Psychic Temple :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

Psychic Temple is on a tear: In the last couple weeks, the group, led by composer/songwriter Chris Schlarb, has released not one but two excellent records, the loose-limbed Psychic Temple III and a reimagining of Brian Eno's 1979 album Music for Airports.

The twin albums demonstrate Schlarb's ability to synthesize styles and approaches, combining fusion-era Miles Davis, the English folk rock of Fairport Convention, experimental jazz, rock & roll, R&B, and pop. Working with collaborators like Nedelle Torrisi, Mike Watt, David Hood, Spooner Oldham, and more, the recent work reflects the blooming of Psychic Temple from a conceptual solo project to a full band, capable of strutting boogies, progressive complexity, and sophisticated grooves, and for the first time, confident, commanding vocals. Schlarb discussed the new albums with AD from his place in Long Beach, where he was prepping to head out on tour.

Aquarium Drunkard: This is the third Psychic Temple release, but the first billed with Psychic Temple and the band.

Chris Schlarb: I feel like there’s been a wholesale transformation since the first record. For me, there’s a thousand connecting threads. Damn near all the same people who played on III played on I, it’s just the context is different. I’m singing, rather than it being this exploration of ambient music and jazz and folk. But by the time III rolled around, I was a bit more adamant about [releasing it as a Psychic Temple record]…It was a little bit easier to convince them this time around.

AD: Psychic Temple III definitely sounds group-oriented.

Chris Schlarb: It turned into a band. There was a core of people who kept coming back, and we just kept exploring new territory, but we were doing it together. I really love the idea that this is its own entity. In the future, if I put out any records under my own name, those will be different even still.

Psychic Temple :: You Ain't A Star

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