By Danger Coolidge
Unbelievably Bad Editor
Canberrean psych rockers Looking Glass have just released their fourth album, Volume IV, a very Sabbath moment for them indeed. The power trio has been working up to this gag since 2007’s self-titled EP, and thankfully the punch line paid off – Volume IV is the quintessential LG record.
With plans to play a show in their occultist-designed hometown this Saturday night – at The Phoenix along with Canberra’s greatest Turbonegro tribute band, Turbobelco – and then take a break to work on material for a fifth album, UB turned up the volume with guitarist/vocalist Marcus De Pasquale…
What’s five things that influenced Volume IV?
The bands Black Sabbath and Rush have hugely influenced us. And the writings of Carl Jung and the Hermetic Tradition play a core role in our philosophy and is the essence of where I’m coming from in my philosophy towards life. Living in Canberra, a beautiful city full of parks and trees. The only city in the world designed by an occultist, where the original design of the city is based on lay lines and the Ancient cities of Thebes and ceremonial places of Delphi. Canberra has a lot of great artists and painters and lots of good bands. I walk a lot each day and walk to the tops of mountains around here, so I feel connected to my environment and love the trees and birds.
Give us the whos, whats, wheres, hows and whys of Vol. IV.
We spent four years slowly accumulating the songs, rehearsing each week. Lachlan [Paine, bass] and I chiefly wrote them. I usually come up with the more simple type riffs which fall into the three-minute category and Lachlan tends to come up with the more proggy elements. So we usually end up blending both of our ideas into the songs. We all have a deep love for Sabbath and Rush, so there’s an unconscious urge to have a blend of both those fundamental sounds in our songs. Having such an incredible rhythm section allows us to explore more complex areas while still retaining an organic earthy feel. We never want our music to come from the cerebral places, we always play everything from the gut. There are strong motifs and meaning to every song. I spend a lot of time writing and revising lyrics, which are very important to me, to have something that resonates with a deep meaning to me. I read a lot and tend to use the method of automatic writing, where I’m sometimes not conscious of what I’m writing. The lyrics are mostly a product from the unconscious. I find that not imposing myself on the natural instinctual content, getting out of my own way and letting the unconscious have its freedom to speak works well. We recorded the album at Infidel Studio in Queanbeyan on analogue tape. We had an extremely adept and in tune sound engineer Tim Duck who was able to perfectly capture the mood and sound of our band. We spent a long time with the mixing and I spent a few months getting the vocals done as well as what I’m capable of. I’m very proud of the finished product and hoping people will dig it too. It’s out now vis Goatsound/Gamla Grind Records, available on limited edition CD digipack with cloth patch and as digital download, from lookingglass.bandcamp.com.
With so much doom already out there, and so much played-out doom already out there – how is Looking Glass keeping things fresh?
We have never contrived to be a doom band. I’m a huge doom person and Lachlan is too, but we have many many influences. My favourite singers as well as Ozzy and Robert Plant are female vocalists like Kate Bush and PJ Harvey. I love melody and emotion in vocals and I see music as being something very spiritual and connected to our deep selves. I often visualise past generations and elements of nature while I’m playing. Playing music is my entire life everyday all day. I wake up writing lyrics and spend whole days formulating riffs and melodies in my head. Although we love Sleep and Electric Wizard and what’s going around today, we are influenced by the music of the sixties and early seventies predominately. Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix, Zeppelin and of course Sabbath and Rush play major roles in our outlook. So that might differentiate us from a lot of bands today who are influenced by their contemporaries.
You got a kinda trippy sound too. Do you advocate the use of psychedelics for purposes such as mind expansion, tapping into new realms of creativity, opening up the doors of perception or laughing your tits off?
Lachlan and Clinton both enjoy having a drink in moderation. I like to have a smoke. But no we don’t recommend using any drugs to heighten our consciousness. What is important to us is clear concise reasoning and strong musicianship are the vital ingredients. We have a wellspring of inspiration and meaning in all of us, and don’t need to limit it by the use of anything. I personally would not use anything that is going to inhibit or lessen my dexterity and motor skills while I’m playing. All of us are the same in that regard.
Are you concerned that the title Volume IV could have Black Sabbath fans accidentally stumbling on the band? Haha!
It’s our fourth album and in a way the title is in honour to Sabbath. No, we’re not concerned if people happen to find us through looking up the Sabbath title. Lachlan is the mastermind behind our album titles and wants to have a cohesive linear connection to each album – you can already guess what our next album is going to be titled. Lachlan has already written enough strong material for the next one and we’re hard at work rehearsing new songs.
Volume IV is out on CD via Goatsound / Gamla Grind. Looking Glass play with Turbobelco this Saturday, May 7, at The Phoenix, 23-27 East Row, Civic, Canberra.