Wednesday, April 11, 2012

MOTHER’S GREEN interview with March Giaccari

Every now and then the rock gods breathe a pleased sigh of satisfaction and bestow an absolute sonic gem on our collective earholes.  The latest musical manna from the heavens is the second installment from Canada’s own heavy fuzzed out desert stoner sons MOTHER’S GREEN called “Swimming in the Sun”.  So where do I start?  A trademark way cool angle?  Another riveting make believe story?  A meaningful, symbolic anecdote or some witty repartee perhaps?

I got nothing.

After spinning this album multiple times, I’m like a riffstruck kid in a sonic candy store.  So why dick around?  I’m just going to come out and say it.  This is easily the SINGLE BEST album I’ve heard in the last several months.  Maybe even beyond.  And I spin a lot of ‘em on a weekly basis top to bottom.  “Un-fuckin’-real” might be an adequate descriptor.  Let me put it this way.  The comparisons stick.  If you dig the brazen balls out bombasity of early Soundgarden and the heavy rip snortin’ sly groove of Fu Manchu coupled with the experimental desertness that is Baroness and the trippy funky ass vibes of Earthless then you’re in the right sonic wheelhouse.  ”Swimming in the Sun” is chock full of lush, gorgeous, stunning soundscapes, epic crescendos and crushing, punishing riffs masterfully delivered with air tight kickassedness.  Drummer Dean Glover is the new Sheriff in town and takes no quarter behind the kit.  And Mike Simpson’s menacing low end thunder satisfies the most rabid of THC fueled appetites.  Creative fountain March Giaccari’s songwriting, vocals and guitar work are otherworldly.  Just a stellar, stellar album throughout.  Smokin’ wall-to-wall killer rock’n’roll. 
I sat down with creator, song writer, guitarist and singer March Giaccari to discuss the newest addition to the band’s repertoire and his insatiable love for music.

TEEDER: When and how did you first encounter your love for music?

MARCH: Um, my whole life.  I don’t know just music in general.  When I listen to it, it’s just like it’s a good feeling, ya know?  And there’s nothin’ really new, no doubt about that.  I remember my family you know they got records and stuff and you go through certain records and just be like… I can’t explain it.  It’s a love that I have man.

TEEDER: When did you first pick up the guitar?

MARCH: The first time I picked it up I was 11 years old.  That’s when I got my first guitar.  I got it for Christmas and um… yah, I’ve been addicted to it ever since!

TEEDER: What were your influences growing up?

MARCH: Influences?  We’re gonna be here all day.  Everything from Sabbath to Zeppelin to Santana to Gypsy Kings to say Michael Jackson.  I mean everything man… everything.  Like I’m just tippin’ off you know what I mean… Pantera.  Lots of stuff man.  From one side to the other.  There’s no boundaries.  Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Santana, Gypsy Kings, Pantera, Pink Floyd, Johnny Cash, Michael Jackson, Queen, Corrosion of Conformity, ZZ Top, Aerosmith, Monster Magnet, Phil Collins, Kyuss, Jimi Hendrix, Jaco Pastorius, Fleetwood Mac, Primus, Alice Cooper, Alicia Keys, Bob Marley, Type O Negative, Fu Manchu, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Deep Purple, Motorhead, Guns’n’Roses, Luciano  Pavarotti, Steppenwolf, Van Halen, KISS, Motley Crue, Rush, Creedance Clearwater Revival, Cream and on and on….

TEEDER: So what led your tastes into the stoner realm?

MARCH: I don’t know, it feels good man.  It’s not that I would categorize a song, it’s just it’s a good feeling.  It’s music with feeling and… it’s organic you know ?  Lots of guitars, drums, bass, percussion.  Just add like natural instruments.  And that’s awesome.

TEEDER: Let’s talk about the new album.  The first album had a more laid back, tripped out vibe to it.  Where did the more aggressive, heavier feel come from on “Swimming in the Sun”?

MARCH:  It’s just excitement.  I wouldn’t like look at it as aggressive.  I would just look at it as excitement.  Like, for instance ya know when you’re around good people and you’re havin’ a good time?  It’s just energetic.  You feel like moving.  So there’s no aggression whatsoever on the record.  If you listen to the lyrics there’s no negativity whatsoever.  I just wanted to make a record that feels good cause that’s how I was feeling.  You know when you feel good you feel like you could run for miles?  That feeling. 

TEEDER: I noticed there’s a theme in a lot of the music and lyrics about capturing what each day has to offer and not squandering it.  Carpe Diem.  Seize the moment.  Living life to its fullest.  Is that a central theme to how you live?

MARCH: Oh, yah!  For sure.  It’s like you gotta enjoy it cause like… life is short.  So just enjoy it and then appreciate everything that’s around you.

TEEDER: What’s the new album concept about?... musically and artistically including the splendiferous jacket art done by Alex Baker and so on.  It’s a beautiful gatefold.

