Slim Tim McLean & Blues Power are a 21st Century, freeform, psychedelic, post blues rock band from Sydney Australia. Their first release is the sonically fearless ‘We Are All Alone’. Tomatrax caught up with Slim Tim to ask a few questions.
How did the band form?
Blues Power formed in 2014 after performance at Sydney Fringe Fest, side show. Drummer Reuben Alexander and myself started Blues Power.
I have one disturbing large wall o sound with the guitar amp age. This is for width, air movement and complexity of tone. So at first was going to be 2 piece. Eventually I talked Reuben into having a bash with Ex Billy Thorpe bassist the legendary Harry Brus. Who is one of my great musical inspirations. When the three piece went into the studio with Brian Campeau producing with myself we originally all wanted to do a rather stripped down thing and had the working title “nothing really loud”. The tracks did sound awesome as just a three piece but I love orchestration & could not leave good enough alone and wanted to bring into the studio some additional sounds. Add violin, percussion,, exotic tuned guitars, amplified harmonica, and a real powerful female vocalist amongst things. So thru this process people wanted in on the inner circle. Blues Power grew and now is most nights is a 7 piece. Is big sound.
What made you pick we are not alone as your lead track?
We are not alone is one of the more extreme ends of Blues Power. It is a mix a lot of elements we love, backwoods guitar, backwoods everything, minimal musicality, Dusty Rhoades/ Rick Flair inspired lead vocal, gospel style holler vocals, Harry Brus putting on a demonstration on what is possible on Bass and massive cosmic guitar noise. Thought it would be best to have some transparency, In that this is what can musically go on.
You have an album coming out, how will it compare to ‘We are all alone’?
The album, Generation Nothing has 11 tracks, Overall I guess it is psychedelic album fused with a late 70’s punk intensity.
Generation Nothing is a cohesive trip but it does have a variety of composition styles present.
It is complex, full of sounds and invites a lot of listening.
There is a very, heavy funk thing on some tracks, been described as Sabbath versus Clinton fusion. There is a song called ‘Shama Lama Ding Dong’ that is like a lost track Zeppelin/Cream tune but kind of more low fi, & twisted. There is some really big space atmospheric things that has some shoe gazer element. There is a quieter almost acoustic tune called ‘Brother’ that showcase’s Bhavani’s stunning vocal delivery, Veronique’s violin, plus 2nd guitar Blues Power player Matt Ross’s amazing gospel voice. There is a song called ‘Guns of Peace’ about the western invasion of the Middle East and war crimes committed against innocents. It has a pumping big stoner rock groove with a message of hey us Tax payers a financing some sickening evil terrorism abroad. There is 50’s style Lost Highway ballad called ‘La Messenger’ that has some French vocals.
Where did the name Generation nothing come from?
Generation Nothing comes from Blues Power views on the void that is modern corporate culture.
You describe your music as being a genre unto yourself, is it important to have your own unique genre?
Nope, just is what it is. Would certainly be nice to fit into something and make so much easier.
Is it hard to transform your music from the studio to the stage?
Yes I think it’s hard for anyone performing music live in some of the venues around.
In the studio we tend to treat the studio as an instrument. So yeah some tunes can seem difficult for a variety of reasons. I think recordings by nature are a sonic snapshot of a place and a time. So we don’t try to reproduce a snap shot. There is so much magic in improvisational elements and we all really like to walk the plank musically. Playing things exact unfortunately denies the full creative possibility of the present.
Best to think about it is, you painted a picture of a subject, fussed over it for weeks now you are going to paint it again without reference, with not all the colours as last time but you do have some new colours that are even more vivid and electric.
When writing what comes first, the music or the lyrics?
Being a guitar player generally the music, however I am most of the time writing words. Songs always have working title from the get go, like Tribute to Glen Campbell or A song like Eye of the tiger and so forth. These words I am always editing, piecing together themes and trying to get things to feel just right. At some point they lose there working title and get there song title.
Do you ever listen to your own music?
Yep all the time. I love to listen to it loud and really have it wash thru me. Really like the last track on the album Falling Fackwoods, guitar sounds are so keyboard like.
What other music do you listen to?
Well I like to listen to Blue Oyster Cult, John Carpenter, Bukka White, Skip James, Howlin’ Wolf, Heart, James Gang, George Jones, Roger Miller, David Lynch, Black Sabbath, Cheap Trick, Beach Boys, Canned Heat, Moutain. But all the guys and girls in blues Power listen to a massive variety of music. Matt Ross our guitar player is country & gospel mad, bass man Harry is obviously a big motown
What do you have planned for the rest of the year?
Well our album Generation Nothing is finished. We are just starting to do shows around Sydney, It is all very exciting for us as we love being together and making music so much. We have some opportunities to do some shows down in Melb. Si hopefully will be down there soon. The live show is a multi media extravaganza. The last year has been spent creating visuals for the songs of the album this is now being tweaked into foundation of the visuals being projected during the live show. I am very into experimental film making so the visuals are big part in creating a more complete Blues Power experience. I want the audience to feel like they are inside a hologram looking into a mirror that reflects another mirror and gives a glimpse of the infinite nature of the creative possibility.
Check out Slim Tim McLean and Blues Power’s Facebook page to find out more!