Brooklyn’s Golf Channel Recordings compiles the stoner sounds of Dutch guitarist Spike Wolters
"I must admit that I have been stoned every day since March 1973."
by Andrew Mason
Hailing from the deepest realms of private press, stoner sounds is Dutch musician Spike Wolters. Primitive drum machines, cheap synths, and cosmic guitar are the primary ingredients of his oddly catchy oeuvre. Brooklyn-based curators of quirky grooves Golf Channel Recordings knows a kindred spirit when they hear it, and have compiled a retrospective of Wolters’ work, Orange Cloud Nine, drawn from four albums he self-released in the ’80s. Below is an excerpt from Golf Channel’s extensive communications with the reclusive guitarist.
Your music has quite a unique sound and feel, like it was created in a bubble almost. Why do you think this is?
Of course, this is a hint to the use of drugs. I must admit that I have been stoned every day since March 1973. Up to 1992, mainly hash; from then on I grew my own grass. Apart from using LSD in the beginning of the ’70s I have never used anything else than hash and grass, with the exception of one snort of coke (1974), which I did not like at all. I have seen a lot of casualties and even deaths by overdose, looking back it is a wonder that I managed to keep clear of all that rubbish.
But this “bubble” is, as I have learned, the ability to concentrate, to focus. Playing an instrument is an activity that has been proven to be good for the brain, in particular the connection of the two hemispheres. People that actively play an instrument live longer. If you don’t use it (the brain) you lose it.
And hash and weed helps, I can be busy for hours and hours, losing all track of time, without being distracted, no pauses. That started with practicing which for me is just playing guitar, something I like to do. I can get lost in there, in the positive sense. Looking back starting to play guitar also had a positive effect on school performance, sports, and my development in general. The brain is like a muscle, if you train it, it grows.
And finding music by chance, growing little by little, it has been my sanctuary, an escape from the “mean old world”. The language of music is universal, understood by every one, crosses all linguistic and cultural borders, it brings people together, the Art of arts. For me learning to live in this world is learning to live with the insanity of this world. I consider myself lucky to have found an escape, an escape that can last me a lifetime.
How did your first album come about?
Well, I’d been home-taping for a while and heard records produced by “independent” labels. “I can do that,” is what I thought. So I made a master-tape, designed a sleeve and took them to a record pressing company, had 500 records made. Simple. Getting them out there was not though.
Did you have any influences when you recorded this stuff?
Of course it is difficult to “know” what influenced my music that is for the largest part a subconscious process. “Inspired by,” which borders on “copied,” is an other way of putting it. Only once I was inspired by a piece of music, an ad on TV for Sunsilk shampoo; a short clip, beach, sea, long hair blowing in the wind. The music was sort of a romantic classical piece, mainly strings; the spacey, slow motion-like atmosphere captured me. I did not copy the notes or anything; it was that atmosphere I tried to recapture. It’s not on the records but on one of the CDs and called “Sunsilk.” I’m a romantic, a dreamer.
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