Simon Posford uses electronic music to express his love of psychedelic drugs. Song titles include "My Head Feels Like a Frisbee," "LSD" and "Periscopes of Consciousness." The name for his main project, Shpongle, derives from being so under the influence that you'd say you're shpongled. On record, his sonic opuses often go into double digits on the time coun-ter -- but what may be surprising is that Posford never makes music while tripping.
"It's far too confusing," he says. "It's too complicated to know what songs I've played. ... I'm actually not very good at psychedelics, despite the many experiences I've had with them."
You're not good at psychedelics? Does that mean you don't do them anymore?
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I wouldn't say that. But certainly not while performing or in the studio.
What percent of what you do is bringing sounds or experiences back from a trip?
All of it is, to a certain extent. ... I might not be on this path if it wasn't for psychedelics. ... I ha-ted electronic music, for one thing, before I tried psychedelics. ... Before that I was into bands. I didn't hear the soul of electronic music. .... I couldn't hear anything that was particularly of interest. I was never into Kraftwerk. Even when I was into The Cure, a lot of people were into Depeche Mode and I hated all of that stuff. I hated drum machines. Then I took drugs and I was the complete opposite. I didn't want to hear some wanker singing about love lost or love gained. I didn't want to hear singing or lyrics at all. ... I wanted to hear all alien strange sounds.
There's a YouTube preview for your current tour, "Shpongle Presents: The Masquerade," where there's a lot of masks and a heavy-duty light show. What else can people expect?
3-D projection mapping on this giant pyramid structure. It has to be seen to be believed.
Does an audience get sphongled to enjoy a Shpongle show?
I can't speak for my audience. ... I mean I guess it's had such a profound influence on me that I want to provide a show that is a great experience to do that if they want ... and provide a similar experience for people who don't want to do that ... to make something that stimulates people on every level.
What is the least psychedelic thing you listen to?
"Mr. Blue Sky" by ELO. That's a fabulous piece of production.
Yeah, but that's kind of trippy.
"Breakfast in America" by Supertramp. I grew up on that album. It reminds me of my childhood and got me into music.
'Shpongolese Spoken Here'
Though Posford does not do psychedelic drugs in the studio, his partner in sound, Raja Ram, certainly does.
"If it takes a week or 10 days to do a song, when it's close enough that I'm not sitting there irritating him on the computer ... he'll take some acid, put the headphones on. ... He always has the same reaction. He's relentlessly positive. And every tune is, 'This is the best yet. You've outdone yourself!' He says that every time."
But an occupational hazard is always possible, as bad trips can occur.
"We had a big fight on 'Shpongolese Spoken Here,'" recounts Posford. "He wrote me an e-mail saying, 'Si, you really tortured me with your guitar, and you're really not a guitarist. ... It's like the guy with a jackhammer: He's loving it and everybody else is walking past with their fingers in their ears.' ... And he of course loves it now, but it took a long time to get the song."
If you go
Shpongle Presents: The Masquerade
House of Blues
15 Lansdowne St., Boston