Ever since one epic jam session in 1983 at the Stonehenge Free Festival in England, Ozric Tentacles has built a devoted family of followers through their unique blend of instrumental, psychedelic space rock. Over the next 30 years, through lineup changes and technological advancement, the Ozrics, as they are known to fans, have evolved and endured, with one particular element at the anchor: lead guitarist Ed Wynne. Now joined by his wife, Brandi, on bass guitar and his son, Silas, on synthesizers, along with a stellar band and crew, the Ozrics have released a brand new studio album to add to their already 30+ album discography.
The new album, titled Technicians of the Sacred, immediately recalls the heavenly aural dreamscapes that are the essence of the band’s sound. Ed’s shredding lead guitar steals the stage throughout the record, while Brandi’s rolling niche bass playing holds down the groove. Silas and Ed make listeners’ brains swim with intense, psychedelic synths, giving new meaning to the word “brainwave.” Coupled with Brandi’s steady grooves, listeners are taken on an epic journey through time and space, sending them deep inside their own psyches and resulting in uplifting, aural elation.
L4LM writer “Ragin'” Randy Harris was fortunate enough to have the chance to interview the band on a rare day off on the European leg of their 2015 tour.
L4LM: So, I know that many fans would like to know this one. Where does the title for the new album, Technicians of the Sacred, come from?
Brandi: Well, it’s the common thread of our Mayan astrology, we all share the same resonant tone in our Mayan astrology, and one of its descriptions, one of its characteristics is “technicians of the sacred.” Obviously that made us chuckle when we heard it [laughs].
Ed: According to that, that’s what we were told we were, and it’s not a bad title, really, you know?
L4LM: No, I think it fits very well! For those who may not know, could you explain a bit more about what the Mayan astrology thing is?
Brandi: It’s all to do with birthdays. It’s like the normal astrology but it’s a lot more specific to the exact day. It’s funny because we’ve had a lot of people talk to us about it over the years, and one day we were about to go onto the stage at Glastonbury, and this guy got really, really excited at the fact that we hadn’t had it done, and he really wanted to do it. And as he did the reading, he got more and more excited, saying that we were galactic activation portals sent to channel love through music to the universe.
L4LM: Wow! I’ll bet you were probably mind blown.
Brandi: [laughs] Yeah, it’s ok, I can get into that.
Ed: But then we had to jump on stage, so we couldn’t dwell on it really. We had to leave it on the stage and play a gig. The other thing is that we don’t really take it too seriously you know?
Brandi: Yeah, the Mayan astrology thing is amazing though, because it’s basically just a little doorway to tell people how truly cosmic they really are.
L4LM: The album artwork, I believe, is somewhat based in Mayan aesthetics. Is that why you chose to do the cover that way?
Brandi: A little bit.
Ed: It’s more like the aesthetics we see when we look out our studio window, actually. It’s more like that.
Brandi: Outside of the temple [smiling].
Ed: Yeah, yeah.
Brandi: The studio’s like a temple. It just doesn’t have quite the pillars [laughs].
L4LM: Was the album recorded entirely in your own studio?
Ed: Yeah, as always, but this time it was a little bit different because we’re up in the mountains of Colorado, which there’s a different kind of energy there, you know? It’s very, very clean and clear and untroubled, basically. Nobody comes around, nobody pops in. You see the occasional mountain lion or bear or hummingbird, but no people. So we were able to space off and do that one.
Brandi: Lots of deer.
Ed: Yeah, yeah. All kinds of creatures, but not so many people.
Brandi: What is with all this traffic? There’s been no traffic the whole time, it’s been really quiet here, but now that you’re on Skype there’s a traffic jam right next to us [laughs].
Ed: Yeah, it’s rush hour.
L4LM: That must be weird being back in London where everything is so busy now.
Ed: Yeah, it’s a bit strange. Got a little bit of a contrast there.
L4LM: Definitely. So, Technicians of the Sacred is your first double album since Erpland, twenty years ago or so, right?
Ed: That’s right.
L4LM: What made you decide to make this one a double album?
Ed: Well, all the tunes we had wouldn’t squeeze onto one, basically.
L4LM: So it was primarily a length issue?
Ed: Yeah, also it’s been a little while since we’ve made an album. We normally do one a year, roughly, and this was about three years.
Brandi: Our schedule got a bit screwed up on this one. We just kind of kept doing things despite not having a studio. I don’t know if you heard about the fire?
