Past, Present and Future with Nik Rayne from The Myrrors
Grant and I started the band back in 2007 when we were both still in high school, which was around the time when we recorded and released our first album, Burning Circles in the Sky. A couple of years later the band ended up drifting apart for various reasons, without any real plans to reconvene at any point. Eventually word started to pick up about the band and we started getting requests to reissue the album. Grant had been living in California but happened to move back to Arizona around that time, and after reconnecting we realized how much we missed playing together and decided to get the group back together. The lineup has shifted a little over the years since then, with a couple of different bass players moving through, our friend Miguel Urbina joining on viola, and Connor Gallaher from The Night Collectors coming onboard as second guitarist, but I think things are sounding better now than they ever did.
Next month sees the next release of your Fuzz Club Split Single which you're sharing with Cult of Dom Keller. How did the band and Fuzz Club connect for this release?
Fuzz Club contacted us a couple of years ago about reissuing Burning Circles in the Sky and ended up putting out a deluxe screenprinted version in conjunction with Rewolfed Gloom's standard LP release. Not too long after, they contacted us about taking part in the split single series. Fuzz Club were the ones that suggested Cult of Dom Keller as split partners, which we were enthusiastic about as we had known about them through their releases on Cardinal Fuzz.
What can you tell us about the song that will be on the single?
"Funeral Ark" was recorded pretty early in the sessions for Arena Negra, and was sort of an experiment in taking the kind of tape-loop elements used by artists like Taj Mahal Travellers and Terry Riley and underpinning them with a more rock-oriented rhythm section. Eventually we ended up shelving the recording, but I think the spirit of the track definitely carried itself into the Arena Negra album, especially on parts of "The Forward Path."
Tell us a bit more about Arena Negra, in particular the writing and recording of the album. What changed and what stayed the same for this album vs previous recordings?
Grant and I started writing the material that ended up on Arena Negra around 2013, about the same time that we released Solar Collector, which was a quick release of some of the jams that kicked the album into gear. Since reforming the group we had been searching for direction, recording hours upon hours of jams, experiments, and demos. It wasn't really until we hit upon the title track that I think we finally pulled a lot of what we had been working with together and came up with the seeds of the album. Arena Negra is definitely less of a studio construction than Burning Circles in the Sky was, though that's not to say that the entire new album was cut live, there are plenty of overdubs but the basic tracks were always laid down as a whole. After seven years of silence, the new record actually kind of feels like a second debut in a way.
You played Levitation Festival in Austin this year. Can you tell us about that experience?
I mean, we all had a great time. The reception we got was really a beautiful surprise, and it was exciting to be able to catch the 13th Floor Elevators reunion and Eternal Tapestry, as well as Dallas Acid, who we had never heard of before but who really blew us away. Gourisankar & Indrajit Banarjee put on a fantastic set as well. Overall it was all something of a blur...the weekend went by so fast and then we were back on the road.
You recorded your first album in 2008, but never really "officially" released it until 2013. I know it was around on the web before that time. When I heard it back then, my first thought was, damn this is fucking great! Why is this not released? So, can you tell us about that gap?
Actually Burning Circles was released back in 2008 as handmade, screen printed CDs, but it was a pretty small run and I'm not sure many folks were aware that we existed at the time. It wasn't until those were long gone and some folks had uploaded some of the tracks online that many people really started to take notice of the music and we started getting offers to re-release it. We're all still very curious as to who all out there has one of the original copies - we still haven't seen any turn up anywhere online or anything.
The internet has become very important to bands nowadays and your band is a perfect example of this. Without the internet, the Myrrors would have been like some of those obscure 60s bands that released a single or two and then broke up, only to be discovered decades later. The internet helped to keep that from happening to you and here you are 7 years later with a few records out, and picking up momentum. What are your thoughts on how the internet has changed the landscape of music?
I think music and the internet has a pretty complicated relationship, but long story short, I'd say that we've found it to be a pretty vital tool in being able to share our music and discover a community of like-minded folks who are into what we're doing. I know we never would have discovered a lot of the music that we're into without it. I will say though that your scenario does sound a little like what we experienced after Burning Circles in the Sky, except instead of decades passing between the release of our music and its "rediscovery" we only had to wait a couple of years before people started realising we existed!
It was recently announced that The Myrrors would be heading to Europe later this year for a tour. What can you tell us about the tour, and do you have any specific places you hope to play while there?
The details are still being worked out but we're hoping to cover a pretty large swath of the continent, from the United Kingdom down to Spain and Greece and back up north. We'd love to try and play Istanbul despite some of the crazy shit that's been going down there as we have quite a few Turkish fans, but that one is proving a little more complicated to figure out. Also we'll be bringing along some new music and some special tour merch courtesy of Fuzz Club.
Something a little more general for you...what’s been playing on your turntable lately? Old or new, what’s been caught in your musical web?
Catherine Ribiero + Alpes, Embryo, Noah Howard's Black Ark, Popol Vuh, lots of Indian classical music, Soft Machine, John Tchicai's Afrodisiaca, and the new Sundays & Cybele tape on Beyond Beyond Is Beyond...
One last question...This is one I like to ask every band/musician I interview, because I’ve always been interested in the stories they have about their first major music encounter or memory. Basically what set them on that path to musical love and discovery. What started the journey for you?
That's a really difficult question but I suppose when Grant and I first started playing music together while we were in school. We had both been playing music before that but I think the real turning point was when we first experienced jamming and communicating with someone else on a similar wavelength.
Interview by Nathan J. Barret