Sula Bassana & Electric Moon

Nick: Hi there, Dave and Lulu. Hope you guys are having nice time, eating potatoes and stuff.

Dave: We love potatoes and stuff! That’s the only food we eat! We are to poor for rice and stuff! Also we are germans, so we need potatoes! Always!

Lulu: STUFF! MORE STUFF PLEASE!!!!

Nick: Okay, let’s return from this starting digression to the main thing. As this is our first interview with Electric Moon and Sula Bassana, this means our readers will have an opportunity to meet the creative force behind this two bands. Let’s start from Electric Moon firstly. (Dave, you’ll get chance to talk later about Sula Bassana, as well as Zone Six and all other stuff you’ve been involved in. Ladies first). So, Lulu, tell me how the story called Electric Moon begun? What has been inspired you to start this band?

Lulu: We met and we jammed and it was so great – that’s the big story behind Electric Moon! Our very first jams became our album “Lunatics”!

Nick: “Lunatics” is your first and hopefully not least album, appeared in last year and in my humble opinion, this album paints off pretty lunatic image of your minds. What’s going on inside? Are you aware that you’ve created an awesome spacepsyche monster and one of my favorite albums of 2010? Does it mean you a thing?

Lulu: Wow! Glad you dig it! We have stuff for many albums – so don’t matter, there will be another out SOOON! Hopefully this year. And in some weeks you can get “Lunatics Revenge” on vinyl, including the two tracks which were not on the vinyl edition of “Lunatics” and two unreleased tracks! So. yeah, we are lunatic minds and we’re howling to the moon at night!

Dave: Only at night? 24 hours a day at full moon!

Lulu: Okay, Dave’s right… But we only come out at night.

Nick: Tell me more about recording process of “Lunatics”. How did it all go? How much the songs presented on album are the product of jamming, and in which measure jamming influences final shape of the Electric Moon?

Lulu: The songs are jams and after jamming and cutting, there were some overdubs like organ, voice and second guitars sometimes – except Hotel Hell, The Burdon cover. It’s the way we do our stuff all the time. Our “songs” are the result of our rehearsals, hehe.

Nick: Besides “Lunatics”, the light of day has also seen a live record called “Live at Epplehaus 2010”, which features two tracks on each CD. Tell me about this record. First CD comes up with 46 minutes long jam called “Demoon”, how did you succeed, lunatics?

Lulu: How? Well, we jammed and there was a good energy… Nothing else… :-) There will be a further live 2CD-R out soon! From our 3-hours gig in Wurzburg. Your mistake: not 2 tracks on each CD – ONE on each! Thanks.

Nick: It’s been announced that new Electric Moon album will appear in February, and as we are almost half through it, it’s just a matter of day when it will appear. Of course, if that doesn’t change. What can we expect from “Lunatics Revenge”? By the title of album, I can smell it will be a continuation of “Lunatics”. Are the songs that will appear on new album exactly from “Lunatics” sessions? Tell me more about it.

Lulu: As I told you, it’s the follow-up of Lunatics with the two missing tracks on vinyl and two new, unreleased bonus tracks on B-side! Not from the lunatics sessions, but close behind them. :-)

Nick: The interesting thing about “Lunatics Revenge” is that it will only be released on vinyl, out on Nasoni Records. Why only vinyl? Can you tell me details about how many copies will be printed? I guess that we talk here about a limited edition release in not more than 500 copies, right?

Lulu: 500, yeah. Only on vinyl, because it’s dumb to release it on cd with tracks from Lunatics, which have been already released on the CD edition. The B-side will be rare stuff then, not available on CD. :-)

Dave: And the best on this issue: 100 copies are on marble vinyl!

Nick: Electric Moon has pretty much enviable background when it comes to gigs and festivals. I wonder how does an Electric Moon gig look like? Do you tend to jam more and extend your improvisations or you stick to what’s presented on the record? Also, have you been played any covers and if so, what are they?

Lulu: We jam and jam and jam and jam and we become one joint creature: THE MOON WHICH IS ELECTRIC!!!

Nick: Speaking of covering other bands, which bands have a big impact on establishing Electric Moon sound?

Lulu: We’ve only covered Hotel Hell yet. Electric Moon sound is Electric Moon sound…

Nick: One interesting thing comes to my mind every time I come in situation to read the name Electric Moon. Namely, I know at least 10 bands which name starts with “electric” (one of them is surely Electric Orange – guess that Dave will be happy coz I mentioned them), and they all are pretty good. Do you have any favorite “electric”-named bands from the deep underground? Also, why Electric Moon? Who chose the name for band?

