Friday 28 April 2017

An Interview with Chris Peters from SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT

Psychedelic Stoner Rockers – Samsara Blues Experiment have been going as band for 10 years now. Starting in 2007, the band have released a string of acclaimed albums that's seem them built up an impressive worldwide fanbase.

The band are about to release their excellent new album – One With The Universe. It features the band's trademark style of heavy psychedelic sounds merged with strands of Stoner Rock and Eastern style noises.

I was given the chance to catch up with Christian Peters (Guitars/Vocals) from the band to discuss their new album and how they will be celebrating their 10th anniversary as Samsara Blues Experiment.

This is what Chris had to say....

Hi Chris. Long time. Good to hear from you. How are things with you today.

Yes it´s been a while... I am fine, super busy though. I feel like SBE turned into a 60hr (or more) job, but I can´t complain since I wanted, and still prefer it this way :-). You know we still do most things ourselves, like promoting, marketing, playing the instruments ;-) etc...

Congrats on your new album – One With The Universe. Such a great album. What can people expect from the album.

Thank you! Oh please don´t expect and just listen to it. And hopefully enjoy!

The new album is perhaps your more progressive and spaced out to date. I feel it sounds like your earlier albums but with a heavier progressive style. Is that a fair assessment to make.

Well, I would say “Waiting...” maybe was our more `progressive` but maybe a bit over-analyzed by ourselves. While now we got back to a more fundamental approach of “how does a song work” and still ROCK?! I think it´s more fluent as the last two albums, all songs blend into each other, which is what I really like in particular. It has maybe more of a “concept album sound” even though it´s not a concept album.

Was that the original plan with the new album. Release something that reflected on your earlier sounds but whilst still offering something new.

We didn´t really have a plan I think. We just wanted to write new material, also to show how well the three-piece works. The new rhythm section is really great IMHO. Thomas and Hans play really tight stuff. That alone gives me a great fundament to build up all my stuff on there. I played a lot with synthesizers in the last years and I think you can hear that.

There´s less traditional guitar solos maybe, and therefore more SOUNDS. I for myself listened to much different music than only five years ago. I practically almost stopped listening to traditional (70s) Rock, or any of this guitar-based music for quite some time. It really brought a broad horizon to everything. There´s so many amazing sounds out there (Jazz, Electronica, even Pop), just try the internet ;-). I also sold most of my record collection, but that´s another story...

Did you do anything differently recording this album compared to your previous albums.

Not really, we recorded the basic tracks (guitar, bass, drums) live and I spent some more days to do all the keyboard overdubs and vocals. The only real big difference was, we now had to pay Richard (our former bass player, who owns a studio) for this record LOL, so we had to do it all in less than three weeks, while all our earlier albums have been recorded in time stretches up to several months. A lot of stress, but good stress!

What influenced you when recording this album. As the album has some dark themes running throughout.

In the recording process I was pretty much in this positively stressed phase of creativity, for instance some vocal lines just came out while we recorded this and I played so much keyboard my hands actually hurt LOL. But speaking of the song topics itself and the process of writing the album, a lot of it again is influenced by another girl-leaves-boy drama. I thought I had this figured out finally, but turns out I still have no idea how people maintain to keep up relationships.

A lot of the songs are my sort of "nerdy" dedications to this girl-woman I have spent some of the best months of my life with, maybe then a bit lazy music wise but I think I was really happy... while now the Blues returned. But I refuse to have it take over all of me ;-)... I believe all the songs still have a positive turn out, anyway.

The artwork is stunning. Who designed the cover. Did you have much input into the final version.

The original artwork already existed. I think it is a drawing from the late 80s or so. I found it while more or less randomly surfing the internet. He is a French surrealist painter by the name Michel Bassot. We contacted him but he did not reply, probably because he doesn´t speak English, so we had Claire of Purple Sage PR do a second try - et voila - he agreed and seemed interested in our music as well. I just had to add the fonts (tough job) and changed the background color to purple, as I didn´t like it in the original black. But these are the only things, we added some pictures from our trip around California in 2015 in the CD and LP-layout. By the way this was where the band really got together again, after Richard left there was a little “instability”, but this trip really “fused us together” I believe.

How hard is it being a band in today's world. What are the most difficult aspects in being in a band.

