Recently I had the opportunity to have a couple questions included in an interview with Simon Posford, the psychedelic brujo behind Shpongle and Hallucinogen. Mine were the wax-able standards of books, hobbies and music.
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Zlatko: Is Raja Ram still barred from entering the U.S. or is that a common misconception amongst fans?
Posford: That's a misconception, I don't know how common it is. We played together at Camp Bisco and will do so again this year, but with the full live band. Raj spends a lot of time touring all over the world. He is in Japan right now.
Zlatko: Why doesn't the full Shpongle live band come to America regularly? And why do you perform more DJ sets nowadays?
Posford: We have never come to America because it is an expensive show, with a lot of musicians and technical demands. Promoters often say they want to bring the band, but nobody actually has the balls to do it. Only the Russians, Japanese and Ozora festival in Hungary have taken it on. I suspect however, that once we have done 1 show they will be a bit more confident. I do more DJ sets because I am easier to please, and will whore myself out for a good bloody mary and some candy!
Zlatko: What will set the "Shpongletron" apart from past Shpongle experiences?
Posford: If you look up the Shpongletron on YouTube you'll get a little bit of an idea. It's much more visual than a normal DJ set, incorporating 3D mapping technology and all sorts of cool visuals. Also I am playing from an Ableton instead of CDs which gives me a little more flexibility, sonically.
Zlatko: What is an album that shaped you as a person early on? And as an artist?
Posford: When I was a teenager I liked The Cure & The Smiths, so I guess they might have helped my darker, moodier side flourish. As an artist there are many records that have inspired me for different reasons. If you want only one I could say "The Age of Love" by Jam and Spoon made me want to make a trance tune.
Zlatko: How does Shpongle make an album? Do you and Raja Ram work on it together or do you each have specific roles when you are writing the music?
Posford: Raja Ram and I work on it together. However he can't operate the computer or synths, so he offers inspiration while I work and is an outstanding flautist. He will often provide a visual concept for a track which I then translate into music.
Zlatko: What kind of hobbies do you enjoy?
Posford: Sitting quietly, watching a single raindrop make it's way slowly down my window, or skiing on fresh snow. Right now during my time off I am addicted to creationism vs. evolution debates on YouTube.
Zlatko: Do you have any books you would recommend for your fans to read?
Posford: Yes, loads. Cosmic Trigger by Robert Anton Wilson is probably the closest you can get to a psychedelic experience in print form. The Dice Man by Luke Rheinhart will have you playing around with chance and random behaviour. The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night by Mark Haddon is an extremely endearing quick read. Most Dr. Seuss books I love, particularly to read out loud. Prometheus Rising, also by Robert Anton Wilson, had a strong effect on my life, but seems slightly dated now. There are so many amazing books I could talk more about the written word than music, I think...
Zlatko: What kind of music are you listening to nowadays?
Posford: Right now I'm on tour, so a lot of Shpongle and Random Rab!
Zlatko: When can we expect the next Shpongle record to be released and how will it differ from past albums?
Posford: I don't know and I don't know until it's done. We are aiming to go into the studio at the end of this year, but this has no bearing as to when it will be finished and released.