The road to Bloodstock… with Church of the Cosmic Skull
Bloodstock normally throws up a special find where it’s least expected. This year that just may come in the mystical form of the delightful Church of the Cosmic Skull. Brother Bill tells Paul Castles what lies in store at Catton Park and why The Seven Objects are the band’s path to musical and spiritual enlightenment.
ZT: Hello Brother Bill, you’re set to make your Bloodstock bow at last – How are you feeling about it? We are excited – as the Church is based in Nottingham it’s great to finally be playing the infamous Bloodstock, just down the road in Derbyshire. However, what would usually be a short jaunt is now on the tail end of a trip to Czechia – we’ll be flying in for Bloodstock on the Sunday after playing Brutal Assault Festival in an 18th-century military fortress the previous night. The light of the Cosmic Rainbow must continue to be spread across this planet and beyond.
ZT: With most bands in black at Bloodstock and you in gloss white, you’ll be easy to spot. Where does your distinctive appearance come from? It’s more of a matte or satin finish usually but the white clothing symbolises scientific and spiritual enlightenment, the descending star of the morning light, a sheen of purity masking the dark underbelly of society, the picket fence around the insect-infested lawn.
ZT: To what extent is the image an integral part of what Church of the Cosmic Skull represent The visual aspect serves to amplify the fear-release mechanisms that we employ at our live congregations, it aids the process of ego-death and the clouds the sense of identity, leaving onlookers confused, enraptured and ready to fall into the open arms of the Cosmic Family. Of course, the music is the quintessential element in the process of attaining total self-actualisation.
ZT: How did things go on your recent appearance at a festival in Croatia? Bearstone Festival in Croatia was a wonderful time, the setting was spectacular and the crowd were incredibly welcoming and receptive. We would recommend it to all and we hope to return soon!
ZT: Your regular drummer, Brother Laurence, was unfortunately advised to miss your Desertfest performance on medical grounds. Is he doing ok now? Indeed, unfortunately he is still recovering so Brother Adam will be filling in for the remaining congregations this year.
ZT: How disappointing was it to have to cancel your planned trip to Australia, and was this decision taken purely on fiscal grounds? It is very disappointing of course, but yes things are rough out there for touring bands at the moment, especially those with seven members. Along with the (completely justified) airline strikes, everything being more expensive, everyone having less money, times are tough. We were determined to make it happen, as we did with the last two USA tours, in the face of adversity, but the Australia run just became unworkable this time around. We hope to get over there soon!
ZT: There are seven members of the band – but the number seven is also significant in other ways, am I right? Absolutely, the Church is a rock group and spiritual organisation open to all who observe The Seven Objects:
Recognise the hallucinatory nature of reality
Investigate all aspects of the reality-hallucination
Receive all phenomena with equanimity
Celebrate and uphold the freedom of art, science and thought
Meet mistakes with forgiveness and determination
Do what you want, with love in your heart
Maintain focus on the unity of all living beings
ZT: Is there a sense that you are continuing the line from the 70s with bands such as Pink Floyd, Thin Lizzy and Rainbow, to name just a few? Those bands and many more from the period are big influences for sure – we have been ‘putting the Abba in Sabbath’ since our inception seven years ago… Essentially I think much of our ‘retro’ sound comes from simply recording actual instruments being played, with minimal layering, actual human voices without auto-tune, or any other modern techniques which have the potential to suck the life out of music. The Hammond and the harmony vocals obviously add to that atmosphere as well. So I would like to think we are honouring that old-school musical approach of good songs, recorded organically, often with hints of some dark hidden undercurrent…
ZT: The Cosmic family always appear so chilled – do you ever have any stand-up rows? We try to receive all phenomena with equanimity, but certainly when you are faced with a piping hot 40 minute Easyjet check-in process and 30 minutes left before the boarding gate closes, maintaining focus on the unity of all living beings can be a challenge.
ZT: What does the rest of the year have in store for the band? We’ve got one more UK date lined up, Riffolution Festival Manchester in September – see you there! Then we will likely focus on recording for a while. I’m also working on various side projects, including the new two-piece Massive Hassle, more solo material, and touring the latest Dystopian Future Moviesalbum. You can find out about all Church output via our new official facebook group, and you can join The Cosmic Family directly at our web portal: cosmicskull.org
ZT: Your most recent album, There Is No Time, is the band’s fourth, has the journey so far been a smooth one or have there been a few twists and turns in the road? There have certainly been trials and tribulations, but meditating daily on the Seven Objects and listening to our own music repeatedly ensures every challenge is met with patience, determination and true grit. Getting a band of this size to the USA twice after the uncertainty of covid etc was a very near insurmountable task, but we did it and the response from the American branch of The Cosmic Family was amazing. Anything worth doing is hard, life is suffering, everybody’s going to die, do what you want with love in your heart, have a good time all the time.
ZT: What should anyone expect, who may be thinking of heading over to the Sophie Stage on Sunday at Bloodstock? A hysteria-inducing evocation of classic rock / prog / psych / pop with dark occult undertones, vocal harmony, gospel organ and twin guitar attack. Hooks, riffs and deep feelings will be in abundance. A spiritual experience, perhaps, if you are willing. Mild jostling / dancing / heptagon pits / walls of love / spontaneous acts of faith-healing are all welcomed and encouraged, as is learning all the words beforehand at cosmicskull.org/listen – see you there! x x x
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Thanks for dropping in!
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