Like What You Like – An Interview With Ecstatic Vision
Ecstatic Vision is a band that’s never hesitated to stray from the norm. One of my favorite new live bands, I was stoked to check out their set at Austin Terrorfest. Their frontman Doug Sabolik is the sort of guy who has a deep understanding of the fundamental power of rock and roll and makes for a fascinating interview.
How the fuck are you?
How as the SXSW experience been for you?
It’s been what I expected. It has been good, the band played a ton of shows some good some not so good. This is my first time with Ecstatic Vision, I played once before with an unknown band of mine. That was in 2010. Now it’s a lot smaller and we can drive around a little easier. It used to feel more busy.
Obviously people make Hawkwind links with your band does that ever get tiring?
No – it’s fine. We’ve taken a definite influence from them. I’m cool with that because I like Hawkwind and what we do is we mesh some of what they do with a lot of other things. There are so many different influences in what we do and people can call out some of them and don’t know others.
I feel like with your new record you channel the MC5. Is that a correct assumption?
I mean maybe Kick Out The Jams era. We wanted a more raw sounding recording. We took a lot from Detroit rock.
Why did you want to make it sound more raw?
It’s what I want to hear when I listen to a bands record. Even when I listened to our last record. It’s still fine I just wish it was a little dirtier and more distorted and not worried about superior audio.
So if you were to put Ecstatic Vision in the dictionary – how would you define it?
What we are trying to do with this band is to not have a defined category. That’s why this record is so different from the last and I expect our next one to be different too. Some will be more different than others as we morph the sound. When we entitled the record Raw Rock Fury it was a definite concept, not of lyrical content, I don’t really care about them unless they are too offensive or dumb, everything we did had to go under the umbrella of Raw Rock Fury. So if we name the next record Zam Rock Fury expect some African psychedelic rock.
If you don’t listen to lyrics how do you write them?
My lyrics aren’t that poetic. I try to write straightforward lyrics that capture some type of overall emotion or thought of what I want out of music. I don’t even write them, I just record them as I go. I don’t know what I’m going to say but I play the music and work on what I’m going to do. It just comes out word by word. It’s weird how that works.
Do you have any idea where those come from?
Not really. I actually changed some of the lyrics on the last record for being too negative. That just comes from being jaded. But I’m not that jaded…
But you play in a kickass rock band!
Exactly. I’m pretty happy.
So now that you’ve toured all over the world – why do you think that people are so attracted to this band?
It’s funny you say that because we’re not playing to tons of people. I think the people dig it though because they’re not getting this kind of music out there from more larger sources. I think a lot of people don’t want the pop stuff, they are just getting fed it. You see showcases happening where people are just there because they feel like thy need to be there to be cool. That’s fine. I’m not hating on it but I want to change it. The only way to change it is to bring people over. I’m not a pop songwriter, I don’t enjoy that. There are songs in that format I like but nothing in that format that I really like is modern. I tell sound guys were are space rock just so they can know what to do with regards to the mix. I think we are just rock and roll though. This new record was a definite step forward. It’s also a little trancier. We try to keep it as a party live but sometimes we dip into the trance parts.
You’re one of my favorite live bands – have you ever considered doing a live record?
Raw Rock Fury was recorded live in the studio. I went back and did overdubs but most of it is a live record. I also did a live video for the song Astral Plane – the video that’s on Youtube. That’s a live recording from when we did the video. We’ve been doing it a little bit.
What inspired you to do it live in the studio?
Well we had just gotten back from Europe where we had road tested the material. So it made sense.
What do you love so much about music?
I went through phases of liking other stuff but it’s the one thing that has always been an interest of mine. Just like what you like!