L4LM: I did hear about that, yeah.
Brandi: So, that kind of messed up our normal scheduled studio time, but [Ed] was still making tracks. We moved about four times after that, and [Ed] was kind of putting little bits together in different areas, and I guess we didn’t realize how much we had going throughout the shifts of stuff until we started going to put it all together. So we’d go “well I want that one on there, and that one’s gotta go on there, and I wanna put that one on there, and oh there’s that one, and really we should put that one on there,” and it just kind of kept going until it was like 90 minutes.
L4LM: Yeah, and then all of a sudden you can’t fit it on one. I understand. How did this album come about? Did you sit down and say “Ok, we haven’t made an album in a while, let’s do it,” or did you just have a bunch of tracks in the making and say “Hey, you know what? Let’s get this released”?
Ed: Well, you know, there are always tracks. I always have at least five or six tracks on the go at any one time. So, gradually they just sort of formed together.
Brandi: What was the analogy we used the other day? Just like a sausage…
Ed: Yeah, we’ve got a conveyor belt of tracks coming out of our house and occasionally we chop them off into albums. I mean, day to day life is the studio for me. Cups of tea and studio and recording and writing and mixing and it’s just what I do all day every day and tracks just emerge whether I like it or not [laughs].
L4LM: I guess if it comes out, you can’t help it right?
L4LM: This album seems to flow very consistently. I feel like a lot of your music does that, but this album in particular flows from song to song really well. Is that something you planned out, sort of like a concept album, or was that a coincidence?
Ed: Um, not to start with, but once the tracks started coming together, you know, we started thinking “Well, this would lead nicely into that one, and then…” Yeah, so a little bit of formulation there, but not originally. Once there’s a little bit of form to what the tracks are doing.
Brandi: I think it’s kind of a post-production thing. Once we have the tracks written, we just weren’t happy with certain things, and some things we spent more time on, the mix and the drum sounds, than usual until everything was a little bit more uniform than it usually is. We’ve got a wonderful challenge going at the moment, trying to get [people] to guess which tracks are the real drummer and which ones aren’t.
L4LM: Ooooh that’s a tough one!
Ed: It usually gets harder with each album, because the sounds get closer and closer, and, I don’t know, I’m getting practiced with programming.
L4LM: Well, I just feel like with this album in particular, I can see each song leading seamlessly into the next. I guess that’s what you want though, right?
Ed: Yeah, definitely, it’s like a journey. Yeah, yeah. I’m glad you like it at least [laughs].
L4LM: I do! And the response has been great from what I’ve seen in the online forums. I’m involved in the Ozrics… 30 Years of Erpsongs Facebook group, and the response has been really great, so I’m not the only one.
Ed: They seem happy, yeah, and it makes me happy.
L4LM: That’s all you can expect right?
Ed: Yeah, and also with a new album, you never know whether it’s going to be one that nobody likes, you know? All I do is make these tunes and hope for the best, and it’s been accepted with a smile, so I’m really happy about that.
L4LM: Well, especially when your career spans 30 years, you’ve got old fans, new fans, and sometimes they want different things, so it can be really hard to please everyone, I’m sure.
Ed: Yeah, I mean, it’s very cool because a lot of bands have trouble with their second album [laughs]. So we’re happily doing our 32nd album.
Brandi: The dreaded second album syndrome. People spend their whole life getting their first album together, and then suddenly they have to make a new one in a year. It’s always funny seeing how that goes.
L4LM: For me, personally, when I listen to Ozrics tunes, it sounds extremely complex, and maybe it’s not as complex as it sounds since so much of that attention to detail comes from the synthesizers. But from a listener’s perspective, when I sit there and think, “Ok, how did this idea spark? Where does it come from?” I can’t even fathom it. So, where does that initial spark come from?
Ed: Wow, you’re asking a very deep question there [laughs].
Brandi: Sometimes it’s just a sound.
Ed: Yeah, often in the morning I’ll grab a cup of tea, skim up a joint, sit there with a synthesizer, switch it on, and think “What is that coming through? Hey, there’s an idea!” You know, and I’ll just start doing that, and then record a little tiny version of that, and later I’ll hear it and add stuff to it. Sometimes the tracks just write themselves, you know? It’s weird. It’s like the track is saying something.
Brandi: There may have been a few more that came from altered states this time.
