Weird Owl are one of those bands not content to simply bang on guitars until cool noises come out. No, they explore the spaces between stars with blissed-out meditations. Drugs may or may not be involved. They put out their third full-length, Interstellar Skeletal, a few weeks ago, and since I wrote about their last full length, Build a Beast the Fire, in the pages of the magazine, I thought I’d check in and see what they were up to. Turns out they’ve created the finest LP of their career. We have a new song from the album for you to check out below, the hypnotic “Flying Fortresses,” and spoke to vocalist/guitarist/synthesizerist Trevor Tyrrell about, you know, stuff.
You have some cool imagery in your lyrics – flying fortresses, albino werewolves, lots of space stuff. What inspires your lyrics?
Thank you–my lyrics are pulled from various dimensions and dementias that I cycle through as a being located upon this reality grid. I never enjoyed hearing songs about girls and cars and cars and girls, so I just put my antenna out into the farthest mauve zones of the imagination and wrangled down a few hairs off of god’s blazing beard now and again. There’s a reason imagination and magic share a common lexical root.
Did having a consistent lineup from the last album to this one affect the songwriting process?
This was the first time our personnel remained unchanged between records, so it allowed us to push the sounds and visions we started to establish with Healing even farther toward some odd starry coordinates. Not having to amputate any limbs or transplant any vital organs made the band’s collective body structure stronger and more ready for heady battles. It was an unspoken but satisfying feeling knowing that we didn’t have to start all over again with a new method to our madness.
How do you feel you’ve evolved since Build the Beast a Fire?
That album was recorded in 2010 and released in 2011, so in terms of our band’s lifetime it was light years ago that we sired those sounds and let them loose upon the planet.
While we were once still-wet reptiles new to solid ground, we are at this point lithe hominids with eyes set far beyond the limits of our home star system.
We have learned how to do just what we want to do without conforming to what might be expected of us by anyone or anything that dwells outside our secret inner temples.
Are there any songs on Interstellar Skeletal that you’re particularly proud of?
I tend to think of the album as a circular ever-repeating invocation, so taking a singular song out of that chanted pantheon is something best done by a well-qualified and surgically-precise high priest. However, having said that, in my opinion the stand-out track is “God”, which starts off as light as a beach picnic but by its crushing crescendo has devolved into the existential mayhem of a fleet of flying saucers crashing onshore. The ships cannot sustain the weight of their own being. That is not an easy thing to conjure via recorded sound, but I think we did an admirable job.
Who did the cover art? What’s the connection to the theme of the album?
I made the artwork for this album, as I tend to be very concerned with every artistic utterance the band may intone. I do not trust others to necessarily understand the unseen interior realms of the creations we bring to life nor to respect the aesthetic. I wanted this cover to be abstract and unlike stereotypical psych album art, which at its most boring tends to be overly-referential to the sixties. I wanted our album to look like it was from some time and some dimension completely unknown to the audience, and I wanted it to represent the cosmic psychic template (or skeleton) of the material universe: Interstellar Skeletal. But the skeleton also forebodes death, which should be a tiny unsettling voice in your mind as you gaze upon the neon angles and geometric precision of the cover.
Why are you interested in exploring the more cosmic realms of music?
I am a seeker and a mystic and I’m not satisfied with the conventions of mainstream society or culture. Everything I do is in some way preparing a pathway to the stars, so music is but one step in constructing this Pharaoh’s passage to the beyond. The three-D world is a special and wonderful abode, but there are places we gotta get to, man. I speak the language of a the obelisk and the rocket.
Do you have any thoughts on why there’s been a resurgence of space/psych rock recently?
As I sort of touched on in the previous response, we are a species on the move. This is a serious and surreal time, and there are very few safe spaces. When psych and space rock are done well, they are expressions of a certain freedom that corporations, governments, reality tv zombies, etc. will never be able to take away, and that is the freedom of a liberated–or at the very least, uncorrupted–consciousness.
But most bands just want to look cool.
***Interstellar Skeletal is available now from A Recordings. Tap into its cosmic groove.