Spaceman Bubblegum And Other Weird Tales From The Mercury Mind – A Interview With Sendelica   Leave a comment

‘Sendelica’ (who are based in and around Cardigan, West Wales) are an experimental outfit whose work is very reminiscent of some Pink Floyds late 60’s/early 70’s psychedelic outings mixed up with early Sabbath riffing, Eddie Hazel twidling and late Orb ambient/dub musings. The band had their first EP “TheOwlsHaveEyes” released at the end of July 2006 on FRG Records and featured guest vocalist Chris Gibbs. The line up on the EP included the core duo of Peter Bingham on guitar/electronics and bass player Glenda Pescado (ex-Nik Turners All Stars) augmented by various collaborators. The band played at several of that years Festivals in Wales before resuming work on their debut album which included the nucleus of Pete & Glenda and featured guest appearances by Sarah E, Dick Turner (Sound Waves) and Roger Morgan. The sessions also included the recording debut of new drummer Paul Fields. The album, entitled ‘Entering The Rainbow Light’ was finished in December and was released at the end of January 2007. 2007 saw Sendelica being signed to the Moscow based Psyche specialist label RAIG Records and in Feb 2007 they recorded a new album under the direction of Colin Powerstepper at The Barn studios. The album entitled ‘Spaceman Bubblegum and Other Weird Tales from the Mercury Mind’ was released in Eastern Europe at the end of August 2007 followed by a UK release in late September. In the UK there was also a limited edition ‘ambient album’ entitled ‘SleepWalker Fever’ released on the Welsh label ‘Tidy Like Records’ in the summer of 2007. This is the soundtrack to the Sendelica movie ‘Sleep Walker Fever’ that the band worked on with film maker Grant Wakefield which will have a DVD release in Europe in early 2009. 2008 saw the band tour the East Coast of USA including the prestigous New York Knitting Factory show in May. The band also recorded their follow up album at Providence, Rhode Island as a six piece band augmented by Vizzie, Geoff Chase, Bob Fish and Brian. The resulting album entitled ‘The Girl From The Future’ is scheduled for release on R.A.I.G. Records in April 2009… watch this space for further details…. A second experimental album ‘The Alternative Realities of the Re-awakening Somnambulist’ was released as a limited edition album on TidyLike Records at the Blue Rock festival in August 2008 where the band also played a meltdown set. 2009 sees the band moving ever onwards with their next album being recorded outside in the midst of the magical Preseli mountains…… .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. …… .. THE GIRL FROM THE FUTURE WHO LIT UP THE SKY WITH GOLDEN WORLDS……….a vitality and creative spark crackling throughout this album……..This is definitely the finest thing the band have released, imaginative, crisp, free flowing and with a warm production, I heartily recommend it to all lovers of space/psychedelic rock music. ( Myspace Bio )

Interview is with Pete Bingham (guitars and electronics)

-Salute comrade Pete! 3 weeks ago emissaries of Sendelica left Russia, does anyone believe you in England that you played here and returned alive to Albion? What kinds of sensitive investigations did you conduct here?

-LOL… I think people over here think it was interesting that we toured Russia as we played in the UK so little last year. It was just one of those opportunities that arose that you must grab with both hands and we are certainly glad that we did. It was a real pleasure playing to Russian audiences, and the gigs in Ryazan and Vladimir in particular were truly fantastic… both were gigs where I think we really took off with our playing… such great audiences literally flaming the muse… I came off stage at both those gigs feeling a very happy man….. and that is what it is all about… crowd and band forming a bond…. Memorable evenings for me.

-I have few questions for you to spread a voiceless word of Sendelica to those ignorant who know about the band not too much but I’ve already read about roots of yours, so – just few common questions! What is a music for you – a form art or necessity?

-Well we play improvised music so each night we play it is different… we have a certain structure and people recognize ‘songs’ but we have a lot of space to explore in our workouts, take them to new places. That is why I loved the Ryazan and Vladimir gigs so much.. I felt the band ‘stretch’ into new territories and the audience were taking us there… it is hard to explain in words… it is a mutual thing… band and audience feeding each other to higher places. Is it art? Yes, because it is human beings expressing themselves to other human beings.