Ed: I mean, sure, sure, but that’s, you know…
L4LM: Nature of the business, right?
Ed: Yeah, yeah [laughs]. But no, really, I don’t know where it comes from, to be honest. I just hear a backing track, I imagine something goes over the top, I try to approximate what I hear in my head, and it’s never quite the same, but that will spark another idea off, and on and on it goes, you know?
L4LM: How often do you hear an end result in your head and have the actual end result come out the same as when you first thought it up?
Ed: Pretty rare, actually. Yeah, pretty rare, because things move on, you know?
Brandi: But there’s definitely this thing like [Ed] was saying, that once you start the track, it seems like it tells you musically where it has to go. It’s a very strange thing to try and describe, but, yeah, it just feels like… I hate to reference it to traditional harmonies, but once you introduce a key and a scale and a motif, it kind of tells you what embellishments need to happen.
Ed: Yeah, and sometimes there are surprises. Sometimes you get caught up and think “Ok, I wanna do that,” and then it does something totally different, and then you think “Ok, I’ll go in that direction then,” and that sparks a whole new direction. And the tricky thing, the hardest thing is to finish these tunes, how to say “Alright, that’s done, finished.” So, yeah, it’s not easy. It’s easy to start them, but very hard to finish them.
Brandi: The record company tells us when we’re finished. It’s like, “Turn it in now” [laughs].
L4LM: I have a similar problem. I play some guitar, and I’ve written a few tunes, but none of them are finished.
Ed: [laughs] Yeah, yeah. I mean, it used to be that I had 24 channels of tape, and when it’s full, it’s full, they stop, and nothing else will fit, you know? Now, you can grab another 95,000 channels if you want. It just goes on forever, you know. It’s quite amazing to have this limitless universe of music, to go as far as you like. It’s like a red rag to a bull, and I’m happy with that because I can grab anything from anywhere. If I need the sound of anything, I can just find it online and plug it in and there you go, that’s your noise, you know. Anything, I can do any-thing now. It’s such a good feeling.
Brandi: Easier than when you were on 4-track, yeah? [laughs]
Ed: Yeah, and that’s the luxury of nowadays, really, the technology has been so fortunate for musician because you can grab anything, just anything [laughs].
Brandi: I’ve heard record companies complain about this though. They said when they used to get a CD in the post that it meant that there were a lot of people that had to think it was an incredible thing; the band, the management, and then they had to have the funding to go in a studio with multiple engineers and all this gear and get it all together. They said it used to be really exciting when they got something in the post, but they say nowadays when they get something in the post, and they know that just any old guy with spare time can just put it together in his bedroom and only he has to think it’s amazing in order for it to exist…
L4LM: That’s true. I like to say that technology has aided musicians who would not have otherwise had the ability to be seen, but also at the same time it has saturated the market so that it’s still hard to be seen.
Ed: Yeah, yeah.
L4LM: Ok, I’d like to backtrack a bit and talk a bit more about the album artwork. That was done by somebody close to the Ozrics family, correct?
Ed: He’s sat right here actually. Natan, say hello.
L4LM: Hello! Could you tell me a little bit about where your personal inspiration came from for the album artwork?
Brandi: He’s very dark, you just have to admit the fact that he’s very dark [laughs].
Natan: Well, it came from, I think, the mountains of Colorado and hanging around with the Ozrics and, yeah, and connecting with the universe.
L4LM: It certainly gives off that kind of vibe. Thank you Natan.
Natan: I’m glad you love it.
Ed: Yeah, we were happy with that. He was up there while we were recording it. He was sort of in the house and staring out the window, listening to the music and the inspiration stemmed from there, it was great.
L4LM: I’d like to ask you some questions about some of the names of the songs. Do you have a specific process for naming these songs?
Ed: No, it’s difficult. It’s really, really, really, really difficult. Like, say, ok that was three weeks of my life that I did that, and you want me to name it. What the hell am I gonna call that? You know? So, we have to reach really far.
Brandi: Some of them come really easy.
Ed: I mean, one of the interesting things is, on Cubase the computer program we use for writing, when you get a new idea and you want to save it, you’ve got to name it [laughs]. So, it’s normally not a very good name, but there’s a working title there to start with, and sometimes they stick. But in general, I don’t know what the hell, I can’t really answer that.
Brandi: “Switchback” was a working title.
Ed: Yeah, so was “Zingbong” also.
