Interview with Ozric Tentacles 94'

The following is a transcription of an interview between members of Ozric Tentacles and Scott Heller during a stop along the 1994 Arborescence US tour. Thanks to Scott and the T of E. For this submittal.

Scott: The picture in Arborescence, is that near the Mill?
Ed: Yeah, that is near the Mill, a place called the Grotto. It's an amazing
little place. All of these interlocking caves and places made of rock.
Scott: Sounds like it would be a great place to have John record some flute.
Ed: Yeah, yeah - nice reverb and stuff,
Scott: A lot of people when they heard that Joie and Merv were not going to
be with the band....
: (cut off by Ed)
Ed: What"s it golng to be like?
Scott: It's pretty heavy . . but I don't think people have been
Ed: It sounds alright, eh?
Scott: I think it sounds great.
Ed: It's always a relief when I hear people say that. It's a weird thing. It's
just a weird thing for me, getting that Call from Joie. It had me pretty freaked out.
Scott: That happened pretty quick right?
Ed: Two weeks ago (September 10, 1994). He just suddenly couldn't deal with it.
Too much work with Eat Static and us.
Scott: They are quite popular in England.
Ed: Yeah, Yeah sure. It's a very popular style of music.
Scott; Only some of that rave/techno/trance music has spilled over here. It'
not really too big here.
Ed: It's really big in England. It's almost all there is, really, about all
that's left, nothing else.
Scott: You still pull in a good crowd?
Ed: Oh sure yeah
Scott: Hawkwind have their crowd fror years.
Ed: There a bit strange nowadays.
Scott: They seem to be going into a more space synth direction and getting
more away from a rock sound,
Ed: Which is alright, really.
Scott: Their synth sound was never really that large. Apart from when Tim
Blake on Levitation and Simon House on the early melotron stuff.
Ed: Organs with phasers on them!
Scott: How do you split up your time when you are in the studio: keyboards,
mixing versus guitar?
Ed; I do a lot more production, keyboards, sampling and all that than I do
guitar. Guitar is really quick. Guitar you just blast it off. Keyboards
take a lot of time because I don't want them to sound typical.
Scott: Seaweed was telling me that the oroonies is a very old project.
Seaweed: Is it true that Joie was in the Oroonies before the Ozrics?
Ed: Yeah, he lived in Ireland and they were a band; just mad out in Ireland!
He came to England and met us lot and reformed the Oroonies a few years later.
There was about a year and a half where the Oroonies were on their way to
England but hadn't made it yet (laugh)
Scott: It's not that long of a boat rlde.
Ed: Yeah, but they were traveling on horse and cart over the island.
Scott: Across the sea..
Ed: It took that long to teach the horses to swim.
scott: They didn't play live much did they?
Seaweed: Now there's the Cheap Suit Oroonies, who are playing live like non-stop.
Scott' Is Joie in the Cheap Suit oroonies?
Ed: No, they are very acoustic now.
Seaweed: Acoustic dance music, dub sort of thing. A bunch of greek melodies.
Scott: Have you heard the Suns of Arqa?
Ed: Oh yeah. Roly has been playlng with them.
Seaweed: He did a radio one session with them.
Ed: Did he (astonished)?
Seaweed: They just asked him along. There were two bass players there.
Scott: In Freakbeat's mail order catalog, they list Roly as playing with Psi Nukli on a tape.
Seaweed: Not on the Nukli, but the Psi stuff. That was with Magic Mark.
There is a video of Psi at Club Dog wiith me, Roly, Tig and Psi, Steve and Jim.
Ed: Do you find it funny how all of these bands are connected?
Scott: Not funny, but I find it difficult to keep it organized.
Ed: England's so small you know, thats what it is. When your here (USA),
when your over there it's massive.
Ed: Like minded people attract each other.
Seaweed: It used to be, more like, you get a band together, and there were
only so many places to play. It was a way of sort of getting more gigs out of
the same venues, really. With all these other bands and different weird off
shoots you could form a really weird band. There was a band called EarthNet
had five drummers, a sax and a synth.
Jasper: Just all the drummers from the Other bands.
Ed: The drummers from all the family bands got together and the sax player
from Webcore, keyboard player from Webcore, and I replaced him. We only did
about three gigs.
Scott: Why don't you try and tell me how all these bands tie together. The
Ullulators (I get cut off)
Seaweed: You have Danny (sax player) and Paul In Another Green World together,
which is amazing ambient music. Way ahead Of it's time.
Scott: How do they tie into the Ozrics?
Seaweed: Danny has definitely played few sets in front of the Ozrics.
Webcore was like sort of the gothic sister band of the Ozrics.
Jasper: Clive who does the out front sound used to be in Webcore.
Seaweed: He was the guitarist.
Scott: Gavin, he played with the Ozrics.
Seaweed: And the Thunderdogs, Ullulators.
Jasper: He now plays bass with the Cheap suit Oroonies and lives in my house!
Seaweed: Johnny who plays percussion for the Cheap Suit Oroonies used to be in
the Thunderdogs.
Scott: Did the Thunderdogs ever release anything?
