Last year at Levitation down in Austin, A Love That’s Sound spoke with The Creation Factory, a set of retro-minded Californian musicians who love ’60s inspired rock and roll. Playing either energetic instrumentals or vocal harmonies garage anthems, the Creation Factory champion snappy drums, buzzing organ and searing ’60s guitar leads. With a lineup including Ignacio Gonzales and Shane Stots of acclaimed Los Angeles psych rockers the Mystic Braves, the Creation Factory is setting up for a productive psychedelic season as if the last 50 years never happened.
David Lacroix: Shane, Ignacio, you guys have been busy playing with the Mystic Braves. Can you tell us how the Creation Factory got started?
Shane Stots: The Creation Factory is a name that I have had for awhile. Basically, I just mixed two bands together, both being English psychedelic bands. It started as a recording project with Ignacio. I’ve known him for awhile, he was in another band called Buffalo Electric; me and Cameron from the Mystic Braves used to have another band called the Kokomos and we would play shows together all the time. I always told Iggy that I wanted to be in a band with him and we never really pushed anything but it just naturally happened. We always knew that we would be in a band together when the time was right.
Photo: David Lacroix.
When Lolipop Records was emerging, he and I were actually living there, spending a lot fo time together, working on material and testing sound and vibration and really tuning into the whole experience of that. We started as a recording project and I actually refused to make it a live band for some time. To make a long story short, Neil came along and he was taking photos of the band.
We did a west coast tour with the Growlers, they are good friends of ours. We met Neil and I told him to move to LA because he was interested there was cool stuff happening and he actually did! Neil pushed me into making the band a live experience rather than just a show that you can go and see anytime.The whole concept is having an entire series going from the mid to late ‘60s, doing albums within the style of those years and being as authentic as possible to that culture. A lot of people are doing psychedelic music today which is great. I always say that it could be worse, I’m a huge critic when it comes to psychedelic music and the Creation Factory is all about being authentic about what it was in the beginning; being a 16 year old who has just heard the Beatles and you’ve taken acid for the first time and you go out to the pawn shop and buy a guitar and a pair of Beatle-boots and you start a garage band. We are starting at 1966. We’re working on an album right now and it’s a mixture of pop, garage and instrumental club-type stuff. The whole purpose of the band is to make people dance. That’s our objective, to make you dance.
DL: Creation Factory, tell us about your experience at Levitation 2016.
Ignacio Gonzalez: We just showed up and we were just going to play two shows and it worked out. It kind of created this platform where bands were coming together on their own – they were texting each other, it was like friends were getting friends on shows. It was a really cool, community effort that made me realize, or reminded me of how important it is to not rely on the man or something for a good time. We can do it ourselves and keep it going. It’s all about coming together and playing and bringing people together and having a good time. The whole festival thing is really cool because it brought it to this stage, the whole festival became over the past couple years something really big. People flew in from all over the world and it became a huge snowball with a pulse, basically.
To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what happened, it hasn’t rained, it rained one time. We were at our friend’s house. At five in the morning and there was a thunderstorm. This was way later, I heard about some trees and stuff falling in the campground, that could have been really fatal for some of the people camping, so I guess that was good. In the long run, it feels like it needed to happen. Especially with this festival and the people behind it, it seems like it should be like this. I’m having a good time, bands I was only going to see one time, I’ve seen them twice, like my friends the Cellar Doors. I’ve seen them more and I’m happier about it. They have been intimate stages and you can hang out.
DL: How did you get involved with the impromptu Levitation Ranch party that came out of nowhere?
Ignacio Gonzalez: Years ago, I used to have this band called Buffalo Electric. For a second, my friend named Todd Day played guitar in that band. Him and his buddies were having a bachelor party at this ranch that they had rented out as an Air B’n’B and they messaged us “yo, I’m putting this show together, do you want to come and play?” They rented amps, they rented a PA, they rented drums and just made it really nice. I think they even got a port-a-poty.. I got my friends The Turns, my friend Chris, also from Buffalo Electric, his band’s called the Mad Walls, they played too. It was a super rad, organic effort all for free. There was a bonfire and a bunch of people showing up after midnight. It felt like a festival, it wasn’t a bar or some club. It was different. The stars were out, the skies were clear. You could see Venus.
DL: I heard some folks say that the ranch party was California style in structure and Texan in spirit.
Neil Soiland: I’d say it was a combination of all of those things, sure we brought whatever we did to that show but Austin’s people were all there and they made it all possible. It was very unifying, everyone was together. There were people from all over the world. An Air B’n’B turned pretty much into psych fest. I thought it was a good combination, I didn’t think LA was taking over, everyone was all together in a way.
Ignacio Gonzalez: I think that LA did have a big impact on what happened here. That party, those guys came from LA. There is a really big, significant and powerful musical community in LA right now.
Neil Soiland: LA definitely brought some interesting music to the table. They were so good. I definitely feel that LA made a very good impression, the Mad Walls and the Turns and the other groups that played, we defiantly brought some good vibes. I felt it, everyone else felt it and you know, it’s a beautiful thing to see people turn onto new sounds right there and then.
DL: Any comments about Levitation this past year?
Ignacio Gonzalez: Keep on rocking in the free world, as long as you can.
Neil Soiland: This event blew my mind because it proved that music can never die. Even when a festival gets shut down, it will happen anyways, whether you like it or not. People loved it. I heard a lot of people talk about how this psych fest was one of their favourites or was their most memorable psych fests. That’s pretty incredible. It could have just shut down and left everyone bummed out, but no, this is Austin Texas. I always assumed that this city is just constantly bumpin’ music all the time. People are constantly playing, there’s so many venues. The music is going to happen no matter what and it’s so beautiful that the people actually really cared and kept it going. The festival isn’t over. You know what? Psych fest was saved. People saved it.