Brandi: Yeah, “Zingbong” was a working title.
Brandi: What else?
Ed: I can’t remember any more than that.
Silas: “The High Pass.”
Brandi: “The High Pass” was.
L4LM: So, those are all songs that you just said “You know what? I’ve got to save it as something. Let’s save it as this, and it just stuck?
Ed: And they just stuck, yeah. It’s just hard, as you know, as you said, it is really hard to name an instrumental tune because it can be anything to anybody. And if you name it…
Brandi: It puts an image to it.
Ed: Yeah, so sometimes we’ll give an obscure name that doesn’t mean anything, like “Epiphlioy” or something. That leaves it wide open, you know.
Brandi: “Epiphlioy” was the working title at the time.
Ed: It was, yeah. No, it wasn’t.
Brandi: No, you called it “Nuafrica” at first, but we always joked that it was “Epiphlioy.”
Ed: Yeah, it was a joke, and then it kind of stuck [laughs].
L4LM: Yeah, that was one of the ones I was going to specifically ask about. Everybody on the online forums wants to know where “Epiphlioy” came from.
Ed: Ok, well I can tell you. It’s something I… when I was in Greece, I thought I saw a shop with “Epiphlioy” written above it in Greek letters, you see, because I can just about decipher what the Greek letters say. Um, I think I got it slightly wrong [laughs]. Because the locals didn’t say it meant anything. They didn’t recognize the word at all, and so I thought “Ok, there’s a possible title if it means nothing.” I thought it’d be really funny to be in Greece and have them shouting “Epiphlioy” in the crowd [laughs]. That’s partly why we call them weird things, you know, because then people have to try and shout the name.
L4LM: Alright, I’m very interested in where the name “Changa Masala” came from.
L4LM: And here’s why. I looked up the word “Changa” and found a lot of different meanings for it.
Brandi: What are the different meanings you found?
L4LM: No, no, no, I want to hear your meaning first.
Brandi: [laughs] I want to hear your definitions first!
Ed: Ok, well it’s like, alright, there’s an Indian dish called Chaat Masala… and it was misspelled [laughs].
L4LM: [laughs] So it’s as easy as that?
Ed: Well, “Changa” is a bit like “Smiling Potion” [laughs]. It’s hard to specify exactly, but, uh, those people who know, will know what we’re talking about.
L4LM: [laughs] I see! Well, here’s what I found. One definition for “Changa” is a South American dance or lifestyle based in Colombia or Venezuela. It’s also an Indian village. It’s a town in Pakistan. It also is shorthand for Cham N-body GrAvity solver, which is a computer program that has some out-of-control thing that I don’t understand. It’s also a restaurant in Istanbul, Turkey. It’s a Bandu kingdom. And it’s a smokable form of ayahuasca containing DMT. Those are all the definitions I found of “Changa.”
Ed: Well that’s fantastic. I’m really glad to hear that. So, um, all of the above!
Brandi: Yeah, all of the above are fine.
Ed & Brandi Together: Especially the last one [laughs].
L4LM: That was the one I was pulling for!
Brandi: We got flagged as inappropriate on Amazon downloads because of the title “Changa.”
L4LM: [laughs] Oh really??? Well, now you can say “It’s just a town in India.”
Ed: Yeah, exactly.
Brandi: It’s a computer software man.
Ed: It’s a restaurant we went to in Istanbul [laughs].
L4LM: [laughs] Exactly, there you go!
Brandi: Thank you very much for that [laughs].
Ed: That’s useful. When people ask, there are a few useful answers, and depending on who they are, we can choose which answer to give. That’s great! [laughs]
L4LM: Ok, so, basically three of the band members are Wynne family members right?
[Camera turns to Silas]
L4LM: Hi Silas. Happy late birthday!
Silas: Ah, thanks a lot!
L4LM: You’re welcome! So, my question is, does working with your family provide any specific inspiration for you when you’re writing music?
Brandi: We kind of forget that it’s a family thing in that, I dunno, I mean, the guys and the crew, we’re all very close anyway.
Ed: But it is a nice thing. It means that, well, we all live in the same house, and therefore the ideas fly around.
Brandi: Yeah, and Natan basically lives with us now [laughs].
Ed: Yeah, but it’s all in a very casual way. It’s quite nice like that. It doesn’t feel like work so much. It’s like a way of life, you know, a family way of life, it’s very, very good.
