Fusing rock and metal backgrounds with vocals honed in more of a traditional, stage musical environment sees German rockers Invisible Joe & The Mushroom Gorilla offer up a sound that’s almost as intriguing as their name.
The band shared Solar, the final track from their debut EP No Title, to help us get a taste of their offering. The track opens up with a funky riff that feeds into Aline’s chilled-out vocals through the opening verse. The pace builds up with stabbing guitars, drops again, then bursts into life with a lively chorus.
The funky guitar returns and drops into another chilled verse led by Aline’s vocals, which feeds into a longer version of the chorus that continues into an awesome guitar solo.
And to really understand just how awesome this band is, take a listen to the superb Identity. The near six-and-a-half-minute-long track begins slowly with drawn-out guitars then drops into a fun stabbing riff, which feeds into a fun descending lick.
Aline’s vocals “The more you get into it, The more you step outside, The more you get used to it, The more it dies; The less you care for it, The more it fades, The less you come by it, The more you hate; The closer you study, The more it falls apart, The more you comprehend, It breaks your heart” take over in meandering verses that feed into a return of the cool riff.
A cool little solo takes over after the second round of the verses, then drops into laid-back vocals over gradually building guitars towards the return of the opening riff. Aline’s impressive high-pitched vocals kick in over the top, then the engaging chorus brings it to an end.
The EP is superb, so go and give it a listen once you’ve had a read of the chat we had with the band to find out more. Read on below…
GR: Who are Invisible Joe & The Mushroom Gorilla? More to the point – who or what is the Mushroom Gorilla?!
IJMG: “We are four musicians from the Frankfurt area, in Germany, who came together in this formation starting 2018. Along the way, we’re fueling people with the energy of groove and melody. Coming from different musical backgrounds, like rock, metal, and singer/songwriter, we happened to find our common ground on a riff-based stoner or classic alternative rock music with strong rhythmic elements and traditional singing voice on top.
“Along the way we seemed to miss some elements or sound which inspired to have an invisible Joe in the band who is visible to the band members only by consuming mushroom vanilla. Since the Vanilla did not work out as a fancy logo, it converted to the cool Gorilla. He has been a steady member ever since.”
GR: You just released Solar. What should people be expecting from the song?
IJMG: “Solar is a song about a club night in Berlin. Cool boredom and will to ecstasy break their mutual way to a stoner riff.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
IJMG: “The sound of IJMG is energy-driven. We strive for groovy punch while keeping dynamics, merging it with rather traditional singing for this kind of alternative rock. Aline has been singing musicals and we like to fortify her singing altering between harmony and riffs.
“While Aline comes from classical singing, Huzzla has a strong metal influence, Ben and Mike bring the alternative influence to the band. But all the band loves stoner riffs. We all love Audioslave, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath. But there is no band reflection on what we want to sound like. We have tried even Pop or Schlager songs. Surprisingly, they all sounded like IJMG.
“We have a true live concept. We do not assembly or synthesize our music and don’t want to do it. Keeping it down to the four instruments is our way to go. What you see is what you hear.”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
IJMG: “A good song for us is a song that people understand while listening to it for the first time, but leaves enough elements that you want to discover when listening a second time. There are no specific topics we are writing about. We often start with an idea for a melody or a riff and then someone comes out with a text. Our lyrics originate from everyday life. They do not carry a particular meaning, but we try to find the cracks or moments that make life particular – in positive or negative affection.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
IJMG: “As mentioned already, we’re all coming from different musical backgrounds. When talking about music, we’re trying to find out what makes the sound of a band so special. The punch and groove from Red Hot Chili Peppers… Audioslave’s ultimate power… we could go on like this forever.
“When we started planning for our recording we listened to PJ Harvey. We liked this raw and direct sound of the records. When you’re listening to her music in the car, you think she’s sitting right next to you… and the whole band sitting on the back seat, playing live.”
GR: What have you got coming up through the rest of 2019?
IJMG: “We have been quite busy, playing gigs, rehearsing, recording these past months and lots of stuff that musicians shouldn´t do. Last week we recorded two videos that will release soon.
“Apart from a band contest that we will be playing September – our rehearsal room will have us back full time. There are plenty of songs and ideas waiting in the drawers and we are keen to work on them and make them ours. For 2020, we will be open for live bookings again. Hopefully, we will see you then!”
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music?
IJMG: “We’re happy and thankful for everyone who listens to our music. Let us know if you like it!”