In today’s stoner and psych rock scene there are some rad bands floating around. One in particular, Comacozer, is creating some fuzzed riffs that spiral down to gloomy depths and then crawl their way back up to spaced out heights. The Sydney experimenters are Rick Burke (guitar), Rich Elliott (bass) and Andrew Pana (percussion) and they released their first full length LP last year titled Astra Planeta.
These guys are definitely on the rise and TEO caught up with Andrew to chat about lengthy songs, how good the ’60s were, and playing the Sydney Psych Fest.
TEO: Congratulations on your debut album Astra Planeta. I can’t believe there are only five songs on the record!
Andrew: [Laughs] yeah, that’s not intentional! When we write, we improvise so much that, to be honest, the songs would’ve been around 20 minutes long if we didn’t cut them back. It’s just one of those things, and because they’re instrumental we go off on a tangent and sometimes one of the boys will throw a riff out there and we’ll jam on one song for over 20 minutes. It happens every time we write something! Then we check in with reality and decide to cut it back. I think our shortest song would have to be eight minutes—we can’t get it under that!
Psychedelic music is pretty weird and wonderful. How do you go about creating a song?
Even though I play percussion I’m actually a guitar player as well as the others. So when we come together we’ll each have a couple of ideas or structures that we want to work on but a lot of the time we go in and one of the boys will start playing a riff and we jump in and jam it. We’ve been playing together for a while and we all know what we’re doing and feed off each other. After playing a lot of shows over the past few years I don’t think we’ve played a song the same way twice.
You label yourselves as instrumental psych space doom—how did you even come up with a name like that?
We actually didn’t come up with that! We pinched that off a review someone did of our first release. We were like, that is the weirdest description ever. It’s hard to explain our sound to people but instrumental psych space doom covers it pretty well.
What era of music most influences you guys?
I think all of us are huge fans of The Doors, Led Zeppelin and Hawkwind, so I’d have to say late ’60s and early ’70s. We are a darker psych band, but there are some songs that if you put Jim Morrison in the background singing you’d think it was a Doors riff. Black Sabbath is probably at the top of our list; there aren’t many bands in our genre that wouldn’t be influenced by Sabbath. Of course, we have more modern influences as well but I think it’s the range of influences that makes us a bit more unique.
You recently played Sydney Psych Fest, what were the highlights?
What can I say? This event was absolutely amazing; so well organised and an amazing collection of artists! Commendations to Dave and Alice for nailing it with this entire weekend of Sydney Psych Fest III.
We had the pleasure of playing the opening ‘all ages’ night at Blackwire Records which was so much fun. It was really enjoyable to play with international and interstate bands that we hadn’t witnessed before. Factory Theatre is always amazing to play and the sound was awesome. The event had huge attendance and we received so much positive feedback after our set; we probably played the best out of all of our shows and threw in some improvised parts to the songs which made it even more enjoyable. We ended up meeting so many great people and even had a fan that came up from Tasmania. It was such a buzz to just hang out and relax and listen to such cool music. Hopefully we’ll have the privilege to play the event again sometime.
What’s the go for the rest of the year?
This is the exciting stuff! Our label manager is pushing us for another album, so we’re absolutely pumped! We’ve had a vinyl release in 2015, 2016 and now another this year. So the plans are hopefully to record end of April and then we’ll be aiming for another August or September release—we’re already working on the artwork!
Catch Comacozer supporting Buried Feather at Vic on the Park Hotel this Friday, 17th of March. You can find more details and RSVP here.
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