It is nevertheless an apt word for the enigmatic and unashamedly psychedelic experience of Magdalena Solis. Theirs is a soundtrack to a movie that that has not been made yet, but I’ll be first in line when it is.
The name is taken from that of a prostitute and serial killer who was also known as the High Priestess of Blood through her involvement in a blood drinking sex cult in Monterey, Mexico in 1963.
They released an EP early in 2010 called Lady of the Wild Things on Reverb Worship which you can download for free at Bandcamp. This might have been their one and only record if the independent label Dying For Bad Music had not stepped in to save the day.
This week sees the release of their second album Hesperia with a striking cover image of a woman who could either be in a state of sexual ecstasy or a victim of the Mexican blood cult (perhaps even both!).
It is beautiful in a strange other-worldly way and titles like ‘Crown Your Whores And Burn Your Kings’ and ‘Cities Crumbling Planets Growing’ prepare the listener for a full-on feed your head experience.
I was curious to find out more about the 21st century cult of Magdalena Solis and ‘Drikka’ kindly agreed to answer some questions via e-mail.
I presume (perhaps wrongly) that you are not serial killers or involved in ritualistic sex, so what is it about the real life Magdalena Solis that attracts you?
Serial killers no, ritualistic sex yes ha-ha. The story of the real Magdalena Solis attracted us because it had similarities with a screenplay I was writing at the time. The cocktail of Aztec gods, marijuana, group sex and rituals in the original story were very exciting and inspiring. In general we like the idea of a small group of people abandoning society and creating a universe of their own, freeing themselves from all codes and rules. It’s the perfect revolution and to me the only kind of revolution that can seriously change the course of mankind. So I guess that’s why we were so attracted to it and decided to use it as band name. We also simply liked the name cos ‘Solis’ has the root ‘sol’ (sun) in it.
The photo of the two women on the cover of Lady of the Wild Things seemed to confuse some reviewers who weren’t sure if this was a photo of the band or not. Who are the band members – are these two women members of the band, and do you have any ‘official’ band photos?
Well. that was just an idea for a nice artistic picture, we didn’t think anyone would see it as a band pic. Although one of the girls was a member at that time. The core of Magdalena Solis is actually two people, but for both of our albums we worked with a third person. Band pictures… pictures of ourselves we would only do if they are a work of art, or part of a work of art. We like to remain anonymous more or less. We ourselves are not important, the result of our work is what matters. So we don’t see any use in mentioning more than the band’s name.
You are obviously fans of Alejandro Jodorowsky – what other cinematic (or literary) works influence you?
We are indeed inspired by his movies. However the major cinematic influence is ‘The Devils’ by Ken Russell. We adore the delirious and ecstatic atmosphere of that movie, it’s a such a delightful total freak-out. Movies are a better direct inspiration than music to create and do our thing, because it gives us more a sense of total freedom. A mere image can invoke a world of fantasy and sounds that go with it, we enter the cloud and it ends in a piece of music.
If asked to describe your music in one sentence, what would you reply?
We ourselves call it sun cult rock.
Your tracks are relatively short but give the impression that they are edited from longer versions, is this how the finished tracks come together?
There is no actual method. Sometimes they are compressed and rearranged versions of long messy impro stuff, sometimes they are one take wonders, sometimes it’s pure classic composing and arranging. Songs are often different sessions pasted together, just like that or with some adjustments. While recording we often experiment, like recording parts without listening to the rest of the music and then just mix and see what happens. Although we like to improvise the studio remains our favourite instrument, like a huge organ with an unlimited sound universe. Our songs are quite short because of Ennio Morricone. It’s interesting and amazing how short the spaghetti western pieces are. While you listen to it it’s an epic experience, but they only last a bit more than two minutes. So he will always be a great example to us.
Do you have a mental image of an ideal listener?
Someone who doesn’t expect anything.
I’ve never seen any listings for concerts – do you play live – if so, where; if not, why not?
We haven’t played live yet. The only opportunities we have are abroad so we’d need time & money for that. A classic gig doesn’t attract us much to be honest. I like the idea of a happening where plenty of art stuff is going on and we are just a part of a bigger thing, acid test style. For the moment we are considering the offers to play live but we’re not sure if we will/can do it. We still have a little trouble seeing ourselves as ‘a band’ and we are eager to do more video work too. Future stuff will be very cinematic and we hope to make a clip for every song, maybe even a psychedelic 40 minute version of that screenplay I wrote. Playing this live with the footage projected could be mighty cool however.
How do you think your new album Hesperia differs from Lady of the Wild Things – what is the significance of the title / cover art?
Lady of the Wild Things was a very messy and hybrid album. Back then we saw it all as a joke and just goofed around. Hesperia we took things a little more seriously but it’s also an album with different faces. The title comes from a mythological fantasy land. The cover art is an attempt to visualize an out-of-body experience, but everybody can see in it what s/he likes really.
How did you come to have your record released through Dying For Bad Music?
After Lady of the Wild Things we decided to call it a day. Dying For Bad Music contacted us while we were planning some new stuff and wondering if we would go public again or just make music for ourselves . It’s a nice small label that does both cd-r releases and free digital releases, which is cool. First we both thought making it a free release but then came to a mutual agreement to do a cd-r anyway.