Zeitgeist first met with The Lysergic Suite back in September 2010 before they were due to play their first ever acoustic set in Soho.
It was an oddly rock'n'roll first meeting. We'd arranged to meet for a pre-gig chat and as we were walking towards the venue, further down the street, swaggering towards us, turning heads as they walked, were these three skinny jeaned guys. Steeped in music history with its jazz clubs, recording studios and iconic venues such as the 100 Club and the now defunct Marquee Club, those Soho streets have seen many great bands swagger down them in a similar fashion.
What struck us straight away was how down to earth, laid back and modest the three lads were. There were no ego's, and no fighting for the limelight, just three great friends who are absolutely passionate about their music. They look the part and they most definitely sound the part but they really don't live up to those bad rock star cliches that we've come to expect.
Since that first meeting we've gone on to get to know the band quite well. Always fun and friendly to be around we feel it's only fair that you become better acquainted with who are they are, and what they're all about too. So we had a chat with frontman Gren about everything from the band's upcoming album, to his 'real life' Dr Gonzo.'
Tell us a bit about The Lysergic Suite?
Basically we're a three piece band from Leicester. We've only been together since the middle of last year, but I've been working on the project for a few years now.
We quickly found out that you're far from being a stereotypical three piece band. You're about so much more than just the sound, right?
From the very beginning I wanted to encapsulate all the things that were running through my head into one package, one band. I love cinematics and lighting, and The Lysergic Suite is just as much about the artwork and the show as it is the music. It also comes down to the fact that I love doing everything myself; I learnt how to photograph and use Photoshop to do our artwork, and learnt how to create and edit videos for the same reason.
So how did the existing set up of You, Adem and Liam come to be?
Adem has been a part of the band since its inception. It probably wouldn't exist without him because, apart from being the drummer, he's the guy that pushed me into doing it in the first place. He would always ring me and say "What the fuck are you playing at? Why haven't you got it sorted yet?" I look forward to playing him new stuff when I write it because he bounces off the walls, and I can gauge his reactions quite well now. We don't have and acid test, we have a Custic test.
Liam's an absolute gem. He was playing in an other local band, and I asked him if he fancied doing a bit of bass playing for a three piece live thing. That's how it all started, but we quickly gelled and became a band, which is something that can take years to achieve; it's taken us three months. There's no other guys I'd rather be in a band with than these two,
How would you describe your sound?
I hate this question... I guess it's a mash-up of 60's/70's Krautrock and modern dance because it's quite repetitive and progressive, but at the same time it can get quite cinematic and epic in places, it just builds until there's nowhere else to go.
Who and what have been your biggest influences both musically and creatively?
I'm on a diet. I've stopped listening to major radio and anything on the television while we record the album. If we're in the car, it has to be the iPod on shuffle at the moment. I don't know where the idea came from, but I think that the overload of shit we're fed can have serious effects on you, and I don't want that whilst recording the most important thing this band will ever do. To be honest, I've been listening to this particular internet radio station a lot, if you're into 60's psychedelia give it half an hour of your time www.techwebsound.com Their library is incredible. Other than that I'm listening to a lot of "Can" (70's Krautrock band), “Harmonia” and such, but modern stuff? I'm not playing a lot of it at the moment.
Has your experience as a producer helped push your own music forward?
The only reason I learnt how to produce was to make our album, so its actually the other way around. I bought all of the equipment to record ourselves, but then friends kept asking me to record them too, and it all spiralled out of control. I love the work though, and I like working with different people. I've been recording a band called Agile Beast who are a bit of a departure from what I normally get asked to do, but you wont find a nicer, more hard working bunch of lads. They're amazing, and a good laugh in the studio too.
We have to mention the amazing track on your E.P 'Ghosts on Crusade' Featuring Kasabian's Tom Meighan on vocals. It's a pretty special track, how did that all come about?
The funny thing is that because of the way the album is shaping up that E.P has become a sort of demo. I almost view it as one of those recordings you do when you're finding your feet, which is amazing. I'm quite proud of the fact that the first thing we ever did, our demo, had Tom Meighan on it.. It's quite mind blowing for me. We share a studio with Kasabian so I played Tom some of the very early demo's and he liked the sound of it, so we just went from there.
You've also collaborated with Dodger from The Black Dove Experiment. Are there any plans for future collaborations?
Dodger's one of those guys that everyone should have met at least once in their lifetime, a true character. At the end of Hunter S Thompson's Fear And Loathing, Dr Gonzo gets described as "too weird to live, and too rare to die;" Dodger is my Dr Gonzo. We will definitely do something with them in the future, without fail. Dodger's passion for music is incredible, and so is his writing talent, I love him.
I know that like a lot of musicians you've become tired of what the music industry and radio stations are trying to push at us; but if you look away from the mainstream it's definitely starting to look like an exciting time right now for new music in the UK. Are there any bands that have caught your eye?
A lot of them are my friends' bands and I've already mentioned them. The problem for me is that, because of the mainstream, I don't find new bands that easily, as I cant wade through the shit to find them. It takes me quite some time to get into something new, but I love it when something comes along that turns you on completely.
There's been some amazing bands coming out of Leicester recently too, what are they putting in the water up there?
MDMA. No, not really. I'm not sure about all this "they're a Manchester band, they're a London band" stuff, I don't think it really exists. When a band comes from a big city it gets mentioned and sticks in your subconscious, but when a band comes from outside these areas you don't pay much attention to where they're from. The Verve were from Wigan, Radiohead from Oxford, there are talented bands from all over, I think it's just because Kasabian have done so well over the last few years, and they fly the flag for Leicester that it gets noticed.
We've meticulously done our research here at Zeitgeist and we hear you make a mean cup of tea, so what's the secret to a good cuppa?
Two sugars, and don't believe everything you hear on Salford City Radio, she was just being nice.
And what's the best biscuit for dunking?
I'm going to ring (Adem) Custic and ask him, he's the sweet and biscuit king; he knows everything about kids sweets, he loves them - "get those yellow ones, the purple ones are shit" - he's amazing to go to the corner shop with. Right, it's ringing... "Foxes Cream Crunch, same texture as a ginger nut, but it soaks the tea up better, its like a butter biscuit, actually it might be a butter biscuit, might be the same family." Told you.
Ok, staying in the slightly light hearted vein but back to music. Where did you find the sample for Earth and Water? Any idea if that guy's for real?
Its from an American radio talk show called Coast to Coast, they were doing a phone-in about Area 51 and this guy rang in saying that he used to work there. He was making all these mad claims about extra dimensions and Government cover ups. The really fucked up thing about it is that that transmission was cut off half way through, the transmitter failed in a massive way, sabotage perhaps? The strangest thing is that even if there isn't a shred of truth in it, the Government thought it was still too close to the bone to be heard by anyone. It just caught my imagination. I'm really into the Freemasons too, as you can see from the artwork, but that's another story.
We understand you're currently locked away recording The Lysergic Suite's debut album? When will it be released and what can we expect from it?
I can't put a date on it yet, but it's looking like some time in May, it depends on a few factors but at the moment the recording is going really well. We have the album in rough form and I keep listening to it, we're buzzing about it, its massive.