Brandi: [Ed] started it with [his] brother though.
Ed: I did, yeah. So, it’s always been a little bit like that. It’s good, it’s good, yeah. And it’s nice going on tour because you don’t have to leave your family behind, you take them with you, and that helps too, you know.
Brandi: This traffic has gotten so horrible. I’m so sorry about this. It was so nice and serene just before we talked to you.
L4LM: [laughs] That’s alright, no worries. So, speaking of family, I feel like from what I’ve seen on the online forums and people that I’ve met through our mutual love for Ozrics, it seems like the fans and the community have become like on big Ozrics family, and you’ve got side projects and all of these things that stem from that beginning. It must be extremely overwhelming to know that you’ve got this massive community that’s come out of this one jam session in 1983.
Ed: I know, I know. It’s quite wonderful, actually. Yeah, it’s very much like that, very cool, very cool.
L4LM: Good, good. The next thing I’d like to ask is, what does it take for a band to have a 30 year career. I know you’ve had lineup changes throughout the years, so it’s not the exact same band, but obviously you’ve done something right that has made Ozric Tentacles last for 30 years.
Ed: Well, the thing is that I would do it whether it was successful or not.
Ed: You have to be able to do this whether it makes you money or not. If you find yourself very, very poor sometimes, which we do, sometimes the opposite, you have to be able to take the rough with the smooth as they say, you know? And it has to be that the music is more important than wealth, I think is what it seems to me. And then, to me, it keeps me sane whatever I’m doing. I think I’m obsessed by it, and I can’t put it down. That’s what’s kept me going, really, personally. I can’t really speak for anybody else, but that’s what it is for me, that great incessant need to create music all the time.
L4LM: Yeah, that’s great. I feel like there are people who have long careers in music, but they bounce around between bands or do one project and then another.
Ed: Yeah, and lucky enough, our project consists of so many different styles, anything we want to do we can do, as long as it has that little smile at the end of it. Therefore, it keeps me happy, you know, we could be a reggae band one day and a heavy metal band the next day and an ambient, new age the next.
Brandi: Then we got asked to play a total metal festival.
Ed: Oh yeah why didn’t we say yes?
Brandi: I don’t know, we thought it’d be funny to go in there and just rock! [laughs] and then go play Infrasound the next day [laughs].
L4LM: Ok, so you touched on technology earlier, and I remember seeing a video from the Reading Festival in the early nineties, and you had this massive analog board for all the synthesizers, and now you’ve just got this little Novation keyboard. How has that affected your ability to create and put on a show?
Ed: Well it’s made it a lot easier, much, much easier.
Brandi: It stays in tune.
Ed: And thankfully, with this Novation Supernova, I can get most of the sounds I need in that, you know, ok they’re not exactly the same, a little bit of a compromise.
Brandi: You miss the Prophecy though. It’s gonna have to come out again [laughs].
Ed: Yeah, but the synths I have now really take care of all of it really. It’s like having six of the synths I like best all in one synth. It’s just so much easier for traveling and carrying it around and just easier wherever.
Brandi: Well and the analog synths are so twitchy, like when you go to travel to different countries with different power and different humidities, sometimes they just don’t turn on right and things stop working immediately and power supplies overheat. Having something that you know is going to turn on when you arrive at the gig is very helpful.
L4LM: I can certainly see how that would be helpful [laughs]. So, to this day, you’re still gaining new fans. You know, I’m one of them. Two or three years ago, I hadn’t heard of Ozric Tentacles, and one day it popped up online and here’s this massive collection of music for me to discover. Is that something that you guys specifically target? Or has Ozric Tentacles just become this every growing machine that keeps burgeoning?
Ed: I think, yeah, nothing that we particularly strive for, really. I think it’s just we didn’t go away [laughs]. We, while so many bands fall by the wayside, we’ve kept at it, and yeah, there are new fans popping up every day. Some of the gigs we play have really young children coming to see us and just loving it, because they’ve got this thing about attention span thing with children. Because our music has these subtle changes in it and has weird things happening and events occurring and stuff, then kids really like it because it keeps them occupied. So young and old alike, they all come and enjoy, you know?
L4LM: Ok, so I want to talk a bit about your upcoming U.S. gigs. You’re playing with Broccoli Samurai, who is a great young band doing some really good things, and then Consider the Source as well, who is really great. How did you come across these guys? Was it through the venue or did you know these bands ahead of time?
