Doctor Cyclops made an impression on us here recently at Sludgelord HQ with their stunning new album - Oscuropasso - which I described as:
"As the band tell an intriguing dark story with creepier music to match. Imagine The Who meets Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats, well that's how this track and album fully plays out.
Doctor Cyclops have delivered a stunning album that will find many admirers within the Hard Rock world.This album is definitely what the Doctor ordered if you're suffering from post-winter blues."
I decided to arrange an interview with these Psych Based Rockers. But I couldn't do this by myself. I asked my good friend - Lucas Klaukien from Paranoid Hitsophrenic - to team up and do another one of our Paranoid / Sludgelord Tag Team interviews which we are completed recently.
Both the band and Lucas agreed to this which I am extremely grateful for. Right. Time to get down to business with Paranoid / Sludeglord Tag Team Interview with DOCTOR CYCLOPS, Part 2
You can read Part 1 here on Paranoid Hitsophrenic.
SL = Sludgelord
PH = Paranoid Hitsophrenic
SL = What made you decide to become musicians and form a band. Was it a particular band, album or life changing event. And if you weren't in a band or a musician what would you currently be doing now.
CHRIS: My father is a musician too, so I guess it was already in my dna… When I was a baby I liked drums a lot…but then something changed…I lost interest in music untill I was 14. Then I started playing guitar and singing.
FRANCESCO: I was 10 years old when I found my father’s guitar… it had no strings and was semi-broken, but I really liked my self in this “Lord of the World” pose in front of the mirror… then, some years laters, I discovered Cathedral’s Ethereal Mirror and it fascinated me in any possible way. With Supernatural Birth Machine 2000 I thought “That’s the way”…Is there any alternative to “Robot-sickness-death”?!
ALESSANDRO: I was 8 years old when my mom made me listen the rhythmic section of an old song.. then I fell in love with my instrument and now it is still the thing I can do best in life. With Christian and Francesco we are living a dream, and maybe without the interest my mother awoke for that old song now my life would be much more sad.
PH = Doctor Cyclops goes pretty far out on “Rotten Trolls”. It seems to hit on many themes and sounds from throughout the album. Even though it’s the last song, it’s also kind of like the hub of the album. How did the idea for that song come about?
CHRIS: It’s a really old song actually…we wrote the very first part in 2008 I guess, at the beginning of the band’s rehearsals. Then we never abandoned it, we played it sometimes while rehearsing, and sometimes we added some new parts…like a patchwork, you know. I think that at a certain point it became like a bet between us…”how long can we stretch it? How many parts can we put together?”. And so we decided to make a suite out of that, or whatever it is now. Then the story came out, a sort of parody of mankind’s perversions and sickness, with this sort of epic tale of Trolls against Goblins and humans…
FRANCESCO: At the beginning we just had this image: a troll with a machine gun-cock surrounded by psycho goblins! Then we went seeking for abysses of pure perversion, and this brought out our imagination from the woods to higher spheres…It took some time to give life to that imagery made of modern and ancient bestiaries. I remember we were listening at Witchfinder General mostly at that time.
SL = Obviously the Occult Doom/Stoner Rock scene is seeing something of a mini-resurgence thanks to bands like Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats and yourselves. Do you think the Occult Rock scene is getting over-populated with bands playing the same type of music. Or do you feel there is more than enough room to accommodate everyone.
CHRIS: Mmm…rooms are getting really really small for everyone. In the underground scene there are tons of bands playing any kind of music, not just occult rock. The market now is overwhelmed, and everybody wants to play, and everybody has an album out. So it ends up that just bigger labels make a concrete difference. If Rise Above wouldn’t have taken Uncle Acid under its wing, nobody would probably know them now, they would just be lost in the sea with their good music. You must be good, but also lucky. Really lucky.
FRANCESCO: We are lucky that this resurgence took place, but it can be a little bit tricky for us: we are not the typical retro rock band…not just stoner, not just doom or occult…and people usually don’t give that attention if they cannot easily classify you in a specific genre.
