Detroit’s PsychProg Garage Rock’n’Rollers Duende recently released a new album ‘Oracle Of The Horizontal’ featuring Bauhaus bassist David J on October 26, 2018 via Glass Modern. Torched Magazine is honored to have had the opportunity to speak with Joel McCune of Duende who gives us his insight into this amazing collaboration with David J, who lends his haunting vocals, bass and production skills. This marks one of David J’s greatest collaborations to date which is sure to please listeners ears even in the darkest of corners. The album is available as a 12′ heavyweight vinyl in a deluxe gatefold sleeve, CD in a 6 panel fold out card sleeve, and as a digital album. It is now available for order via Glass Modern’s Bandcamp HERE.
Words From David J
This exciting collaboration with Detroit’s stalwart psych garage band, Duende came about when they approached me to work with them on a couple of new tracks for a forthcoming EP. These turned out extremely well and when I played them to my pal, genius songwriter / hermetic music guru, Damien Youth, whose opinion I rate most highly, he enthusiastically insisted that we develop the project into a full blown album. This we did. Recorded and mixed in one week at Tempermill Studio in Ferndale, MI, I regard it as one of the most vital sounding and inspired recordings of my career. We also pulled in some additional stellar local talent in Warren DeFever (His Name Is Alive) and also Joshua James (Theatre Bizarre Orchestra) to add yet more tasty ingredients to the swampy spiked mojo soup.
According to your facebook page, “DUENDE steadily morphed into a band built for anything/everything and some kinda other thing.” Can you explain this progression?
Joel: To me that just expresses the way the band has morphed from what we may have originally intended it to be, the sum of all our varied influences, and the idiosyncrasies of our personalities, into something we no longer have (or even want) complete control of. Duende, more so than any band I have ever been a part of, has it’s own momentum and logic bigger than it’s members. There is a collective unconscious at work so to speak…
You say that your genre is “no pop, no style… strictly roots.” How would you explain this idea?
Joel: That again falls into an inability for us to fully express what it is that we do as far as musical genres are concerned! And was actually by Althea and Donna!
Who or what are some of your creative influences?
Joel: I love Rock and Roll! The real stuff, Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent, Buddy Holly etc, and all the stuff that evolved from that. The Milkshakes, King Khan, Bloodshot Bill… I grew up on The Ventures, early Beatles and Stones. I also love punk and subversive music. The Cramps, Sonic Youth, Butthole Surfers, Birthday Party, Bauhaus, Velvet Underground, The Clash! There is so much incredible music in the world and no end to it!
Duende with David J photo by Trever Long
How did you meet David J and what was it like collaborating on this exciting project?
Joel: We met David through a local event called Theatre Bizarre, and through the people who throw this amazing party every year in October. It is rightly called the greatest masquerade on earth! The short version of the story is that David was performing there, and we were performing there, David liked our band and offered to help get us some shows in California. We invited him to collaborate in the studio next time he came to town, and he said yes. We recorded four songs which he played for his good friend Damien Youth in Louisiana, and Damien kindly insisted that David return to Detroit to add enough songs to make it a full length album, which he did!
It is amazing for me personally to be working with David as I started listening to Bauhaus at age 15 in 1986. Love and Rockets about that same time. These are bands that helped form everything I know about music. These are bands that showed me that there weren’t set rules and hard parameters in what could be done with music. They showed me that it was OK to be a weirdo! An outsider! These people were my David Bowie if you will! I didn’t know if they were aliens or what dimension they beamed over from! So truthfully for me it was a little daunting to make a record with one of them! Nevertheless, the studio turned out to be the perfect place to meet and get to know David. We are both very comfortable in a recording studio, so a peer relationship was struck! David is an amazing pro in the studio, and very easy to work with!
Are your lyrics based on fantasy or reality?What was your inspiration behind Duende’s new album ‘Oracle Of The Horizontal?’
