INTERVIEW: Psydove | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Psychedelia makes you feel profoundly different than before; a change in perception. Psych art plays with what you thought were understandable images in front of your eyes; psych music plays with what you thought were understandable sounds coming into your ears.” These eloquent words, spoken by Steve Ziolkowski, one half of band Psydove, began our chat about his minimalistic project, which is more accessible than you may first imagine. While studying at Newcastle University he met band member Xanthe Polaine, currently working on her PhD: “We’re both weird engineer multi-disciplinarians, and it’s all gravy.” A bond formed over music, but their preferences shifted, and tastes diversified as they matured. “I was inspired to play guitar by thrash metal in my teens, then moved to all kinds of prog, alt. and indie rock, and now it branches right out to jazz. Now I’m firmly in psychedelic territory, which is the best kind because anything goes,” Steve enthuses.

There wasn’t an awakening or spiritual calling to create psychedelic sounds, however he did feel a powerful pull to the experiences. “Meditation. Music. Art. The whole shebang, baby. Psychedelia enables the person to deal with past trauma and negative feelings, and not just put it aside (or worse, sweep it under the carpet) but integrate it to how they live.” In terms of the music: “Those weird notes, unusual time signatures or scattered chord progressions aren’t mistakes (actually they probably are), but they enable the piece to be a lot more genuine and represent life closely. You don’t just get the best parts, you get every part, which I see as a good thing.”

Psychedelia enables the person to deal with past trauma and negative feelings, and not just put it aside but integrate it to how they live

All recording is done in his abode, but creativity can strike at any moment, and found in the most mundane of tasks. “I could be whistling a tune on my way to Lidl and have to sing a voice memo into my phone while trying not to look insane.” At other points he’ll be in the mood, starting with a few drum loops or chords that don’t always make sense. “Sometimes I’ll be practising for the Psydove set, get sidetracked with a jazzy progression, and have to run upstairs to lay down the riff before I forget.”

New track It Happens To Be is released this month. Lyrically it explores looking at yourself and everyone else and thinking some things are going well, some things aren’t, but in the bigger picture, it’s all ok. “You’re just a transient star fart trying to derive meaning in the cosmic breeze/gale.” Masses of influence are involved: Tame Impala, Mild High Club, MGMT to name a few, with a surprisingly soulful edge underpinning Psydove’s sound. “I tend to be over-indulgent with basslines, so maybe it’s transferred into the vocals. I like being a bit cheeky.” he reveals.

Craving progress, we can expect transference to real drums soon and whacky live playing, where it’s doubtful that you will ever hear the same song twice. Ziolkowski ends with an invite: “If you ever want a jam, hit me up. I’ve made it my prerogative to have as little expectations as possible in my life, as well as having no formal musical training and little musical theory, anyone who is on my wavelength will probably enjoy. Like a young shinobi apprentice once said: a vibe is a vibe.”

Psydove release It Happens To Be on 21st August

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