The Black Angels interview

"People are realizing now how good the sounds of the 60s are, compared to modern pop music"

01/04/2013 @ 13:19
The Black Angels are by far one of the most interesting groups of the contemporary neo-psychedelia scene. This year’s "Indigo Meadow" is their fourth great album in the row. They once again took different paths from their hypnotic and psychedelic first steps, venturing further deep into the more mainstream but dynamic psychedelic/indie rock and succeeding once again. In the occasion of their latest album, we talked to Alex Maas, who spoke about peaceful social revolutions, the veterans and the roots of the band...

The Black AngelsFirst of all, I'd like to say that Iʼm completely stunned by "Indigo Meadow". Maybe your best album to date. How difficult is it to reproduce a retro sound and remain modern at the same time?
Thank you! We incorporate old equipment with new ideas so the foundation is laid there. A lot of our favorite bands are from the past so that explains the retro element I guess.

I think that "Indigo Meadow" has -in some times- a more epic and heavy feeling and it is a little bit less hazy, less psychedelic-y. What did you do different this time?
I'm not too sure exactly haha. We are just writing different songs I suppose as we evolve - sorry probably not the answer your looking for...

The Black AngelsWhat are the similarities and the differences between The Black Angels of 2013 and the band that started in the underground of 2004?
Well for starters there are different members in the band. We have just evolved really as people and as musicians. I feel as though it still sounds like the same band but with different ingredients.

You are a band that isnʼt afraid to look deep into the past and draw its influences. Which albums would you name as the ones that defined your sound?
Clinic - Do It! (2008),
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - B.R.M.C. (2001),
The Warlocks - Phoenix (2002),
The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Thank God For Mental Illness (1996),
Various Artists - Spacelines (Sonic Sounds For Subterraneans) (2004).

The Black AngelsAll those garage and psychedelic bands from the 60s had a sound and lyric themes that were closely connected to a certain kind of social revolution and ideology that was happening then. How can singing about love and trippy colors and playing such tunes be incorporated in today's music world?
I guess people see and hear what they want in music. Some hear people singing about love and beauty as a one dimensional theme, others may see that as a way overcome or escape the fears of the modern world. That seems to be an obvious matter of perspective. You can use those themes to encourage and empower people to do good things with their lives, because love and trippy colors are vibrant like the feathers of a bird. By writing a tune that can be viewed as a love song, a protest song, or just a feel good song you allow the listener to hear what they want in the piece. It’s kind of like a choose your own adventure book.

The Black AngelsYour first singles are "Don't Play With Guns" and "Evil Things", but, according to me, the songs that stood out are "Love Me Forever" and "Broken Soldier", so I'd like you to talk a little bit about these two particular ones. Can you give us a clue on the lyrics?
"Broken Soldier" is the pretty straight forward, dealing with everyday life after experiencing great trauma. Assimilation back into society. The sucide rate for veterans is at an all-time high. Let’s face the issue, we spend billions on killing, we should spend billions on assimilating veterans back into society. It's only fair... "Love Me Forever" an impossible love tale between nations who don't understand one another and fail to communicate in a constructive way. They use force instead of dialogue to mend their relationship and it the end result is a barrier of pain sadness. Always for always the cycle repeats until social change is brought upon a by a Global Majority of people who want to resolve global issues and promote peace through non-violent conflict resolution and education. This progressive group inspires and brings the idea of living in a more peaceful world to reality.

The whole indie scene seems to be taking an interest to the sounds of the 60s. How do you see this? Do you consider yourselves part of a revival scene?
We like sounds of the 60s and I think people are realizing now how good it is compared to modern pop music.

Manos Paterakis