Interview: Electric Looking Glass

Electric Looking Glass are a Los Angeles based baroque pop band with an aesthetic and sound that is so authentically 60s, you feel like you’re reliving it. Recently, they released the music video for their new single, “Someday Soon”. The video is absolutely beautiful and reminds me so much of Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale”. Very summery.

I interviewed Electric Looking Glass about their sound, style, and who they are. If you want to know more about them, keep on reading!

Electric Looking Glass are: Arash Mafi (organ, mellotron, vocals), Brent Randall (bass, vocals), Danny Winebarger (guitar, vocals), and Johnny Toomey (drums).

ELG - Field 2 Photo by Mat Dunlap

Electric Looking Glass. Photo by Mat Dunlap

Angie Moon: How did you get started in music?

Arash: music has been surrounding me from a young age, my entire family has harvested generations of musicians, mostly flamingo and classical guitarist .

Brent: I watched too may Elvis movies growing up and it was pretty much a lost cause after that. That and plonking around on the family piano.

Johnny: Remember when you were a kid and you watched those cartoons and they drove around in a cool ass van and had a band? Yeah.

Danny: My uncle used to play acoustic guitar and he was always smoking as well. I used to remember thinking he looked really cool when I was a wee lad. When I turned 12 he gave me his guitar then I’ve been playing ever since

AM: How did Electric Looking Glass get together?

Arash: Johnny and I met two years ago at a pop up I was having at Nico & Bullitt for Mercury Magicians and talked about music and our visions and starting a band together and the possibility of the current line up, fast forward to now and you have ELG!

Brent: I met Johnny in a pie shop and we discovered we both loved The Rutles. He introduced me to these other cats and now we’re stuck with each other.

Johnny: Lemon Meringue

Danny: Me and Johnny had another band prior to this called the turns.

AM: How did you get started in tailoring and fashion design?

Arash: I bought a sewing machine and pushed myself to make clothing that I wanted and couldn’t find, mostly because of long arms haha!

AM: Who would you say are your biggest music and fashion inspirations?

Arash: Granny Takes A Trip, Apple Boutique, Hung On You, Fashion from the 1960s, and the baroque period, which essentially to me 1960s did with a modern touch of the time.

Brent: Fashion: Willy Wonka. Music: Mary Poppins.

Johnny: Music: The Banana Splits. Fashion: The Banana Splits.

Danny: Same as Arash the 60s is also my main music and style inspiration. I also listen to other stuff as well from other periods and genres as well.

Electric Looking Glass - Field 3 Photo by Mat Dunlap

Electric Looking Glass. Photo by Mat Dunlap

AM: Who are your favourite organ players?

Arash: Richard Wright, Mick Fowler, Matthew Fisher, Glenn Quackenbush, John Lord, Jimmy Smith. Too many geniuses to name!

Brent: I don’t know any of these guys but Arash is my favourite organ player.

Johnny: Arash is king organ. But Quackenbush sure is a cool last name

Danny: Arash for sure

AM: What is the psych scene like in LA?

Arash: There are some great bands out here, I don’t really like to label it as psychedelic scene. Everyone is doing their own thing here and something weird and interesting, but there is a “good music scene” here for everyone and everything in between to thrive in !

Brent: Groovy people are abound all doing splendid things and we are thankful for it.

Johnny: Lemon Meringue

AM: What have you been listening to recently?

Arash: I’ve been grooving to Tea & Symphony: The English Baroque Sound 1967-1974 comp. literally love every song on this comp.

Brent: Ian Whitcomb’s Mod, Mod Music Hall. Jaunty lil’ piano numbers for you and yours.

Johnny: Myself humming along with a made up mash up of Happy Holidays by Andy Williams and Henry the 8th by Herman’s Hermits.

Danny: I’m actually I am listening to Piccadilly Sunshine right now which is an amazing sixties pop compilation. Also the usual and plenty of northern soul as well.

AM: What was recording “Death of a Season/Someday Soon” like?

Arash: The process was very straightforward and simple. We tracked everything straight off of the preamp into our 16 track 1” tape machine. One track at a time. Using about 12-13 tracks max with all the layers together, and mixing down to ¼” tape at the bounce down.

Brent: Yes!  Arash has an abundance of wonderful analog recording equipment so we stuffed it Johnny’s basement and had fun making our dreams reality. 5/5 Would recommend.

Johnny: Yes as stated above… the Yelp review was solid.

AM: What inspired those songs and the music video?

Brent: “Someday Soon” is the grumpy old men in us complaining about modernity. About wanting nothing more  than to stroll along a cobblestone street and throw pennies in a fountain. The video however was just a fun jaunt in the park slightly inspired by those classic low budget romps all the beat groups did back “in the day.” We shot it on Super8 so that was fun!

Johnny: For some reason Lemon meringue doesn’t apply here.

AM: If you could go to any concert in the 60s, who would you see?

Arash: It’s really hard to say, I’d buy a time machine and go catch all the happenings!

Brent: Herman & The Hermits at a state fair.

Johnny: Okay well Brent claimed it. I’ll have to go with Andy Williams. Dang it.

Danny: hmmm Monterey Pop Festival? Would’ve been great to see Otis and Hendrix in one place. So many artists that my generation never got a chance to see so it’s hard to answer that question.

AM: What future plans do Electric Looking Glass have?

Arash: More promo films, Another 45 single coming out this Fall, followed by our long player that’s already in the works and tour dates. We’d love to play for you!

Brent: ELG Breakfast Cereal!

Johnny: ELG night lights. Will show that we are always there for you.

Danny: Ha! More music and more gigs. Hopefully a breakfast cereal too.

ELG - Red Props 2 Photo by Mat Dunlap

Electric Looking Glass. Photo by Mat Dunlap

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