Track By Tracks: Aawks - (((((Heavy on the Cosmic))))) (2022)

1. Beyond the Sun:

Beyond the sun was inspired by the Frank Frazetta painting Red Planet. Sometimes I look at a painting and write my own narrative about it. It usually correlates with something that I’ve experienced or something that I’m working on in my life. The underlying theme of the whole album is catharsis or a journey from one place to another. To be honest, I didn’t really figure that out until after it was written. Beyond the Sun is about a group of interstellar people who band together to fight a battle using telepathic mental tactics and despite experiencing losses come out the other side stronger.

2. Sunshine Apparitions:

Sunshine Apparitions is my attempt to write a psychedelic, desert rock song about having a great trip where you feel cleansed, lighter on your feet and appreciative of things after. I remember it came together really quickly and it’s one of the songs I feel like I didn’t even write. I love it when a groove or riff feels fun to play years after it’s written; those riffs or songs I feel are like gifts from “somewhere else” like they just fell out of the sky or something and I’m grateful every time it happens. Conversely, when they don’t come it can be really sad and depressing.

3. The Woods:

I was listening to a ton of Jeff the Brotherhood when I wrote this song. They have a really cool way of infusing heavy riffs with a great melody and a killer fuzz tone. I love the simplicity of this tune and I remember trying to make the transition from the verse to the chorus feel like being pulled into a giant hole.

4. All is Fine:

This was the first song we wrote for Heavy on the Cosmic. It was written sometime in 2019; all other songs were written in 2020 and 2021. I’ve always felt a certain comfort when I hear the heavy, impeding, ominous sounds of doom, sludge and stoner rock with de-tuned guitars and tons of fuzz and sustained notes. In 2007, when my daughter was a baby she was pretty unsettled for the first few months and would only sleep a couple hours at a time and then wake up screaming. I remember discovering, by accident that she would settle when I played the Boris song Absolutego. Maybe we share a genetic similarity for being soothed by cacophony and drones? I like the concepts of juxtaposition and paradox; seeing the opportunity within the tragedy or the light in the darkness. To me, All is Fine is a hopeful Doom song where, despite how bad things are, there’s usually always hope and a chance to soldier on and fight another day.

5. The Electric Traveller:

This song was inspired by Frank Frazetta’s Death Dealer II. It’s similar to Beyond the Sun but with a more tragic ending. In this song, I imagine a band of warriors who encounter several obstacles. They eventually drink poison and end up dying only to return as spirits that haunt an abandoned well of an old church. I work for a community-based psychiatric treatment team and like most places these days, we have an opioid and meth issue in our city. This song depicts the forgotten and lost souls who attempt to fill the void of loneliness and separation from family and loved ones with avoidance and distraction of chemicals or unhealthy behaviours. It’s probably our most truly Doomy song.

6. Space City:

This song is about the death of the ego that can happen through growth, wisdom or experience. Many people have talked about this feeling during psychedelic experiences where they blend into the environment and lose the self or the “I.” There’s a loss or distortion of time and senses can become overlapped where colours can be heard or maybe sounds can be seen. It can be a bit disorienting and scary or exciting depending on how you choose to see it. Most people also talk about coming out the other side changed or having experienced growth and a sense of connectedness. This song describes some fantastical hallucinations and imagery and I remember looking at a lot of Roger Dean’s floating island imagery when I wrote it.

7. Star Collider:

This song is my attempt at writing a desert rock/space rock song. I’m a huge Fu Manchu fan and I tried to emulate Scott Hill’s vocal style in the verses. For some reason when we do it live I try to do my own version of a King Adrock style vocal I think maybe because it just feels more energetic that way but I love both of their vocals. On the surface, the song is about a spaceship. It sounds lame but a lot of our songs have underlying self-help themes. I’ve battled some pretty intense anxiety for most of my life amongst some other mental health issues and the spaceship is a representation of growth or movement from an older, more selfish, less focused place to a healthier, happier one.

8. Peeling Away:

The main groove in this song started out as a jam sometime in 2019 and then we fleshed it out in 2021 sometime. Thematically it continues on from Star Collider and Beyond the Sun with a similar concept; along with the idea that I always feel like I’m reaching for things in the dark and as they are found they become illuminated. I’d been reading about concepts related to how even though we’re all swimming in the same molecular soup and that in many ways we’re connected we still have a sense of separation and individuality. I like the concept of symbiosis and the indescribable feeling and sense of connectedness you get with certain individuals. I also love working with people and banding together to achieve something. I think it’s a big part of what I like about bands. They’re like small gangs pulling you into their world and taking you on a special journey that is super specific to that group of people only. It’s beyond technique or ability and when it’s clicking, there’s magic where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Music is by far my favourite psychoactive.

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