The Psychics
Gig Seeker Pro

The Psychics

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010

Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Established on Jan, 2010
Band R&B Krautrock

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


"Q & A with Jerome Assad of Jerome and The Psychics"

Since the release of his band’s debut album (The Nova Guarda), Jerome Assad has done a great deal of soul searching—both musically and personally. In hopes of finding some answers, the Jerome and The Psychics’ frontman decided to move to Rio de Janeiro about a year ago, returning to the country his family is from. Despite living a few thousand miles from Indiana, Assad has made his way back to the States a few times since. Most recently to he's returned to celebrate the release of The Psychics’ second full-length Money is Violence with a show at The Bishop back in December. Now back in Brazil, I spoke with the Bloomington-bred musician via Skype to discuss his psychedelic soul group’s latest album and more.



Seth Johnson: In early 2013, MFT’s Rob Peoni interviewed you about the band, but could you give readers a little refresher as to how you got started?

Jerome Assad: I got a Tascam 424 freshman year of college, and I spent that whole year trying to join bands. I wasn’t very good at music and still wouldn’t say I’m good at being an actual musician, but I was still writing songs and recording by myself. Then when I got the tape machine, no one in the dorms had that. Everyone was getting into all of this retro garage stuff and thought it was interesting. So me and these kids who played in this band called The Motives [Triptides’ Josh Menashe’s band from San Diego that he kept going in Bloomington for a while] went to the basement of the Read dorm and just sat there jamming on these songs. We got really excited about playing with the tape machine and recording. We posted it online. Josh came up with the idea to just call the recordings “Jerome and The Psychics.”
Then, I got even more excited. We planned to have a band practice, and I made the mistake of planning to have that band practice on 4/20. So half of those guys showed up to my friend Zech’s house to play, but they arrived at different intervals, saw that not everyone was going to be there, and left. Zech and his friends Devin and Jackson were all there. It was 4/20. We were all having fun, and he was just like, ‘Why don’t we jam on your songs?’ From that, the first incarnation of The Psychics came about, and we started playing shows with that setup.

SJ: What challenges initially came with fronting this project?

JA: For a long time, it was dudes who wanted to jam, but I was always very serious about wanting to make music. It’s funny. There are two indications of the band name Jerome and The Psychics. In the beginning, it represented the fact that I pretty much pushed the band. I was the complete drive behind it. I was all of the rhythm for it. Like, they didn’t follow the drums. They didn’t follow the bass. They always followed my guitar. I always wrote all the songs, and sang all the lyrics. That was a struggle because I wanted them to be more involved, and they just didn’t give that much of a shit about it. It was more about partying and getting to play house shows.

SJ: So with the current version of The Psychics, are you still the primary songwriter? How were songs crafted for your latest Money is Violence release?

JA: I wouldn’t say so at all anymore. That’s why I was telling you there are two meanings of the band name. The second meaning is what this lineup is, and the second meaning is that there is no Jerome and The Psychics without The Psychics. They propel it all. They are all excellent and amazing musicians. They’re all very invested, and they all care a lot. It wouldn’t be anything if it were about what I do. I just lay a seed, and they completely build up around it.

SJ: So can you tell me more about what all specifically went into the making of Money is Violence then?

JA: Some of these are very old songs that have just been updated a lot and toured for years, but just haven’t been on an album. A fourth of it is that. Half of it is songs that we wrote before our previous tour. We hammered those out and played them for a while. And then the last bit is actually songs we wrote in the studio and then included on the album. We recorded it all in Bloomington, with Kate [drummer] and Sven [trumpet player] mixing, producing and engineering everything. They’re recording arts kids. They definitely have their shit together. It’s great having people in the band that can do that sort of stuff.
Lyrically, it changed a bit from when I originally wrote the songs, especially because we used to perform mostly in Portuguese. Then when I actually first came to live here in Brazil, I was playing around for some people, and I would play songs in Portuguese and in English. Here, they hear a lot of songs in both languages. In the U.S., everyone just thought of it as this sort of kitschy thing, and they thought that was cool. In Brazil, they were like, ‘Your singing voice is definitely a lot better in English.’ Around the same time, I became a lot more concerned with the fact that I had put almost no effort into the meaning behind the lyrics, and I really wanted to make that a key point in this album. I wanted the message to get across.