Ed: Well, we met Broccoli Samurai, we did a gig in Cleveland, actually, at the Beachland Ballroom, and they were there as the support band, and we normally like to let the support band chunder away while we wait to do our set. We heard them, and we thought “Wow, that sounds amazing!” We really, really enjoyed it.
Brandi: And they’re soooo nice. The sweetest guys ever.
Ed: Yeah, so we’ve stayed in contact and ended up doing a few gigs with them, and it’s really very fun, and they’re always fun to talk to, you know.
Brandi: They always amaze me every time we do a gig with them. Each time they get better and better and better.
Ed: And Consider the Source I’ve not met yet, but I’ve heard them, recordings, and it’s different enough to be very interesting to me.
L4LM: Oh yeah, very different. Those guys have some creative minds of their own, that’s for sure.
Ed: Oh sure!
Brandi: And the fact that they call themselves cosmic beings of light from another planet…
Ed: Yeah, that sort of rings familiar, you know? [laughs]
L4LM: [laughs] Definitely! Ok, so your first U.S. gigs are festivals, and that seems to be, you know, Ozrics got started at a festival, and it seems to be made for the outdoors. Do you find that you have more of a comfort zone in an outdoor festival setting?
Ed: I mean, yeah, I do very much like it. I used to find it completely, like, comfortable. Now, I enjoy the inside gigs as well actually. I think the uncomfortable thing about a festival though is that you often don’t get a sound check, and we’ve got a lot of instruments, which normally take about three hours to sound check, so we have to jump in there and hope for the best, you know?
Brandi: There’s been a lot of amazing festivals that have been really great about letting us have the first day to set up and have everything all checked beforehand. That’s been really nice, like Ozora’s done that, and a lot of them are giving us the day to sound check and have us open, which is a really strange thing to open festivals.
Ed: Yeah, outdoors when it works is the best of the lot, really. The sound, you know, outside is incredible. You’ve got no echoing walls, it’s just, on a good night it’s magical [laughs].
L4LM: Alright, so then how do you have to adapt for an indoor gig. For example, you’re going straight from Family Roots Fest to Cleveland or Pittsburgh or something, and you’ve been doing this for a long time now, so I’m sure you’re used to it, but how do you adapt your sound to account for the indoor setting?
Ed: Oh, well, do we adapt, really? No, not especially. No, we just hope for the best, really [laughs].
Brandi: [laughs] Just close your eyes.
Ed: Well, we’ll change our set around a little bit, play some different tunes.
Brandi: Yeah, depending on who the audience is, for sure. We’ll do a much more electronic thing at Infrasound than we will in Chicago, for example, where they’re gonna want more of a rock sound. We like to cater to the audience.
Ed: Yeah. Can I just ask where you are at the moment?
L4LM: I am in Memphis, Tennessee.
Ed: Memphis, wow!
L4LM: Yes sir! I’m in my office. I work in finance during the day, so I’m in my office up on the 19th floor of a building smack dab in the middle of Memphis. I’m actually going to be moving over to the east coast pretty soon. My wife and I are moving to Baltimore next month, but I’ve lived in Memphis almost my whole life.
Brandi: You don’t sound like it.
L4LM: [laughs] No, I get that a lot. I never really had much of a Southern accent.
Brandi: That’s fortunate [laughs].
L4LM: Yeah, that’s what my wife says too. Ok, so you guys have been touring in support of the new album for a few weeks now. How are the new tunes faring live? Have they been getting a good response?
Ed: Yeah, they’re working well. They’re very, very strange to play for some.
Brandi: It’s so fun though to play the [new] ones. It does feel like the next level up, like you’ve hit level ten on your video game.
Ed: [laughs] Yeah, they’re actually the peaks of the gigs, at the moment. We do three little sections, taking up about a half hour’s time altogether, and those three little bits are the ones that we look forward to and the audiences are enjoying very much, especially this one called “Zenlike Creature,” and that’s going down very well.
L4LM: Yeah, that’s one of the longer pieces right? More like a suite almost.
Ed: Yeah, a bit of an armchair journey [laughs].
L4LM: That’s a good way to put it! I like that. So, when I do these interviews, I like to go to the fan forums and see if there’s anything specific the fans want to know, and I had a few specific questions I wanted to ask from the fans. Ozrics fan Neal Price asks “How do you get those lovely Ozrics bubble sounds using a Novation Supernova?” He says he’s been trying to for a long time but can’t seem to get it right.
