Psylab
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Psylab

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
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Interview by DJ Mätthew Griffin
The Noise [May 2011 Issue #311]


Noise: Please tell us a bit about Psylab.

Joe Giglio: Psylab is a live EDM [electronic dance music] band from Boston. We play contemporary underground electronic styles of music using live instruments such as electric bass, modified Roland Vdrums, and synthesizers and traditional playing methods, as well as cutting edge technology and techniques to make our music. Psylab formed in 2005, after having worked together in various projects since the dawn of 2K.

Noise: Psylab’s members?

Joe Giglio: Psylab was founded by drummer Steven Asaro, Ed Guild [VJ, DJ, sound sampler, drum tweaker extraordinaire], Neil Larson a.k.a. Dr. Nigel [synths], and me on bass. Miss Eartha Harris [synthesizers] joined the band full time in 2007.

Noise: Tell me about the band’s approach.

Joe: Psylab covers a broad range of styles within the underground electronic music landscape. In the early days we focused a lot on playing progressive psytrance, deep house, and minimal techno. We then went through various phases of heavy drum and bass, and dubstep. Lately we have included ambient and downtempo as well. All of these styles are represented in our live shows.

Noise: How you come up with your songs?

Joe: We come up with our songs in different ways. Some come in as a rough idea, or as a simple theme and then develop into songs; some ideas come out of pure improvisation and will tend to write themselves. Sometimes we will cover other people’s music in the form of remixes or loose interpretations, for example, one year for Halloween we did a psytrance version of the “Cantina Jam” from the original Star Wars.

Noise: Who influences you?

Joe: Our biggest influences are the people in our community who have supported, nurtured and inspired us these last six years. Thank you to the Red Tail community, Gnome Phatty Circle crew, SMGU, Sonic Beating, Green, and Firefly [Boston Burners]. Musically speaking, classical music to classic rock, jazz, funk, Latin, Afro-cuban, goth, industrial, psytrance, techno, house, DnB, dubstep, ambient, reggae, roots, dub, dancehall. More specifically, as individuals we have a vast array of influences, but as a group I could say definitely bands like the New Deal, STS9, Infected Mushroom, the Bays, LCD sound system, Groove Armada, and Underworld to name a few.

Noise: Concepts behind your songs?

Joe: Rhythm, melody, and bliss.

Noise: The hypothesis behind your live shows?

Joe: Keeping it real. Being in the moment. Playing from the heart. Set lists are loosely planned sketches that can take unforeseen twists and turns. We always leave room for improvisation, which lends a unique moment for each show. Each set is a unique experience based from the vibe of the room, night, and crowd.

Noise: Some upcoming gigs for reader’s to check out Psylab?

Joe: Figment Boston on June 4 and June 18, Summer Solstice show at CoSM [Chapel of Sacred Mirrors] in upstate New York.

Noise: Best past gig?

Joe: Our sold out CD release party on March 25, 2011 at the Middle East, which was awesome!

Noise: Tell me about your new album Cardinal Alignment.

Eartha Harris: We’ve been wanting to release an album for quite some time, but we kept running into a wall where, as a jam band, it was very difficult for us to nail down a definitive version of the songs that we often play live and take liberties with. So we began discussing creating a concept album. It was around this time that we started noticing a lot of drastic changes occurring in our lives and those around us. Now, I personally tend to be the astrology buff of the group, so I looked to see if there were any significant astrological events occurring, and lo and behold, one of the biggest events to occur in thousands of years had just begun taking place—and will continue through winter 2012. This event is called a Cardinal Alignment—or Cardinal Cross or T-Square—a term referring to the planets in our solar system squaring off in the cardinal astrological constellations of Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. The effect of this configuration in our daily lives is equivalent to the vibe of four people at a table, each with opposing views, having to come to an agreement about our daily reality. The result in our lives is a lot of conflict, but with an end result of a lot of growth.
Now we had been discussing creating a planet-themed album already, but creating an album of planets IN astrological signs took the idea even deeper. When we began exploring the concept of all creation as sound through the works of Pythagoras’s Rule of the Octave and Harmony of the Spheres, and Hans Cousto’s Cosmic Octave, the concept went even deeper. Suddenly, we had a key and beat per minute for each planet, and a mood directed by the influence of the sign it was sitting in. It was in this way that our album Cardinal Alignment practically manifested itself.

Noise: Duty now for the future?

Joe: We want to continue to do what we love, and to share that love with the world. Thanks for listening.


