An Interview with Christian Peters of Samsara Blues Experiment: Blues is a feeling. Many other “genres” are crap...

"To learn playing the Blues is not much a science than much more a life-experience that comes out in terms of music".

SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT are a Berlin based band, founded in Summer 2007 by leadguitarist/singer Christian Peters. They went through several changes in the first period but are in constant line-up since September 2008 featuring Hans Eiselt (guitar), drummer Thomas Vedder and Richard Behrens (bass). 

As the band name implies three elemental aspects are to notice - the blues as the fundament where it all comes from, the inclusion of spiritual influences accompanied by Indian/raga music and the experimental approach to mix up varied elements in a convincing manner. The band's songs are dominated by a playful dual guitar work as well as a passionate blend of heavy psych, stoner and space rock. This is provided with several nuances and transitions in between - quite retro styled, jamming, even sometimes worked out with a repetitive hypnotic touch in the tradition of krautrock. 

The band produced two appetizer EP's and intensively toured Europe as well as the US-Westcoast in order to reach for the appropriate condition to record a full album. World In Sound released the long awaited debut 'Long Distance Trip' in March 2010 which finally offers the band's potential. 



SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT are a demanded live band in the meanwhile and participate at many European festivals, Roadburn, Yellowstock and Burg Herzberg to name a few. Don't miss the Samsara Blues Experiment in Greece January 13th & 15th, 2012


Interview by Michael Limnios


Christian, when was your first desire to become involved in the music & who were your first idols?

When I was ten years old my father told me I had to chose a useful pastime activity and then suggested I should learn to play an instrument. I chose guitar and first was quite excited, but then soon became bothered, because it turned out not to be easy and I only had to play Ragtime Folk and Classic tunes. Nonetheless went six years to this classical education and with 16 got my first E-Guitar, because of all the main reasons a sixteen year old starts to really get into music... “teenage angst” all that haha. First idols were Kirk Hammett & Metallica, Jimmy Page, Tony Iommi and also Randy Rhoads I´d say.


What was the first gig you ever went to & what were the first songs you learned?

First gig was some local Metal band, don´t remember the name. I basically learned to play E-Guitar by playing along to these aforementioned idols plus some punk stuff like Bad Religion.


Which was the best moment of your career and which was the worst?

Best moment until now I had to say playing Festsaal Kreuzberg in Berlin last time was beyond all my expectations with almost 600 people going crazy. Worst moment so far, I would say was realizing that I had to break up my last band Terraplane after a long and hard time of struggle, due to different reasons.



Tell me about the beginning of Samsara Blues Experiment. How did you choose the name and where did it start?

I started this as a jam project together with the last Terraplane-bassplayer Florian Furtner and a young talented guy called Robin Niehoff after the split. We only had four rehearsals, then I moved to Berlin and had to look for one year to finally find Richard, Thomas and Hans who now complete the band. The name Samsara Blues Experiment, well it just came to me as I am having these kind of things in my head from time to time haha… I think it sounded great as a band name. Many lyrics as well come to me from intuition you know.


What characterizes the sound of Samsara Blues Experiment?
A lot of melody yet still a lot of heaviness, I guess.


Do you have any amusing tales to tell of your gigs? Three words to describe Samsara Blues Experiment?
It somehow amuses me, that many of the gigs that we played this year and which were to become those I remember most, happened in places which were very small with no stage and therefore very direct, face to face with the crowd. While others, many of the big ones weren´t that great in the end. I guess I really enjoy that being “well-recepted” by the audiences after years of playing for ten people who would not even tip their toes.


Do you remember anything funny or interesting from the recording hours?

Nope sorry, we´re a hard working band and I am a very serious person ;-). Okay okay, all was fun you know…

 

What are some of the most memorable gigs you've had?

Bottom of The Hill in San Francisco, our second gig in White Trash Berlin, Stoned From The Underground Festival, Burg Herzberg Festival, our second gig in Rome and as I already told you last time we played Festsaal Kreuzberg. Most of the Berlin gigs have been great.



Do you have any amusing tales to tell from your shows in Europe?

Depends on what you find amusing. Once we played with Nick Oliveri and Mondo Generator, where he first would call everyone a Nazi, because he couldn´t play as loud as he wanted and then later on apologizes to me for sitting next to my soft drink can and saying thanks to our drummer for being his opening act… which was strange. We played so many shows, you know there´s plenty of stories.


Which of historical music personalities would you like to meet?
Ray Manzarek, Jimmy Page, Iommi maybe… Are they historical enough?


Which of the people you have worked with do you consider the best friend?

I guess my old buddy Christian Oelke from the times of Terraplane would still be that person I know for the longest period of time and share the most of good or bad memories. Still then we can have quite a good talk. I traveled and moved a lot in my life, so there´s few people that I had a deeper relationship over a longer period.


From whom have you have learned the most secrets about blues music?

