Finding musicians to talk about their relationship with cannabis isn’t hard. But finding musicians to talk about cannabis with reverence, intelligence, and passion is. Moon Baillie of the Latin psych-rock band PAMPA is a unicorn in that sense.
Seattle-based PAMPA consists of Moon Baillie on lead vocals and guitar; Steve Lykken on drums and general percussion; Kerrick Olson on rhythm guitar, vocals, and pedal steel; Nate Rogers on keyboards, vocals, guitar, and tambo; And John Carlson on Bass.
Baillie was eager to share his experience with cannabis with The Sesh.
Over the Moon about CBD
Argentina-born Baillie credits cannabis with helping him heal from a serious back injury.
“I was managing a kitchen, and I slipped on a floor and landed on my back,” Baillie told The Sesh. “It was a compressed disc. When they sent me to the emergency room the first thing they did was fill me up with morphine.”
After being sent home, the doctors gave Baillie a prescription for more opioids. The week after his hospital stay, Baillie said he felt like a ‘zombie’.
It was Baillie’s physical therapist who suggested CBD treatment.
“[CBD] made a significant difference,” Baillie explains. “It’s not as powerful as the opiates, but it helped a lot with the pain, and it didn’t knock me out. I’ve been using it ever since, and it’s been about eight years now.”
CBD treatment for pain isn’t the only way cannabis plays a role in Baillie’s life. He describes himself as a recreational cannabis user and PAMPA’s psychedelic sounds lend themselves to cannabis.
Baillie described the influence cannabis has on PAMPA’s sound.
“I think it has a certain psych element,” Baillie offers. “It’s a psych element coming from a weird place, via like a Neil Young approach to it. That ragged psych element. It’s not in a trippy sense, more of a cultural sense.”
As many artists describe, cannabis helps Baillie reset at the end of a day, and enter into a creative mental space.
“There’s something about approaching it like that, that immediately directs me to an instrument,” Baillie says. “There’s a strong relationship with those two”
Cannabis also played a role in the creation of PAMPA’s new album La Contumacia.
“After my accident I started working with a company, helping them research CBD,” Baillie recalls. “So I ended up going to Uruguay for a bit. Uruguay is probably my favorite place in the world. The culture and people are very mellow, very welcoming. The cannabis culture there is amazing, just how they approach it.”
Baillie describes the difference between cannabis in Uruguay and the U.S. as being less showy, and consumer-based and more about home grows and personal connections to the plant and the people growing it.
“It changed my view on [cannabis] just how integrated into life it is there.” Baillie states.
So how does Uruguay relate to La Contumacia’s origin?
“When I was in Uruguay, I was so taken by the culture,” Baillie explains. “There’s an artist there called Eduardo Mateo and he had an album, [Mateo Solo Bien Se Lame] that influenced a lot of this new album. Because we’re a mixed band. I’m Argentinian-American, the other guys are American. We’re trying to not be one or the other, but find something in the middle.”
La Contumacia manages to strike the balance between PNW and Latin sounds remarkably well. The second track on the album, “Maniobrando (con la llama)”, manages to blend electric guitar, a very UFO-sounding synth, and bandoneon with a level of expertise that manages to make them sound interesting and complementary at the same time.
Tracks like “Entre Sol y Sombra” and “She Said”, give the Neil Young and Crazyhorse vibe with twangy guitar and excellently executed vocal harmonies, whereas “Following the Stick” is more reminiscent of Neil Young’s solo work, with more bandoneon giving it that Uruguayan-Argentian element. Each track on La Contumacia is unique, yet there is a thread that unites them making it a cohesive body of work.
This is the perfect fall and winter album to listen to in the car, walking in the rain, or however you move through the world.