Lulu: It’s my old e-mail address and we thought it was cool. Electric Orange is cool, also Electric Prunes! So…

Dave: There are much more band named THE… ask them why! :-)

Nick: What happens next, besides releasing “Lunatics Revenge”? I could see that you’ve got several festivals confirmed for 2011. Would be good to see you again on DUNAjam festival, but this time in open air variant, speaking of which, what are your impressions about DUNAjam? You have played there in 2008, if I’m not wrong.

Lulu: You are damn wrong – we played in 2010!! :-) We’d love to play there again this year. Duna Jam was great. We jammed the night away and when we started, the moon was rising. Great. Great.

Dave: And the sun came up as we finished the gig! We founded Electric Moon in 2010, so we could not play in 2008! Duna Jam is very special and for sure much smaller than many people expect. It feels like a big private party.

Nick: Is there anything about Electric Moon that I didn’t cover in my questions and you would love to say?

Lulu: Thank you. Well, I think we want to lunatize the people!! :-) STAY MOONED!!!

Nick: Okay, not let’s shift to Sula Bassana aka Dave Schmidt. So Dave, the latest that came out from you is “Kosmonauts” record, and this one is fully electronic-ambient stuff. Now it’s not that I don’t like it, but the fact is that I’m more into psyche fuzz stuff you do by using guitar :-) Tell me more about “Kosmonauts”, are you satisfied how it turned out?

Dave: No, I hate it, that was the reason why I released it! Hahahaha! I love it!

Nick: Where does this affection towards electronic / ambient stuff come from?

Dave: It was my first love in music. I listened to a lot of electronic music when I was young (what is far away!) and started collecting Synthesizers and so on… My next record, that hopefully will be out this year, is a psychedelic rock album again. But maybe followed by another electronic album… Who knows… The albums I made together with Modulfix are also very electronic music influenced, so it’s not that new…

Nick: “The Night” has appeared in 2008 and comparing to “Kosmonauts” you bring space rock combined with psychedelia and that one is freakingly good album. Any comments on this record?

Dave: Hey freaks, don’t download it, buy it! I need money!!! It’s a great album! I promise!

Nick: As a guest musician on “The Night” appears Stefan Koglek of Colour Haze fame, who wrote some lyrics and lent vocals for the title epic track. How did it happen you two collaborate? I know that you’ve done some synth stuff for Colour Haze’s “Peace, Brothers and Sisters!” song back in past, so tell a bit more about it too.

Dave: I know Stefan for many years, Colour Haze and my old band Liquid Visions gigged together several times (also Zone Six and Colour Haze). He also re-released my first Sula album Dreamer on CD. So, there was a connection. I just asked him if he like to do it and he did. He visited me for one evening and everything went well very quick. Same when I visited Colour Haze in the studio to record the Synthesizer.

Nick: As you do absolutely all duties in Sula Bassana, starting from writing songs, performing, recording and mixing, do you find it as a stressful process passing through all this stages during creating process of an album? You see I didn’t mention mastering on here, as mastering duties were done by Eroc of Electric Orange, a real krautrock guru if I may say like that. How’s that to work with him?

Dave: No, it’s a great experience! I like it very much! The only thing I hate is the problem with frequencies and volumes when I mix an album. But since some years my albums got mastered by Eroc.

Nick: You see I didn’t mention mastering on here, as mastering duties were done by Eroc of Electric Orange, a real krautrock guru if I may say like that. How’s that to work with him?

Dave: Eroc is NOT a member of Electric Orange, he is „just“ mastering Electric Orange’s albums as well! But I got the connection to Eroc from Dirk Müller (Electric Orange). Eroc was the drummer of the krautrock band Grobschnitt in the 70’s. He is a nice guy and I like the result of his work on my albums!

Nick: “Sulatronics” has been released in 2003 and it’s an album from electronic Sula Bassana opus. Introduce this albums in short too.

Dave: When I changed from synthesizer to bass in early 90’s I stoppt making electronic music. But after some years I recorded some electronic tracks here and there and released them on that CD-R.

Nick: Are there any differences in creating processes for Sula Bassana records? I’m asking this because you maintain to lead two parallel worlds, speaking of Sula opus. One is spacepsyche rock, and at the other side we have aforementioned electronic-ambient music.

Dave: I like both, so, sometimes I do a real electronic album and sometimes more spacerock (always with some electronic influences). But all the stuff is psychedelic!

