Not many bands name themselves after Indian shaman with a penchant for nudity.
But one Sheffield band have embraced shamanism – minus the nudity – an interpreted it into musical form.
Baba Naga is the result – a semi-psychedelic band who play at Tramlines next week.
Even the band’s description of their own music is shaman-like.
Dan Booth, guitarist, says: “Baba Naga’s sound is like a strange psychotropic trip, a communion of continual frequency on a cosmic paradox, a sonic bombardment of the senses. Our set is a peregrination.”
“Naga Babas are Indian shaman who worship through the medium of their naked bodies. We worship through our sounds. The name seemed to find us instead of us trying to find it. we find it phonetically pleasing.”
Baba Naga will play as part of the Washington’s Psych Out event next Thursday, which features bands with a sound that leans towards the psychedelic and is slightly off the wall.
“People are just choosing to embrace psychedelia more. We don’t play your conventional three-minute songs, there is no structure to our song writing. When we write the songs it’s more of a excitation we get and we let the music take us on a pilgrimage.”
Musically the band consists of rhythm guitar, effects, bass, drums, chants and – according to Booth – “absolutely loads of effects.”
But carving a new psychedelic sound when there are decades of bands that have lead the way is not an easy task.
“It’s just a matter of not trying to be something. When we started we had no idea what kind of sounds we were going to make. Each member has a vast and very different taste in music. It was a case of locking ourselves away and experimenting with our belief, abandoning what we knew about making music.”
The band is going to record their debut just after Tramlines. “We’re using an old church hall so we can connect with whatever deity there may still be in there.”
And in true spiritual and psychedelic style, the band’s set list is purely responsive – evolving as the night goes on rather than adhering to set songs on a playlist.
“Our set is a continual soundscape,” says Booth. “The songs deviate each time we play them so the crowd will experience them the same as we are. We have made a reel of visuals to accompany the sounds so all senses can be stimulated.”
Baba Naga play at the Washington on Thursday July 24