SJ: Can you talk to me more about that message?

JA: Money is violence, quite literally, but it’s a pastiche of some things. It’s really about beginning the process of awakening, and I think it’s something we’re going to explore more with more of our recordings in the future.
There are some things that we talk about in there, like class struggle issues.

SJ: What would you say are the primary differences between this album and your previous full-length, and what would you ultimately attribute to those differences?

JA: Jerome and The Psychics is a band that started when I first got a hold of the Nuggets compilation, and that always played a huge role for me. Part of this contemporary garage rock movement going on in America is based around ‘60s garage music, and we took from a lot of that. We were into garage-punk and ‘90s stuff like The Cynics. On the first album, we were almost playing to the standard ideal of what we thought ‘60s garage rock influences are. Since that time, I’ve realized those bands were all influenced by groups that were taking so many hints from Black music—that’s what they were seeking to emulate.
In between those two albums, I realized that a lot of bands [today] that enjoy playing with these [garage] influences are only taking from the white bands of the era. That’s why it’s so thin sounding. No one ever dances to them. No one ever feels moved. Garage music reflects bourgeois youth rebellion, and soul music represents an oppressed people letting their soul really speak out.

SJ: With you being back in Brazil now, what does the future hold for Jerome and The Psychics?

JA: This might be the first time I’ve publicly stated so, but I spent my year here as the manager of a small hotel. I did that because I had felt very frustrated with music. I had felt really frustrated with a lot of things in my personal life. I kind of wanted to just get away from it all. I thought I wanted to make a new beginning, but what I realized was what I really wanted and needed was just to get to know myself. I’ve spent this past year working a lot. Going from being a shit worker and thinking things are my fault to being a manager and realizing that being a manager in any sort of business in a capitalistic enterprise is bullshit.
I’m going back to America in March because my life isn’t about making money. Money is violence. I love music, but before I use music to sort of glorify myself, I love playing music and I love connecting with people, and the only reason I would continue doing so is to get the message out there that we together can make things a lot better for each other. I’ll be doing that. I’ll be back in March. We’re going to tour. We’re going to record more. We’re going to work on getting this album out there. We’re basically just going to do what we love. We’re going to make music for people and with people, just sharing the love and having fun with it. - Musical Family Tree


"Jerome and The Psychics"

Last week I had the good fortune to be able to attend the final live performance of Bloomington garage-revival outfit Jerome and the Psychics. I talked to Jerome from his new residence in Brazil about their local legacy, and what's next for him musically.


Jerome and The Psychics is a band that over the span of 5 years has featured over 20 members, and shape shifted from a lazy wasted garage punk band, to a Portuguese driven angular post punk outfit, to a 60's tropicalia infused psych garage outfit, to ultimately a plain old Rock n Roll band that concentrated on Cosmic American Music, taking a psychedelic tinge on what we consider the truest, most heart wrenching, and emotional of American music, which to us is derived from Blues, Soul, and RnB.







Jerome and The Psychics was originally the name my friend Josh Menashe came up with for some recordings we had made. It was April of my freshman year of college and I had just bought a 4 track tape machine on eBay. To test out the multi-track aspects of it, we went to the dance studio in the basement of IU's Read dorm with fellow musicians in Josh's band at the time "The Motives". After we recorded some jams we came up with on the spot featuring josh and co on acoustic guitars and backing vox while I played a strat through a small amp loaded with reverb and sang nonsense, we mixed it down and loved it. The Jerome name came from my dorm nickname of Dro. Some kid must have misheard it cause he would walk by the smoker's tables and say "Hey Jerome!" and it took us awhile to figure out he was referring to me. After that I decided it would be fun to do that as a band and when we went to practice at my friend Zechs house no one stuck around to practice except for me. So Zech and our mutual friends Jackson and Devin went to the basement to jam on my songs. And the original incarnation was born.

