When I think of music and Switzerland, psych country-funk love pop isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. It’s actually metal, because well, Celtic Frost.
Geneva dreamers Magic & Naked are working hard to change that for me.
We’ve featured M&N here a couple of times and their self-titled record (released in December) is a dreamy trip of 60s pop on a tour led by Syd Barrett through a cosmic Moby Grape galaxy in the Beach Boys Smile-mobile.
Beside the aforementioned influences there’s a lot working here. From reverb soaked melancholic surf, harmonies rooted in 60s pop, the country psych of The Byrds, the indie psychedelia of Warpaint, My Morning Jacket, or High Llamas, as well as Mutations-era Beck. This is a very strong record and one I just keep going back to again and again.
Elie Cobra, bass and lead Vocals
Romano Papier, rhythm guitar and vocals
Léonard Glacier C, lead guitar
Angus “Double Jerk”, drums and backing vocals
How did you become Magic & Naked?
Roman and I had to do a school project so we decided to make a record (with a little help from our friends) and somehow our buddy Robin Girod (Duck Duck Grey Duck) heard our demos and offered us a gig. So we asked Angus and Leo to join us and that was the beginning.
Tell us about the scene in Geneva…
Well it’s lively these days! We all play in different bands and there’s quite a good vibe going on. There are lots of interesting people to meet and plenty of more than decent bands to hear (Duck Duck Grey Duck, the Cats Never Sleep, L’Eclair, Cosmic Fields, to name a few)…!
Describe your sound as a cocktail – what’s it called and what’s in it?
It’s called psych country-funk love pop. There’s a strong 60s pop background (lots of Beatles influence, Pretty Things, etc…), a groovy rhythm section inspired by many kinds of soul, funk and country music (without being a stupid mash-up, think of JJ Cale.), some aerial guitar work and sweet liquid voices and harmonies.
Tell us about your live show…
Since the album was mostly recorded live, the shows sound pretty much alike! Though we jam a bit more and we have a bunch of new songs. So expect the sound you hear on the record and new tunes. Sorry, no nudity! But we promise funky outfits.
How does your songwriting process work?
Roman and I are the main songwriters. Most of the time we write songs on our own and bring them to the rehearsal. They’re never fixed until we’ve been working them together, so even if not everyone is writing tunes, we all play an important part in the arrangement.
What influences the band lyrically?
English is not our mother tongue so we’re not going to try to fool you with very complex lyrics. We’re trying to keep it simple rather than ending up with the “french-speaking-band-trying-too-hard-to-prove-they-can-speak-English” syndrome. I guess Neil Young may be our biggest lyrical influence. But I think the muse is within our daily lives, and that may be our true lyrical influences.
If you could pick any time to travel back to for music, where would you go and what year would it be….
Oh that’s a tough one! I guess it would be California around 1966. I know it’s a pretty cliché choice but can I stay there until the mid 70s please? 🙂
What tunes are currently on heavy rotation for you…
I’ve been listening to Bob Dylan’s “Nashville Skyline” a lot these days. Also on heavy rotation on my turntable lately: every 70s JJ Cale album, Neil Young’s “Comes a Time”, Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things”, “Paul McCartney II”.
If you could tour with any band right now who would that be and why?
Jacco Gardner! His latest record is great and I think our two shows would go very well together. And we’re big fans too.
If you could only bring ONE record in the tour van/bus/plane what would it be?
Another tough one! I’d choose “On The Beach” by Neil Young. I definitely can’t get tired of this one!
When you’re not playing and have some time off, where could we find you…
At record stores or shows. You could find Leo in any bar that has a pinball.
What’s up for the rest of 2016?
We got a little Tour De France coming in February, we’ll very probably go back to the studio for a week or so and we hope to tour some more in the summer. And we’re gonna let the children boogie in between.
Photo by Franck Alix