Liveguide.NL 2016 Interview English Translation

The following interview by Teun van Rooij was originally published in Dutch in the music magazine LiveGuide.NL (January 2016). It was translated into English by Filip van der Pol, April 2024.

Dreamy Space Jams from Down-under.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

Text: Teun van Rooij

With smouldering basslines, ear-shattering drums and psychedelic guitar riffs, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard blew you away last year. Unless you were not present at Down the Rabbit Hole, Skatepark Area-51 in Eindhoven, or Le Guess Who?. In that case: don't worry! After all that spaced-out rock aggression, frontman Stuart Mackenzie’s Australians return this year to pull a completely different sound out of the hat.

It sounds like a dumb move to exchange the nice warm weather of down-under for the wintery cold of the Netherlands, but Stuart Mackenzie doesn’t care. “Tell that to our booking agents. We actually look forward to the European tour, because now we finally get the chance to play a lot of new material from our next album! You’ll be surprised because it will be the heaviest record we have made to date. It was a ruthless mix of sneering guitars and exploding drums. We wanted to make our most intense album yet. When we were able to do that, it slowly evolved into an album you could put on an infinite repeat that hosts serious topics about time and space. I can’t say much more about that.” Well, we can. The upcoming release is called Nonagon Infinity, a project the band has been working on for two and a half years with breaks. The biggest part of the album was recorded by the band in the ‘House of Soul’, or the Daptone Studios in Brooklyn. “All our albums are partially recorded in that studio and nearly all of my favourite modern albums are from that place. The sound there is unbeaten by any other studio. Go and listen to albums from Sharon Jones. Those are insanely good! What makes it such a good match for us? They still operate 100% analog. There is not a single computer in the building! That is perfect for our band.”

‘You’ll be surprised because it will be the heaviest record we have made to date’

In the two and half years in which they made Nonagon Infinity, King Gizzard was doing everything except idling around. With an average of two albums per year, there was plenty for fans to enjoy. Especially the colourful Quarters! and the acoustic Paper Mâché Dream Balloon are especially surprising. Especially that last album was a welcome change for Mackenzie. He conceived that album within a few days. “That was by far the most fun album to write. We were at a farm just outside of Melbourne and had so much time to mess around. Most of it was made up on the spot. We stepped into that shed with nothing but a few vague ideas. It was liberating to work without a solid concept after all those albums where it was the case. We are trying to change a few of those songs on that album to a more orchestral version so that we can play those live as well.” Mackenzie picked up the clarinet and the violin for Paper Mâché Dream Balloon. Besides those instruments, the singer is also versatile with the guitar and even a theremin, an electronic instrument where the distance of your hand to the instrument changes the tone. Stuart started using that for fun, he says himself. The Aussie says he is always looking at new ways to make music. “Challenging yourself is the most important thing in making music. Lately, I’ve been busy with Turkish instruments. I’m trying to get the hang of the strings of the bağlama as well as the zurna, a kind of flute, for example. But don’t worry that the next album is going to be full of cliché world music. I still consider myself from Melbourne and I pretend not to know exactly what kind of music those cultures have. It’s just fun to stay learning new stuff.”

[Live: 20-02(-2018) Oedipus, Amsterdam
21-02(-2018) Vera, Groningen
04-03(-2018) Where the Wild Things Are, Zeewolde
05-03(-2018) Tivoli Vredenburg, Utrecht (The Homecoming of John Coffey, also supported by Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes and Black Peaks) Sounds like: a fuzz-drenched cacophony of guitars, harmonicas, and organ violence]

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