- I hear you are moving back to Brazil. What prompted the return? When will you move, and for how long do you plan to live there?

I'm already here baby! I live in Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro now, and I can't see myself living anywhere else for the foreseeable future.

I decided to move here after spending 5 years in Bloomington. Although I love music more than most things (God, Family, and Friends come to mind as superior), It wasn't a sound reason to remain in the midwest. I went through a tough breakup, I failed out of college, and I realized Bloomington gave me a lot of great memories I would never trade for, but its a bit like limbo. And I didn't want to stay in limbo. I desire a more ambitious future you could say. I want to get out and stop making music my priority, cause in the end being the kind of entertainer I am, isn't completely selfish, but it tends to inflate your ego and rear ugly and egotistical elements of a mans personality that I felt like id had enough of. I work as a hotel manager here now, and I plan on restarting my academic career and help shape change in Brazil. There is still a lot of things oppressing people in my home country, and I would rather spend my future trying to affect positive change then making music full time.

- So, Jerome and the Psychics is completely over? Or will you resurrect the band when you move? Do you have any plans for future musical endeavors?

One thing I've learned about the psychics? We probably won't be completely over til i'm dead. For now we have a new album in the works and I have to say I have never been as excited for a group of recordings I've been a part of like this one. We spent 5 years honing a sound, band, and groove, and now we've finally captured the culmination of that process. Once that album is out, I hope to return and tour the album with the Psychics, but until then I might play around Rio, and most likely record bad covers of french 60s songs and write gospel music.

- Obviously, there is a lot of 60s and 70s garage and psychedelic influence in your music. What are some of your biggest musical inspirations? Are there any recent garage revival bands that have had an impact on your music? Or do you mostly draw on the classics for inspiration?

I have to say that the biggest musical inspirations Ive had in recent times have been The Rolling Stones, Otis Redding, The Animals, James Brown, The Monkees, Creation, CCR, Rufus Thomas (really anything by Stax or the rougher Motown stuff), Elmore James, Willie Dixon, Howling Wolf, Jacques Dutronc, The Staple Singers, The Zombies, The Yardbirds… I could go on haha.

When it comes to recent stuff I just don't even pretend to seek it out. I just don't like most of it. Recent garage revival stuff is about 20% soul, 30% music, and 50% aesthetic. I don't care much for that formula. What made those bands great for me wasn't the retro look, or the cool associations that came with it. Music used to be about SOUL. And that's what I crave. My drug is soul. If the music's got soul ill chase it to the ends of the earth. Sure some recent revival stuff has elements of that but if you try to convince me that more then 1 outta 10 recent bands like that has a shred of that fiery, roots infused passion, ima call you a liar.

Of course saying I don't like any modern bands would be an enormous lie. Outside of The Horrors 3rd album, I would say , Blur, and Triptides are probably the most recent bands I like

- In addition to your musical style, one of the defining features of the Psychics is your lyrics, which are primarily in Portugese. I know that in the 60's the Tropicália movement in Brazil led to bands like Os Mutantes playing psychedelic rock and roll with Portuguese lyrics. Was this an inspiration for your lyrics being sung in Portuguese, or does it simply stem from your cultural identity?

Well that's definitely a part of it (though I did shed the Portuguese for our latest album). To be honest my great amigo/former roommate Glenn Brigman plays this tape by a Puerto Rican band called Davila (who later on we had the immense honor of becoming buds with and opening multiple times for them) and its all in Spanish! And I loved that album. Kept listening to it. Bought the LP. Then Glenn puts the idea in my head to sing in Portuguese! And I think why not? I love my heritage, I'm proud of my culture, and right now I am doing nothing to propel my heritage with my music.