PH = As an outside observer, it seems to me that Italy has a great psychedelic doom music scene going on. Is it easy to find venues for shows, and how much attention is the genre getting in your home country?
CHRIS: Well, as an insider, I’d say that our scene is shitty. There are good bands, of course, but not that many. Music itself is not the problem: great musicians and great ideas are everywhere. But we have a big cultural problem. There is no interest in listening to music anymore, especially young guys are too influenced by TV and shitty media. Finding venues is really difficult, most of them prefer to host cover or tribute bands than “original” bands. I mean, big names are always welcome, and when they come people move the ass. But for medium bands it’s getting really really hard. For Dr Cyclops is easier to find a gig in Berlin, or Paris, than in Milan, even if we live just 50 kms away. And if we play Berlin maybe we have 100 people. In Milan we run the risk of having 10. There is no scene, underground in Italy is just a tiny little niche. There are exceptions, but that’s the rule.
FRANCESCO: If I think to bands like Midryasi I’d tell you that we have good stuff here too…but the point is that the scene is missing. There’s no musical culture, we follow other trends..too less people is really interested in live music.
ALESSANDRO: Here cover bands and tribute bands win, like shitty media-tv stuff. Underground is less than a niche. And real artists are blown away.
SL – What is your verdict on the entire crowd-funding scene with bands and artists asking fans to donate funds to help release their next album. Are you a fan of this medium and would Doctor Cyclops ever go down this route.
CHRIS: Can we really do that? Fuck! If I had knew before… Eh eh! Well, I heard about this chance, but we never considered it with attention… First of all I don’t know how it works. Second of all, it seems to me like asking for charity, and music must not loose its dignity. Fans should support the scene buying records and going to gigs. If you don’t have money to make an album, just hire some mics and nowadays with a computer you can record…
FRANCESCO: I never heard about this opportunity, but honestly it would be enough if people just bought records to please themselves with the full package!
ALESSANDRO: I didn’t know either. But I do not agree with this. Bands have to earn what they want by themselves, not asking people on the web. The audience role should be supporting the artists buying records and going to concerts. There is no point in financing an album that no one will probably hear.
PH= Your last album ‘Borgofondo’ featured Blood Ceremony’s Alia O’Brien on the track “Giants of the Mountain”. Now, as far as I’m concerned that’s a pretty big name and heavy company to be involved with! How did that collaboration come about?
CHRIS: Well, the company, Rise Above, is not involved at all…actually they never gave a damn about us although we tried to contact them several times! With big labels it is strange you know…People may think that, just because we had Alia by Blood Ceremony on the record we should have a sort of opened door with Rise Above (I would probably think the same as an observer). But it is not. Alia’s featuring came out in a really simple way. We played with Blood C. in Paris in 2011, a few months before recording Borgofondo. She loved the song and when we asked her if she wanted to record a flute part on it she simply said “yes of course!”. There is still some magic and pure-passion in the underground!
FRANCESCO: It may be hard to believe… but sometimes the love you give is the love you get. Blood Ceremony were one of our favourite bands since their debut. We were listening to them even before starting our own band.
ALESSANDRO: That’s the best of the underground. You play together, you like each other, you do it. And then there is no difference between a “big” and a “small” name. But it’s not always like that. I mean, Blood Ceremony are humble and really special guys.
SL = Finally – if you could change anything about the whole Doom/Stoner Metal scene what would it be. Good or bad.
CHRIS: A couple of things. First of all the people selfishness and pettiness that’s fucking up all the DIY concept. When you don’t have a big label and a big booking, relying on other fellows becomes essential. But too many bands just take care about their own little garden not understanding that this way they damage themselves too. If you can help someone out, do it!
Second of all: the money. Give us more, so that we can quit our jobs!!!
FRANCESCO: I wish Cathedral could be exhumed!
ALESSANDRO: The money! As even the better dreams are not good enough to pay bills by themsleves!
Oscuropasso can be purchased via World In Sound Records.