Ed: Really! Ah, well this is deep knowledge. Right, well it can be done. It can be done. I don’t quite understand why it would be a problem actually. I find it quite easy on there. I, uh, what do I do? I get the filter to self-oscillate, and then send it through the LFOs. It’s like normal, you know, a bit of echo going side to side, and a little bit of tastes to do with not making it too wide, the modulations are subtle, and keep it varied and hope for the best, really. Every day’s a different story with those bubbles, you know. Good luck with that! [laughs]
L4LM: Ok, this next one is partially for Natan as well. Ozrics fan Scott Smith asks “Did Natan choose the wonderful day/front, night/back idea for the cover art or were the band members involved in that decision?”
Natan: Well, kind of in between. No, because we thought about it and I was just speaking with Ed about this, and we all agreed that it might work.
Brandi: Yeah, because the original when we talked about it wasn’t meant to be like that. It was [Natan] that came back with they day/night thing.
Ed: [Natan] did some color shift and said “Hey it looks amazing.”
Brandi: Yeah, we actually suddenly liked the back better than the front [laughs].
L4LM: Also, Ozrics fan Dick Coulthard noted that “side one sounds lighter and side two heavier music wise” and so it kind of works that way where side one is like the day and side two is like the night.
Ed: A little bit, it’s more like side one we’re behaving ourselves, and side two we’re not [laughs]. In a way, we’re taking it to the next step. It used to be, there’s this amazing thing about vinyl, you’ve got side one and side two. Side one you say “Hello” and side two you say “Ok, you’ve heard side one. Now we can go there” and it’s a little bit like having that same luxury of having two sides of vinyl, having two CDs. One for day and one for night, if you like, or one for now and one for later or one for yes, one for no, or one for happy, one for… very happy or something [laughs].
L4LM: Ok, here’s another fan question. Ozrics fan Nick Madeley asks “How much use did the Artist get on the new album?” He capitalized Artist, is that the name of one of your old guitars or something?
Ed: Oh! Right, ok, well, sadly, that guitar has fallen to pieces now. I was on stage the other day, and I went to plug it in, and instead of a jack plug socket, it had a hole in the guitar, and I was treading on all these components on the ground, crunching them up. So, I thought “Well that’s fallen out of there, shit.” So, I think I did manage to get one little bit on the Artist on there, but I can’t remember exactly which bit it was, but yeah, its final fling was that bit there.
L4LM: The second part of his question is “Has it been sidelined?” but I guess if it’s fallen apart…
Ed: Yeah, it’s on the wall in a place of honor in my studio, but I’ve had to retire it sadly.
L4LM: Ok, one last thing from fan questions. A couple of fans asked about Ed’s guitars, specifically which acoustic guitars you’re favoring and which tunings you used for the acoustic sections on the album.
Ed: Ah, ok, well um…
Brandi: There’s only one that [Ed will] deal with. The other ones just like, I keep buying him acoustic guitars, and [Ed] keeps spitting and me and throwing them back.
Ed: Well, I did use… I’m using three acoustics at the moment. There was a purple Ovation.
Brandi: That we got rid of because [Ed] hated.
Ed: But I did use it for the intro of “Epiphlioy.”
Brandi: [Ed] liked the sound of it, but [Ed] didn’t like the way it felt.
Ed: And then we got another one which was, what was it?
Brandi: I got [Ed] a Variax, a Line 6 Variax.
Ed: A Line 6 Variax is what it’s called.
Brandi: Which was like a physical modeling acoustic. It’s not even actually a real acoustic. It’s an acoustic electric, but yeah, you can like change it to bass setting or banjo setting or all kinds of things.
Ed: Or anything, really. It’s quite cool, really.
Brandi: It’s quite nice for live because it doesn’t feedback.
Ed: But my favorite one is my fairly cheap Yamaha, isn’t it, really.
Brandi: Yamaha APX is the only one [Ed] doesn’t spit at.
Ed: It’s the nicest guitar I’ve ever plugged in, actually.
L4LM: It was also noted that you have some new electrics in your live rotation. Could you tell us a little more about that?
Ed: Oh, well, recently, about a week before going on tour this time, I got one which is called an Ibanez EGEN18, which is designed by Herman Li from DragonForce.