- What are some of the best moments playing with The Psychics? Any memorable tour stories?

Oh man there are so many good ones I don't know where I would stop or start. I will say though you were very lucky to be there for my favorite one. The Last Waltz Show was definitely the moment where we all loved each other with such an intensity on stage that I'm afraid ill never be that happy again. A good one on our last tour was we played a gig in Iowa and despite great attendances the previous two times we failed to draw much of a crowd (Iowa City is a college town, and a summer show ain't a good college town time). We felt pretty dejected, and were preparing to head to the hotel we usually stayed at (for anyone out there JOE DERDERIAN is the man and shame on you if you think otherwise) and they were telling us the hotels all booked for our usual cheapo rooms! So what does Joe's man at the Heartland Inn do for us? He houses our broke butts in the Honeymoon Suite! We got drunk on Canadian whiskey and red wine in front of the fireplace and got nekkid in the in-room hot tub.

- Who were some of your favorite bands to play with? What about venues?

So many bands! I think I've played with Triptides 80x but if you asked me who I wanted to play my next show with I'd say it again! Thee Tsunamis had the misfortune of having me play a show in the band but sans moi those girls STOMP all over you and I'm sincerely intimidated by front lady Betsy "Bebop" Shepard's pure rock n roll soul. I love me some of Charlie Patton's War as well, our good psych buddies !mindparade, and I could never forget our sister bands in Tennessee, Nashville's Faux Ferocious, and Knoxville's The Mutations. There are countless other bands I love and am forgetting/ignoring, and I do beg their forgiveness. In terms of Venues…..The best of em is probably those two honky tonks we played in Knoxville and Nashville on our last tour. They don't have names, but they have a big place in my heart. Outside of that the Riverwest Public House Coop in Milwaukee is insanely fun, and I have very fond memories of Quarter's Rock n Roll Palace there, as well as Cafe Bourbon Street in Columbus OH.


- You mentioned you have a new album coming out soon. Is there anything you can tell us about it? What was the recording process like and how does it differ from your previous recordings. Is it going to be released on a label, or independently? Can we expect a vinyl pressing?

All I can say is we finally captured the magic of our live show and the love for each other on record. The recording process wasn't different in that we recorded in the same manner, as a band live in the studio with overdubs, but we had to record the meat of it all in a 2 day span while i was back in the USA preparing for my move to Rio. We haven't talked to any labels, though i doubt we'll release it ourselves (if no one wants to we'll do a digital/tape release and leave it at that). I sure do hope someone slaps this baby on Vinyl though!

- Is there anything else you want to add?

We tried to make music like our heroes. We worked our damn hardest to sing from the same place in their soul that they did, to remember the greats before them who made them who they are, to remember the plight of those wronged by society, and to encompass the empathy and love it requires to connect with people who want to see a musician playing music for whatever reason. We also found out that it is LITERALLY impossible to do those things, to do it the way James Brown, or The Rolling Stones did it, this day in age. At least if you want to have a future that doesn't mean playing the same low paying bars and getting ignored by the same labels looking for someone that's gonna sell a lot of records while being a waiter in a college town as everyone else your age just passes you by.

Our goal in the end was always to connect with the audience. Make people dance, make people shake, make people look at us and not see some self important group of musicians up there showing everyone what they could make instruments do. We wanted them to see a kindred group of souls who just wanted to wrap around their brain and tell them to join the party on stage. For the past year or two we haven't played a show where people didn't dance. Even when its 2 people watching us in Terre Haute, their bodies and souls couldn't lie to us, and they got movin'. After we found our niche, we just played. Without pretension, without any expectations, without any desire for praise, or any of that rock n roll bullshit. We just wanted to get up there and make people feel the way we felt about music. Fuck aesthetics, fuck blogs (sorry), fuck record deals, fuck music videos, fuck sex appeal, we took music, to make music, for music. And i am so happy we did. I may not have made a career out of it, but i can look back with such immense pride at the musicians who made this band what it is, and were patient and kind enough to let me push the envelope as far as we did. It breaks my heart that i won't be doing this full time anymore, but as long as changed one persons idea of what music should be about, I know our spirit will live on.

