Spirit of Hamlet is a long-distance collaboration of four absolute history-making juggernauts: Mike Watt (Minutemen, fIREHOSE, The Stooges), Kawabata Makoto (Acid Mothers Temple), Scotty Irving (Clang Quartet), and highly-acclaimed songwriter/producer Benjy Johnson. “I have been a guest on Mike’s show, and he was kind enough to ask me if I would be interested in recording some music with him. NO WAY was I going to pass that up!” – recalls Scotty Irving, whose drum part kick-started the collaboration of these four well-rounded yet distinctive musicians. Being impressed by Scotty as a musician, Mike Watt, a prolific collaborator decided to set the foundation of a new project: “The spirit Scotty had for music was infectious on me, so much so that I asked him to send drums so we could collab and get a project going…”. Recording his drumparts in one night, Irving set the foundation for the project. With the whole fearlessness of experimental music and a punk-rock ethics.
“Scotty had an idea to bring [Kawabata] Makoto on board and I was way into that”. – recalls Mike, talking on how the puzzle of Spirit Of Hamlet came together. “Soon Makoto received BOTH eight tunes worth of Scotty’s drums and my bass and he brought his guitar”.
Straight from the beginning, the project took its own identity uniting different masterminds together. The result took its identity entirely, mixing a masterful fusion of psychedelic tonalities, punk, experimental noise and free jazz. From Watt’s deep-dive bass-parts to chordal guitar of Kawabata Makoto, from Irving’s contrasting backdrop parts and progressions, Spirit Of Hamlet explore forms and colors, marching with feelings and emotional patterns of their debut release.
Benjy Johnson, who previously worked with Scotty, mixed everything together at his studio Earthtones Recording in Greensboro NC with absolutely no predetermination of what was to happen afterwards. “I heard a couple of tracks that were screaming for a vocal or a groovy guitar and jokingly told Scotty that he should let me guest on a track” - says Benjy, to whose surprise all the other members agreed that he needed to be a part of the whole record. Looking at the result of his work as both producer and performer, Johnson says: “One thing I did immediately realize was that it was the most freeing project I had ever been a part of. At no time did I ever feel that what I added would be considered "too much" or "too dangerous". I was working with 3 kings of musical danger! No filter needed!”. Michael Wood, the owner of Broken Sound Tapes agrees saying: “Being a fan of all the players already made me very interested and excited to hear it, and I was not disappointed one bit!”.