Exclusive: Interview with Trickster Guru

Trickster Guru is the dark and mysterious sound of the Californian scene. Their sound, reminiscent of a mix of Jeff Buckley and The Doors, is sure to give younger and older generations a taste of pure wonderment. CelebMix was lucky enough to interview the up and coming band with questions about inspirations, writing processes, and the future of music.

Exclusive: Interview with Trickster Guru 2

Give us some insight to your writing process and how your songs come along.

The writing process is actually pretty varied, but it will usually start with a strong melodic vocal hook or melodic idea that gets carried by chords on the guitar or keyboard. I’ll introduce instrumental riffs, synths and beats after the fact and flesh out the structure. As the lyrics form I become more confident in the mood of the song, which helps me choose the sonic palette. The songs are finalized and rearranged with my band or producer AWAY.

Your sound has a retro feel to it, what inspirations were you drawn to?

In terms of the older influences, I definitely feel inspired by classic rock, psychedelic rock and soul music. Obvious classics like The Doors, Bob Dylan Jimi Hendrix, Tom Waits to Otis Redding, Bill Withers and Al Green.


Your song “Feel the Spirit”, You’ve mentioned how it’s about Los Angeles and the psychedelic culture. What drew you the most to it?

“Feel the Spirit” was actually inspired by a near death experience when the driver of a car I was in flipped off the road three times in the desert on the way back to Los Angeles. A month or two later I watched a drunk driver get ripped apart by a tree outside of a wedding. There’s something psychedelic about both the desert and directly confronting death. I was really into the psychedelic and alternative spiritual scene in LA at the time of writing the song. So the catchy, retro gothic jingle was a way for me to lighten up and create a story outside of my self to cope with the experiences.

The song “Problem Child” has such a strong pull between alternative electro and a Doors-esque sound. When you wrote this song, was it the lyrics or the music that came forth the most? And did your inspirations play a part?

The song started with lyrics really, and just strumming a single note on a guitar. I produced the rest of the structure and wrote the keyboard one night after watching “The Source Family,” a documentary on a late 60’s cult leader named Father Yod. AWAY really brought the song to life with the vocal chop and the electronic drop. The chaos of the drop felt like a fitting musical expression of the “Problem Child” archetype.

Tell us about your music video for “Problem Child” and how it came about.

The concept for the music video came from an anonymous filmmaker, clothing designer and street artist from Las Vegas named Viiision. I became both friends with him and musician and model Lindsay Perry through the internet after I started getting some buzz following the release of “Feel the Spirit” and “Problem Child.” Viiision called up the brilliant cinematographer Cristopher Rodriguez and we bought some cheap plane tickets up to Astoria, OR. I was pretty amazed with the results and how they relied on gritty practical effects. We made a little dark, surreal masterpiece.

How do you think your sound has changed from the first EP?

The first EP was a pretty straight bluesy rock record. A lot of rough edges. The Problem Child EP was adding more of a pop perfection to the garage rock sound, but now introducing synths and a post-EDM sensibility.

Anyone you’d love to collaborate with?

Danger Mouse and Nigel Godrich. Flume, Son Lux, Flying Lotus, Ariel Reichstad. I’m definitely always eager to break out of any box I create for myself.

What do you think is the future of music for yourself and others?

Most of the innovation that’s happening in music right now is in sound design, production and the experience of music. Festivals will become more insane with the advent of 3D projection mapping, augmented reality and virtual reality. If you can still write great songs and develop an original sound and story during these times you might make a difference. It’s going to be an interesting century.

Any plans forthcoming?

Just grinding. I really want to outdo myself on the next record while I continue to evolve my live show. This record really helped me come to terms with my inner “Problem Child,” so there’s room to mature in to my best work yet.


If you want to find out more about Trickster Guru, you can visit https://www.facebook.com/TricksterGuru/


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Written by Lauren Ann Butler

Traveler, Music Junkie, Writer, and Dreamer.