Bobby Hecksher of The Warlocks talks Tarot Card art and going back to the vaults for their new record

Bobby Hecksher was raised in Florida and found himself exposed to Rock ‘n’ Roll from an early age, via the upstart radio station established by his Grandfather and co-operated by his mother. Having moved to Los Angeles at sixteen, he met the musicians with whom he would form The Warlocks, fine exponents of driven psychedelic rock, distinguishable by the hypnotic, sonic depth their four guitarists generate. Frontman and guitarist Hecksher has led the group through line-up and scene changes, producing six diverse studio albums.

Today, they release their seventh, Songs from the Pale Eclipse, with a release party at The Hi Hat in L.A. ahead of a European tour beginning on Monday.

The album’s striking artwork got us discussing possible visual cues, with Leonard Cohen’s Songs of Love and Hate and Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures both presenting themselves as potential influences on the inky, textured piece. ‘Nice!’ said, Hecksher ‘The front cover art “Major Arcana” was painted by Korrin Jasmine Stoney. She is an Australian artist that does artwork for Tarot Cards. I can’t remember which month this was for but I liked the artwork so we went with that.” Clarifying the potential influences, Hecksher said ‘Purely coincidence that it looks like Joy Division, however, yes that’s the same font Columbia records used in the 60’s and 70’s. I just love big bold font like that. I think it was used for Byrds as well. Dozens of artists! We wanted an old and familiar feel as this is collection of songs we never recorded.’

The Warlocks - Songs from the Pale Eclipse

 

Though they sought a feeling of familiarity for the LP sleeve, the recording of the album was anything but familiar, with the group initially striving for something incredibly ambitious. ‘We started the album as a drone stereolab concept’ stated Hecksher. ‘We just couldn’t get it to happen. The studio was just too lo-fi to pull off such an aesthetic. It was stressful rather than fun. So instead of banging our heads together doing that, I went into the vaults and combed through all of my 8-tracks. I decided to finish all the songs I never got round to and focus on that. It was kind of fun going back in time like that.’ Although liberating, it still presented the group with some problems. ‘It was still a bitch because we pretty much blew the budget on the first idea making us scramble to get something down good.’

The group play live at Band on the Wall this month, and promise some new material alongside some classic back-catalogue items. ‘As far as the tour, we’ll play all the hits from all the albums and will play two or three new tracks from Songs From The Pale Eclipse’.