A couple of weeks back, SCiZZORMAN dropped his spectacularly bizarre new album SCHiZoPHoNiC… and damn, it’s an experience.
With a unique meld of funk, prog-rock, pop, and psychedelia, the Perth artist oozes out a sound that’s unlike anything you’ve heard before.
Upon hearing the new album, we knew we had to catch up with the mind behind the music.
Fresh off the release of his new album, we caught up with Perth’s SCiZZORMAN to chat what went into the album and their huge range of influences.
HAPPY: Hey there, how’s it going? What are you up to at the moment?
SCiZZORMAN: Freezing here in Perth, so thought I’d catch up on some music docos last night. I highly recommend American Valhalla. A powerful & emotional representation of a moment in history.
Literally just finished jamming with long time Reggae Nomad, Marlon Forrester, which requires one to rewire thy musical brain. Drumming to Reggae is a bit like being in a parallel universe. Also taking some down time to check out the local original scene, which I believe is on the cusp of something big.
HAPPY: There are some pretty whacky sounds on this album! How did that come about?
SCiZZORMAN: Phew! So glad you picked up on them. We spent hours searching for slightly unconventional sounds using a minimalist approach. Working alongside Sound Engineer extraordinaire, Adrian Vinci, we became open to experimenting with sounds, some which came outta nowhere.
Having said that we stayed true to what we’d initially recorded, known as the Nomad Sessions. We made sure we stuck to some limitations, like minimal use of particular instruments and maximum outage of a particular sound. So on Them (are not The Us), aside from bass, we deliberately avoided guitars and with Generation Gap we decided to keep the raw one off take, given we’d somehow winged it off the cuff.
Having long time Music Nomad Cody Robson in town telling me “I feel like playing bass again” kinda ignited the campfire. We were joined by another fine Nomad in Dorothy Helfgott on Keyboards and from there it was a series of light bulb moments. Halcyon, as opposed to say Halogen.
HAPPY: Could you walk us through a few of your influences?
SCiZZORMAN: Oh dear the influenza question. I could write a book on musical influenza. Spans decades and some go beyond just the music. So here goes… Rewinding back, I’d say XTC pretty much ruined any chance I had of a normal life (wtf are XTC you might say).
Once they burrowed into my brain, I knew I’d contracted some disease. Red Hot Chili Peppers because they’re funky assed survivors that keep getting better. Frank Zappa because he was the first true contemporary “Independent Artist” that kinda created his own successful cult status away from the mainstream.
Radiohead because they broke the mould and changed direction post The Bends. The Dandy Warhols coz they’re the coolest band in the world and make me feel like a delirious teenage fan all over again. Been right into Arctic Monkeys lately and the lyrical genius that is Alex Turner.
There’s so much more. Talking Heads, Jack White, Beatles coz they did it in 8 years, Fiona Apple, Foo Fighters, and Queens Of The Stone Age for saving Rock & Roll. Anything Neil Finn seems to do. Bob Marley for sharing Reggae with the world. Crazy P for their funky retro disco sound. Oz Pub Rock of the 80s, which is another book altogether. Jimmy Hendrix, The Doors, Queen and most sounds of the 70s. John Bonham from Led Zeppelin. Stewart Copeland from The Police, Rob Hirst from Midnight Oil and Chad Smith from Red Hot Chili Peppers.
HAPPY: Does the work of outsider artists appeal to you? How so?
SCiZZORMAN: It not only appeals to me, it’s kinda how Scizzorman has evolved. As a Drummer, I’ve played alongside some amazing musicians over the years. Most weren’t aware I was a closet songwriter.
Drumming for different acts within the music scene, in turn provided me with opportunities to work on my originals with like minded artists. Take for example Souls of the Past and Is That It. These tracks were a product of collaborations with another Music Nomad Stewart Herbertson, who also laid some backing vocals on other tracks .
HAPPY: Aside from other music, what else in life inspires you?
SCiZZORMAN: Summer. Visual Art. Swimming. Staying up as late as I can. Hope. Being efficient. Doritos. Conquering procrastination. Travel. Those with disabilities. Chance encounters. Other musicians. Mathematics. Improving and improvisation. Being challenged. My wife’s tolerance. Relaxation. The amount of hair my two Sons have. Beaches. Mangoes in season. The Plant Kingdom in general. Though not always in that order.
HAPPY: Could you walk us through your songwriting process?
SCiZZORMAN: Basically, Scizzorman is a ‘case’ study in how to record originals with amazing musicians, in an unconventional, and at times, chaotic fashion. Most of it stems from lyrical ideas, drum beats, assorted harmonies but mostly insomnia. Sometimes it might be leftover rhythms hooking up with long lost lyrics on some new dating site, finally finding true love. So I generally start writing because I have something to convey, that I don’t necessarily want understood, half of which I finish. There always seems to be a backlog of stuff waiting to form. Some songs have come about through jams & collaborations with like minded souls. Most come to me as I pass through the revolving door that spits music out into the night, only to be swept up during the break of day.
HAPPY: I have to ask, what does a Scizzorman live show look like?
SCiZZORMAN: A Singing Drummer, where the band’s bailed & the crowd shouts “WTF?”.
Listen to SCHiZoPHoNiC above.