What makes a good band? The songs? The excesses? The look? Ask a major record company or a hard-nosed producer, and that would probably be your answer. One glance at the charts and radio playlists and there you see it. Homogenous music, often bland and formulaic. No, what makes some music special is its authenticity; when it’s been infused with life. A touch of magic, spirit, the inexplicable. Exactly what happens when musicians get together and inject something of themselves into their music.
Three people, one mind
Enter Sons Of Morpheus: three Swiss guys, all with a fair amount of experience and success already behind them. Three Swiss guys united by aspiration and ambition. "What happens in this band is difficult to put into words," says singer Manuel Bissig whose voice sounds just like his name. "We’re a unit with the same thoughts and the same goal." Just what that is, doesn’t need to be put into words. You can hear it. Feel it. On their self-titled debut, the band produce a sound which pulls in elements from stoner, blues, rock and a splash of swirling psychedelia, a sound which both pays homage to the splendour of the past and the excitement of the modern era. "We didn’t sit down and decide on any particular idea or sound. It was really exciting to watch, because everything naturally came out of nothing". And it kept on going. Shortly after the release, Sons Of Morpheus took to the road. "Play, play, play, a lot of miles, a lot of experiences!", a tour which included performances alongside bands like Karma To Burn and Kamchatka.
A new son
If you set out on an uncompromising path, it’s not usually without its losses. Drummer Simon Gautsch left his drum stool behind him when he decided to quit Sons Of Morpheus last year. His replacement - Rudy Kink - a Basler drum monster has not let the band slacken its pace. "He came in with so much energy that we had a bit of a nasty shock," laughs bass player Lukas Kurmann. The playing style of the new arrival has fitted seamlessly into the earthy sound of the band, and his character has perfectly filled the gap left by Gautsch, so that Sons Of Morpheus maintain their infernal trio status. The classic three formation demands that sort of synergy. "We first played together for an hour without saying a word," said Kurmann recalls. "Then we looked at each other and somehow everything had been said". As well as his self-assured, enviable organic style and calm demeanor, even in stressful situations, it is Kink’s function as the band’s jack-of-all-trades that makes him especially irreplaceable. "This guy can actually do everything from techie stuff to looking after the welding machine. Oh, and he also drives!"
Beyond the rules
Kink could not be a better fit for this free-spirited band. What Sons Of Morpheus have in common with the heroes of the sixties and seventies, and with today’s iconic riff-powered musicians, is the sense of freedom that is mostly missing in the popular music scene. "Back then, musicians had fewer rules imposed on them; they could develop freely." Blowing through Sons of Morpheus is a particular groove, in part Stoner dust, with a touch of the jam, the courage to improvise, the loosening of corners and edges. Things like that are missing today says Bissig. "It's all about the product," he said emphatically "With Sons Of Morpheus we do what we want." The singer with the pervasive roar believes you shouldn’t think too much about what you’re doing: "When the music comes from the heart, it’s gonna be successful - no matter whether it’s just two people getting it or it’s big in the charts."
Dreams, magic, freedom
Magic – a much overused word, but it is what distinguishes the Sons of Morpheus of 2016 more than ever. Three soulmates transcending the bare realms of music, acting intuitively and enjoying an unwavering trust in each other. "When the three of us play, we are greater than the sum of our parts, we’re a powerful force unleashed," says Bissig. "Each of us plays an integral part in the band's sound which is why it’s so important that we pull together. It’s something I’ve never experienced before - it really is like a stone that starts to roll and then just keeps picking up speed". It is very fitting that the Greek god of dreams was the inspiration for the band’s name. "I often can’t make out whether life is a dream or a dream is real life. This kinda reflects our music: it’s not rational, can’t be explained. It is something that you have to feel. It goes beyond our human thinking. " And that, one might say, is what makes a good band.