Light your frangipani-scented incense. Roll another blunt. Absorb into your blood the music of Plants. The Oregon-based psychedelic-folk group founded by Josh Blanchard and Molly Griffith-Blanchard are on tour with a musical acid test. Guitarist/singer/songwriter Josh spoke with the Alibi last week to give us a taste of just how sweet and dreamlike Plants will be when they hit the Atomic Cantina on Monday, Aug. 6.
You and your wife formed Plants. How does your relationship affect your music?
Generally, being married makes our band easier to manage. No band meetings, no passive-aggressive in-fighting. We pretty much, as a group, deal with issues as they come up and it really makes things more pleasant. We added our nephew, Graeme, our bass player, about six months ago, so that adds to our family dynamic even more. It can be difficult at times to not drag other factors of your life into the music, but any band that has a tight relationship has to deal with that already. A good band is like a family, so having a family that becomes a band makes perfect sense to us.
How much of acid-folk is acid, and how much of it is folk?
I guess that's entirely dependent on the artist. You can have a pretty straight-ahead folk sound with some transcendental lyrics tacked on and it's usually still considered "acid-folk." Personally, we prefer more acid than folk when it comes down to it, which I suppose reveals that we're not really dyed-in-the-wool folkies at heart.
Is there an element of improvisation to your music?
Definitely. We have both songs and jams with a clear melodic structure, but we always leave room to open things up or take the music in other directions if we're feeling inspired.
What instruments do you use to create your music?
On record we use whatever we can get our hands on. Zithers, synthesizers, electric tambura, strings, Eastern percussion. Live, we've simplified things quite a bit. Drums, guitar, bass, flute and an RMI electric harpsichord.
If your new album Photosynthesis could have been the soundtrack to a movie, which movie would it have been?
Photosynthesis has gotten a lot of cinematic references. Wouldn't it be cool if we could return to a time when movies had strange and original soundtracks instead of lukewarm orchestral music or some random montage of top 40 hits? I think Photosynthesis would make a great soundtrack to old cult classics like El Topo or Silent Running.
Plants will play music from their new album, Photosynthesis, at the Atomic Cantina on Monday, Aug. 6. Free, 21+.