HYDRA: STRIVING FOR THAT ZONE

 
It's a seat-of-the-pants kind of experience that I'm looking for. I'm not looking to re-create anything; I'll leave that to others.

--Mickey Hart

 

Hart cuts to the chase and lays it out, "It [Hydra] went way beyond the boundaries of most music that I play, and that's why I called it 'extreme music.' I can only relate it to my own personal experience. For me it was extreme. And one of the things that I felt was extreme were the tempos. They were really rapid. Just the sheer power of the music and the tempos took it a little bit further than I'm used to speed-wise. But of course the Grateful Dead is more of a loping kind of easy rock 'n roll band and jazz-oriented compared to this very hard-driving... it's a stone cold dance band. But the speeds are just really exhilarating. So that's why I came up with that 'extreme music for extreme people' thing [in the press release]."


Steve Molitz :: Hydra :: 04.07.05 :: Santa Cruz, CA
In speaking with Hart and Pujalet, one theme seemed to reoccur throughout our conversations. Both men kept coming back to this notion of "taking people away" or finding the "spiritual" aspect of music. That intense experience which, if you've ever had it, can cause a shift in your life. As Hart explains, "It's such a powerful, magical, life-giving experience, you swim upstream underwater to get it - you do anything to get it. And then when you get it, you don't wanna let it go. But you have to go to sleep and the music has to stop and then you just pray you can get it again the next day." Or as Pujalet expresses, "I think music is an escape, a place where you can kind of see your own soul without the everyday attachments. And I think the zones we are getting into are really deep, and the space you are talking about is what is going to allow our audience to actually get there." Perhaps this is the tie that binds this whole thing together. This "life-giving experience" or this "zone" seems to be at the core of Hydra, and in turn at the center of what both Particle and Mickey Hart strive to achieve in their other projects. Sure, it doesn't always get there, but for anyone familiar with the Grateful Dead circa 1967 - 1985 or Particle's all-night marathon sessions, there is something that links these bands in their ability to "take us away."


Mickey Hart :: Hydra :: 04.07.05
While we continue to dig at the essence of Hydra, Hart describes the band as, "A bit of structure and a lot of improvising. Just like the Grateful Dead. It's just classic jam band form - you're making a lot of shit up as you go along, that's why they call it a jam band." He goes on to say that, "Everybody has their own cosmology and their own musical topography, and if there is a philosophy, it's keep it loose and play your heart out. That's my philosophy. And play with everything you've got, just let it all hang out. Don't take anything with ya... It's a basic philosophy for me and many others, I would hope. But it's not for everybody. It's a seat-of-the-pants kind of experience that I'm looking for. I'm not looking to re-create anything; I'll leave that to others."


Eric Gould :: Hydra :: 04.07.05 :: Santa Cruz, CA
So by leaving his comfort zone and engaging with these young cats from Particle, Hart is able to engage in a fresh, exhilarating musical experience. And by turning to an almost mythic figure in music, Particle is able to extend past their youthful exuberance and find a new set of wings as well. Pujalet comments, "He [Hart] brings a certain magic to the music that comes with 40 years of experience. Our vibe is really good. We listen well to each other, and we try to compliment one another rather than compete or play over each other. It's just been really good working with him, and I think there's been a lot of respect given both ways." When speaking to Hart about Pujalet, this notion of equal respect is not only apparent, it's overwhelming. "Darren is young and energetic. He's a pile-driving, jackhammer groove drummer. And he makes it really easy for me to fly in and out. I'm more like Rococo. I'm an ornamental guy, I like the colors, that's my specialty - that's where I live, in that filigree. That's what interests me, I can keep a good groove too, but when you have somebody like Darren or Billy [Kreutzmann], somebody like that, they fulfill the roll perfectly. And Darren and I really play well together, surprisingly well. Other than Billy, he and I play the best. I have more fun with him than any other drummer! And I've played with some really good drummers, so it's not about good, it's about a sensibility, and he just happens to have that sensibility where we sound great together. I noticed that right away."


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