“Fat slabs of noise” and “Hypnomonotonic” are phrases that Spacemen 3 think may be appropriate to describe their music. They really do sound like nothing on Earth. If you were to imagine that Lou Reed had gone to Africa and India to recruit for the Velvet Underground, it wouldn’t be much more helpful. Perhaps I should allow Sonic Boom to explain.
“We really like basic music. When we formed one of the things we wanted to show was that there is a really intense primal enjoyment to be got out of music, and you don’t have to be a good musician or a poet to do it. All you have to do is gran an instrument and bare your soul. Like African music is straight from the soul, you hit that drum because you feel you want to hit it. That’s the way we play guitar.”
The last single Transparent Radiation lasts forty minutes, and most of their songs go on forever when they play live. “We’ve got one song called O.D. Catastrophe, and we’ve done whole gigs where we just played that all night. It’s only a one chord song anyway. The last time we did that was at a funk club in Bristol, and it went down a treat, surprisingly.”
Spacemen 3 are inevitably associated with the sixties revival. “I hate that,” says Sonic. “I really do think that the sixties have gone, forget it, it’s a waste of time. I think the eighties will be just as thrilling as the sixties were, in retrospect.”
I ask Sonic about the future. The second album The Perfect Prescription is out now, and there’ll be a tour of Europe later. “Times are changing,” he says. “In another thousand years, I don’t think things will be quite so clear cut as now.”
Are these people on drugs?