Thanks to:
Matt Jackson, Jordan Rogers, Josh Menashe, Zech Baumhover, Devin Sullivan-Lee, Jackson Caldwell, Kyle Houpt, Andrew Anderson, Nicholas Tromley, Rachel Weidner, Adam Alexander (Sonny Blood), Stephen Riffert, Kate Haldrup, Johanna Palmieri, Nicholas Harley, Mary Arthur, Glenn Brigman, Will Buckser, Sven Carlsgaard and Iain Donkin.

Show your support, buy their album
http://jeromeandthepsychics.bandcamp.com - Poisonous IV


"New Music - Nova Guarda"

A few months back, Bloomington garage rock outfit Jerome and The Psychics released its debut LP The Nova Guarda. The release falls in line nicely with several garage rock revivalists that have been receiving some buzz nationally in recent months (Allah-Las, The Orwells, Criminal Hygiene) with one notable exception: the album is almost entirely in Portugese. This is the result of frontman Jerome Assad and his Brazilian roots.

Assad was born in Albany, NY, before returning to his parents' native Brazil as a baby. He lived in Rio de Janeiro until he and his mother moved to West Lafayette when Assad was five years old. The bulk of his family remains in Sao Paulo and Rio. We asked Assad to answer a few questions regarding The Nova Guarda and his musical influences. Check out his responses below.

Interview


The album was released at the end of October, but how long has the band been playing together?
The current incarnation of the band has only really been playing together since shortly before our November tour (that's when we added our horn section), though Jerome and The Psychics has been alive and kicking since April of 2010.

According to the band's Facebook page, you are originally from Rio de Janeiro? Is Jerome the sole Brazilian band member or are there others as well?
Jerome is the only Brazilian in the band haha

Have you always been playing music? What projects were you involved in before Jerome and the Psychics?
I've been playing music since I was 14, but Jerome and The Psychics is the first band I was in outside of projects in high school. I've played in other bands since as well, such as We Don't Surf and the country band I currently play in Silver Wings, but Jerome and the Psychics was definitely the first.

How did you wind up in Bloomington?
I wound up here the way most do, I guess. I was bored and wanted to leave West Lafayette for college, so that took me this far.

Have you found Bloomington to be a vibrant music scene?
Vibrant maybe, but it's a pretty sterile environment. I prefer music that has soul, and a lot of stuff here is weighed down by how thought-out/ironic/soulless it is. Fun town to cut your teeth as a musician though.

What inspired the decision to write and record in Portugese rather than English? Did the rest of the band struggle at all with their role as background vocalists?
Our friend Glenn from Triptides showed us Davila 666's first album after we'd already been a band for a few months and mentioned that we could [do the album in] Portugese. No one disagreed with him and we jumped right into it. There's only one song from the English era that makes it to the album, and the rest of the songs were written specifically in Portugese. We intend to fill a gap in Brazilian underground rock n roll that so far remains empty. Portugese is a beautiful language that flows easily, so the band has less trouble than you would imagine doing background vocals. Our tambourine player and backing vocalist is even taking the lead on more songs as she becomes more familiar with the language. It's not easy, but we rehearse often and practice singing in unison.

