There are so many bands out there doing so many interesting things, it's hard to know where to turn. That's why we've created Crash Course, a recurring feature offering a concise introduction to a band or artist that we think slays, covering their origins, process and vision. Our latest subject is Potion, a new trio from Sydney, Australia, that produces a particularly caustic version of psychedelic doom as heard on their excellent digital/limited-edition-cassette release Women of the Wand. Not surprisingly, Electric Wizard and High on Fire are major influences. Find out more below.
WHO ARE POTION? GIVE US A BRIEF HISTORY ON HOW YOU GUYS CAME TOGETHER.
LEE JOWONO I'm Lee and I play guitar and sing, Stella [Leung] plays bass and Chris [Downey] plays drums. Stella and I live together and began writing songs together in late 2016 for a band we knew we wanted to be very heavy and abrasive but also inspired by our favorite bands from the Seventies. We knew Chris was a great drummer from watching him play in hardcore bands over the years, and his tastes, instincts and sense of humor lined up with ours perfectly so we asked him to jump on board.
WHAT WERE THE BANDS THAT YOU AND YOUR BANDMATES AGREED UPON AS THE CORNERSTONES FOR CREATING THE BAND? WHAT DID YOU LIKE ABOUT THEIR APPROACH?
The band was initially Stella's idea and it came from her love of bands like the Melvins, Electric Wizard and Candlemass. At the same time I was re-falling in love with a lot of the bands that I got into when I first starting playing guitar as a kid like Judas Priest, Sabbath and Rush while also discovering a bunch of heavy psyche and prog bands I'd missed from the era. The biggest takeaway for me about those bands was the epic and kind of cinematic quality to the songwriting and the bare-bones approach of playing through a fuzz pedal and a cranked Marshall while still taking the listener on a journey. I like it when a song feels like a fantasy novel or something.
WHAT WAS THE EUREKA MOMENT FOR YOU, WHEN YOU DECIDED THAT THIS COULD BE SOMETHING THAT WAS MORE THAN JUST FOR FUN?
Honestly, we'll let you know when it happens. [Laughs] The idea behind this band since the beginning was to do what we wanted to do and enjoy every minute of it without compromising much. I think we've played in enough bands over the years to learn that careerism and focusing on things like commercial success is the enemy of creativity — for me, anyway. The members of this band hang out constantly when we're not playing and we feed off each other's enthusiasm and energy and for us that has been a far more sustainable fuel for the band than the desire to be successful.
HOW HAVE YOU IMPROVED IN THE LIVE SETTING BETWEEN THE START AND NOW?
We haven't been a band for that long so I still feel like we're still learning with every show. A big part of improving so far has just been playing with bands we admire and sharing ideas about the gear we use and the way we do things or whatever. So I'm just keen to play more and more and keep on learning.
DO YOU PLAN TO TOUR EXTENSIVELY? WHO WOULD SOME DREAM TOURING PARTNERS?
We're in the middle of our first overseas tour right now in Southeast Asia and it's been a dream come true so we'd absolutely love to keep doing it. In terms of touring partners, doom is so strong internationally right now it would be amazing to tour with literally any of the bigger U.S. or European bands. High on Fire does hold a special place in our hearts, though.
HARD DECISION: HAWKWIND OR ELECTRIC WIZARD?
Hawkwind on acid. Wizard on weed.