19th Mar2013

The Black Angels: The Indigo Meadow Interview

by Todd

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Is there anything that The Black Angels can’t do? In addition to putting together one of the most anticipated festivals of 2013, the Austin Psych Fest, they have been recording and performing at a whirlwind pace. It all belies what appears on the surface to be a remarkably chill attitude. Their music, beyond the obvious Velvet Underground references, takes psychadelica to an entirely different level, thanks to layers of intricate melodies that mesh to form symphonies of fuzz and blissed-out distortion. As they prepare to release their fourth full-length, Indigo Meadow, singer Alex Maas took a few minutes with Todd and Sania to talk about what looks to be an exciting 2013.

TDOA: Let’s get straight to talking about your amazing new album. It’s stunning! In love with all the organ and surf guitar that finds itself there. Also, one minute it’s got some garage leanings, and then, oh look, a track you can maybe dance to a little. Equal parts hauntingly beautiful and yet very sinister. It really does sound like The Black Angels, just a different terrain of your sound highlighted. What are some of your thoughts on the finished product as it gets close to the release date?

Alex: We are glad to be able to share more of our music to those who have opened ears. It’s very nice to know that you enjoy what we do-

TDOA: Where was the album recorded and who produced it? Give us a little background info on how Indigo Meadow came to be.

Alex: The record was recorded in Tornillo, Texas at Sonic Ranch and produce by John Congleton. From Jan 2012 we started working on the songs for the record last summer we hit record.

TDOA: Sonically, did you approach this record differently than previous recording sessions? New amps, new pedals, new methods of recordingthat you’d like to share with our guitar-techy fans?

Alex: It seems like Christian and Kyle bought a different fuzz pedal every day. It was like a battle to see who could get not only the most rare, but most unique sounding pedal. The obsession spread, and soon every one was justifying the purchase of a new instrument or pedal. We told ourselves, “Oh we can just use that on the record it will be perfect.”. It was like a long expensive Portlandia episode or something….we can just pickle the ones we didn’t use I suppose.

TDOA: What is it like being in the studio with The BlackAngels? Pure Magic?

Alex: Haha. Musically, we just try to get to that place that feels good, something we are all happy with.

TDOA: Tell us about the vocals on track “Twisted Light”. Clearly very different.

Alex: Christian sings the verse here. His voice was perfect for the track. His voice has very sinister vibe in a nicely twisted, gooey kind of way.

TDOA: Was track ‘Evil Things’ once called ‘Bloody Buddy’? I really remember it being labeled that way on the setlist at some of your live shows a few months ago.

Alex: Yes it was our referral name for the song until we found a more appropriate title.

TDOA: I light-heartedly refer to you guys as Austin’s ‘model psych rock citizens.’ How do you feel about Austin’s music scene?

Alex: Haha, quite specific! There is a lot happening right now, we are glad to be a part of it. But truly, there are so many types of music people here, and we are just a small part of a small genre in a huge music city.

TDOA: We have to talk about how completely marvelous thelineup is for Austin Psych Fest is this year. BRMC, Clinic, Moving Sidewalks, Dead Skeletons, etc. Really awesome stuff, and all in a single weekend at that. It’s almost too much to handle, but that’s a great problem to have. Are you as excited as we are?

Alex: We are VERY excited about this years line up, I can’t believe we have the bands we do either. Rob really did a great job this year booking this thing.

TDOA: Tell us about the light projections used in your live shows, they’re killer.

Alex: Thank you very much. Bob Mustachio is our lighting scientist. He is very passionate about what he does and he is constantly innovating his light show. He has great rhythm being a drummer, so it is a very interesting combination to watch him integrate that all of his talents into a light show. If you would have told me 8 or 9 years ago that we would be working with the “then” drummer for the Warlocks I would have called bs. We are really excited about what Bob is doing, and his binary passion for his art.

TDOA: What are you listening to these days?

Alex: I’ve been listening to a lot of vintage folk music from other countries. That ‘not so familiar sound’ is very attractive to meright now. More specifically I’m really drawn to the melodies that came from the Southeastern Pacific cultures.

TDOA: Inside your album covers, it says “We encourage you to rethink your preconceived notions, question authority, and create other methods for survival.” What does this mean to you?

Alex: It’s a reminder for us all in case anyone hadn’t heard the quote before

TDOA: Aside from the release of your awe-inspiring new album, what else do we have to look forward to from The Black Angels in the near future?

Alex: We have our hands in several buckets of honeysuckle juice. It’s just time to fill up the cups and serve our guests.

Visit the band’s website
Indigo Meadow will be released on April 2nd. Pre-order it for only $8.99 on CD via Amazon or purchase it on 180g vinyl for $18.07 via Amazon.

To purchase tickets to see them at Austin Psych Fest 2013, click here!

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