Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Interview With Tim Reesor of Electric Magma

Tim Reesor of Electric Magma!!

Tim Reesor, guitar player for Electric Magma, one of the coolest rock bands around, was kind enough to put some quality time into answering some questions for me, and here's how it went down:

Ultra: First of all, one of the things that impresses me the most about your music is that you really don’t sound like anyone else, and nobody else sounds like you.  This is pretty hard to pull off after so many years of the evolution of rock music.  It makes me wonder how you and Tryg started it all off, and what your musical influences are. 

Tim: Thanks Mike,   Funny,  when we sit down and write an album, we don’t have any preconceived notion of what we want it to sound like.  We just start with little riffs and build them out.      The only exception to this is Mudshovel.     Around the time we were writing this album, we had been playing a lot of Doom festivals, and we didn’t feel like we totally fit in.   we decided that Mudshovel would be a doom album.   Most of the demos for that album were very slow and doomy.    I think by the time we finished writing it,  we were bored with the lack of speed and riffs and did an overhaul.    I believe 1 or 2 songs made it to the album in their doom form.

Ultra:  How did you and Tryg meet, and if you remember it, what was your first joint jam session like?

Tim: I totally remember meeting Tryg.     We met through a mutual friend at a bar, and just started talking about how we were both musicians.  The crappy band I was in at the time just lost a singer and bass player, so we asked him to join.    Very quickly we started pulling the band in a different direction and that was that.

Ultra: What bands made you want to play guitar, and how old were you when you picked up your first guitar?

Tim: I personally am a big fan of music in general.   I love everything creative and have a deep respect for it.   Music from the 70’s is what got me interested in music though.  Deep down,   the 70’s were and still are a big highlight for me.   Zeppelin was the catalyst, but Guns and Roses got me really wanting to play in a band.   

Ultra: What bands have you been listening to recently, and are there any 2015 albums you’d like to recommend to us?

Tim: I am embarrassed to say that most of the music I listen to most recently caters to a 3 year old boy, and a 9 year old girl.  The 3 year old isn’t so bad to steer into good old rock and roll,  but the 9 year old…. Oy.  Also, sadly, I’ve been reminiscing very recently listening to Stone  Temple Pilots,  Bowie, Motorhead, and the Eagles.            

Ultra: I’m also curious: what was the first concert you ever went to, and what is the best concert you’ve ever been at?

Tim: My first concert was Aerosmith with Skid Row opening up.   It was pretty awesome.  The whole experience.  At the time, if you wanted good seats, you would have to go to the mall super early in the morning and line up.     The best concert ….. that’s a tough one.   I’ve seen so many really awesome bands.  Big show – ZZ Top.  For their recycler tour.  The stage was set like a big junk yard … they had a crane pick the band up and dump them in an auto crusher, and they came out driving little cars….    Small show…. Stumbled upon Charlie Hunter at a little club in Toronto.   Blew my mind

Ultra: I think I saw on your website that you are finally releasing a digital copy of “Canadian Samurai 2”, is that correct? 

Tim: It's currently available on itunes.  If it’s not already on our website,  it’s because I’ve gotten sidetracked, and I’ll be up there soon

Ultra: What inspired you to keep it a vinyl only release for so long?  Certainly a bold move, considering that it automatically limits sales of the album to a degree.  (By the way, it’s my favorite of all your albums, and that’s saying a lot)

Tim: For the most part, it’s because making music is so expensive.   All of our albums from day one were recorded with a fantasy of one day pressing them to vinyl.  Karaoke Bitch Slap was recorded 100% analogue.  Mixed in analogue and only for CD was mastered from tape to digital.   Snail the Wah was envisioned as a double album … the first one being studio recordings, and the second one being improvised studio jams.   Unfortunately we could never afford to do both.   With Canadian Samurai,  we decided that CD’s were a dying medium, and nobody was really buying them anymore, so why not just do vinyl.   Vinyl has gotten expensive and time consuming now.  We’ve struggled to get press time, and then delays from manufacturing…   it’s a very time consuming process now…

Ultra: Electric Magma has released such cool album covers, but you have really outdone yourselves with Canadian Samurai 2 and Silverball; All-time classics in my book.  What are a couple of your favorite rock album covers of all time?

Tim: Thank you.   Both of those albums are my favorites.  We commissioned a piece from Ken Kelly (who did Kiss Destroyer and Love Gun, and is also known for Conan the Barbarian) and then we commissioned a piece from Robb Waters who’s art really fit in with our current Pinball theme.   I actually haven’t seen it on Vinyl yet (as I am typing this) … We are really really excited to see how it turned out

Ultra: I love the inclusion of some harmonica in the Silverball album.   Which one of you plays harmonica on the album, and how long has that person played the instrument?

Tim: We’ve always been big fans of inviting people to include on our recordings.  Being instrumental, it usually made sense to include vocals.   Matter of fact,  by the time we are finished writing ,  there are generally a few tunes that we feel is “missing something”    This time around,  we invited our good friend Brodie Stevenson to play the harmonica.   We’ve shared the stage with him a few times and he’s really passionate about music as well.  He’s a really awesome guy, and musician, and is always excited to be a part of anything musical.  We are really glad he could be a part of it, and he added a great depth to our tunes.

Ultra: I was wondering if you dislike the “Stoner Rock” label, or are OK with it.  Some bands don’t like that label.  (I claim stoner rock as my favorite genre of music, yet I have no room in my life for “Jay and Silent Bob”- type activities)

Tim: We’re with you on that one.   We prefer beer rock.   People assume we smoke a lot of pot when we write music.  Probably rightfully so.   But we don’t … we just drink lots of beer.   I don’t dislike the moniker,  but I am choosy when I use it.   There are a lot of people that ask me about the band, who wouldn’t get it anyways.  Sometimes I say 70’s rock… sometimes I just say “instrumental heavy music” haha..

Ultra: Are you a sports fan?  If so, do you have a favorite all time Toronto Maple Leaf, Toronto Blue Jay, and/or Toronto Raptor? 

Tim: I am a total bandwagon-er.  It’s really hard for me not to say my favorite right now is the Jays… they had a great year.  I was also fortunate enough to be downtown when they won the world series in the 90’s.  I’ll never forget how fun that was!

Ultra: I want to thank you Tim, for taking the time to do an interview with us, and I also want to thank you for giving us such unique, ass-kicking rock for over a decade now.  Electric Magma’s love for what you do stands out on each and every album, and I hope that one day you all get the credit you deserve.  Best of luck in 2016!

Tim: Thank you very much for the opportunity to talk shop!    All the best to you in 2016 as well!   Cheers

I feel like a kid on Christmas getting to interview Tim since Electric Magma is truly one of my favorite bands.  They have yet to put out an album that isn't awesome.  If you are unfamiliar with them, go check them out on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=electric+magma&aq=f , then go buy an album here: http://www.electricmagma.com/
or on iTunes.  You will not be disappointed.

Will check in this weekend with a review of the new Witchcraft album.  Until then, rock on!!

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