Without asking you to translate the album, could you talk a bit about some of the themes / subjects you address in your lyrics?
This album was certainly more pop oriented than some of the themes we examine now. "Jacqueta de Coro" is pretty bubble gummy lyrically, and is more inspired by girl groups. It's a call-and-response around some leather jacket punk running around his girl's house and her parents giving him shit. "Marina" started out as a kind of gospelly spiritual song, but it made more sense to make it about a perfect girl named Marina (though I don't know a single Marina). Other tracks touch on more violent affairs, with the opener being about John Hinckley in a roundabout way, and the closer "Eu Nao te Falei" is about 'playboys', which in Brazil are the middle/upper class guys who sell pot on campus and are pretentious dicks. It's a nice situation that Bloomington offers its own version of, so I thought it was applicable to write a song slamming them.


What is it about garage rock that is universal?
Garage rock stems from people ripping off the British invasion in some people's eyes. Inspired by The Stones, and The Beatles, and The Pretty Things, and The Yardbirds, it's a great form of pop music. Garage rock is mostly raw ripoffs of these bands, and minus The Beatles, I would say I listen to the other three a lot as well. Pop music transcends borders easily, and while we think of people mostly listening to music in their own language, we ignore that in other countries music in a foreign language (English) is common, and not difficult to listen to, so we just flip that idea on its head and it works!

Could you describe the current garage rock scene in Brazil?
I wish! There are a few bands that have caught my fancy down REAL south. Not sure if they're still playing, but Os Haxixins are phenomenal and easy for anyone to listen to. One of the best modern psych bands if you ask me, and all in Portugese! There's also bands like The Forgotten Boys. Maybe this highlights my ignorance, but I've had trouble finding any garagey acts in Brazil.

You obviously have a fondness for late 60s rock, what current artists are you excited about?
Modern artists are tricky. Without the wisdom of time to help me evaluate music (even Exile on Main St. got shitty reviews when it came out) I find it difficult to listen to stuff recently released. It's the common conundrum of loving an album when it comes out and months later realizing how shit it is in context. I try to avoid that haha. That said, I do like Os Haxixins and Garotas Suecas in Brasil, and here I'm quite fond of Davila (though they broke up). We played a show with Radar Eyes and those guys are a fantastic band to see live, as well as The Yolks. Modern rock n roll bands are tough cause they do a great job but it's pretty white dominated outside of a few bands though. That's why I always like King Khan. We need more brown bastards in rock n roll these days haha.

Are there any big plans for Jerome and The Psychics in 2013?
We're starting to work on our new album. We've already debuted the newest song live, and we'll hopefully have that recorded before we take off on a summer tour for at least a few weeks. Also just trying to see if we can find someone interested in doing a physical release of our debut. We've done a few cassette presses but seeing that baby on vinyl would be a dream come true.

Do you have anything to add?
The only thing I have to add is we're very thankful. All we want to do all day is play so music and it's so fortunate and lucky of us to be able to play shows, to record music, and I know that a lot of people dream about doing that but never do. It's fun to live out your fantasies and rock n roll is ours. - Musical Family Tree


Discography

Jerome and The Psychics - EP - 2010
Jerome and The Psychics - Brasil 12 Single - 2012
Jerome and The Psychics - ...Are the Nova Guarda LP - 2013
Jerome and The Psychics - Money is Violence LP - 2015
The Psychics - 4X3 EP - TBA

Photos

Bio

The Psychics (formerly known as Jerome and The Psychics) are a psychedelic music collective. Spanning 5 years and numerous genres, The Psychics have explored numerous tropes of psychedelic music over the past 50 years and across the world with an innovative and explosively emotional live show. Hailing from the deepest regions of Rio de Janeiro's urban rainforest, The Psychics are known for featuring numerous collaborators to extend their hypnotically psychedelic and equally pop sound into even further dimensions. The Velvet Underground for the Post Fordist era. Musical Marxists willing to explore in depth the notion that work is sacred and music is limited to an ideological message of toxic relationship dynamics that promote patriarchy within a paradigm of rebellion. The Psychics are done with the hypocrisy, and are a part of the New Wave of musical/political/ideological examination and synthesis.  

Band Members