Prism Tats is the brainchild of musician Garrett van der Spek. The South African born artist released the sophomore LP for Prism Tats, Mamba, earlier this year via ANTI- Records. The record’s soundscape flutters through upbeat progressions with grooving guitar leads. Bending the orchestration of instruments into a diverse palette, Mamba flows through the air like a melodious jet stream. The opening of “Venomous Slang” is rather ominous, but blossoms into the wildly glowing “Vamps,” setting the tone for the romp and dazzle that is the ten song release.
Between the vocals and guitars, a lot of memorable moments are littered across Mamba. “Ocean Floor” has this gravity defying atmosphere, with van der Spek’s vocals tip toeing through the thick sonic presence. “Doomed” takes some of the thick walls of guitars and settles for a more psychedelic acoustic experience. “Daggers” has a snapping drum line that ruptures behind a bouncing bass line, being one of the best syncopated tracks on the record. The artistry of Prism Tats knows no bounds, and Mamba is a sonic pathway to defining creativity as an experience.
New Noise Magazine is pleased to be bringing forth this exclusive track by track of Mamba, an in depth look at the colorful therapy for Garrett van der Spek of Prism Tats.
Venomous Slang – The title of this one has a double meaning for the folks back home in SA where “slang” can refer to colloquialisms but also means “snake”. The white noise in the background is producer Chris Woodhouse leaning out of the studio window late one night recording the rain and street noises outside on his phone.
Vamps – A song I wrote when I first moved to LA. Perhaps drawing from the vampiric networking LA social life is so famous for.
Brainwaves – I always imagine I’m Chrissie Hynde when I’m performing this song. I have no idea why. Feels like an early Pretenders song in my head. Don’t think anyone would agree with me and I don’t blame them because I’m not sure how I made that association myself.
Daggers – We were struggling to find the right vibe for the drums on this song. Suddenly it just started to click and when we asked Peter DeHart, the drummer on this record, what he was doing differently he said he just closed his eyes and imagined that he was wearing a polo neck, sunglasses and smoking a cigarette. Powerful thoughts.
Ocean Floor – Originally written as a drinking song that I conceived on a flight from LA to Seattle while peering out over the pacific ocean drinking a gin and tonic.
The Liar – The first song we started the Mamba sessions with and the last one we finished. I heard someone describe it as a heavy Duran Duran song which I love. Also Dan Monick who directed the video for this song said he was inspired by the stretchy, chewy guitar sound to cover my face with elastic bands.
Live Like Dogs – A tip of the hat to Bowie’s Diamond Dogs that I was listening to at the time of writing this record. Maybe one of my favorite moments on the record is when Chris and I decided to record dueling guitar solos on the last chorus. Trading places between playing guitar and turning dials effecting each others playing. High 5s and rejoicing ensued.
Gloom Tomb – This is my Werner Hertzog inspired apology to Planet Earth and a reminder that she won’t break a sweat in wiping us out. In the same conversation with a friend, we discussed Hertzog’s documentary ‘Into the Inferno’ and he challenged me to write a song in a waltz. The result is Gloom Tomb.
Mamba – This was the last song I wrote for the album a few weeks before I left for the studio. I knew the album was going to be called Mamba but I didn’t have a song to support the title. Turned out to be my favorite song on the album.
Doomed – The demo for this song was vastly different to what ended up on the record. It started out as an extremely textured and ambient track that both Chris and I were fond of but didn’t quite know how were were going to translate to the studio. Then near the end of the session I decided to show Chris a stripped back acoustic version of it. He quickly set up a mic and we recorded Doomed right then and there in about an hour.