By Erin Jardine
VANCOUVER — Redrick Sultan’s live performance thrives in dark venues that provide a backdrop for psychedelic visuals, leading the audience away from the present and into a drug-like state of thinking. They are a no frills band, with three members contributing to the walls of sound that have earned them a following in their hometown of Vancouver and throughout North America. Redrick Sultan has something deep to say, and it reverberates within many through the ambient complex chords. Spencer Hargreaves (Guitar) and Noah Jordan (Bass) have a story to tell, and it’s especially evident in the lyrics on their newest album, Fly As A Kite, written on the road by a band with a sense of adventure.
In the technical realm, one might listen to Fly As A Kite and deem the songs “out of tune.” Redrick Sultan believes that “in-tune” is in the eyes of the instrument holder. Jordan found himself incredibly inspired by mathematics in relation to string instruments, and the capabilities of a differently tuned and fretted instrument – such as the guitar that Hargreaves plays. Jordan explains, “I first picked up the trombone, and I started getting interested in the physics of sound. I wondered who determined what all the notes would be on a piano or a fret board. Other places in the world, these stringed instruments had different variations, I got into Turkish folk music, which utilizes a different set of notes. But the traditional stuff doesn’t really have a play in rock music, so I adapted it and put the different fret board in Spencer’s hands.” The chords of Redrick Sultan are a departure from what the normative listener is trained to hear. But with years of dedication to their psychedelic music of many influences, the product yields well-constructed melodies behind powerful droning vocals.
When asked about the lyrics within the album, both Noah and Spencer launched into the themes that lay on the surface of their songs. The longstanding chain of events of the drug trade made an impact on Jordan’s perception of global events. “There’s an experience attached to it when you’re around the drugs,” remarks Hargreaves. “You see the consumer’s role in the war on drugs.” Jordan spent time in Mexico City and in being there, experienced the effects of a militant territory on the civilian population and his perceptions of the imbalance of power are seen in lyrics such as, “Around this hour, The guards watch the tower, Of life, of crown, of queen so speaks the ghost of power.” He met with a road-tripping Hargreaves in Las Vegas “which was kind of hard because we didn’t have any money to drink or gamble,” and in a bumbling attempt to do justice to the album name – meagerly tried to fly a few kites in the American desert at dawn on Hargreaves’ birthday. The Fear and Loathing experience was, “in theory it was a really bad time,” laughed Hargreaves. Regardless of that fact, the stories collected as a result of these bad times by these perceptive individuals make for some seriously interesting music.
Redrick Sultan plays on March 3rd at the Cobalt.BC, British Columbia, Cobalt, Redrick Sultan