BOCKMAN: A SOUND THAT IS GORJUS

 
The change from 'Bockman's Euphio' to just 'Bockman' came as we were continuing to explore our own familiarity with audible pitch and the effects it had on us as musicians.
-Sean Canan
 

Taken from a short story called "The Euphio Question" by Kurt Vonnegut, the band title came from the abstract plot from Vonnegut's tale. According to the story, there is a mad scientist, Dr. Bockman, who creates a box that can transmit a humming sound from space. The sound, when heard by people on Earth, creates a sense of euphoria within all who hear it. As time goes by, the euphoric feeling begins to turn into chaos, and Dr. Bockman finds himself in a tricky position: eliminate the invention that had encompassed his life's work or be responsible for the demise of society. In the end, Dr. Bockman does in fact destroy the box, and the euphoric state ceases to be. This is where the band's story really starts to get interesting. Guitarist Sean Canan explains, "The change from 'Bockman's Euphio' to just 'Bockman' came as we were continuing to explore our own familiarity with audible pitch and the effects it had on us as musicians. There is a struggle that exists in the 'Euphio Question' between one side that wants to mass produce this 'euphio machine,' and the other that wants it to be silenced, as it poses a threat to the open mind of the human species. As a band, we have been through a similar struggle in trying to justify the feeling evoked from our sound in particular. We began to embrace the things that some would try to hide: fear, anger, love, and of course, uncertainty. In essence, over time we have emerged victorious over Bockman's Euphio and become the 'man behind the curtain' - Dr. Bockman."


Bockman at High Sierra Music Festival
What stands out most is the simple fact that the band never set out to make their sound fall in line with the plot of the story. In the early years, the sound consisted of heavy jams and sets of music that included as many covers as it did originals, if not more. It has since evolved into a complex sound that rustles together fine-tuned music that not only tells a story, it has a heart beat. Furthermore, it's fascinating to peel back the layers of a band that became so enamored with a story that they inadvertently become a version of it. Canan expands on that point, "The evolution of the band, and our sound in particular, happened naturally. We became much more aware of the substance we wanted to include in our music. It was seriously propelled in 2003 when we stripped down to the current four-piece and Wil and I started to write songs that had more personal meaning to them. It is actually very strange and completely unintentional that we have followed them from Vonnegut's story."

Stranger still is the album that the band released during this transition, Gorjus: Fighting Bockman's Euphio. This album contains so many layers and hidden themes that it is just impossible to reach a verdict during the first listen. "Focus has been just a little bit obscured" - this is the first line of the album that, upon digestion proves to be an epic journey from start to finish. From beauty to irony, the album is a sweeping ride that settles into electronica and progressive rock with elements of pop. All this and the boys still managed to sprinkle in some jams that groove along in the cracks of the meat. Sharing songwriting duties, Sean and Wil trade off on lead vocals, and it is not difficult to decipher between the two. Sharing an affinity for painting the lyrical picture in candid ways, the finished product is an array of sounds that rest loosely between the likes of Ben Folds, STS9, Brothers Past, and even elements of Soul Coughing. If that list alone doesn't spin your head, I am not so sure you are ready for this band.


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