Good vibes and fuzzy sounds flow for Brujas del Sol and the annual Psych Fest
After a long tenure as sales manager at a big-box electronics retailer, Adrian Lee Zambrano reached his breaking point. He couldn't take it anymore, and just like Peter Gibbons in “Office Space,” he quit.
“I turned in my keys and said, ‘I'm leaving,'” said Zambrano, who plays guitar in local instrumental psych-rock act Brujas del Sol. “They were like, ‘What do you mean?' I said, ‘I'm done. I'm out.'”
After traveling and bouncing around from job to job for a bit, Zambrano eventually found work as a builder and installer of stained glass. “It's a super old art,” he said. “A lot of that stuff tells a story, and if you don't take care of it and pay attention to detail, it's pretty easy to mess up and very hard to correct once you do.”
Zambrano sees similarities between his day job and his music in ways that never surfaced during his time as an electronics salesman. “I care a lot about my craft, both during the day and at night,” he said. “I always want to make sure that I'm doing it the best I can do it, and that I'm paying homage to those artists who put time and effort into it before I did, whether the stained glass side or the music side.”
In other ways, the two crafts aren't so symbiotic. “I cut my hands all the time, which influences how I play my guitar, because sometimes I'll have cuts all over my hands,” he said. “It's been pretty bad. I played guitar on the [EP] Lo-Pan just released. I almost severed my thumb before we went into the recording studio. … I basically didn't use my thumb, which was super hard.”
Fortunately, Zambrano's thumb is back in working condition for Brujas del Sol's set at Columbus Psych Fest, a free show that takes place at Park Street Saloon on Friday, May 19. Zambrano helped Psych Fest founder Andrew Davis of Mas Bagua book the annual event, which focuses on psychedelic music both old and new, national and local.
Austin's Ancient River will travel to Columbus for the fest, as will southwest Ohio's Scattered Planets and Akron four-piece Relaxer, featuring Jamie Stillman, who runs esteemed boutique guitar-pedal manufacturer EarthQuake Devices (a wildly popular brand among pedal-loving psych-rockers).
Locals make up the rest of the fest, from long-running heavyweight EYE to newer acts. “I think for every musician in Columbus, EYE is an inspiration,” Zambrano said. “There's [also] this new breath of psych-rock pumping its way through. Older bands that are defunct now — Teeth of the Hydra, Brainbow — all those guys kind of paved the way for a lot of the bands that are here now.”
The most important part of the fest for Zambrano is creating an atmosphere to complement the fuzzy, heavy and hypnotic sounds. “Given the climate that we're in and how much animosity and anger is being thrown around, I want people to come in and feel like they're welcome and that they're in an environment where they can forget about what's going on and just sink into that music and let the good vibes flow through,” he said. “Psychedelic music has always believed in that.”
Zambrano also promised new Brujas music sooner than later. After a few lineup changes over the years, as well as an entire album that the band eventually scrapped, Brujas recently finished tracking a new LP.
“We decided to approach this album differently, in the sense that, we still wanted to be that band that has really long, hypnotizing songs, but we wanted to do it in more of a streamlined manner,” he said. “We still have those passages that are hypnotizing, but it gets to point B quicker than it used to.”
The forthcoming record also adds a bold new element to Brujas del Sol's sound: vocals. “[Drummer] Derrick [White] and I have been playing in bands for 10 years, and we fell in love with instrumental music. That was the bond between us,” Zambrano said. “But now, with everything going on in the world, people have stuff to say.”