Seaweed: Yeah, I've got the CD right here. It's called Thundermental.
Scott: What's the Damidge Ip going to be called?
Seaweed: Factx of Life. You ever heard of Hunt Emerson? He does a comic
strip. He did the album cover.
Seaweed: Spannerman, the sax player (for the Thunderdogs) he was in Webcore,
Earthnet, Another Green World with Paul, Spannerman the Band with Johnny, that
drummer (points to the Thunderdogs CD), after he left the Thunderdogs... It's
so complicated. Then there was the band the New Apes that had Gavin, Danny and
Tig. It didn't last that long, but it was a happening thing for a while.
Scott: How do you describe the Thunderdogs music?
Ed: It's quite nice music. Spaced out. . strong stuff.
Seaweed: Space acid funk sort of ..
Ed: It's a bit of a shame the sound on the album.
Seaweed: It needs loads of bass and treble added.
(Seaweed is searching through his bag with all sorts of tapes and CD's and he
runs across Kraan)
Seaweed: Found a Kraan tape.
Ed: I made a Kraan tape also. Do you know this band?
Scott: The German band?
Ed: Yeah.
Scott: I love 'em!
Ed: What have you heard?
Scott: The first one and the live one from 1975.
Ed: Double live. Oh man, you haven't heard Vitavarum?
Scott: No, I haven't heard that one.
Ed: Oh, that's hot man.
Scott: Do you like any of the other German bands?
Ed: Not as much as Kraan, but I do. I like CAN, but I can't stand their sound
quality .
Scott: Pretty techno.
Ed: I wish they had a slightly more interesting guitar player, to be honest.
He spent years trying not to play properly.
Scott: Did you hear any of the early Amon Duul II albums?
Seaweed: I was quite into them.
Ed: I am in Amon Duul, aren't I. (laughs..) So is Joie.
Seaweed: Honorary members!!
Scott: You were on the Die Losung Ip, the one with Robert Calvert.
Ed: Yes, horrible album. It's got a couple of moments.
Scott: Are you tight at all with the guys in the Magic Mushroom Band?
Ed: We know them. Joie's girlfriend (Jane) who is now in the Cheap Suit
Oroonies used to be in the Magic Mushroom band.
Seaweed: It's the only family connection, really.
Ed: Porridge, and all their light show lot. They were one of our early light
show people.
Scott: Do you ever go back and listen to any of the old Ozric Tentacles albums
you recorded?
Ed: Yeah, yeah. Especially, when I make tapes for people. That's a good
excuse to listen to some, actually.
Scott: I think when one does a survey of the fans that Erpland, right now,
comes out as the fans' favorite.
Ed: Really?
Seaweed: That's one that I never had for years and years and years.
Scott: I think Erpland and Arborescence are my two favorites.
Ed: That' s amazing man! I sort of thought Erpland was kind of deep, sort of
large and double, quite long and experimental. We kind of thought it would be
nice if it (Arborescence) came out sort of another Erpland sort of things. So
that's nice to hear you say that.
Scott: I think it has a similar feel. It's more guitar heavy, but the synths
play a more progressive spacey role in it,
(Tape cuts)
Jasper: Its different studios.
Ed: It's the same thing. That was the second album I had done in a certain
studio, same like this one really. Pungent Effulgent was done first and that
was learning that studio and then we knew that one and we did Erpland; Jurassic
Shift and Arborescence were the same sort of thing.
Scott: Are there some older songs that you think you might be able to work
into the set, if you ever get tired of Og-Ha-Be, etc...
Ed: I'd love to, yeah go through the tapes and pick out a few.
Scott: I really love that song Eternal Wheel (off Erpland). I don't know if
it would be a good live song.
Ed: We've never tried it.
Seaweed: Which is that?
(Ed sounds out the song to Seaweed...)
Scott: It really builds, it comes to climaxes.
Ed: You reach a cliff and sort of fall off the edge, It sort of flattens out
and takes off again. I'd love to do it live, I would need a bit of sequencing
writing, that's all.
(Ed is sounding out a song to Seaweed, one that Seaweed really likes but
neither can remember the title. Ed mentions the bubble sounds that Tom Brookes
(ex-synth player for Ozrics) used to make.)
Scott: How did the bubble sound evolve? (They all laugh)
Ed: Why did they do that to our brains, those bubbles? Oh, because we heard
them on acid.
Seaweed: It goes back to Blake (Tim). Hawkwind's idea of sound effects never
would have got me on the path, but Blake...
Ed: Yeah, yeah, he's responsible really. He's still the best bubblist ever.
Seaweed: Ever, yeah on Levitation.
Ed: That was my first Hawkwind album. I listened to it and listened to it.
Seaweed: That Prelude at the beginning of side two.
Ed: With the acoustic guitar. That bubble that goes up the middle there and
just goes . . . blllvweeerrrrr. Pins and needles, man.
Jasper: That's the only one I've got around.
Ed: Mine was Blue.
Seaweed: One of the few that I've kept.
Ed: Also what's weird about that is they didn't have the cover for it in the
record shop, so I had to make my own cover.