MARCH: It’s just about being in a good place, ya know?  Everybody’s got stresses and stuff like that and this record’s just like an escape.  You listen to it and you go somewhere that’s um, ya know fun to be at you know what I mean?  It’s got some mellow moments as well.  But ya know, that’s the excitement about it.   It’s an escape record.

TEEDER: Let’s talk about the song writing process.  What was your approach?

MARCH: Actually this record came out a little bit faster than the first one.  I booked to go into BWC Studios months in advance but I didn’t actually finish writing the words and the music ‘til pretty much close to a month before going in.  It was like the last month before the deadline and the songs just started to come in.  It was a humbling experience because they just came one after the other – bang, bang, bang! 

TEEDER: That’s a transcendental moment, isn’t it?  I hear that time and time again from different songwriters in different genres.  Where do the songs come from?  Good question.
Tell me about the recording process on this new album.  What worked, what didn’t work.  Any interesting technical or creative developments or discoveries along the way?

MARCH: Oh, it was great cause I got to work with Producer Greg Dawson and ah, yah I learned a lot from that guy.  He’s a good Producer and um… the good thing about Greg is he gets an idea of the direction that you wanna go in and he makes sure it happens.  The guy’s like an encyclopedia for music you know so… It was great working with him and Dean and Mike.  And uh yah, I’ll remember that for a long time.  Probably the rest of my life!

TEEDER: Let’s move to the songs on the album.  First up, the title track “Swimming in the Sun”.  It fades in on an extended drone and builds to an explosive percussive moment that goes off like a fragmentation grenade.  The song has all the intensity of Soundgarden’s “Jesus Christ Pose” and never relents.  It never lets go.  Your vocals smack of a Chris Cornell like texture and yet there’s something more.  The delivery is tight like your first high school girlfriend.  You scored (so to speak) a reprieve that hangs back in the middle and again builds to one of the most EPIC moments I’ve heard in ALL OF ROCKDOM that bursts through the containment barrier at the 3:24 minute mark.  Absolute sheer sonic brilliance quickly pursued by a dazzling, stratospheric solo smothered in delectable tone.  Then out of nowhere you hit the brakes and deliver a punishing bridge and riff loop.  The latino congas are simply icing on the cake.  What’s the theme behind this song?  Where did it come from?

MARCH: The theme of that is like I was on vacation.  I was back home, I was back in Italy to see some old family out there and um… yah, it was just being like somewhere different outside of your surroundings.  You see mountains, you see oceans and stuff.  It’s just a beautiful feeling.  You enjoy everything.  And that’s what that song’s about.  It’s like going somewhere totally new not knowing what to expect and everything’s a beautiful thing.  Good vibes.

TEEDER: So inspired by geography and culture – music, cuisine, people.  What about the first single “Observation for the Day”?  This is a different beast of a song.  We get whacked in the face with a fuzzed out menacing drop tuned distorto hEAVy riff right from the get go!  Like the height of the London Blitz in WWII.  It’s a KILLER riff (see video below and CRANK that fucker!).  This one’s a TOTAL headbanger.  Once again, you channel Mr. Cornell underscored by some meaty guitar tones and a sweetly executed ethereal, reverbed out solo that settles into a laid back bad ass heavy groove.  Thematically you follow a thought provoking, confrontational lyrical stream.

MARCH: The theme for that song is basically like if you go and take the time to look at your surroundings and what’s around you, you know?  Life is a beautiful thing but there’s also limitations that make it not so good.  That song’s just about waking up and seeing what’s not so good and fair and how you can’t do anything about it.

TEEDER: How about “Catching Existence”?  It’s reminiscent of the chilled, trippy feel and vibe from the first album.  You feel like you’re floating down a lazy river in a psychedelic canyon nudged along by some bright, echoed guitar licks.  Vocally it’s much more relaxed, comfortable, intimate and warm.  The song is uplifting and lyrically captures the essence of Alex Baker’s awesome abstract album cover artwork.

MARCH: Catching Existence is just about hangin’ out and you’re partying and you’re with people you know, people you like hanging out with and um, and you just stop and look and you’re just like “this is awesome!”.  You’re just catching the moment.  Enjoying the moment and loving your surroundings.  That’s what that song’s about and it’s a beautiful thing.

TEEDER: Next up is “A Night in Complete Awe”.  It’s more up tempo with a minacious opening driven by a heavy gargantuan drawn out riff, snarling Cornellesque vox, smokin’ guitar tones and unexpected congas delivering a funky groove.  Three quarters of the way through you execute a tempo change with a more forceful attack decorated by another fully reverbed stratospheric solo stretching to the cosmos.  What was your thinking behind this one?

MARCH: The theme behind that one is just like um, ya know, goin’ out to a club or a lounge or anything and just like after… when you get like a good buzz going and all of a sudden you’re just, you’re in complete awe.  You’re like “this is awesome!”.  Something totally unexpected happens, something totally positive and you’re just like, “Yah!”.  You know what I mean?  And the next day you look back at it and you’re like, “yah, that was a good night”.  Having a good time and enjoying the moment.  Looking at how beautiful things can turn out unexpectedly.

