Interview: Trippy wicked & the Cosmic Children of the Knight

If you were with us in 2009, you will remember our featured band Trippy Wicked & the Cosmic Children of the Knight, a rolling, thundering mass of infectious riffs, distorted gut-busting bass, tripped out vocals, relentless beats and hairy sweaty faces twisted with grins and gurns.

Trippy Wicked are a three-piece consisting of Pete Holland (guitar and vocals), Chris West (drums) and Dicky King (drums) hail from St Albans in the UK, playing a mix of stoner rock, doom, sludge and blues.

Having released two live recorded EPs in the past, their debut full length studio album, Movin On, was released October 30th and Chris West took time to answer some of our questions over email regarding the response to the album, the recording process and what the future holds.

As a self-funded and promoted band, the process is always an incredible challenge, compared to those signed to a label, with the amount work that must be put in to releasing an album. Although the band are no strangers to releasing music, Chris stated the experience since the album officially went on sale, “It’s been good and a little more relaxed than it was just before the release! It’s been a case of following up on reviews and finding places to promote the album, sorting gigs and that kinda stuff. Releasing this was a massive challenge with time and effort being the biggest factors. It takes a lot of time to do everything yourself and this impacted on my day job (sorry boss) and social life. I’m very hands on and a bit of a control freak but I can’t rest until something is finished.”

Chris West

Chris West

The album was noted by Chris to be selling worldwide when they were shipping out orders and the reception from fans has been positive, “we get emails every now and then from people that have bought it or heard it saying it’s a great album and that’s wicked to hear. It’s awesome when someone takes the time to reach out and connect with us and tells us they have the album and love it. We’ve had a mix of reviews which is fine. I sent it to a variety of places for review rather than just to the ones I would expect to like it. You can’t expect everyone to get your music and any criticism is good if it’s justified. The best reviews have been those that have picked up on the experimentation and variety of styles we like to play because that’s a big part of what we’re about.”

“For me it’s just the fact that it’s the kind of album that can sit on your shelf next to all the others and is as strong as most of them.”

In 2008, Trippy Wicked released two EPs, Imaginarianism and Lowering the Tone, with the latter being the first to include Dicky King as a member of the band and of course with some bands, it can take new members time to find a rhythm but with Trippy Wicked, the process seems to have gone as well as it could have been. “Yeah we’re pretty well gelled I’d say. Writing and jamming in the studio continues at a good and very productive pace. The 3 of us know what we’re each good at and get on and work at that.”

The band wasted no time when Dicky joined, coming from the live recorded Lowering the Tone to working towards their next release and like all bands aim to, did they take it up a step to a new level of Wicked? “Yeah it was a huge step up. We treated this with as much respect as you would any major album release. If you’re gonna do something then do it properly and take pride in your work. We decided to spend the money on a good studio to guarantee the heavy sound we wanted and we worked as hard as we could when we were there.”

With a secure line-up as the three piece and moving on to their debut album, the process behind the writing the album is something that intrigued myself and I am sure others when you read the themes of the album that are a journey about good life, fire, growing beards, girls, aliens, loneliness, and pirates and so much more. “That’s all down to Pete. They weren’t written as a story but he managed to cover so many bases with his lyrics that it worked out that way. I think he just opens up his mind and whatever wants to come out, does.”

Mixing the varied themes of the album with stoner rock, doom, sludge and blues, Chris gave us an in-sight to the bands influences and the writing process on the band’s music. “We each have pretty different tastes overall and I guess the band is where our tastes converge. We all agree on the classics like Kyuss, Sabbath, Wizard etc. You can’t play all the styles you like to listen to so we try and mix in as much as we can without it sounding like a mess or sounding disconnected.” Chris continues, “Pete writes most of the riffs at home and we jam them together in the studio. Sometimes the structure comes from that and sometimes he’ll work most of it out beforehand. Pretty much every song is finalised by jamming it through live and seeing what works and what doesn’t. The lyrics tend to come afterwards but they often change the arrangement of songs in terms of how long certain parts are.”

