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Artist Spotlight: The Sixth Chamber

It was a happy accident of sorts that secured a slot for Los Angeles band the Sixth Chamber to open for Strawberry Alarm Clock at the Malibu Inn. After making initial contact with the venue, guitarist Rahne Pistor realized that the veteran rock band, which scored a major hit in 1967 with “Incense and Peppermints,” was calendared for an upcoming gig. He asked the venue if the Sixth Chamber could open and that was that.

“We were really excited to do it,” Pistor adds, “because those guys are originals in the psychedelic vein, the sort of music that taps inside the soul and beats inside the mind.”

Despite being far too young to have any sort of connection to the Summer of Love, the members of the Sixth Chamber are heavily influenced by the counterculture spirit of the era.

“It was rebel’s music,” says Pistor of the sounds emanating from the late 1960s and early 1970s, “and that generation had a vision and some of the greatest artists and musicians of all time came out of it.”

Listening to the band’s self-titled EP, it appears that the Sixth Chamber’s admiration for psychedelic rock takes a dark, almost bone-jolting form more in line with bands like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. Pistor concedes that both the former’s Tony Iommi and the latter’s Ritchie Blackmore are amongst his guitar heroes. Deep Purple, he notes, has become a bigger influence on him of late, in part because of the similarity between Sixth Chamber vocalist Sevan Kand and Ian Gillan.

“We really have a wailer for a singer,” he comments, “someone who sings with deep soul…that sort of thing where you’re wailing from the bottom of your soul.”

The Sixth Chamber’s beginnings stem to the earlier portion of this decade, when Pistor, an East Coast transplant, was reading William Blake. Taking a cue from a reference to “the sixth chamber” in Blake’s poem “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell,” Pistor formed a vision of a band. He was introduced to Kand through the singer’s mother, jazz-influenced solo artist Gitane Demone, a former member of seminal LA post-punk band Christian Death. Although the two formed an immediate friendship, it took a few stops and starts to get the Sixth Chamber going. Pistor and Kand temporarily stopped working with each other, and other members came and went. Meanwhile, Pistor ditched bass and vocal duties for guitar and backing vocals while Kand dropped his guitar and became a stand-alone singer. Joined by bassist Joshua Soto and drummer Michael Ferrara, the band has become a regular fixture on the bills of Southern California rock clubs.

“It took us a long time, as it should, to figure out everything,” Pistor explains. “But, now we’ve got everything really solid and there’s just such a bond between everybody and we’re working together as a unit, a creative unit, and it’s going pretty wonderful.”

See the Sixth Chamber open for Strawberry Alarm Clock on September 15 at the Malibu Inn.

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