Kyuss Live: Matt Sonic & The High Times

1 August 2012 | 7:00 pm | Staff Writer

Matt Sonic chats to us about Kyuss.

Do you remember the first time you heard Blues For The Red Sun?
I was about 13 years old, and I had the CD version on order from Brash's music in Ipswich, Queensland. I had bought the Green Machine/Thong Song single only weeks before. I had never, and maybe will never, anticipate anything as much as I anticipated that record. I took it home, and without distraction, listened to the record, twice, from start to finish, with my ear against the speaker of the CD player.

How has the album influenced you?
At the time, when I was probably at an age where I was highly influenced by my surroundings, the record became not only inspirational to me musically, but to my composure as a person. It affected the way I looked at life, and gave me a strong, though infinite, way of observing my surrounding. It was that powerful. I'm sure, even though I didn't learn to play one of the songs until recently, it influenced my guitar playing immensely, particularly the layering and overdubbing. I must have listened to the record thousands of times, and have absolutely no notion of getting sick of it.

What songs off it are you most looking forward to covering?
Song ten, Writhe. I think it's one of the most beautiful songs ever written. I'm trying not to think too much about playing it, just let my memories of the song pour out.

Where does the album sit in your list of all-time favourite records?
It definitely vies for the position of my favorite record of all time. I think it would be an eternal struggle between Kyuss – Blues For The Red Sun, Kyuss – Welcome To Sky Valley, JJ Cale – Really or The Black Crowes – The Southern Harmony And Musical Companion.

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Which track do you think will provide the biggest challenge?
Maybe Freedom Run. It has an intangibility about it which runs a little deeper then the rest of the tracks. It's actually quite ethereal in both its soundscape and heaviness. It is also completely devoid of any traditional songwriting structure. You have to be guided by instinct when playing it.

Are you roping in any special guests?
We are working with Chappy, My Left Boot's vocalist for the whole record. He's singing the album from start to finish. This is exciting for so many reasons. I think he's the only person I know, particularly in Australia, who can touch on that space which John Garcia finds in the Kyuss recording. It's like the ultimate blend of power and beauty, and an ability to phrase almost non-sensical lyrics into audible poetry.

Have you ever seen the artist you're covering live? How was the show?
I've never seen the line-up which we are covering. I have seen the Kyuss Lives tour recently, which was terrific, though a little removed from this initial magic. When I was 14 and listening to Kyuss, I think I found ywo pictures of the band, both hazed and psychedelic photos. I had never seen a video, despite staying up most of the year to trawl through Rage to find one, and my imagination would just run wild with what they might look like in real life, let alone sound like in concert. There was a real heavy magic associated with their story and vibe.

Should we expect any surprises from your interpretation?
Maybe not surprises. We're sticking to the structure and vibe as close as we can. There are some psych parts in the set where we've decided to live on as the High Times, which is exciting too. I mean, we are there to give people the songs of Kyuss, not pretend we are Kyuss jamming.