Blues comes from deep inside yourself, not necessarily from others. To learn playing the Blues is not much a science than much more a life-experience that comes out in terms of music. I´ve had the Blues inside of me for many years and still, seems can´t get rid of it. I am very “emotional” I guess, which is more necessary than anything else, also for being a good musician. Skills, education all this can, but won´t help, when you don´t feel with a trembling intensity what it means to be alive.


What do you think is the main characteristic of your personality that made you a musician?
As I said, being quite emotional, which some people might confuse with being wimpy haha…


Who are your favorite blues artists, both old and new? What was the last record you bought?

I totally fell for Otis Rush these days. I love all the stuff Paul Butterfield did and can´t stop listening to this. The last Blues record I bought was Junior Wells´ “Hoodoo Man Blues”, which soon became another favorite. But I listen to and buy a lot of music, not only Blues you might guess.


Some music styles can be fads but the blues is always with us.  Why do think that is?

Because blues is a feeling. Many other “genres” are crap, haha…

 

How do you see the future of blues music? Give one wish for the BLUES.

I guess there´ll be always people who vibrate on this wave-length which is the Blues. My one and only concern is not to over-produce their records as it is the case with many young musicians. I basically listen to Blues from the 60s and 70s, also because the records didn´t sound that supersharp superclean. They were just recorded live, no overdubs, no hi-tech crap. I hope the Blues will not become a stylish product.


What do you think of PSYCHEDELIC ROCK music & how close are to the BLUES?
In my opinion about Psychedelia, how it has been in the early days of the 60s, there has often been a mixture of several older styles like Blues, Jazz, Folk and others. Some bands would include Blues elements but often not carry the depth of emotion that a real Blues musician would communicate with one lick, one cry, one move of his eyelash. I like lots of Psychedelia but in the end it´s something else.


Where did you pick up your guitar style? In which songs can someone hear the best of your work?

I had six years of classical education and a further fifteen years of just playing, so I guess at some point I developed my style. I can hardly tell you which is the best I did, but maybe you get a good impact by listening to the “Outside Insight Blues” from our latest recording “Revelation & Mystery”.


How/where do you get inspiration for your songs & who were your mentors in songwriting?

All what I experience will sooner or later become inspiring. I didn´t have no real mentors, but sometimes my bandmates help to arrange a song.

 

What are your best songs, the songs you’d most like to be remembered for?

According to statistics I had to say “Singata Mystic Queen” could be a song that people will remember even in ten years, but who might tell this for sure. In the end every song that I made bears some inches of memory, as there is always or at least quite often personal stuff involved. At this period I would say “Outside Insight Blues” and “Thirsty Moon” are the best songs that I ever did, but I hope there are others to come, maybe even better ones.

 

Any of blues standards have any real personal feelings for you & what are some of your favorite?
At this very moment it would be “So many roads” by Otis Rush. For some reason I also have Robert Johnson´s “Come on in my Kitchen” in my head for quite a while.

 

Do you think that your music comes from the heart, the brain or the soul?
All of these, as it´s all connected.

 

What does the BLUES mean to you & what does Blues offered you?
I guess it´s just like a safe haven where I can come back everytime I tend to lose myself in stormy sea and go shipwreck.


What experiences in your life make you a GOOD musician?

I can not tell you which in particular, but it needs a lot of devotion and hard work plus some intuition, which others might call talent.


How is your relationship with the other local blues bands?

I don´t know many in Berlin. Samsara Blues Experiment is not a Blues band in the common sense you know.


How is your relationship with the other local blues bands?

I don´t know many in Berlin. Samsara Blues Experiment is not a Blues band in the common sense you know.


When it all began for the blues in Germany? Which is the most interesting period in local blues scene and why? 

For me as a child growing up in East Germany, well I can tell you there has been Blues at least since the 60s. There´s been the Klaus Renft Combo which had some Blues roots and a couple of others that were quite underground and later on became a bit more known like Engerling, Monokel, East Blues Experience, but I don´t know much about these. Most sing also in German which I don´t like that much. Even in West Germany I think it basically started in the 60s, with the first live appearances on Germany ground, GI-radios and stuff.


What characterizes the sound of local blues rock ? Who is considered the "godfather" of the blues in Germany?

Sorry I really don´t know much about Berlin locals, but there´s East Blues Experince in Potsdam, which is a nearby city. They sound like late Jimi Hendrix, but a bit more polished. Quite a cool band. I guess godfather, at least in the Eastern part, have been the Rolling Stones. My father also introduced me to Rory Gallagher, but I am not sure if he had a bigger influence here.


What are your plans for the future? Do you have a message for the Greek fans?

I am looking much forward to playing Athens (January 13th) and Thessaloniki (January 15th) in coming year. For us it is always special to travel to other countries, but Greece, you know, that’s the cradle of civilisation. So let´s see how it looks like these days. All of us would like to live from the music I guess, but this is just a dream. We have fans all over the world who ask for coming to their countries, but it´s not that easy.


What would you had given to Jimi Hendrix & what would you ask the Buddha Sakyamuni?

I am not sure how to answer this, so I better leave it to your imagination. Thanks for your deep interest.


Samsara Blues Experiment's site




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