-An artist always seeks to express himself through his music; did you have some certain idea behind your music when you started the band? Did you want to gain a success and glory of old psychedelic veterans and space-rock explorers or maybe you have some bizarre prophetic visions which you had to spread via aethyr?

-I do not think ‘success and glory’ sums up what we were after..lol… but I did hope that we could achieve that improvising ‘free spirit’ of bands from that era and also to mix in many other elements of music and have fun. I did not want to create a copy of that era but to be inspired by that era. I have no desire to be Hawkwind, or Gong, or Can, or Funkadelic, or any of the many other splendid bands that I do love from the 60’s/70’s, but what I wanted was a new version of that, a 21st Century take on all that great music. I like a lot of music made since the 70’s and Glenda and I are never afraid to play music outside of a particular genre. I think we have successfully avoided being pigeonholed and I am very grateful for that. Prophetic visions?…lol… not for quite some time. We do however love multi-media projects and are now working on the third Sendelica movie. I think these movies have meanings in them, and I know from messages from fans that they often ‘touch’ people and I am very happy with that… but I am not here to preach… each to his or her own.

-You’re talking about “new version” of good old stuff – okay, what are the differences between psychedelic spirit of 20th and 21st centuries?

-All genres of music should evolve to stay alive and have meaning…. It is fifty years since the sixties started… a lot has happened in that half a century both socially and musically. It is wrong and stupid to ignore that…. Embrace it all… ?

-Since 2006 you have 4 official full-length albums, and 3 of them was released with help of Russian label RAIG. But more than this – for such brief period you recorded also a self-released live album “Live At The Knitting Factory. Collectors Series Volume 1”. It took place in 2008, did you really need live album at that time?

-We are actually working on a new studio album right now for RAIG Records, this will be our fourth for RAIG but we have released many more on other labels!! So let me explain a bit more about our releases….

2006 saw us self release our first ever CD on our own FRG label, it was an EP titled ‘THEOWLSHAVEEYES’ and we handmade fifty copies… so a bit of a rarity. This was quickly followed, again in 2006, by our debut album ‘Entering The Rainbow Light’, again the CD was on our own FRG label and again we handmade fifty copies.

There was now a little bit of interest in what we were doing, we played a few interesting gigs and two labels entered our lives, Russia’s RAIG and the Welsh label Tidylike Records. In early 2007 we recorded two new albums…. ‘SleepWalker Fever’ was released as limited edition CD (came housed in a tin with badges and joss sticks) and was followed later in the year by our first RAIG release ‘Spaceman Bubblegum and other Weird tales from the Mercury Mind’

Spaceman Bubblegum brought us to the attention of a much wider audience and garnered a lot of good reviews and underground radio plays around the globe especially in America. Hence we became good friends with some American musicians, the idea of playing some gigs over their came up and off we went in April 2008. We hooked up with US drummer Geoff Chase and electronic player Ed ‘Vizzie’ Guild and played a handful of shows on the East Coast culminating in the New York show at the Knitting Factory. This was a real high point so far for us, our drummer recorded the NY show and it just seemed the right thing to release it as a limited edition CD (75 copies in a wrap around sleeve)… so we did. Was it needed??… well it was a good document of how our music was evolving in a live context, so yes it definitely had it’s place in our body of work

We also had ample opportunity for recording in the US and had three main great recording sessions which formed the basis for three different albums. At the end of the tour we booked into Browns University in Providence Rhode Island, these sessions turned into the RAIG album ‘The Girl From The Future’ (released in 2009). Other recording sessions held at Geoff’s rehearsal space and at Vizzie’s Psylab studio produced two further albums released on Tidylike Records. First up was the CD ‘The Alternative Realities of the RE-Awakening Somnambulist’ (2008) and was followed by ‘Transatlantic Underground’ (2009), again both were released as ltd edt CD’s in tins full of goodies.

2010 saw the release of our third album on RAIG entitled ‘Stremedelica She Sighed as she hit Rewind on the Dream Mangler Remote’.

-Glen worked with circus some time ago – didn’t you ever discuss possibility of using any elements of show during your gigs? Maybe just some psychedelic video?

-Yes in a way…. We have often done shows with very psychedelic lightshows and also had movies projected onto us, I have always had a fascination with the idea of multi-media harking back to the Velvets-Warhol EPI shows in the 60’s… an assault on all the senses… but no jugglers!!