DL: Doesn’t the Creation Factory has a 7” record out soon?
Ignacio Gonzalez:My friend Paul has this label called Market Square Recordings based out of the UK. We are working on that and we are also working on a record to do on Lollipop Records. We have a lot of songs that we’ve just been recording. Our live set isn’t exactly all of the songs that we have, we like to play what feels right to that scene or whatever feels right, like at that ranch party. Coming here, we wanted to have soundscape vibe and not really play songs. The set we were doing tonight was more open and jammy, but not crazy. It’s more open, it’s about the feeling. There’s songs in there but it’s more about a way of thinking or feeling.
DL: LA has a wealth and variety of promising music festivals. Back in 2015, we saw the Creation Factory play as part of the Desert Stars Festival at Pioneer-town just outside of Yucca Valley. What was that experience like for you guys?
Ignacio Gonzalez: My friend Tommy Dietrick puts that together. He said that the show was fully booked but that there’s this barn that we could play afterwords. We were only supposed to play one night, we started at like 2 in the morning. It was at Pioneertown, people live there in the little houses. It was a barn, it wasn’t sound proof; it was this crazy psychedelic farm experience. We only played one song, we were jamming cause Neil broke a string and then the owner came and said “you guys have to stop playing.” The whole thing got shut down but it was so awesome, everything felt so electric. The next night, we were told we could play again. We started a little earlier and we were able to play our full set on the second night. It was really special, Lance Gordon from Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show came out and lit up the place. It was really, really good. It reminded me of Austin, kind of like a ‘60s Austin vibe in a barn, it felt really independent.
It was very laid back but it was such a great aesthetic, just to be in a barn, having an American flag behind you. It felt so classic. People were laying down on the ground and on haystacks. It was similar to the vibes happening right now at Levitation, which is beautiful. It’s beautiful when convention is broken; unconventional stuff becomes more memorable in a way. It’s like “oh wow, this is not what I expected but I feel more connected to the people around me.” I’ll never forget it.
Neil Soiland: Exactly, it brings people together. It’s a rewarding gift as a musician to be responsible for somebody or a whole group of people having a really wonderful time because you brought that to them. These events have been doing that and I’m seeing it more and more, it’s growing.To see people come together and interact with the bands and the music. It’s growing in numbers and changing lives.
DL: Other than the Barn show at Desert Stars and the ranch show at Levitation, are there any other Creation Factory shows that have really stood out?
Ignacio Gonzalez: Our first show actually is still one of my favourites. We just really took our time with it. The band Levitation Room, they used to run this music store in east LA . They would do shows and we would all play, the same community doing shit and playing in each other’s band. Our first show, we put this fabric all over the walls. The Levitation Room lived in and rehearsed in that music shop. It was really special. Unfortunately it’s not there anymore, but the same spirit is still going on.
Neil Soiland: That first show was incredible, we knew that what we were going to be doing would be great, like we knew that we were putting together something fun but we had no clue that so many people would just show up to hear some band that they’d never heard before. That blew my mind. Everyone was so tuned it, it was packed and everyone was having a great time. Our first show was one of my favourite, that’s for sure.
Ignacio Gonzalez: We also do this night in LA with our friends, they are called the Blindspot Project, they are another projection crew. They have this warehouse in the arts district of downtown LA. We have organized some shows there that go all night. Our friends from the Acid Test from San Francisco come in and they DJ. We have done two of them so far, they go until like 9 in the morning. Records, projections in a small warehouse there’s vintage clothes being sold and two or three bands. It’s really fun, those nights are cool cause it’s just some warehouse downtown but everyone comes. We aren’t interested in making money or being famous or playing the cool clubs. We just want to play our rock n’ roll and bring people together. Keep the pulse alive and keep it going.
Ignacio Gonzalez: It’s beyond a festival or a band or a show; it’s a real state of mind that everyone feels. It’s like we are all in the same book, maybe different pages, but definitely in the same book.
Neil Soiland: What’s happening now with people believing in music and making it happen. Why don’t we have a music festival that’s really grassroots, really down to earth that has a variety of great music for everyone?
Ignacio Gonzalez: I feel like we are in a new renaissance. The rebirth of old ideas, we are not anywhere else other than 2016 but these ideas that have been passed down through generations and are still alive in the consciousness of the youth. It’s kind of this universal vision that can’t seem to die that we pick up on. Somehow we come together, Neil is from Santa Rosa in Northern California, a lot of the guys in the band are from different places but have the same vision about music is, why it should be and how it should sound. When I meet people from all over, we were just in Mexico city with the Mystic Braves. We had never met these people before and we were like “you guys are right there, you see things the same way that we do;” now we are friends. It’s a continuous idea that exists and spreads so far. Music is infinite. A lot of people think that they have to stay within a formula or structure but you can go beyond all of that. If it feels good and everyone is feeling it, it has to be right. For me, music is that one medium between humanity and the divine. It connects all parts of the brain, it brings people together and it going to rejuvenate and bring something alive to people and bring them hope. These times can be so discouraging right now and we have so much going on in our world that can really bring people down. Music should be helping people stay positive, move forward and destress. Who know’s what’s going to happen but it’s happening whether you like it or not.
-ALTS- Artworks: Marie Ingouf – Photo: Ben Berkiw – Photos&Interview: David Lacroix-