TEEDER: Sometimes a confluence of different things centered around music.
What about “Conscious of the Free”?  You created a very laid back vibe on this track with more unaffected guitar tones and warm intimate vocals at the outset.  It crunches down as you up the fuzzosity and takes on a sense of urgency vocally about halfway through.

MARCH: That’s about just being in a good state of mind and just being free.  You’re being humble and knowing who you are.  Just enjoying it.

TEEDER: Flipping over to the B-side, you once again kick it into high gear with a faced paced rocker called “Just Another” that boasts delicious, twangy distant guitar, a deeply satisfying harmonic bridge and a fist pumping chorus that ends in a full gallop.  What’s the theme behind this song?

MARCH: I wrote it in a perspective towards myself but anybody can relate to this song.  Everybody goes through break ups and uh, this song just puts the positive in it.  You know what I mean?  Just enjoy you know.  Somethin’ better’s gonna come along.

TEEDER: “The Antidote”.  Another upbeat rocker with a charging attack showcasing a more fluted tubular guitar sound and monster bass tone.  You slay a resplendent noodlehead solo part way in that goes off like an errant firework shooting sparks out it’s ass and then immediately tred into darker territory without losing pace.  The ending destroyed what was left of my brain with a magnificently executed deconstruction powered by more lavish, fuzzed out tones.  A devastating plodding bottom end finally overwhelms the piece like Gigantor stomping out entire city blocks wearing mammoth concrete pads.  What’s the movement or theme on this one?

MARCH: Antidote is like um, you know when you’re feeling down?  The antidote.  It’s symbolic.  It’s not really like an antidote that you take.  It’s just symbolic meaning like it’s uplifting.  Like getting your spirits up and enjoying everything!  It’s about staying positive and not being afraid.  That’s the whole theme man.  A lot of the songs are like that and this is just one to up it up, you know what I mean?  Not being afraid.  And just enjoying stuff.

TEEDER: Next is “A Close Encounter”.  A very touching, reflective song with a whole other trippy laid back spaced out cosmic vibe interspersed by unaffected vocals and guitar, a searing upfront solo and some ravishing Hammond B3 keys from beyond that would put a smile on Jon Lord’s face.  Where were you coming from with this song?

MARCH: That song’s just about like um, I’d say you know when you’re in a relationship and you know you’re havin’ fun and that.  This is reflecting.  Looking back on stuff.  You know, not being so bitter.  Just enjoying stuff and uh, it’s a relationship song you know?  That’s all I can say.  It’s like it’s… I could talk all day about feelings and stuff like that but if you listen to the song it’s got the feeling and you know what?... everybody feels that feeling once in a while.  You think back about the partner you had.

TEEDER: The song captures that feeling you describe even before you get into the lyrics.
We continue on to “Checking Point” and throw some more gas on the embers.  Palletable excitement starts to ride.  It leaps out of the trenches with compunction and leans into a powerful bridge.  The addition of tambourine and congas again unexpectedly defies the norm, but it works!  Then three quarters of the way through you guys freakin’ throw yourselves off Victoria Falls ass over tea kettle with some seriously heavy pounding riffs!

MARCH: That’s basically about like the way life is a game of chess and how we’re all pieces on that board stuck in the system and you just gotta stay positive and whatever.  Obstacles get in your way, you gotta figure out what moves to make and how to get around it.

TEEDER: You revisit a song from the first album called “Tattoos Leave Scars” which is a great song.  It has a hauntingly sad acoustic quality to it highlighted by your rich trademark soaring vocals overtop.   A favourite of mine.  What’s the message behind it?  And how come you brought it back on the second record?

MARCH: That’s a good question.  I want to clear this up.  The reason why I brought that song on the second album… originally the second album was supposed to be nine songs and um, ya know I had that song left over from the last record.  So I was thinking ya know just add congas and bass to it and just release it as a bonus track.  And that’s why it’s on the second record as well.  It’s another break up song about a relationship gone sour.

TEEDER: So was it just a matter of adding a few instrumental tracks or was it a complete remix?

MARCH: No, it was the exact same song remixed with congas and bass.  Just added it as a bonus cause I wanted to add something extra

TEEDER: What’s the song about?

MARCH: Yah, once again here we go!  I dunno.  The song’s about a breakup and uh, you know sometimes you feel down so you write yourself a song and get over it.

TEEDER: So it’s a healing mechanism in a way.
Tell me about the musicians you surround yourself with.  Thoughts and feelings on Dean Glover, Nick Tipe, Mike Simpson and some of the guys who worked with you on the new album – keyboards, congas, etc. and their contribution.

MARCH: I’ve just been priviledged ya know, to jam with great musicians.  The line up’s constantly changing but I appreciate everybody I’ve worked with.  It’s great you know what I mean?  They’re all great musicians and I love them all man.  I love music so much it hurts.



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