Western-influenced psych-rock band Spindrift has been on the road for a quasi-eternity, including a ghost-town tour last year, to bring its cinematic, reverberated tunes to a town near you.
The band already is back on the road, but its final stop last month was at San Francisco’s Brick & Mortar Music Hall, where former Dead Kennedys vocalist (and former presidential candidate) Jello Biafra got on stage for a pair of songs. Biafra’s dramatic vibratos and half-spoken delivery are a surprisingly great fit.
Western cinematic-psychedelia group Spindrift just finished up a tour and has an album and film coming out in support of it. Great, you say, how is this different from any number of other bands doing similar things?
Psychedelic-rock bandSpindrift formed in 1992, but only after the passing of numerous years and considerable line-up changes did the group become successfully settled in the stylized western sound that it possesses today. Having been inspired by, as well as a part of, numerous film scores, its newest album, Classic Soundtracks, Vol. 1 (Xemu), reflects the group’s preoccupation with surrealism and classic cinema.
For the past five years, Austin’s Psych Fest has collected a number of distinguished and up-and-coming acts from across the country to celebrate the city’s vivid (read: hallucinatory) music history. This year, the three-day festival was assembled in a makeshift passageway connecting Emo’s East and the Beauty Ballroom, and it included psych-crossover outfits Spindrift and The Asteroid #4 (among many, many others). Photos by Maxxx Von Willmann.
In just one more trip around the sun, another swarm of immensely talented but under-recognized musicians has harnessed its collective talents and discharged its creations into the void. This list is but one fraction of those dedicated individuals who caught our ears with some serious jams.
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Mixing influences from Italian-western composers like Ennio Morricone with elements of psychedelic rock, Spindrift has pioneered its own brand of western music. Its style is manifested through a diversity of sounds, including guitar, organ, pedal steel, flute, autoharp, sitar, tabla, and bass, but its musical résumé is more than merely instruments.
After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Spindrift recently recorded an album of unreleased movie themes and new material. That album, Classic Soundtracks Vol. 1, captures the band’s eclectic nature and cinematic tendencies. Here, founder Kirpatrick Thomas elaborates on the forthcoming album, the impact of the desert environment on the band’s music, and the similarities between western scores and psychedelic rock.
What inspired you to use Kickstarter for Classic Soundtracks‘ fundraising as opposed to other, more traditional means of establishing a budget?
For us, Kickstarter was a great way to raise a recording budget and get friends, fans, and family directly involved in the making of our next album. We realized that we needed $5,000 and had a seven-week US tour ahead of us, so, along with touring and promotion, we created awareness about our upcoming project. At every show, we performed the new songs, then, after seven weeks, we had our goal and jumped into the studio to record. We had the time of our lives recording this record, and we wanted it to translate.
Classic Soundtracks was recorded in Hicksville Trailer Palace, and Spindrift was the first band to record a full-length album there. Can you explain why you chose this particular setting for recording?
Many of the songs that we’ve written for Classic Soundtracks were birthed in the desert. Thus we wanted to lay them to rest (as in the final recorded track) in the desert as well. We actually would write and rehearse for a bit in the Gram Parsons death room at the Joshua Tree Inn. Keeping true to faith, Hicksville is a stupendous facility for being relaxed, isolated, productive, and creative. It’s a beautiful place, and recording in Joshua Tree was a dream come true. Highly recommended!