-You have also 3 CDr releases – “The Owls Have Eyes” (2006), “Entering The Rainbow Light” (2007) and “Sleep Walker Fever” (2007). These albums have very different titles so can you say that all of them have different conceptions behind it?

-All of our albums tend to have themes running through them but I think the listener often comes up with their own themes… we like to take people on a journey with our music.

-Sendelica is instrumental band but once in a past you did collaborate with Chris Gibbs who sang on your EP “The Owls Have Eyes”. What kind of lyrics did you include in your songs? I wonder if any vocal lines could be more expressive than your music.

-We had two vocalists on our first two releases, Chris Gibbs and Sarah Evans, Chris brought a very definite 70’s rock vocal vibe to our track ‘This Is The Place’ very Sabbath-like’ Our first album ended with a very long instrumental called ’12 Shades’ that I think finally gave us the confidence that we could hold people’s attention with our instrumental workouts. Vocalists have played their part in later recordings but more as people using their vocal skills in an instrumental way. Nemesis work with Sendelica is a fine example of that approach. And of course lately we have done some interesting reinterpretations of songs that meant a lot to us which involved vocalists. We tried to use people that would be out of their comfort zone to try and bring something new to these classics… So far we have seen Venus in Furs released on FDM Records as a 7” vinyl single which featured indie vocalist Alice Davidson (Glendas daughter) bringing a completely different feeling to this old classic. Dub Pioneers Zion Trains vocalist Molara provided vocals on our version of Sabbaths Evil Woman which appeared on FDM Christmas CD ‘A Phase We Went Through’. Molara has also recorded vocals on two more tracks including a really achingly beautiful version of Beefhearts ‘This Is The Day’ which I really hope sees the light of day at some point.

-And then was “Spaceman Bubblegum And Other Weird Tales From The Mercury Mind” (2007) on RAIG, were you sure that you can trust to some strange label from Russia?

-He seemed like a nice man!!.. lol… seriously, it has been a great pleasure getting to know Igor and becoming part of RAIG Records… it is our spiritual home….. He initially made contact with us in 2006 and things just developed onwards from there….. it was good for all of us I think.. and it was such a pleasure coming to Russia and finally meeting him and having the chance to perform live for him….

-Pete, who was the author of such “weird tales”? I’m meaning how did you spare work between each other during process of composing new material?

-LOL… I guess my head is just full of songs…. I come up with a lot of riffs, sequences, ideas for the basis of tracks…. We then tend to jam around with them and they lead to new ideas…. Sometimes we are just jamming and something new happens… what Glenda adds to a song can send me in a new direction… it is that ‘feeding’ thing again….. as an improvisational band it is most important we listen to each others playing and play of each other.

-The year 2008 was marked with CDr release “The Alternative Realities Of The Re-Awakening Somnambulist”. How did you decide to do just CDr edition? Was this album not so important for Sendelica or there wasn’t convenient opportunity for you to release it in another way?

-Actually that is one of my favourite Sendelica albums!!… so it was as important as any of our other albums. We are a quite a prolific band and we prefer to get as much of our stuff out there in a physical format as we can… Tidylike Records loved this album and offered to put it out… I loved the packaging and all the goodies that we included in the tin. Just because it had a limited release from the point of view of the number of copies made does not really deduct from its value as a listening experience… One day we will hopefully re-issue all this stuff as we often get emails from people trying to track down these releases….

-As I know Glenda also played in another band The Surf Messengers and their CD “Lovest” was released as amazing edition with epic (50 pages!) booklet in 2009, how did they get such cool design and don’t you think about something similar and large-scale for Sendelica?

-Well you’d have to talk to RAIG’s Igor about that!! Cost is a big thing and the Surf Messengers packaging was a very expensive experiment. Having said that we have approached the Sendelica album ‘experience’ in other ways… especially the limited edition DVD’s of our movies that have accompanied the last two RAIG albums.

-Okay, you had “The Girl From The Future Who Lit Up The Sky With Golden Worlds” in 2009 and “Streamedelica, She Sighed As She Hit Rewind On The Dream Mangler Remote” in 2010 – two great full-length albums for two years, isn’t too much? I guess that it’s not too difficult for both of you to write down a couple of 20 minutes-long psychedelic tracks. How do you do this? How do you compose songs so fast on a high level of quality?

