and the Search for God
LSD in Vegas, huh? I think I see a marketing angle
for the Nevada Commission on Tourism!
The trip to Las Vegas was great. I know Vegas isn’t
thought of as a haven for experimental or psychedelic
music, but we’ve played there a couple of times
and have been pretty well received. As you mentioned,
we traveled there with Sciflyer. We really love their
music, and they’ve been incredibly supportive
of us from the very beginning, so that was fun. We
also had a chance to play with our friends The Pandas
(ex-Warlocks), and it’s always a good time for
us when we get to play with bands that we respect.
We’re going back in a few weeks and are really
looking forward to it.
We love traveling, and I suppose we’ve done
our fair share of it for a relatively young band.
Right now we’re getting ready to hit the road
for a few shows with a fantastic band from Philly,
The Asteroid #4. In November we’re going to
do a handful of shows with Fuxa and our long-time
heroes, The Telescopes. That’ll be for our record
release, so we’re really looking forward to
How did the band come together?
Chris Fifield and I put the band together about a
year and a half ago.
At the time I was helping my good friend, Chris Streng
(ex-Stratford 4), with his Dazzling Strangers project
and I temporarily kidnapped him for LSD. I basically
tricked him into coming to a practice. Over the years
I played him some of the material that eventually
became LSD stuff, and he liked it. I knew he’d
be receptive to playing with us and that he and Chris
F. would hit it off immediately. I was right, and
Chris S. became our original bassist.
We played our first gig in May ’05. At the
time, it was pretty funny to us; Chris S. booked a
Dazzling Strangers gig at The Rickshaw Stop with Dengue
Fever, except we hadn’t had any Dazzling Strangers
practices since he began working with us on the LSD
songs. Less than a week before the gig, Chris S. asked
me if we could change the bill from Dazzling Strangers
to LSD. We decided to go for it, but had just three
practices to mix in a drummer and a female singer!
It was pressure-packed and nerve-racking, but in an
exciting and invigorating way. We played five or so
originals and ended the set with a drugged-out version
of ‘Candy Man’ from Willie Wonka that
we practiced only twice. The show went surprisingly
well, and we haven’t really looked back since.
After that we played a series of gigs with a different
lineup each time; Chris F. and I were the only constants
from show to show. Chris S. moved to Grass Valley
and that’s when we fell in with Caleb. He’s
been a wonderful addition from the beginning, and
we felt really lucky to find him. The same is true
for Sophia and Steve. They’re both friends who
were involved in other music projects that we truly
loved, so it was flattering for us that they wanted
to be part of LSD. Plus, they’re brilliant musicians
and we immediately knew what they’d be able
to bring to the band, so we were ecstatic.
When I did a google search for the band,
I found out that your name is based on a book, The
Private Sea: LSD and the Search for God, what made
you decide to name your band after this?
I love the name and think it’s fitting for
a number of reasons. I think the band name—or
the book subtitle—sums up the universal theme
of the human condition, and I think it does so in
a pretty clever way. It acknowledges the burden of
consciousness: our need to make sense of and ascribe
meaning to our existence and, consequently, our pending
death. To take it even further, I believe it’s
this self-indulgent fascination with and fear of our
own mortality that is the true motivation behind everything
Being that shoegaze bands, historically, have
had a fairly set formula (soft vocals, fuzzed out
guitars, booming drums), do you ever feel restricted
with the band's link to that genre? And, do you consider
yourself a shoegaze band?
These days, I think the term ‘shoegaze’
is used endearingly by people who are both aware and
appreciative of the aesthetic you described. So when
we’ve heard people call us a ‘shoegaze’
or ‘spacerock’ band, they’ve usually
mean it in a complimentary way.
Nevertheless, we don’t feel at all restricted
by any label—‘shoegaze’ or otherwise—that
anyone would or wouldn’t use to describe us.
We’re keenly aware of the fact that we have
no control whatsoever over how people interpret us
or our music. In fact, we wouldn’t even want
to control that. While external reassurance is always
flattering, it has nothing to do with our ultimate
goal. As long as we continue to play music that we
believe in, it honestly doesn’t matter to us
what others think about it.
As far as the second part of your question, do you
consider your band a "shoegaze" band? I
consider our band to be just that: a band. Our primary
loyalty is to our vision, not to a socially-constructed
genre or category. All we’re trying to do is
express ourselves and our music in an honest and sincere
way, and it often feels like we’re communicating
something that I don’t think we even understand.
Due to this approach, if I had to throw us in a genre
I’d say we’re creating soul music.
Can you talk a little bit about your writing
process? Is a song virtually complete before it is
brought to the band, or is it more of a
collaborative/improvisational style of writing?
Every song takes a unique path to fruition, but for
the most part the songs are sorted fairly well before
we fuss with them in the band context. Yet a collaborative
nature and effort is essential to our sound and what
One thing about this band that’s been so inspirational
for all of us is the energy and ingenuity we all bring
to the band and our individual roles. We’re
inspired and motivated by each other, we hold ourselves
and each other to an incredibly high standard, and
we feed of each other’s creativity. The songs
would sound really different without every member
and their individual contribution. I think our band
is an excellent example of a project where the sum
is greater than the parts.