grande Bellezza" were almost euphoric. What are you thinking?
Djelassi: A good feeling that our sound obviously appeals to some people. Of course, the many positive reviews and reactions also motivate us to continue with the SONS project.
Raupach: Of course this is incredibly cool. We have our fun tinkering with more or less experimental sounds and there are even people in the vastness of the universe who like that.
eclipsed: Has there been any change in the distribution of tasks between the two of you?
Raupach: Not really since the last two albums. The main task is taken over by Alex, who is the mastermind, as I always say. He develops many ideas in advance and is also responsible for mixing. I am already very involved with the label work. But when we get together, new sounds are often created and different ways for a track are found. Together we come up with the weirdest ideas. We are already thinking about an upcoming concept.
eclipsed: Dirk, how's your Tonzonen Records label doing?
Raupach: Have fun and also many friends. Yes, it is still a lot of fun to run the label, even if the work is getting more and more. I think I'm on the right track. Tonzonen Records has become a byword for interesting music and good product quality for many people. I am very satisfied with the development, especially with the fact that since the beginning of 2017 I have had H'Art, a large, globally active sales organisation at my side. For the future, I'm going to make the label a little broader. Besides the well-known acts from the psychedelic and space rock scene, I will expand the program a bit. With The Shadow Lizzards and Mouth I have two retrorock bands in my portfolio and with Moto Toscana I have an exciting band that focuses on raw bass sound with melodic vocals. Something's happening in the sound zone cosmos. I would like to make the label even better known and at the same time offer unchanged high quality.
*Interview: Bernd Sievers