We were going to conduct the interview somewhere spectacular/abstract/clever; but it’s Brighton, it’s winter, and it’s cold.  So we do it in their flat instead.

The clutter of old and new technology, over-flowing ashtrays, found furniture and random pop-culture artefacts says pretty much everything you need to know about Hypnotized – Paul Whelan, Robin White and Robbie Wood – one of the most promising bands in Brighton.

Seeing as the band seem happy, have had a comfortable childhood, and aren’t dating celebrities, we discuss something that seems to be lacking in the contemporary band interview: the music they make.

When examining their influences, it becomes clear they are purveyors of all things psych. Although very affected by recent bands Animal Collective and Gang Gang Dance, they all agree, “in all decades psychedelia has been there”.   They casually discuss Krautrock, The Silver Apples and Delia Derbyshire, “the white noise album is AMAZING”.  Very tellingly, their name comes from a Spacemen 3 song.

When asked about the current popularity of psychedelia and what differentiates this era from previous ones Robin points out, “it’s a very American sound that’s spreading over here, it’s taken a while but it’s beginning to do something.  Technology has played an important role in this, it’s very electronic, and there is definitely a hip-hop influence in there too”.  Are there other kindred souls?  They mention the excellent Flamingods – who they’ve collaborated with live – and Islet; plus Brighton bands Speak Galactic and Shinamo Moki. It seems a scene of this kind is inevitable in a city as druggy yet cerebral as Brighton.

One of the things that make Hypnotized so compelling is their refusal to stand still.  Every gig they play a completely different set. There are traces of the sound of their demo Say It, but it will be the release of debut EP next year when we catch up with where they are now.  Suitably, they are signed to local heroes Love Thy Neighbour and Robbie promises, “it will be more electronic.  Our demo was very organic. We have to keep moving.  We feel the whole idea of experimental music is about moving forward”.

Whilst on the subject of the local scene, Robin chats about the Brighton gigging experience: “we play with some really cool bands now, but when we started we were on our own doing this.  We’d been playing a lot of these shows where the promoter hadn’t really done any research and we sounded like none of the other bands playing and that didn’t make any sense to us.  So we wanted to say a big fuck you one night by doing this completely noisy jamout with this repeating visual of a camera zooming in and out of my face for half an hour then a picture of Craig David.  That was really good fun, we didn’t get invited back!”

Craig David has become an inexplicable, absurd totem for the band.  They once projected the cover of Born To Do It five metres high on a building on Western Road all night???,  “we were listening to Rewind when completely wasted for about half an hour and his face is just so ridiculous” remembers Robin “all these wasted people kept stopping in the street looking completely confused.”

When asked what are their songs are about they look puzzled, even a bit scared.  Robbie suggests “manta rays, sitting on the beach, psychedelia is about wandering off to strange places”.  I decide not to press any further.  There is a sneaking suspicion they’ve never had to think too deeply about their subject matter.  That’s ok.  Syd Barrett had no idea either.

The conversation turns to a salient subject for many people in Brighton – BIMM.  Robbie and Robin both studied there the later albeit for half a year.  I point out if they became big how BIMM would make a big deal out of it and put their posters up on campus and mention it on their website and loads of other stuff.

How would they feel about that? “slate them” Robin shouts defiantly “they promote the idea of music being a unoriginal form to gain profit instead of creativity or an art form”


So it’s not all flowers and crystals in the Hypnotized camp then.  Which is good.  The psychedelic movement was all about defiance.  And that should never be forgotten.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s