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Swiss Prog/Psych Doom band Echolot recently released their sophomore full-length: Comrade Aleks sought the band out to learn a little more about what makes them tick.

Interview with Echolot.
"Echolot have been making their progressive psychedelic Doom with stoner influences for just three years now, and the power trio from Switzerland returned a few months ago with the new full-length 'Volva'. Lukas Fürer (guitars), Renato Matteucci (bass) and Jonathan Schmidli (drums) have once again refined this intellectual blend of styles. The Jungian-inspired album is relaxed and melodic, yet its soft pressure will haunt you till the final chord - proving that indeed three different people with different backgrounds in heavy music can still surprise you if they want to. Lukas provided me with answers to this interview, and it explains a lot about Echolot's main principles of operation."

Echolot: Jonathan Schmidli (drums), Lukas Fürer (guitars) and Renato Matteucci (bass).

Hello Echolot! What's going on in the band's camp? How are you?

A little sad. We just came home from tour, back to work and back to normal life. But that's how the cycle goes, after tour comes work comes composing comes practicing comes tour again...

It seems that the band has worked in the underground since its birth three years ago - let's shed some light on Echolot's origin: what drove you to gather together? What formed the band's sound?

Yes, we come from a pretty healthy underground. We found each other in the abyss of Basel's nightlife. We started to play around and showing each other what kind of music we liked. It did not really intercept but we found a consensus, leading to our first album 'I'. We're never too shy of letting new influences drag us along.

Your sound combines elements of doom, stoner, psychedelic and progressive. Can you trace the roots of all these influences? Which bands and artists inspired you to make this blend?

We are the children of a new rise of the hard and heavy stuff, wobbling around in our proximity. We are inspired by everything, since we all are the sum of our experiences.

Discography: 'I' (2016), 'Volva' (2017).

Okay, but can you say that 'I' is a totally original album, or can we find certain bands of the past in there?

We all come from different hard genres. The drummer used to play metal, the bassist was more a grunge and blues rocker, and the guitarist played in a core and emo band. It was quite a combination, but we found each other and combined forces. So, it is not original, but it is a healthy combination of things. It's when ideas have sex.

The first LP, 'I', was born in 2016. What was on your mind when you recorded the album, consisting of just one track? How do you see this record nowadays?

It is basically three songs in one. We just thought they fit and we glued them together. We still like the flow of it and do actually also play it live, which is a lot of fun. It is a lot catchier, bluesy and more straight forward than 'Volva'. It will always be in our hearts. The reaction of the people was funny though. Most of them were never at a concert where the band would play 45 minutes straight. Some of them were in awe and had gone to different places, some of them liked what we were doing but missed the part where the audience can take part in the happenings, like for example they missed applauding. So, for the second album we took the decision to write shorter songs.

Echolot - 'III' (Studio live):

When 'I' was released, you managed to tour with Cities of Mars outside Switzerland, how do you value that experience? Was it rather fun or was it rather a challenge?

Look at our tour, our tour was amazing, we gave it a lick. Touring for the first time is always challenging. We learned tons of stuff and were super excited. Now that we've come home from the second tour, we realized how much more relaxed we all were on tour and that we've gained some serenity concerning playing in other countries.

Now, with the release of your second LP 'Volva', you had another tour: how smoothly did that go? What were your most remarkable shows?

We drove through whole Europe and did not have a single scratch in the car or problems of any kind. Only to loose a rear-view mirror by some ass driving too fast on the journey to our last gig. Fucker. But besides that, brilliant! One show that stood out was Montpellier at the black sheep. That sound engineer was a magician. And the people were attentively listening and were full of compliments.

What are the laws of survival for a touring band? How did you use these laws in your latest tour supporting 'Volva'?

Most important thing: don't drive when you're too tired for it. Besides that, I guess the rules of common sense, loosely interpreted, are sufficient, at least for us.

What was your plan for 'Volva'? I read that this time you initially recorded four tracks instead of one epic composition. So what did you want to fulfil with this album?

We are dedicated to train ourselves to become famous radio stars. In a sense we are practicing our 3-minutes-maximum-song-writing. I guess by our fourth album, we will be ready for our well-earned fame in pop history.

Are you kidding? However, do you have any sketches for the next album?

Yes of course, we have no force over the duration of the songs we write, but there's already a negative trend between song duration and album number. It is not our intention to keep that up. We started fiddling around on new songs, and it looks like they too will last between 10 and 15 minutes. It just seems to fit us.

Music-wise I think that 'Volva' tends more to a psychedelic sound, and psychedelic music originally reflected altered states of mind. How much of that is in Echolot?

Actually, we do not really think that we are very psychedelic. We do not have the repetitive beats of the psychedelic rock bands we know, we think we are more playful when it comes to rhythm and songwriting. We do have the slow progression of drama in our songwriting, adding things more and more. But in the end, we would not call ourselves psychedelic, but rather describe our sound as intrinsically atmospheric. We love to compose music that demands of us to be in the right mood, in order to deliver soundly. It takes us places, we can get lost in it and our performance can be influenced by our current composure. There is no mechanical way of playing it, and therefore, it is always different. So yes, it alters our states of mind while we're playing it, but it's only the music we need for that...

Okay, how would you describe the atmosphere Echolot brings forth with 'Volva'?

The sound has to slowly take you by the hand and take you away to the point to where you feel a little bit lost. But you trust the hand to bring you back to your comfort zone. It must do that in order not to destroy the atmosphere created. Atmosphere is what happens when the expected and the unexpected keep level.

Echolot - 'II' (Live):

What about the lyrics? Does 'Volva' have a concept behind these four nameless tracks?

Volva is latin and means 'shell', 'envelope', 'coating', 'cover' or 'layer'. The lyrics are in the manner of a heroic epos, in which the hero has to become aware of his social and corporal shell, realize that he melted with it, and try to gain some independence from it by growing bigger than his shell. Something we all have in common. It stands for everyone's struggle nowadays to fit in and come to terms with the disproportionate weight put on our persona, the outer layer of our social self. The social and corporal outer layer of a person has a certain structure, which itself guarantees functional traits. The album cover shows this relationship. It is the foot of the diving water beetle with its suction cups, enabling it to walk under water. It's just an example of how the structure of our shell leads to functional possibilities and freedoms. It was done by Igor Siwanowiczby. He is a neurobiologist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and uses laser-scanning microscopy to artfully reveal the intricate details of lifeforms. Looks amazing.

Does that mean that you're concerned with the state of the modern world and the direction it takes? How did you work on this lyrical concept?

We think there's too much emphasis on the outer layers today. Change on a broad scale can only happen through change in the individual. The concept is inspired by the works and ideas of Carl Gustav Jung.

How would you summarise Echolot's general message?

None intended. Like it or not.

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Visit the Echolot bandpage.

Interviewed on 2017-12-03 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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