-Well we love playing and experimenting and that inevitably leads to lots of compositions and we can pull together lots of strong material….. I also listen to lots of different types of music and that inspires me, often in very weird but wonderful ways….

-Pete, what’s about “SleepWalker Fever” movie which was recorded on a base of one of your album? What is it about?

-We had originally recorded SleepWalker Fever as an album for Tidylike around the same time as Spaceman Bubblegum album… Spaceman was a very ‘rocky’ full band album, SleepWalker was a much more ambient trip… I think only a couple of the tracks have a drummer on them. At this time we had also played a couple of shows using movie projectors and had approached the film maker Grant Wakefield (he has done promos and work for people like Porcupine Tree) to see if he was interested in doing some little visual loops to use as projections. Anyway during the following weeks I sent him a copy of the SleepWalker Fever music and he loved it and thought it was a great soundtrack to a movie….and he came up with the idea of making the movie!!. It was great what he did, he really tapped into the music. We had the film shown at a few movie festivals, screened it in the USA and released it as a limited edition DVD with the ‘Girl From The Future’ CD. All in all a great experience with a great finished product.

-What is a subject of the film?

-I don’t like to give too much away…. Everyone that has seen the movie seems to be ‘touched’ by it in their own specific way. Some people cry when they watch our films… I think for good reasons!! So everyone has their own experience or takes their own meaning from the visuals although I think they are all taking something positive. For me SleepWalker Fever was about people who ignore the beauty that surrounds them, either natural or man made….. Sleepwalkers who never open their eyes to the wonders that surround them….. I think perhaps it is becoming an affliction of modern life….

-What kinds of differences you see now between the albums? And, hey, look – is it hard to think out such huge titles for albums?

-LOL… surprisingly the album titles come quite easily…. All the albums are different, we try to introduce new members and collaborators each time we record but there is definitely a ‘thread’ that connects them all together… a theme… I think you can always tell that it is a Sendelica album but I have no words to describe the ‘thread’ that binds the body of work together but it exists…

-So as we see you produced a handful of releases in such brief period, how did you decide to take part in RAIG project “Accessory Takes” sharing EPs “Screaming and Streaming into the Starlit Nite” and “The Mellow Mushroom Cosmic Cow” for free?

-Despite all the physical releases we have made over the last five years we still seem to have a big cache of unpublished material… sometimes tracks we record for an album just does not quite fit in with the finished product, then we have some live recordings and mixes that we end up not using for one reason or another, sometimes we’d like to use a track from a fotrthcoming album as a ‘taster’ of things to come… so Accessory Takes makes a great deal of sense to give these tracks an outing into the public domain…. And I think also we pick up new fans from this medium who then buy our releases or come to our shows… it is a good thing.

-“The Mellow Mushroom Cosmic Cow” has appeared in the end of 2010, so is it most actual material of Sendelica or is it some kind of bootleg?

-It’s a bit like a bootleg!!… it has alternative versions of a few live favourites, a little taster of our next album with the demo of Guiding the Night, an outtake from Streamedelica CD in Tinsel Tears…. in fact judging by the amount of positive comments that we have received about this track we may have to revisit it again. I think the whole album works as a sampler for people unfamiliar with our material, and also is of interest to people who already buy our music….

-Is there any connection between “mellow”, “mushroom” and “cosmic cow” in that release? Pete, you do not look like dope-smoker veteran, but it seems that your world is full of little ponies who are eating rainbows and defecating butterflies )))

-Defecating butterflies!!…. wow… I guess they do…..LOL… well I’ve never smoked a Cosmic cow!! Does that answer your question?

-Indeed it does! I think that now we can return to your Russian tour. I know that you were invited by your label mates The Grand Astoria – how long did you think before agreed to share such risky venture?

-Well financially it was always a little of a concern as we always knew a first tour of Russia would lose money but surprisingly we did not lose very much over the whole Russia/Wales gigs of the tour. We did it because we knew it would be a great experience and it was beyond doubt a great two weeks…..

-You played here without your drummer, you and Glenda are core of the band from very beginning – so it’s maybe not big problem at all, but how did you deal with that problem? Kamille Sharapodinov (The Grand Astoria) helped you to recruit new guy here, did he?

