Tuesday 14 June 2016

An Interview with INFINITE FLUX

Infinite Flux is the fresh psychedelic stoner doom outfit from Tacoma, Washington. They started with the full-length self-titled album which was released online on 2nd January 2016.

Infinite Flux is a bloody strong debut record, and if you dig into qualitative psychedelic stuff then I bet that you already know it. Meanwhile, it’s always good to take a look behind the curtain and learn more about the band which grants such great phonic pleasure. And it’s always better when each band’s member has something to say. So let me introduce the whole Infinite Flux crew: John Kennedy (guitars, vocals), Ryder Hoffman (drums), Dan Fierro (guitars) and Darren Chase (bass, vocals). Gentlemen are already here in our virtual studio.

Hello gents! I beg a pardon for that standard question, but I believe that this one could be asked till the band has one album in stock. So here we go - how was Infinite Flux formed?

John: Zack Deckard and I got together in 2012 while we were both getting out of the army. He was a killer drummer. A mutual friend got us together and we clicked right away and started writing. Tony Copeland joined us on bass and that was the beginning of being a band. Zack had to leave the state soon after we had enough material to play out, and Ryder Hoffman joined us on drums for about a month before we played our first show.

John what did the military service give you besides free meals and a lot of time withthe fresh air? Didn’t it affect your musical taste?

John: My time in Iraq definitely impacted the content as well as the scales I dip into. Everything effects everything and that experience is a part of me now.

Just one look at album artwork and songs titles give a strong impression as it is something semi mythical, semi fantastic. How did you work over this concept? What's your message?

John: Life is semi mystical and fantastic, as well as horrific and terrible. I was dealing with a lot of issues while recovering from the knee injury that got me out of the army, and a lot of the songs on this reflect where my head was at during that time.

Ryder: A lot of it has more than one meaning or is presented in an abstract manner so that the listener can find their own meanings in it.

The album was released on 2nd of January and only in digital format, how could that be? Don't major labels call you day and night asking to release it on gorgeous vinyl?

Dan: Actually, Devils Child Records is currently in the final stage of bringing this to vinyl! It should be available at http://www.devilschildrecords.bigcartel.com/ June 18th. We plan to get CD’s and shirts up in their store as well. Major label? Maybe not yet, but they are awesome to work with and are putting out some killer music from us, Mos Generator, Year Of The Cobra, Mammoth Salmon and a ton of other killer PNW bands.

The album is solid yet diverse and dynamic, Infinite Flux shows its individuality alongside some direct influences. What did tell you to stop composing one day and just record these songs? How did you understand that it is ready to be summoning in the mortal world?

John: It was a function of the necessary planetary alignment.

Ryder: You have to have calm to appreciate chaos, or maybe the other way around. There is no point in yelling ALL the time. Our songs continue to evolve and at no point do we really consider them done, when we recorded with Tony Reed at Heavy Head, we wanted a snapshot of what the band sounded like live at that moment.

Dan: Once the groove of the songs flowed so that I personally didn't have to think about it, just play in the moment, I knew it was ready to record.

It sounds like Infinite Flux is a sacred practice for you indeed, what kind of feelings do you transfer through it? Is it an anger management course or something more spiritual?

John: This is difficult to answer as I don’t tend to quantify things in that manner. On stage is definitely one of the few places where I can exist completely in the moment. Everyone is on their own spiritual journey and it can’t be learned, it has to be understood, if you get my meaning. I try to steer away from telling people how to approach their own experience. If they pick up what I am putting down with my actions then they have understood, and there is no further need to discuss it. As far as the anger management part. Societal norms prohibit me screaming “I’ll bury you in graves of ashes!” in normal public setting. That sort of behavior is frowned upon. On stage I can do it and mean it and people cheer. So that is a huge relief valve for sure.

Infinite Flux – Solar Sacrifice

One of most striking song of the album is “Solar Sacrifice”, it is most epic and longest track on the album. What is the story of its creation? And what is the song about?

John: “Solar” was the first Flux song. Zak Deckard and I used to just jam on those riffs when it was just the two of us. In it's initial form, we'd jam it for hours. When Tony Copeland joined us on bass, it got trimmed down and some of the parts were cut to make it into something we could play live and not have it be our only song. When we added Dan Fiero we were able to get some of the things I had previously looped rewritten into new guitar parts. Sean Booth replaced Tony on Bass and brought a very different sound to the bass lines. That's really when the version on the album was born. Even now, that song continues to evolve.

Ryder: When I look out and see people in the audience, I can see people with their eyes closed and they are deep into the groove where their body is anchored in the room, subject to the sonic arc of guitars and percussion but their mind is taking them somewhere else. “Solar” interesting in that is has movements, it goes places.

Metal or rock bands prefer darker stuff, for example I believe that some stuff about the Moon could be more popular than this ritualistic story about the Sun. What is the message of Infinite Flux?

John: It’s all in the name.

What is the connection between songs “Hangman” and “Guillotine”?

John: Both are songs about executioners, one is a love song.