Nick: What makes me especially glad about your “Dreamer” record is the using of Hammonds, as it just sounds great in this space rock mission you tend to lead. Tell more about “Dreamer” record. Could it be expected that you will use Hammonds on some of the next SB records? I would love it!

Dave: It wasn’t a Hammond, I never had one. But in case of the Lesley it sounds similar to Hammond. On my forthcoming album I play my Elka organ (a great little organ!) with guitar effects and guitar amp, and the result sounds more like a Farfisa. Same sound I used in „Lost in Space“ on „The Night“. More about Dreamer? It was a bit similar to Sulatronics: I recorded my first psychedelic rock songs here and there (the first tracks I recorded on my 8-track cassette recorder!) and compiled them for this record. You also hear one real electronic track on this album (Nervenlaehmung).

Nick: The “Dreamer” album contains interesting liner notes, saying “Support Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Attac and many more”. It’s very nice to see you in this “humanistic” way, wish there were more people like you. Not that I have some question about it, but it’s like you try and use your music to tell people that our mission is to “save our planet and spread peace&love”. Do you agree?

Dave: I was more like a hippie these days. Now I know we can’t change anything! Our end comes soon! Or later…

Lulu: I destroyed Dave’s hippie-dreams, I guess…

Nick: I have to say that “My Blue Guitar” song is sort of surprise for me, from “Dreamer”, maybe because of it’s balladous approach, what’s not bad, as the song rocks! Your guitar work here simply reminds me of Andrew Latimer’s sense of soloing, full of emotions. Any comments?

Dave: Music comes like it comes, sometimes rock, sometimes soft , sometimes sad and sometimes different… One german magazine wrote: „The best solo of David Gilmour he never played himself!“ I like that line. Pink Floyd are for sure a very deep influence. Who is Andrew Latimer? Camel??? Also cool!!!

Nick: The closing track on “Dreamer”, “Baby Blue Shuffle in D Major”, is an homage to Pink Floyd. Guess that you are a Pink Floyd fan, so tell me what’s your favorite Floyd album? I’m more in 60′s Floyd era, for the record.

Dave: Oh, I like different albums. For sure the early stuff, but I love also the More, Dark Side, Wish You Where Here and the Animals albums. But just a very few later stuff. What do you think I’m listening to at the moment, when I type this? Wing! Do you know her beautiful voice? If you like Southpark as much as we do you know her! Hehehe!

Nick: Which bands/artists have influenced your musical shaping?

Dave: Wing!!!! Maybe a little more influenced by Pink Floyd, Far Out, Klaus Schulze, Neu!, Can and so on…

Nick: My two recent discoveries, concerning your work are the albums you release under the name of Sula Bassana and Modulfix and of course, Zone Six. Can you tell something more about these two projects?

Dave: Zone Six was the first improvisational band I founded and Modulfix is the synthesizer player of Zone Six and a very good friend as well, so we recorded many stoned jams together and one day we decided to do some CD-R releases. We started working on new Zone Six stuff this year and have planned a split LP with Vespero, a very interesting prog-psych band from Russia!

Nick: Beside working as a musician, you also run your own label, called Sulatron Records. How did you manage to start working as an independent label? Is it a stressful job?

Dave: Of course it is, and it don’t brings enough money, because I’m specialized in psychedelic and neo-krautrock, and that’s a really small marked!
Lulu: Yes! STRESSFUL! Sometimes Dave clobbers his printer because the printer lives kind of independent existence and it’s mission seems to be destroying Dave’s soul. It’s only ONE example for „stressful“.

Nick: I have to ask you what does Sula means? Also what do Sulatron or Sulatronics mean?

Dave: Sula Bassana is the ornithologic name of a seabird who is called Gannet in English. And it’s a joke what only works in German, because Sula Bassana’s German name is Basstoelpel, and that means something like a stupid or foolish bass(player), and that’s me. Sulatron is a mix between Sula and my favoured keyboard „Mellotron“.

Nick: I’m out of questions (too bad for you), so is there anything you would love to add at the end of this interview?

Dave: Hmmm, out of ideas…

Nick: Okay now, you can return to eating potatoes. Thank you very much for the interview to both of you. Hope to see you sometimes. Best wishes!

Dave: Yeah, hope to meet you soon! At Duna Jam? Yellowstock? OK, I go back to my potatoes… Potatoes are life! Potatoes are love! Potatoes are freedom! One day I want to become a potato! Cheers!

Lulu: As you can see – POTATOES CHANGED OUR LIVES! POTATOES FOR PRESIDENT!!! For Bundeskanzlerin too!!!

Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.
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