Interview with inimitable Insomnichord

“I really felt that” was just one reaction from a packed out and loudly cheering but obviously stunned dance floor at the famed Water Rats Theatre, recently after Insomnichord played. Something momentous had just happened at a landmark music space. This is where Bob Dylan played his first UK gig in December 1962 and Oasis their first London gig in 1994. This Kings Cross venue has seen debut performances by The Pogues (1982) and cult phsycedelic beats wonders, The Beta Band (1997). A good place to make an impression, then. Not one to hang around when excited, our intrepid music reporter, Monefa was there.

As the months go on, it’s harder to find a new band that brings something new to the table right? Wrong. April 2018 in The Water Rats, London proved that point. If you were there that night, the consensus was that each live set stunned newcomers and This Feeling zone regulars alike. One of those bands, was Insomnichord

Insomnichord have got the psychedelic magic, from the likes of Iron Butterfly, and have mixed within the modern structure of today’s music. What emanates, is an exploratory sound with mystery and complex textures that we haven’t heard since the Trip-Hop era. It comes as no surprise, that they’re getting snapped up quickly for dates during the summer already. Luckily they had some free time to answer questions, as a collective hive mind of band members, for us at TheZineUK.

Starting as the last Beast From The East had just thawed;

TheZineUK : “Missing the snow haha??…”

“I hate snow – It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere.”

(moving onto a more positive note)

“Best gig so far this year?”
“Had a gig in our end of town recently at the Crofters Rights. It’s a music venue/bar that does the best pizza in Bristol. We managed to get a mate down who dabbles a bit as a projectionist and he did a class job of the liquid light show. The supports were some of the best we’ve played with too (along with the ones from our This Feeling shows, obviously). Arno and These Molten Eyes. Go check them out.”

“If someone said you could either only play music or read, forever, which one would you pick?”
“You make it sound like a tough choice but in reality, you’d have to teach Zak (drummer) to read first…”

“Which bands are grabbing your attention at the moment?”
“A lot of the bands we like never seem to get the chance to come over to the UK. The lineup for Bristol Psych Fest is looking good this year. One of the headliners, Stonefield, have got a great new album out. 

“The headliners from our last London ‘This Feeling’ Show at the Water Rats – MOSES – were incredible. They had our bassist, Mischa, shouting the chorus of ‘The River Thames’ (an unreleased song of theirs) on the tube (London Underground train), while relieving himself into an empty Sambucca bottle.”

“What did you expect to have changed in the music industry by now, but has yet to do so?”
“I had a chat to someone about this the other night. Firstly, the lack of good song writing in a lot of popular music. People seem content with music that’s got an alright beat to it and that they listen to out in a club on a Friday or Saturday night but that doesn’t really do anything innovative or make you feel anything. 

I know everyone looks back on the past with a skewed sense of nostalgia that everything was better back then but the songwriting that used to be in the charts, at least to me, seems to be generally of a higher standard. 

Not to say that there isn’t good music in the charts, of course there is, and there is still so much great music being made. It’s just not popular in the same way as someone like The Chainsomers are. 

Secondly, the lack of interest in Incentivising and nurturing new acts. 

Our manager was in a band, back in the day, called Levitation. They played their first show in 1990 and the support fee was £50. Enough, in those days, for all the band to pay for transport/put a few quid towards studio time etc. 

Seems mad that today, twenty eight years later, the fees haven’t changed. Bands starting out now always seem to end up in the negative after a gig, which has led bands we know to have to quit. Bit of a shame…”

“The festival that you’re looking forward to the most this summer?…”

“…A couple of us have got tickets to Citadel in London. Harrison, our keys player, always makes it to Green Man Festival. Dot to Dot, locally in Bristol, always gets great bands. The Horrors are playing again this year (one of our favourites).”

and generally…

“Crappest TV show you’ve ever watched?”
“The English version of hole in the wall was horrible.”

“Supporting any teams this World Cup?”

“5 words: Three – Lions – On – Our – Shirts”

“An artist/band you’ve still yet to see?”

“Baddiel & Skinner, and The Lightning Seeds”

Talking of a band that most people are still yet to see, back to the music of Insomnichord. How to describe? Progressive psychedelic millennial expansive and energetically dynamic soundscapes? This is something different, tightly rhythmed, space cadet synthed, oozing groovy musicality (twelve string guitar included), performed with soul, panache and glamour.

In short, music obsessives. Go. And. See. Them. If you can. They’ve probably time traveled from the transatlantic 60s or 70s and sound very now and next. So, on that note, one last question;

“Are there any other instruments you’d like to learn?”

“For us all to have the voices of angelic choirboys. Trying to sort out harmonies for our songs always turns into a complete shitstorm.”

Harrison Wright + Mat Balone + Mischa Dhar + Rollo Ellison + Zak de la Bedoyere= Insomnichord

With massive thanks, as ever, to Mikey/George and This Feeling from TheZineUK team, for the show tickets!

Additional snapshots from The Water Rats, London – Saturday 7th April 2018, by Caffy St Luce

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