Pick up a copy of the Noise at various locations throughout New England, or visit us on the web at www.thenoise-boston.com


- The NOISE


by Steve Urban

Boston based quartet, Psylab releases benefit album, “Deities & Demons: Psylab at the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors.” The digital album was recorded at a concert, which took place on Halloween 2009. 100% of proceeds from the sale of this CD benefit Alex Grey's Chapel of Sacred Mirrors Art Sanctuary in Wappingers Falls, NY. Psylab features human drum machine, Steven Asaro on the Roland v-drums with a custom-built software drum sampler, Joe Giglio on bass guitars, Ed Guild on visuals & samples, and Eartha Harris on synthesizers.

Their influences range from all over the electro musical spectrum. Dub/reggae to drum ‘n bass, to progressive house, to psy-trance and even synthpop. The band performed at Burning Man in ’08 and Camp Bisco in ’06/‘07 making them a well-known attraction among the EDM underground. Their new live album includes tech-house versions of the “Cantina Jam” and a drum ‘n bass “Death Star” remix, both from Stars Wars.

Whether you purchase your favorite individual tracks or buy the album for $10 the money goes to a worthy cause.

http://psylab.bandcamp.com/album/deities-demons-psylab-at-the-chapel-of-sacred-mirrors
- Reality Sandwich


Taking the idea from the Pythagoreans that movement of our solar system gives rise to a musical sound, Psylab delivers nine electronic tunes passed down from the space gods. Each represents the essence of a planet, sun, or moon through hypnotic rhythms and whirling synthesizers—cause the mind to traverse a sea of darkness via a coloring book that doesn't use the same crayon twice.

As the kick drum bumps it's way through each nook and cranny of the album, catchy vocoder and fat bass lines combine with the spacey atmosphere given off by the synths to form a dancey trance party on Pluto. There is a fair balance of slow tracks that make you feel like everything around you is crawling and fast tracks that cause you to keep your feet moving–even if you haven't taken a seat in three years. [MATT COUTO] - The Weekly Dig


"Psylab really impressed me last night. I ended my set with a Fanu track, and Eartha - keys player for Psylab - later remarked that the song was “mad tribal”, perhaps even conjouring playa memories for her. Needless to say, Psylab segued out of the song in perfect fashion and proceeded to lay down some very legit live dubstep. I hadn’t heard it done before, but they certainly pul it off. Not only that, but it felt really cool to influence the whole tone of their set, seemingly, by selecting the track they jammed out of. It certainly takes a lot of skill to do it like they did! The crowd was all mad pumped about it too! Love bands that can play with DJs like that. Shit ain’t easy!! A bunch of very talented kids from Boston! I look forward to jamming with these brahs again!" - Leon Sonkin


Bassist Joe Giglio and drummer Steve Asaro founded Nikulydin in 2000, a nine piece that, after natural evolution, whittled down to the current four members of Psylab, an Electronic Dance Music band. Interestingly enough, they insist that most of their best onstage moments are those they didn't plan. Psylab is performance based, with an emphasis on “spontaneity and intuition,” each show being largely driven by the audience. The band shapes its music depending on the energy that flows between them and the audience; it's something of a conversation. “There might be some familiar melodic themes and familiar breaks, but exactly where they're going to happen and when is going to be different experience every time,” says Steve.

The sharp skill of each member coupled with the style of music they play allows for synchronization the Swiss would envy. Each environment and audience is different, so Psylab understand that it wouldn't work as well to have a great attachment to a particular song, writing its structure in stone, as the majority of musicians do. With the flexibility to improvise, they can take their performances to a whole new level. “You can't really write those moments in, you just got to feel for them and look out for them,” says Steve. Therefore, the audience and the band may have identical expectations of where the music should go. The greatest Psylab moments are those based purely upon accidents that may incidentally set the band in an entirely new direction. “Accidents become happy accidents and the music goes somewhere else than where we expected it to, but we can all hear what happened and compensate,” says Neil.

Psylab incorporates almost every facet of Electronic Dance Music you can think of, from deep house to psy-trance, hard house to breakbeat, jungle to dubstep. They aim to sound akin to a live DJ set utilizing V-drums, a graphite-necked Modulus bass with a wide array of synth modules, and clear cut synth with focus on sonic patterns, melodic loops, polyrhythm and ambient space. “There's a lot of fantastic electronic music producers out there. What makes [us] different is that we're doing this live, without a net, and we're just letting it flow. We feed off the crowd and the more energy we can get from the crowd, the more energy we are going to soak up and give back,” says Joe. He adds that this way “Hopefully [Psylab] can take it to another level and bring everyone that's in the room with [them].”

The guys multi-track every practice session they do and review it later. They master those they especially like and post them on their website or do a podcast. A lot of their songs are named only for the sake of organization; often when people ask about a certain song, Psylab won't recognize it. “We also do some random odd covers. Sometimes I don't even know its a cover! One guy actually got a record cover and showed it to me,” since it was of the song they were playing, says Ed.