-We both love playing with other musicians so the drummer thing does not really phase us at all. We try to mold ourselves to whatever the drummers style is and allow the songs to evolve into new places…. And with Denis (Antonov) it was a fantastic experience… he hit the ground running and really understood the way we play and what we are trying to achieve. A great testament to his skill as a drummer was the way he pushed our playing, we quickly became a very tight unit…. The gig at Ryazan in particular had us flying high and really playing well and pushing boundaries….

-I could ask you few leading questions about your gigs in Russia, bur dare I merely ask about your summary impressions of this tour. Yes, let it be some kind of Sendelica’s tour review if you do not mind.

-In a nutshell… we loved it!!. The people were great, the other musicians we met were fantastic and a joy to share a stage with. People we stayed with were warm, friendly and incredibly welcoming, audiences were fantastic both during our performances and afterwards. A man in the crowd at the Moscow gig gave me his watch after our performance as a thank you for coming to play. I felt incredibly humbled and so glad to have made the journey. The people in Ryazan and Vladimir were so great after the gig… I think people realized how much we love music, how much we loved playing. It was quite bizarre how many people wanted autographs and pictures taken with the band… as I said earlier… a very humbling and joyful experience……

I kept a video dairy of the tour of Russia, not so much about the gigs but about my observations and how I felt being in this amazing country… perhaps the videos can say much more than my words…..

Links to the ‘From Russia With Love’ videos

YouTube Video 1

YouTube Video 2

YouTube Video 3

-With which bands did you play in Russia? Of course I know that you shared stage with The Grand Astoria, also you played with The Re-Stoned in Moscow. Were there others bands?

-Yes, their were a few other bands we got to play with…… The Sound of Ground played with us in Vladimir and the Dandy Stars in Ryazan…. The Dandy Stars had the biggest pedal board that I think I have ever seen!! Respect!!

-Most of the time you spent in Saint-Petersburg, what did you do here? The weather was pretty bad and grey – I wonder if it could be pleasant to stay in the city for so long!

-Well we were always busy, never felt bored or at a lose end at any time… we managed to do some recording at the House of Composers in St. Petersburg and we also managed to do a fair bit of sightseeing in this beautiful city… the weather made no difference at all… apart from the slippery ground.. lol.. that was quite tricky, I am very proud of the fact I never once found myself sitting on my arse in the middle of a St. Petersburg street!!

We also loved exploring the other parts of Russia we played in… especially seeing Pavlovs (dog) house in Ryazan!!

-Pete, I know that you recorded some stuff with Kamille of The Grand Astoria – where and when we will get this material? You told about new album which you’re going to produce via RAIG – will you include these tracks in it?

-Yes we recorded a track with Kamille and Dennis in St. Petesburg… it is called ‘I don’t want to be your Satori’. Part of it will feature in the soundtrack of our new movie ‘Ritual’

-You live in one of the most interesting part of Wales with all it’s stone circles and castles all over there! I wonder how it could influence onto your music… But did you get enough inspirations from your trip in Russia? Can we suppose that they will influence onto your next release?

-We do indeed live in a beautiful and magical place that has undoubtedly manifested itself in our music and movies. Yes, Russia will inspire our music in some ways as we were touched by the spirit of Russian people and next time we come to play in Russia we definitely want to do much more recording with our new friends….

-Oh, I supposed it was my last question but wait – you’re preparing a cover version of Hawkwind song for Friuts de Mer Records compilation “Roqueting Through Space”. Which song are you going to play for it?

-We did a very dancy version of Urban Guerilla… lol.. the Hawkwind police will be after us!!

Interestingly we managed to get the Hawklord himself Nik Turner to play sax on it… I think he enjoyed it too!!

Check out the video at

YouTube Video 4

-That’s all Pete! Thank you for your time and patience. Somehow I think that we’ll have a chance to see Sendelica in Russia once again, so I’ll be waiting for that day. Good luck comrade! Would you like to add any words for our readers?

-I’d just like to say a big thank you to everyone in Russia who made our trip so memorable….We will definitely be back to play in Russia….. soon….. ?
Interview By Aleks Evdokimov

Sendelica @ Myspace

Sendelica @ Facebook

Sendelica @ Soundawesome

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Posted February 18, 2011 by doommantia in Sendelica

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