Acid Rooster is a band based in Leipzig. After stumbling across their addictive authentic version of psych rock we just had to get them on the blog. Valuing a spirit of improvisation and spontaneity live and in the studio, Acid Rooster’s eponymous record, produced by Jan Werner, is an unmissable treat we recommend you blast your ears with at the earliest available opportunity. If you’re based in Europe, check out their live dates on their Bandcamp page.
TSOFDs: This could be the first time we’ve had a Germany-based group on the blog. Please tell our readers where you come from and what the music scene is like there.
AR: First of all, thank you a lot for your interest in our music. We are really happy that people in China are listening to our record. Most of us live in the city of Leipzig, but originally we come from a small town in the north of Bavaria called Schweinfurt. Germany’s underground music scene is actually pretty lively and diverse. There exists a great network of smaller concert groups and bands that are supporting each other. Leipzig for example has many off spaces and smaller clubs setting up concerts almost every night. But of course it is not like that everywhere. In the countryside or in other towns the situation is totally different. Often the possibilities to set up shows are really bad.
TSOFDs: Thanks for the info. You’re a bona fide psych band if ever we heard one. What inspired you to make this kind of music? Was it to do with the kind of stuff you were listening to when you were growing up or was there a specific psych scene locally that blew your mind and which instantly made you want to participate?
AR: To be honest, we never had a master plan or a certain idea, how we wanted our music to sound. It just comes out of us naturally. Important for our quite spontaneous approach of free thinking music is definitely, that we’ve known each other a very long time and have experienced the same musical socialization. Before starting Acid Rooster we had many different bands from punk to alternative or high energy rock. Besides that, all three of us were going to concerts frequently and collecting vinyl of all kinds of music. We soak up lots of different sounds and the expression of these many influences might be brought out in the sound of Acid Rooster.
TSOFDs: That’s cool that it’s a very organic, natural sound. Your record has a great live feel. Can you give us any kind of insight into the recording process? Was there a concerted effort to make it sound as live as possible or did it just come out this way – from listening we’d presume the core parts were recorded at the same time?
AR: Except for a few overdubs the whole record is recorded live. Before we came to the studio we had just some raw ideas/feels for 3-4 songs, we really wanted to try and the rest was developed quite spontaneously. We were jamming a lot and recorded different ideas. Often we took the first take because these felt the freshest and most authentic for us. Very important for the whole process and the sound was our recording engineer Jan Werner, who plays in the bands Datashock and Yagow. He has lots of experience in recording improvised, free music.
TSOFDs: That approach really paid off. The cliche of course with psychedelic music is that it taps into an alternative state of mind. Those at the forefront of psychedelic music such as The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Hendrix, etc, it is of course well documented that they more than dabbled in certain substances. Without wishing to give too much away or get yourselves into trouble, do you think it has been useful for musicians to change their brain chemistry in order to make this kind of music or is it a mistake to assume this?
AR: This alternative state of mind is really important for our creativity and expression, but it’s not necessary to take drugs to reach this. The music itself has definitely the power to expand your consciousness and to bring you to a completely different state of mind. Of course we had experiences with mind altering substances and maybe these brought us to our current style, but for now we can say that this is not of big importance for our musical process.
TSOFDs: Reminds me of Bjork I think once saying that she doesn’t meditate because she already has music and music is meditation enough for her. How does the creative process begin? Is one member of the band the visionary or is it a case of jamming around a range of ideas until one takes hold?
AR: The creative process often begins with a rough idea/theme. Sebastian, who is playing the guitar comes along with some chords, a riff or a melody and while playing these we develop our songs. Or otherwise we also often just start improvising together and always record our sessions with a Zoom recorder. We listen to these demos afterwards and pick out the most interesting stuff to work on.
TSOFDs: This Zoom recorder strategy seems to really work for a lot of musicians – I’ve heard of other bands doing this. How long do you refine your ideas before you make a definitive recording? Are you the type of group that works hard for a long time to precisely map out structures and parts or do you simply prefer the aforementioned spontaneity?
AR: We always prefer spontaneity.
TSOFDs: With steadily declining sales due to the Internet/Spotify/etc do you make enough from the group to pursue it full time or do you have other ways of making money from music? Perhaps like most musicians these days it is necessary to have a day job that isn’t based around music?
AR: To be honest, we hardly earn money at all with our music and all of us have regular jobs/family.
TSOFDs: This certainly seems the norm these days. Mainstream radio is of course still mostly dominated by short pop songs – have you found any useful outlets for getting your music to a wider audience – perhaps a particular music podcast or radioshow/magazine/blog that’s been supportive? Perhaps gigging is the only real way to stimulate interest?
AR: We were really surprised, how many radio shows, music blogs or fanzines were interested in our record. For example very positive reviews of magazines like Echoes and Dust and Freq helped us to reach a wider audience. After that some bigger festivals like Le Guess Who? and Roadburn invited us. There was also a lot of support from different Facebook groups for psychedelic music, where our music was shared a lot. Besides that the platform Bandcamp made it possible for us to sell our records to music lovers all over the world.
TSOFDs: That’s brilliant that the music is reaching a wide range of people. Obviously the recent album only arrived in the summer but any plans for future releases? Any other projects you are involved in or other psych bands you’d like to give a shout out to?
AR: Right now we are busy playing shows and trying out new stuff on stage and are looking forward to some demo-recording sessions this winter to collect new ideas for our next record. Apart from Acid Rooster, Sebastian (guitar) and Steffen (drums) joined the garage/indie rock band Suzi Cream Cheese, which had some great tunes in the 80s. They are planning to release a reunion album which was originally written in the early 90s and got lost after they split up. Max sometimes plays solo shows with his sitar.
TSOFDs: Amazing. Zappa influences we’re presuming, in the name at least. We’ll look out for that. The sitar/synth combo sounds intriguing also. Thanks so much for taking the time to converse with us.
Acid Rooster is available now on Bandcamp.