Brandi: Not that we’re really big DragonForce fans, but it just happens to do what… I mean not that DragonForce is bad [laughs].
Ed: Well it’s not normally my type of thing, but the specs on the guitar were incredible, and I tried it, and it just absolutely blew my mind, really. It’s like five different guitars in one.
Brandi: We’re trying to work out whether it can actually deal with the sort of aggression Ed puts into his playing, though.
Ed: Yeah, we’ll see how it gets on. It’s a little bit, it’s very thin. It’s about a centimeter thick, and I hope it can take the pace, really, because I do tend to throw these things around on stage. It’s great fun and it sounds wonderful, I just hope it can keep up. We shall see in a few weeks [laughs].
L4LM: Ok, I’ve got just a couple more questions for you. You’re doing a couple of Nodens Ictus gigs in this U.S. run. Which stops will you be incorporating that?
Ed: Well, we’re gonna be, um, well Infrasound we’re doing one. Nodens Ictus right now consists of myself and Silas and Natan, actually, all three of us on there, and we’re going to be doing one there, and I think we’re doing a couple of others aren’t we?
Brandi: And, uh, Family Roots.
Ed: Family Roots Festival where we’re doing two Ozrics.
Brandi: And we’re also doing the radio show on Echoes radio show with John Diliberto.
Ed: Oh are we?
Brandi: We’re gonna do an Ictus set and an Ozrics set.
Ed: That’s interesting, yeah, yeah.
Brandi: And then we’re gonna record an album when we come home.
Ed: Oh yeah that’s right; we’ve got one about two thirds finished actually.
L4LM: For Nodens?
Ed: Yeah, yeah, neo-Nodens, Nodens 2015. Natan’s put his little thing in there, which you’ll notice [laughs]. I’m really excited about it, actually. It’s a lot of fun doing something non-Ozric, but slightly Ozric.
L4LM: Well, yeah, it’s in the family.
Ed: Exactly, yeah.
L4LM: And finally, speaking of Nodens, it was mentioned in the thread that Brandi hinted at a remastered Grove of Selves in 2016. Is that happening?
Ed: I don’t know how we’d remaster it.
Brandi: That would be Nile doing his thing again.
Ed: Yeah, ok, we’ll see about that.
Brandi: There’s a discussion. The thing is that Grove of Selves is mostly Spacelines anyway. All the good stuff from Grove of Selves is on Spacelines.
Ed: Yeah, it’s true, yeah. It’s not the number one project in the front of our minds.
Brandi: The new album is the number one.
L4LM: Understandable. So, aside from the new Nodens album, what’s up next in the future for Ozric Tentacles?
Ed: Well, I’ll go home, I’ll smoke a joint and have a cup of tea [laughs] I might sleep for a day and off we go again. There’s always something in the pipeline. I’m not happy unless I’ve got three or four tracks on the go anyway, so I’ll go back home and they’ll turn into what they’ll turn into, and then we’ll have to name them [laughs].
L4LM: Alright! Do you guys have any more live plans coming up after this U.S. tour?
Brandi: Well, I meant to take some time off. We had a little bit of a hiccup with the new agency we started working with, which kind of screwed up a bit of summer plans. I said I wasn’t gonna do any festivals this summer, but there’s a few offers starting to come in, so we’ll see. We’ll probably end up out at a couple more.
Ed: We are gonna try to have a little bit of a break, actually.
Brandi: At some point soon.
Ed: But we tried that for about 15 years now, and we haven’t had one yet.
L4LM: Alright, well thank you guys so much for taking the time to speak with me.
Ed: Ok, well it’s been a pleasure. Thank you so much.
UPCOMING TOUR DATES
May 29th, 2015 – Infrasound Festival – Black River Falls, WI
May 30th, 2015 – Infrasound Festival – Black River Falls, WI
June 2nd, 2015 – Reggies – Chicago, IL
June 4th, 2015 – Family Roots Festival – Glouster, OH
June 5th, 2015 – Family Roots Festival – Glouster, OH
June 10th, 2015 – Beachland Ballroom – Cleveland, OH
June 11th, 2015 – Iron Works – Buffalo, NY
June 12th, 2015 – Rex Theater – Pittsburgh, PA
June 13th, 2015 – Ardmore Music Hall – Philadelphia, PA
June 14th, 2015 – B.B. King’s Blues Club – New York, NY
– “Ragin’” Randy Harris (@RaginRandyEnt)