Psylab draw a lot of inspiration from all facets of life, especially from fellow artists. Joe credits WERS's Revolutions since “it's pretty much the only station in town where [he] can get [his] electronic music fix on a regular basis, consistently.” They all work to achieve a feeling of transcendence and connect with people on a psychedelic level. Its evident that they're usually quite successful, judging by the precise unity which they maintain during their Live Mix, although they improvised the whole set. They credit their fans emphatically: “There's a little underground community in Boston” such as Psyforia, a psytrance monthly held at the Cambridge American Legion Marsh Post says Joe.

Psylab has been performing at various events in the Northeast region and will soon be planning a U.S. and Canadian tour. They have been known to work with such local collectives as Sonic Beating/Changmian, Redtail Collective, Circle / Gnomefatty and others. - WERS Revolutions


Electronic music tends to shy away from human contact. But there’s something about its far-out pseudoscientific invitation that makes us feel more human than ever. For proof, watch someone shake her hips to a simple electronic beat. Psylab hardwires this feeling directly into our brains. Elements of trance, dubstep, jungle, drum ’n’ bass, (insert arbitrary electronic genre here) all mingle in the open space, but, instead of competing for beads of sweat, they work together to show us how deep the rabbit hole goes. Sonic hypnosis calls the shots in this fairytale land of smooth edges and subtle colors (chemical hypnosis is optional, but not required). With a blend of live instruments drizzled over a wall of synth indulgence, Psylab mixes-up liquid beats on the fly from scratch, surrendering control to the temperature of the crowd. Machines may be the way of the future, but Psylab proves that a heartbeat won’t be replaced anytime soon. Wallace - MySecretBoston


Discography

2011
Cardinal Alignment
(studio full length)

2010
Deities and Demons, Live at the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors
(live album)

2009
Live at the 941 Theater
(Self released CD-R)

Photos

Bio

Hailing from Boston, MA, Psylab is a live performance act that proves electronic dance music can be created on-the-spot by musicians, without the help of sequencers or backing tracks. Psylab crosses the line in the budding "livetronica" genre by creating music with a more authentic sound, akin to productions currently being spun by DJs on the forefront of the EDM scene.

Psylab features veteran drummer Steven Asaro on the Roland v-drums with a custom-built software drum sampler, Joe Giglio on bass guitars, Ed Guild on visuals & samples, and Eartha Harris on synthesizers.

Dubbed the "Human Drum Machine," Steve Asaro creates the rhythmic force behind Psylab. Although the use of actual drums may automatically define Psylab as a band, Asaro performs with a Roland TD-20 V-drum kit and custom software drum sampler built by Ed Guild. This enables Asaro and Guild to program and modify the drum sounds and effects on the fly, while still performing the physical motions of a live drummer.

Bassist Joe Giglio is the rightful founder of Psylab. His influences lie in dub/reggae, trance and jungle music.

A visualist and graphic designer by trade, Ed Guild began attending group rehearsals in 2001, armed with a projector and an array of source material. His role with the crew has since grown, as he began to incorporate audio samples and synthesizers into the sonic output. Guild is also experimenting with custom-built lighting software that reacts to the sounds of the band in real-time.

Eartha Harris provides the lead melodic element for the band, and plays all synthesizers in real-time. Drawing her inspiration from synthpop, industrial, progressive house, and drum&bass, Eartha's chords and melodies range from haunting and romantic, to gritty and upbeat, depending on the room and the vibe of the crowd. Armed with 5 keyboards, her range of expression is practically limitless.

Previous members include Neil Larson, aka. "Dr. Nigel"

GEAR

Band PA: QSC K-Series speakers
Drums: Roland TD-20 V-Drums, software sampler programed in Max
Bass: Graphite-neck Modulus Bass
Lights and Video: BenQ projector; software: Resolume VJ, Max/MSP/Jitter
Samples: Ableton Live
Synths: Nord Lead 2.0, Nord Modular, Nord Electro, Yamaha CS2x, Korg Trinity

QUOTES:

"Who needs a drum machine? I've seen their drummer play live! He is a machine!"
— Dave Henshaw, Sonic Beating Productions

"Psylab RIPPED it with the sick live PA... If you never heard of these guys please check them out! They are a live EDM band that can throw down any genre and they do it well and fluidly."
— DJ Miz Eyesis (Threshold Collective, Bump)

"It's a good sound!"
— Joe Tangeri, Pitchforkmedia.com

"Psylab... the way live electronic dance music should be. A multi-talented, multi-genre collection of musicians whose music touches the mind, body and spirit."
— JoeNice, U.S. dubstep ambassador (Gourmetbeats, RinseFM)