One of the most peculiar things about living in Seattle at the moment is the fact that there are not one, but two ridiculously over-the-top psych rock divas here. I mean, what are the freaking odds? Of course, I’ve probably written about Midday Veil to the point of complete overkill by now, but you know, they continue to do weird shit that amazes me, so until that stops, I’ll keep up with it.
What I haven’t mentioned is the oneiric excellence of their smoky contemporaries Rose Windows. The reason for that probably has to do with the fact that it took several years to congeal their debut album, The Sun Dogs, into existence. Although the band initially blew me away live due largely to the sheer concussive force of vocalist Rabia Qazi, it wasn’t until the disc dropped in June (on Sub Pop Records no less) that I truly processed the depth of songwriting and lyrical complexity going down in that camp. Highly recommended.
As it turns out, this depth comes largely from the blazed mind of guitarist Chris Cheveyo, and as I learned when I caught up with him by e-mail, it’s channeled primarily from deep meditative states. How do musicians initially trained in oppressive religious traditions end up twerking on stage with Big Freedia (that happened) and making cameos in upcoming Paul Thomas Anderson movies? Weed, that’s how. Read on, true believers.
Thad: The first song on your album, “The Sun Dogs I: Spirit Modules” has references to esoteric spiritual pursuits like remote viewing and automatic writing. Anyone in the band with an interest in these more occult topics? If so, where did this interest stem from and which writers or philosophers prompted this fascination?
Chris: I spent much of the lyrical process in a meditative state. Instead of narratives, I opted to describe the visions I would have while in that state. I called it “remote viewing” because most of the time what I was seeing had little to do with me, personally. It was as if I was experiencing life in someone else’s spirit module. Sometimes at the end of these experiences, I would realize that my hands had been filling pages full of words. I’ve been criticized for the words losing direction, but they were never meant to direct anyone anywhere. They were only meant to surround you as they did me. Kind of a “Monkey Grammarian” approach.
Thad:You guys are from Seattle where weed is now legal. Is pot an influence on what you do, at practice or during creative moments? How do you feel about the potentiality for weed revenue rather than alcohol sales in a club setting as musicians?
Chris: For most of this band’s life, ganja has kept it all together and moving. Not only by consumption. Support your dealers. Alcohol turns an excited crowd into animals. They invade each others’ space and make loud noises. Marijuana turns them into a field of grass. They sway with their eyes closed while others dance among them like butterflies. I’ve never cared about the money. This town would spin without it; best you keep those eyes in the sky.
Read the rest and stream the album over at Redefinemag.com
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