Set The Controls For A Sky Picnic

    These new psych kids on the block are not ashamed at all of being huge fans of the early Pink Floyd era and they are filling our hearts with smiles from New York.   Chris Sherman( guitar & vocals),Leah Cinnamon( bass guitar & vocals) and Pete Meriwether( drums & percussion)got their name from a door magnet according to an urban legend.Their second full length album is already out and Chris dedicated some time to send his greetings and the band's dreamy vibes.

Which was the point of your life that made you to decide to be a musician?

That would have been around age 12 or 13, when I received my first guitar.  My father is a musician as well, so I always grew up with music and instruments around the house, so it was quite a natural thing.  I didn't get serious though until I took up drums in high school and then things progressed from there when I got to college, as far as practicing, writing and basic theory. 


Which was the first Pink Floyd track you listened to?And which one was the first album?

I vividly recall "Another Brick In the Wall Pt 2" on the radio as a child, if only for the verse the children sing, which struck a chord with someone around that same age.  I didn't come back to them though until around ten years ago, and "Dark Side" was the obvious gateway.  Interestingly enough, I didn't get into their bigger albums from there, but went on to "Piper" after hearing so much about this crazy Syd fellow.

All of your vinyl releases are through non US labels. Didn’t you send any demos to American labels for a possible collaboration in the past?


We sent both albums out to any and every psych and prog label we could find.  It just so happened that for "Farther In This Fairy Tale" the only label willing to take a chance on us was Nasoni in Germany. This time around, we had a few places that were interested throughout the world, but ultimately, we already had the working relationship with Nasoni, so that fell into place nicely again. That said, we are still looking for a US based label to put "Paint Me A Dream" out as well, as it is in our best interest to have it easily available for people here and to gain more popularity stateside.

What is the feedback you get from people who listen to your music?

Of the early reviews we have gotten thus far for "Paint", the response has all been positive.  People seem to dig what we're doing, and that's awesome. Listeners and fans tend to have their own opinion on what aspect they like most of what we do, be it the more spaced out material or the psych-pop style. 

Which way do you work a new song?

For the most part, I'll write a song at home, demo it, then bring it to our rehearsal space, where we'll work on arranging and adding parts.  Usually I'll hear how the final song should sound, which I'll try and express, but Pete and Leah will find a way to take that concept and better my initial vision.  For some of the more spacey and epic stuff, we'll just start jamming until an idea takes shape and work on refining it from there. We are really good self-editors, and by far our harshest critics.


 Can you make a short sum of all tracks from your “ Paint Me A Dream” lp?

The record is about a dreamer experiencing a sequence of night visions, getting lost in a web of thought and longing for reality, only to find clarity in the beckoning daybreak.  Naturally, the songs all deal with sleep and dreams in some capacity. 
Compared to the "Farther" LP, this was a very collaborative writing process across the board.  I really love that a lot of the pieces weren't just full songs, but came out of jams.  For instance, Freak Out Ethel is two separate ideas fused together.  I had the whispering intro section and the final serene part, but it didn't feel finished.  Next thing I know, Leah and Pete start playing that funky section and it just fit perfectly in the middle of the song. Likewise, Slumber's Gate, is a few ideas put together.  Aurora was actually a much longer jam that I edited down to a manageable length to close out the LP. 

Do you listen to new artists or bands?

Certainly, but not as much as older stuff.  There is a pretty good psych revival going on these days.  I am a ridiculously huge fan of Dungen, along with nearly everything else on the Subliminal Label.  I thankfully caught the Amazing last month at a few gigs.  Blew me away.  Tame Impala is great and I've really started to warm up to the new album.  Stardeath and White Dwarfs.  Black Mountain.  Wolf People.  Primus. Flaming Lips and all the weirdness they bring.  Then of course, there are bands that we have played with over the years that I admire and dig.  

 Do you buy vinyl records or cds?Have you a favourite record store?

I only buy vinyl unless the album is either extremely difficult to find, too costly, or the CD has loads of bonus tracks that aren't available elsewhere.  I cite sound quality is the biggest reason. I consider myself an audiophile, so I want the music replicated as close to how it was meant to be heard, and not with an extra layer of digital sound or some of the harshness that a CD is going to offer.  I prefer the warmth of the analog sound.  You also have the intimacy of the vinyl experience, from flipping the LP at the end of the side to handling the record sleeve with the giant artwork.  That said, LP collecting can get out of control, so I try and exercise restraint these days as my collection was starting to take over my place.
As for record stores, New York City is home to some of the best in the world.  Academy Records in the East Village would probably get top honors though.

Tell me a couple of tracks that you would like to make covers of.(apart from the ones you have made and released).

We have a Hollies song that we just recorded during the "Paint" sessions that will be out in February on Fruits De Mer. "See Emily Play" is part of our live rotation that we do not have a recording of yet. We've discussed doing some early Soft Machine.  And I would love to electrify some Donovan or do a version of Status Quo's "Pictures of Matchstick Men". 

What’s your point of view about the future of music business and which will be internet affection?

I think it is already a dead industry. People have less interest in buying music these days when it's readily available for free.  For the average person, the need to own a collection of music seems like a foreign concept. But, while the internet has led to the demise of music sales, it has at the same time opened doors for the discovery of new bands.  People might be more apt to see a band when they come to town if they dug streaming something on Spotify as opposed to buying, which is still supporting the artist, just in a different way that the old model. The problem is there is so much music available with the click of a button that it is nearly impossible to weed through and consume the good stuff.  Therein lies the challenge of reaching new audiences.


Which are your future plans?

Right now,we're gearing up to play as much as we possibly can this winter and spring to support the LP.  We'll keep up with the press and interviews such as this to also spread the word.  I'm always writing so we'll slowly work on new material as well and sprinkle that into sets.  As mentioned before, we'll end up working toward an American release of the LP as well. And really, we'll just take things from there.  It's hard to plan things out too much because things will unfold as they may.

What are you doing for living?

I work in television doing post production.  Leah is a graphic designer.  And Pete works for a non-profit.  So we're all pretty busy when not making music.

Any plans for a european tour?

If we had more money to put toward that, or we could get some support, trust me, we would be there in no time!  We discuss it at times, albeit unrealistically, because it's involved; from the flight, to the itinerary, and the driving between countries, passports, visas... It will happen eventually, but I don't think yet.

 Do you know anything about greek music?
Honestly, no.  That is one genre that I have never been exposed to, but if you have any recommendations, don't hesitate to send them my way.

Would you like to add anything else?

I hope I sold the new LP well enough just now to all the readers out there, and that if they take the time to check it out, they dig what they hear.
Thanks for offering us the chance to do this and for sending me these questions.  This was fun.

 (As told to High Fidelity Stories)
contact :www.skypicnicmusic.com


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