Joel: All lyrics were written by Jeff Howitt and/or David J, so I will make no comment on lyrics. As for the album inspiration, There was some pressure at least on my part to deliver the goods so to speak on this record. Obviously working with someone as established and talented as David makes a person want to give their best!! Also the fact that it really was a long distance collaboration made it a bit challenging! David being in LA, and Duende in the Detroit area… In the end though, you just have to trust what you know and make it happen! For me the inspiration was the opportunity to work with David and to rise to the occasion, which I feel we did!
Could you briefly describe the music-making process behind your new album?
Joel: Duende has always kept a small recorder in our practice room. Anytime someone is riffing about on something interesting we hit record. We then compile the best bits and tailor them into songs. Some of that happened on “Oracle of the Horizontal”, but there was also some very specific ideas that David had for certain songs. “Motor City Squeeze”, and “Oracle”, for example were the two songs we did in the second session with David, and he specifically wanted a “single”, and a thirteen minute dark opus for him to put his amazing spoken word poem over. In these instances a few ideas were sent back and forth, but ultimately most of what is on this record is unrehearsed, ad libbed, happy accidents, and serendipity! “Oracle” for example was one take from the band, and David did the poem after the fact in one take as well. “Queen Moon and the Brazen Bull” was an instrumental right up until mixing, when David suddenly was inspired into adding his spoken word to it. I can’t even imagine that song without that part now!
How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?
Joel: Our music has just become more of what is was always trying to be if that makes sense. Duende has been a band for twelve years, so you get real comfortable playing music with people after that long. There is a real musical trust. It becomes a language you all speak. Even if there are mistakes and surprises that happen live, or in the studio, you incorporate it into the song. You trust the moment. That is the only way we could ever have accomplished this album with David J. Going into the studio both times with him, we had very little concrete plans for the songs. Just rough ideas that we had no choice but to hammer into finished songs. We never could have pulled it off like this in our early years. We have always had a strong improvisational ethic, but we did most of that on stage. Improvising in the studio takes a lot more courage, freedom, and experience. David is amazing at it! Ideas just pour out of him. I think we were all inspired by his fluidity, and it made us more open to creativity in a precarious situation.
Is there anything else that you would like to share that I may have missed?
Joel: I think that about covers it! Thank you so much for your interest, and the opportunity to talk about an amazing experience!
ORACLE OF THE HORIZONTAL
DUENDE with David J
Duende is: Jeffery Howitt / Joel McCune / Scott Sanford / Laura Willem
Music by Duende // Lyrics by David J, except for Track 1 lyrics by Jeffery Howitt/David J and Track 3 lyrics by Jeffery Howitt
Produced by David J // Recorded at The Tempermill in Ferndale, Michigan by Tony
Hamera // Mixed by David J, Duende and Tony Hamera // Mastered by Tony Hamera
1) Out of My Dreams
David J – Vocals / Jeffery Howitt – Vocals / Joel McCune – Guitars /
Scott Sanford – Bass / Laura Willem – Drums
2) Motor City Squeeze
David J – Vocals / Bass / Fender Bass VI / Jeffery Howitt – Backing vocals
Joel McCune – Guitars / Scott Sanford – Guitars / Laura Willem – Drums
3) In the Shadow of 45
David J – Harmonica / Jeffery Howitt – Vocals / Joel McCune – Guitar
Scott Sanford – Bass / Laura Willem – Drums
4) Queen Moon and the Brazen Bull
David J – Vocals/Bass / Joel McCune – Guitar / Scott Sanford – Guitar
Laura Willem – Drums
5) Alice Through the Windscreen
David J – Vocals / Joel McCune – Guitar / Scott Sanford – Guitar
Laura Willem – Drums / Piano / Grand piano / Rhodes / Mellotron / Backing
Vocals / Joshua James – Tenor and baritone saxophones / Effects / Backing vocals / John Raleeh – Trombone / Backing vocals / Dave Vessella – Trumpet / Backing vocals / Warren Defever – Mellotron / Eric Kacir – Bell
David J – Vocals / Joel McCune – Guitar / Scott Sanford – Guitar / Laura Willem – Drums / Joshua James – Tenor and baritone saxophones / Effects
Warren Defever – Mellotron
Front album art by Damien Youth
(Special thanks to Damien Youth and Reggie Tiessen)
Keep up with David J
Keep up with Duende