Are the absolute hippies of garage/psychedelic music?
Oh yes they are!!
What were your first musical irritations and how these become your main influences?
Before we started playing garage & psych rock we were into many different styles of music but I was always influenced by my father's music collection which included The Beatles & The Stones (of course) and other well known fellas like The Artwoods, The Yardbirds, The Kinks, The Who etc. But it was not love on first sight. I was maybe 10 or 12 back then and it took me some years before I started listening to more freakier stuff like The Mothers of Invention, The Music Machine, H.P. Lovecraft, Mad River, Music Emporium etc. That was the time I got to know Erik, who later became our organ player and my soul brother. Erik was 16 then and playing classical piano and harpsichord. We used to hang around and listening to tons of records. Soon we started to write songs together. But this was still a long time before The Magnificent Brotherhood. Our first band together was Strawfever.
Have you ever been in other bands before Magnificent brotherhood?
Oh yes, we were in some other bands not worth mentioning... Then came Strawfever. A prototype garage psych band. Erik was playing bass. Because we had an organ player already as he joined the band. We didn't ever put out an album though. After Mimi, one of the girl singers in Strawfever tried to kill me once (and that's NOT a joke!!) we knew that it was time to disband. (She spent some time in a mental house. We wrote a song about her: Mimi's Tune).
Erik went to Sweden for two years to finish school and I went on playing in a band called Liquid Visions, playing a heavier version of psych rock, something between the very early Pink Floyd, Hawkwind and Led Zep. We also had some album output. Erik also joined this band as he got back to Berlin but we wanted to write other, not so heavy material. So we formed The Magnificent Brotherhood as a side project first. After The Liquid Visions disbanded we got Jan on bass and Lars on drums. The Magnificent Brotherhood became our only baby. We're very glad with the way things went down.
How you had the idea naming the band magnificent brotherhood and why now days you are simply magnificent brotherhood?
We started the band as a west coast style psych band. Our favorite bands of that time had names like "The Frumious Bandersnatch", "Quicksilver Messenger Service", "Peanut Butter Conspiracy" etc. So we decided to name the band "The Magnificent Brotherhood of Eternal Love and The Happiness' Close Companions". This was a mix of giving respect to those bands and making fun of them because we believe that it's silly to take music too serious. That's how we live our lives, easy, not too serious.
Anyway at some point the long name was simply ...too long to remember and it really was a pain in the ass to explain and repeating the name 12 times to each person so we shortened it. It's still not easy sometimes...
Do you hear recent albums and if you do, share with us your favorite one.
Sounds corny, but I must confess that I'm only listening to old music at home. There is so much good old music to explore, it's insane. You know, I never change drugs too often. The only new bands that I get to know are bands that we are playing with, mostly bands that are into old music too. I very much like The Higher State, The Urges, Baby Woodrose or The Movements. The last new record I got from somebody was the latest album by The Setting Son. I like it a lot.
You are managing your own releases. First, I would like to say that this is very healthy for a band, tell us why you choose this way.
We know by self experience that you mostly get ripped off by record labels. ...Yes, of course there are good ones too ...somewhere ...but everybody wants to earn money in first place. Most indie labels don't care about pushing a band promotion-wise (unless they're smelling money ...Guess our music smells different). And if a label has got the function of a bank only, you're better on getting the money for the production from your friends. If you're doing it that way nobody can decide for you, which is also very important to us.
What are your main influences in order to make lyrics for a song. You think that lyrics and music have the same importance?
Oh, for me good lyrics can hide everywhere, anytime. We like to write songs about people we know for example. Some people are even paranoid about that ...haha..
We don't have no role models for that because lyrics are a more personal thing than music is. If lyrics and music hit you at the same time, that's best. But as english is not our mother tongue one important aspect to me about writing is phonetics. There are certain words fitting in certain melodies so sometimes the phonetics of words can win over the meaning.
Still we definitively think that music is more important than lyrics. I would buy an instrumental surf record, but I guess I wouldn't buy a record with poems on it. You need beat and melody to get a message across but anyway I don't think that people are paying too much attention to lyrics if listening to a garage band. Which doesn't mean that we don't care for messages. As long as they are not trying to teach you or try to turn you around in some way we're fine with good lyrics. I like lyrics to be like a good joke, less a teaching lesson.
What’s your opinion about psychedelics?
