Who are Psychic Drive? They are Lizzy (guitar/lyrics/vocals), Connie (drums), and Kristin (bass/vocals). Their sound is hard-driving, feedback-drenched, and tinged with psychedelia. Reminiscent of the Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine, their music features rich sonic textures, multi-layered guitar effects, and a pounding rhythm section.
However, I would never call Psychic Drive a “shoegazing” band, simply because they never shoegaze. Lizzy is a performer from the old school. He’s never content to just play a song; he wants to give you a show. As he dances across the stage, you can see every note and lyric reverberate through his body. Not afraid to engage the audience, he’s been known to jump into the crowd to play a solo, or even to use other peoples’ bodies as musical instruments. (True story!)
Psychic Drive has been perfoming in NYC for 3 years, and have played at all of my favorite haunts – Arlene’s Grocery, Niagara, Pianos, Luna, Lit, the Delancey, and the Bowery, where they shared a bill with Blondie.
I was fortunate enough to see them at Arlene’s Grocery last Wednesday, where I filmed them playing Cartoon Christ (video embedded above), Hide, and Ray of Sunshine. I also had the opportunity to ask Lizzie and Kristen a few questions. Our Q&A is after the jump.
neighborbeeblog (NBB): So how did you and Connie meet each other?
Lizzy: I met Connie through a friend of my old roommate. … I was looking for a drummer for quite a while, in the Village. … and everybody was overplaying my songs, you know.
Lizzy: Yeah, I’d be like, you know, can we just do this really really simple? And, and uh, they couldn’t. There’d have to be a fill after every bar. I mean, this is going back a little bit, I guess. This is probably, like, post-kinda-Strokes-explosion. I don’t even know what was going on. There was a lot of, like, Zeppelin-kinda-drummers left in the Village, you know.
NBB: Everybody’s a Bonzo.
Lizzy: Yeah, and they didn’t really do it very well. And I wanted something very simple and raw.
Kristin: Guys love how Connie plays. Man, people love how she plays. When she plays, it’s almost like he molded her specifically for this music. She plays exactly right for this music.
NBB: So, tell me about “Cartoon Christ”.
Lizzy: What about it?
NBB: I mean, what were you thinking when you wrote it?
Lizzy: I think its, like, an experience of living in America, you know. I’ve been here now 10 years [since leaving the UK]. So I was here, like, pre-9/11, and post-. And then just kinda learning about the country, and the corruption of it. … I mean after going through that, and being in New York City, and seeing what happened… And there’s a lot of that in there, and the imagery of it. A lot of death, and a lot of chaos. And, I guess it’s also about Bush and just about politics in general. And there’s also religion creeps in there. I like it, I like a mishmash of different interests. … But it definitely grew out of that post-9/11 chaos, of living in the East Village, you know. Of, like, walking above 14th street and having your bag checked and and your ID checked, and that kind of paranoia, you know
NBB: So who are you favorite local bands?
Kristin: I think Hopewell is an amazing band. … They’re really brilliant. Their singer’s amazing. They’re all really great guys, and they just blow me away. … The Silver Rockets, they’re good friends of ours, too. The Silver Rockets are a really really good band. My friend Harri’s in a band called Dead Combo. It’s two Finnish guys, and they also do a really amazing live show.