Poltergeist | Interview


Words: Fabiana Giovanetti

Space-rock is a tricky territory: it has the instrumental virtuosity of progressive, the psychedelic drive of the 70s and the wordless attitude of post-rock. This equation comes to a relatively simple result: you are either damn good at all of these together, or the ship falls apart. And Poltergeist are getting the hang of it, just don’t ask them to pigeon-hole their music (probably the hardest and most annoying task for every musician): “We are into Prog, Kraut, Ambient, Cinematic, Acid, Post Rock, Garage, Psychedelia, all the trippy shit really, we want to take the rock format and extend it into every corner of the listener’s mind.”

This cocktail of genres is the backbone of Poltergeist, the new project of Echo and the Bunnymen Will Sergeant: “I wanted to experiment with some (some what?), I was getting a bit bored with making solo records without the interaction of anyone. (That’s why it’s called solo doh!) I wanted to use ideas that would never see the light of day via Echo and the Bunnymen records. I had always had this kind of dream of a three piece band with no limits. I had been recording ideas on my computer for a few years and they would just sit there. Most of them were more electronic than guitar-based. I started to think about starting a collaborative band. Peasy our manager wanted me to do it as it could have a live life, he also suggested I get Les Pattinson involved.”

The band just came out with its debut ‘Your Mind is a Box (Let us fill it with Wonder)’ on the 17th June. Representing the new experimental underdogs of prog-rock, the tracks create a bubble of spiritual ambience, electrified with spiky guitars and concluding in a spiral of rolling drums. The suites nod to the British psychedelic acts, with a pinch a German Kraut, giving a sort of metallic aftertaste: “Years of listening to great bands such as Neu and Can, you can feel their fascinating Germanic essence. With any music you can sift out the good from the bad, even with the likes of Yes and Emerson Lake and Palmer. I like the Englishness of these bands, they built my understanding that all music does not have to be aimed at some stupid list or chart. Music is art and should be given the freedom to be art.” Despite reinterpreting the sound of the past, Poltergeist are still keeping an eye out for new trends: “I DJ’d at the Liverpool Psychedelic Festival last year, the stand-out bands were the Dead Skeletons, Mugstar and Hookworms.”

From the spiritual march of ‘Dawn Visits The Garden Of Evil’ to the woozy Doors-lite heights of ‘Psychic Warfare’, ‘Your Mind is a Box (Let us fill it with Wonder)’ is infused with a colorful spectrum of cherry-picked influences: “I mainly like to find older bands from the 60’s and 70’s, this is what I like to collect, it is my obsession.”

Poltergeist promises to fill our minds with trippy, bursting wonder, slowly leading into a journey back to the ghosts of the 70s: “I had a vision of a kind of Prog / Psychedelic hybrid. I already had the name ‘Poltergeist’, picked when I was a kid in the 70’s. I couldn’t play any instruments then, but it was a nice dream, a dream of being in a band with my mates that never happened.”