Well, we like them. Partially they made music more interesting. At least they did it in the mid sixties. And generally they play an important role in cultural development since thousands of years. What we like about psychedelics (beside the sights and sounds) is the possibility to get another point of view on certain things, and we all shall get to see things from different angles once in a while! On the other hand there are many stoners etc. doing nothing BUT psychedelics and stuff like that all day long. This is simply a waste of life.
Besides music what other things fills you up?
Red Wine. ...ehem... I'm very much into art and graphics. I also do a lot of stuff for other bands like LP covers, posters etc. Erik is into classical music like J. S. Bach and into latin language. Jan is a voice actor and father of a one year old baby.
Describe me the atmosphere in your live. How people react in your music? How you requite their energy?
The people's energy is very important for our music. In a live situation this energy works like fire on an explosive fuse. We couldn't ever do what we do if we wouldn't get this energy ...at least not the way we like to do it. We simply try to have as much fun as possible in our lives and not getting old. I hope you can hear that in our music. "one party every day!"
Our debut album was limited to 500 LP copies and 2000 CDs. We never have thought that especially the LPs would sell this fast. We have noticed that there is a great increase in the need of vinyl against CDs, which we very much appreciate. We are planning our next studio album (which should be out by end of 2009 if we're lucky) to come out as a 1000 LP edition minimum. The CD has somewhat lost it's value. Today you can download nearly everything from the internet including artwork etc. and what you get in the end is almost a CD. The most people don't even dare to burn it and print out the cover, but rather keeping it in their itunes. Its completely different with vinyl. To play a LP is a ritual. You can't really copy a LP. Apart from the certain warm sound that you get from vinyl every cover looks a thousand times better in a bigger format. To me as a designer it's a torture to designing for a small CD cover. A vinyl LP is the only left musical art object that you can own these days. By the way we plan to bring out a 7" single soon!
Do you know groups or musicians from the greek garage-psych scene from the 60’s until now?
Yes!! Our favorite song by a greek group is "I'm Looking In The Universe" by a band called "The Rabbits". We love the lyrics and the singing on this one. Just everything about this song is great! You HAVE TO listen to this song and if you do, you will get something like a "Magnificent Brotherhood-mood" of seeing things not too serious.
Are you influenced from like bands like Crateful Dead + Country Joe & the fish?
Do I can call your music hippie/garage/psych?
Yes, we started off as a side project of our main band at that time "The Liquid Visions", a really heavy acid space rock group, and we used to cover only west coast acid stuff like The Grateful Dead, The Warlocks, Mad River, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Electric Prunes, Country Joe & The Fish etc. to escape the heavy side of psych music. We even did some country stuff for relaxing.
But since we got into writing our own material we pretty much shortened the songs along with our band name and our sound became more aggressive, ironical and fast. "The Magnificent Brotherhood of Eternal Love and The Happiness' Close Companions" became just "The Magnificent Brotherhood". Erik & me left The Liquid Visions and the Hood became "our baby".
Well, you can call our music what ever you like to call it. We're influenced by so many music & stuff that it's hard to make up one genre for us I guess. Our latest album "Dope Idiots" is even more wide ranged. There is psych, garage, pop, soul, rock, ballads, r'n'b etc, etc. ...After all it's only rock'n'roll... and we sure like it, right?
You had some gigs in Greece. Your impressions of that?
We loved to play in Greece. Really! It's been the first time for us and we sure want to come back since the audience is really nice and they really seem to dig our sound a lot. It was great fun! I had the impression that the underground scene in Greece is not so eager like it is in Germany for example. The people seem to be more open minded about music maybe and that's exactly what our music needs. We want to come back to Greece as soon as possible.
Which are your future plans?
Now we are concentrating on playing more gigs outside Germany, promoting our latest record "Dope Idiots". The official release will be by the end of the summer 2010 but we will have it pre-released in Spain as a special surprise to our tour in May and June where the album will be only available at the Spain concerts.
We've been busy at the studio during the last few months so there are going to be some singles soon. We also going to contribute one track for the Sky Saxon Tribute sampler, which will be out by the end of 2010 I guess.
Do you like to add something more?
By the way: if you want you can pre-order our brand new album "Dope Idiots" as early as 12th of June. Just send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us. There is a strictly limited edition of green transparent vinyl ...as well as black vinyl and cds of course.