Seaweed: The cover is really bad, really fake, but it does say "This is a
headphone album" somewhere on the back of it.
Ed: Does it? He's great, isn't he, Tim. Bubbly!!
Scott: What's he up to now?
Ed: Making the mast hideous versions of his songs. We saw him and we were
really disappointed. He was doing some of his old stuff, but using computers
and trumpet sounds on his keyboard, instead of those nice lead sounds.
Horrible man. I met him you see and was very disappointed in what he was like.
He was not nice.
Scott: That was the same attitude he projected when he came over here. It' s
too bad because he was a talented guy.
Ed: It's too bad.
Seaweed: He is the reason why we do it.
Ed: I saw him at the Glastonbury Festival, even before I knew who he was.
Suddenly, all of these green lasers were coming out of this pyramid and all
this synth music started. "Great, I'll sit here for a bit". I found out it
was Tim Blake. A year later I got the album and had wished that I had paid
more attention.
Seaweed: I saw him with Hawkwind in 1979. I really didn't know. I was just
getting into it, but it was in my mind,
Ed: So you saw Levitation live?
Seaweed: Yeah, but that was before Levitation, that was the Live 79 tour.
Ed: There was an album that was made.
Scott: Saw Lloyd Langton's first return tour.
Scott: Live tapes from 79-80 tour are really good with Tim Blake. The ones
with Ginger Baker, some of those (I get cut off)
Seaweed: A bit weird.
Ed: I liked what he (Ginger) was doing on Levitation.
Seaweed: He was good on Levitation, but a bit weird live though. I saw that
tour with Ginger Baker and Tim had just been chucked out of the band and we
were a bit weirded out. Ginger Baker did this like 20 minute drum solo in the
middle of Brainstorm, which didn't really do it. I was such a serious fan when
I was a teenager. It was terrible,
Ed: It really mattered to you what was going on.
Seaweed: It really mattered. I had no sense of humor.
Scott: I just try to enjoy the music as much as possible. I have been doing
tape trading for years.
Ed: Did you know about this Seaweed? There's a whole scene here of tape
trading. Swapping gigs, basically - no money and you make them tapes and send
them back.
Scott: People who don't have anything to trade can send blank tapes and
postage money and you make them tapes and send them back.
Ed: It' s really nice.
Seaweed: It's very selfless.
Ed: It's the music for the sake of music.
Scott: Do you think you will seriously do a video project, where you put
together images?
Ed: Can you deal with video, Jasper?
Jasper: I can do it all. I put the images on film and then on video clips to
it. I am up for it. I need to sit down with you first.
Ed: Would you be into sort of collaborating with other people, someone who
puts some computer graphics and stuff as well.
Scott: How do the images come about that you use in your shows?
Ed: Ask, Jasper, he's the one who does it really.
Jasper: Anything that look's good.
Scott: Where do you pick your images - magazines .. .
Jasper: Anywhere.
Scott: Like the ones with the fingers on this latest tour.
Jasper: I can even remember. Magazines, films. I want to get Blim to help out.
Ed: Do a series of things to animate.
Jasper: The time before when we were in America (New York City 1993) we had
all of our slides nicked.
Ed: That's right!
Jasper: So we had to rush them back together when we got back to England and
find other images we didn't have. I didn't even use them in America. I had
the other light show there. We used all sorts of film bits.
Ed: It's a bit like when my wavestation synth got completely erased. Every
sound gone. It's mad isn't it?
Seaweed: Luckily it happened early in your career. If it happened now it
would be a big shaft.
Ed: I had it once and my battery card ran out and it was all of my gig sounds.
I came to do the show. It was the first tour (1994). So I was there before
the show programming like mad, smoke pouring out the back of the machine.
Scott: You go to hit the key for the White Rhino Tea sequence and nothing
Ed: Yeah. I had to remake that one with loads of sound checking going on.
Seaweed: I've had it work at sound check and come on stage and nothing!
Ed: Really!! (sounds astonished, but actually being sarcastic)
Seaweed: It's like, "Start first number and I'll catch up when I can". With
the Thunderdogs it's not too bad - basic programs, basic strings
Ed: And that had all the wave forms any way.
Seaweed: Yeah, I had all my sounds, just not the presets. It took about three
Ed: Oh, that's not too bad. If you went on stage tonight and all your sounds
Were gone,..
Seaweed: I'd just have all analog - bubbles and dots..
Ed: Samples.
Seaweed: If they were there, I would be alright.
Ed: Where did you leave your discs?
Seaweed: In between the sound check and now, just on topl
Ed: I hope there's not any loonies lurking about the stage,
Scott: How did the idea of the hemp cover for Jurassic Shift come about? How
did you decide you wanted to make it out of hemp?
Ed: We met somebody who could and said we should, and we did,
Scott: How many copies were made?
Ed: 10,000. One pressing of Ip, cassette and CD. And a poster as well. We
had to import tons and tons of cannabis into England (laughs)
Well, that is all we could get in before they had to head into the show. Until
next year... Take care and enjoy.

Scott Heller