Trippy Wicked

Trippy Wicked

Moving from live recording their music to studio recording at Chuckalumba studios was a new step for the band and with such a change we were interested to know how easy the process was from moving and the experience at Chuckalumba.

“With Movin On the drums, bass and 1 track of guitar were recorded together to get a proper band vibe to it so that was pretty standard for us. Overdubbing a second track of guitar, vocals and other instruments was new but it’s not a major step out of your comfort zone. Working with someone else there was also different but John was such an easy going guy it was great to work with him. I guess the amount of money we were spending and the amount we recorded put a lot more pressure on us. We recorded, mixed and mastered 14 songs in 7 days.” Chris continued with his experience at Chuckalumba, “It was awesome. We spent a week in a beautiful part of the country making an album in the sunshine. If it were possible we’d be doing that full time.”

2010 could be the year for the band to start looking at recording full time if labels hear what we hear in the band’s music. Trippy Wicked has been releasing music since 2006, a demo that year with two follow up EPs with a studio album, so what can we expect next?

“We are promoting the album as much as we can but we have so many plans that it would be a waste not to keep working on new music as well. We have some songs that will make up the next album and they are taking us in slightly different direction from Movin On. We’re taking our time with this to make sure the songs are as strong as possible. We’re also talking about putting out an EP before then to get out some slighter older songs and some others that wouldn’t fit with the next full album.”

It is hard to think of Trippy Wicked taking their music acoustic but with several live acoustic shows and mentions of songs on Twitter, I wondered if we may see an album or EP in 2010 or at some point? “Yep. We’ve got a ton of acoustic stuff on the go at the moment so I think we’ll start with a demo early on in the year and keep playing the stuff live.”

Of course as the band plays local for the time being, we all want to know what the experience is like from album to live show, “Ha. A typical gig is loud and a hell of a lot of fun. Pete’s a unique frontman within the stoner scene and he’s usually got the whole room grinning and smiling along with him. It’s infectious. Myself and Dicky spend most of the time locked in the groove and laughing at each other’s mistakes. Mostly him laughing at mine.”

As the interview came to a close, Chris gave us the quick insight to each track based on the themes mentioned above:

  1. Movin On – It’s about manning up and moving on.
  2. Sea shanty – Pirates pillaging and plundering.
  3. Fire – The current state of the world and not really wanting to be a part of it.
  4. Southern – Taking a big bad of weed in to space and seeing what’s out there.
  5. Echoes – An alien trapped on earth unable to contact his home.
  6. Innocence – Lost innocence, lost childhood. Growing up too quick.
  7. Not What You Know – Does what it says on the tin. It ain’t what you know.
  8. Clothes on my Floor – Hooking up with hot girls.
  9. The Water – Sometime it’s more fun to pollute your body than it is to keep it clean.
  10. Because of You – It’s an ode to lost loved ones.

Also to meet with a bit of interest, Chris gave me a run-down of the bands setup:

“Pete plays a Gibson SG through a Marshall JCM 2000 with a Marshall 4×12 and an Orange 4×12. Pedal wise he’s got Crybaby wah, Boss phase shifter and Boss Flanger. He also uses a Digitech Vocal 300 for vocals.
Dicky plays a Rickenbacker through an Orange AD 200 and 2×15 homemade cab. He’s got a Digitech bass chorus, Big Muff and and bass Crybaby wah.
I’ve got a Yamaha Beech Custum setup. 10, 12, 14 22 with a 20” z-custom ride, 19” A Custom Projection Crash and some crappy hi hats I’ve just cracked. Doh.”

For January 2010, head to the bands official website to download their debut album for free. Also sign up to their mailing list and grab an extra two free downloads from the album recording.

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Michael is the owner and creator of EspyRock. He is your general all round geek; sports fan; TV show fanatic. You can find him sharing his thoughts on his personal Twitter account. Contact Michael on Twitter or via Email.

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