Just like that? Are there any real stories behind both tracks?

John: Not that I want to share, sorry.

Your music is labeled as psychedelic doom stoner; is it necessary to have an experience of any mind changing substances to dig it or is it substantive phenomena?

Ryder: No, music is a journey and you can get there in a lot of different vehicles. It's like the Floyd song fearless. "I'll climb that hill in my own way".

Darren: Absolutely not but a little THC never hurt anybody!

John: I don't think psychedelics are needed to put you mind into the correct state, I haven't taken any psychedelics in decades, but I am glad that I did. I was fortunate to have good experiences with it and I think it helped me get to a place where I could be honest with myself. You don't need psychedelics to establish self awareness and understanding, but often those who are seeking to do so are drawn to them. Where it comes through in the music is a function of how committed we are to the riff. LSD or psilocybin often induce a state where you feel like you are fully experiencing a thing, be it music or a film or the tree in your back yard. Focus and concentration narrow until the mind focus's on one thing to the exclusion of the rest of existence. I try to get into that mindset when playing. Full awareness with single minded focus. It doesn't always happen but I think it comes across to the audience when it does.

What’s about side-effects of psychedelic? Does it – subjectively - have some like alcohol has? You know that’s funny thing that alcohol looks like more destructive thing, but it’s legal stuff, as the drugs are not.

John: The big danger would be when people who have preexisting mental conditions that may magnified by the hallucinogenic. Even then the possibility exists that they could be used therapeutically, but I would not want to see people like that taking it without the supervision of people who really know what they are doing.

Your bandmate Darren also plays in Ancient Warlocks, do you play anywhere else besides Infinite Flux?

John: Terrasone. I love being involved in that because while I do a lot of the logistical side of things in Flux, there I just play guitar. It's nice to not be the guy fronting it.

Darren: I have another band just starting now. We'll be recording at Big Sound Productions (Ancient Warlocks HQ) for the next three days. There's no name yet but it is myself on guitar, a lady vocalist and then the guitarist, bassist and drummer from Princess www.facebook.com/princessismetal I have also had the pleasure of sitting in with local improvisational noise rockers Power Skeleton and I'm looking forward to any opportunity to do it again! www.facebook.com/powerskeleton

One more thing about Ancient Warlocks – how do you differ subjectively the efforts and energy you put into it and Infinite Flux? What’s the difference for you?

Darren: I prefer to step back in Flux and be less in the spotlight. A of people know me from Warlocks, but I don’t want that to be why they listen to Flux. Both bands should stand on their own merits, and I think they do.

Did you ever tour together? And how do you usually organize your gigs?

John: Not yet. We have one show this summer Darren will be pulling double duty. We’ll see how that goes and figure it out from there.

As both bands perform similar musical style, so isn't it Darren who write most of the stuff? How do you share duties in Infinite Flux?

Darren: I do lots of writing for AW and the new band but I've only contributed a little to Infinite Flux. I've been in the band only nine months at this point and this is also my first time playing bass in a band. So I spend a lot of time practicing the album, the several new songs and just trying to get the overall bass feel to be correct. I'm quite proud to be involved with Flux and I definitely look forward to contributing more as I get more comfortable in the band and more comfortable with the instrument.

Ryder: How do we write music? It may start with a riff or idea or rhythm and then it turns into a process of feeling out where we want to take it and what makes the song stronger, but we're never opposed to taking things in new directions. We don't like to get too comfortable with one way of looking at a song. Hence the name, INFINITE FLUX.

John: We're stoked to have Darren's influence in what we are doing now, I'm a huge fan of Ancient Warlocks and the pedal that Darren builds, the Ape Blaster Fuzz, is dan's whole sound on the album, one of the new songs "Black Dust" is all riffs that Darren brought in. The album is a lot from me, but with touches of everyone who has been a part of this since it began. I like to write as a group, but tend to be the conductor so to speak.

Ryder: We're flexible enough to where new material from whoever often mutates within the context of the group into a new thing that is different than the original idea.

John: Yes, and we try to realize every idea, even if everyone isn't stoked on it, until it's the way the person who came up with it wants it. Only then do we decide if it's something to keep or not. I think this is important because it brings out some stuff that might not have gotten a fair shake on the first go round. Of course, some times everyone plays it perfect and then it's obvious that it was a bad idea. But it's important to try all the ideas!

How are you serious about Infinite Flux? What are your ambitions?

John: Being serious about your art and ambition are separate concepts. I want to make music I love. If others dig it, that’s bonus. When promoters try to appeal to our greed or desire to “make it” I typically block them and move on to people who are into the art of it.

Do you already have a vision how next album will sound?

John: We've got a few written for it and a lot more that has yet to reveal itself.

Thank you for the interview guys, I think that the best interviews happen when all band’s members answer. So I think that we done a pretty good job!

Just a thank you to you as well. We’d do this if no one ever heard us at all, but it certainly is gratifying to see the album spread across the globe. We hope to get across the puddle at some point because we’d love to meet everyone over there!

Words by Aleks Evdokimov and Infinite Flux