It´s not hard. People who say its hard, come on... Okay let´s put it like this, when you are a lazy person who thinks a label should make you a big cock rock star, please stop making music now. If you live and love music, please... you need to work, work, work (play, play, play) and at some point things will “pay off”, probably in ways you would have never expected. But before just work, work, work and don´t give up. I play in bands since 1999. I play psychedelic “retro” music since the year of 2000! I played for 2 people, I played for 20 people, I now play for an average 200 or more. I am doing this a long, long time now and these times, man, it is just great!! We owe so much to the internet which helps connecting people. It is just amazing. People who complain about these times, I mean come on... get a life LOL!

Will you be doing an extensive tour for this album. Or will you be taking things much easier.

We take things much easier :-). Sometimes we even won´t sell merch or do interviews or any of these time-consuming things ;-), just because we want to enjoy our time too, you know... I know it may be a rather “strange concept” in these days, but life is there to be enjoyed. And we can not play everywhere anyway, Hans and Thomas have jobs, family and stuff. Things which are important too, and deserve their time.

And then some big countries across the pond still don´t really seem to know how to thread you at least in a decent humane way – and we are not spoiled at all!! – but when I have to pay some thousand dollars to play a few gigs because local bookers have this wild west concept of not giving a band food or accommodation or anything which would make a person happy and feel welcome, man it is just not possible, plus all other expenses that you have when touring other continents.

Then there´s a lot of countries in this world where we feel welcome, where people are beyond grateful... and as I said our time is limited. In general, I wish people would be more open, and speak and travel and reflect on their lifes... not to get me wrong, I hope!

Samsara Blues Experiment have been going as a band since 2007. Did you ever imagine the journey that it has took you on. Would you change anything you accomplished with the band.

Actually - and despite I had always have had quite some confidence in us as a band - I expected MUCH less! I never expected us to play in South America (and get this HUGE response from the people - like WOW!!), two times in the USA (well we miraculously made it), the Rockpalast TV-show, have so many fans in ALL of the world including “remote” countries like Iran or Iceland or Malaysia. The internet changed a lot for the better! I wish more people would finally realize it and not cut off their own potential by not promoting their music in networks like YouTube.

It is just amazing to have one album with almost 4 MILLION plays there, I mean we are still a small band, no big label, so no big label money AT ALL. Still three regular dudes with cheap sunglasses, and in there just for playing our hearts out basically. So it is just amazing to be rewarded like this, honestly and directly from THE people, not by some fat big dollar media-dinosaur who just writes about us because a label paid him for this.

Will you be doing anything special to mark your 10th anniversary as a band. A one-off gig to celebrate your music.

Yes we will do this on May 13 in Berlin. Richard will return for one gig and play his trademark “Army Of Ignorance” with us. We will also introduce the original line-up of founding members playing a “Singata”-jam. I hope there will be an atmosphere of PURE BLISS because that is what the world needs most, not another super negative Sludge Doom band. Please.

Are you still involved with different musical projects such as running your excellent record label. Any new musical projects on the horizon. Or is SBE your main focus for the time being.

I do my solo stuff as SURYA KRIS PETERS. But my label activities have been pretty much cut down to releasing more or less only our own outputs, also because I am still a bit disappointed in some of my earlier band-releases who at first chance jumped on the big label / big show off-boat. Hans has another band with Rodeo Drive, but they are a total “hobby band”, not playing live that much or doing much in general except for band internal drinking contests maybe LOL. Thomas is totally absorbed by job and family, and SBE, I think. He once had another project, but time flies you know... we have to make compromises all the time. It´s just like that.

Before you go, do you have anything to say to your fans.

THANK YOU! So much, I can not speak to everybody personally nor even reply every mails especially in these days where I have like a 7 day job with the band and my other things, but really I am overwhelmed by the many many great people out there! 

And to those who keep complaining (about my voice, about the songs, about the artworks LOL!!), rating music after two plays, comparing us to any random band out there : Music is not about competition!! Can you imagine?!

Well Chris, thanks for doing this. All the best with the new album as its' a superb album.

Thank you, and keep enjoying whatever you do!

Words by Steve Howe and Chris Peters

Thanks to Claire at Purple Sage PR for arranging this interview. Thanks to Chris for taking the time out to talking to me. Out With The Universe is available to buy now.


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