The Transpersonals could be said to have led a charmed life. From being formed from the ashes of drug-induced mental breakdown with help from ex-Strangelove front-man Patrick Duff, to mysterious millionaire benefactors offering studio space in manor houses, and BBC radio sessions turning up out of thin air, The Transpersonals certainly seem to be on a plain.
Despite citing myriad, frequently disparate influences from Nirvana to The Doors, their music is nevertheless immediately redolent of ’60s R‘n’B and psychedelic rock, playing out like a decade in the life of The Who, and though the band wear these influences on their collective sleeve, they claim they are not part of a retro-revival. “We’ve been accused of being derivative of anything from ’60s psychedelia right through to the Pixies and even Robbie Williams,” says singer/songwriter, Timothy Hurford. “It’s not a style; it’s not a time; it’s transpersonal.”?
The band are, in fact, New Agers in Mods clothing, and lyrically their true influences are actually more of the ilk of psychedelic philosophers and spiritual enlightenment seekers, such as Terrence McKenna and Daniel Pinchbeck.
It’s not a style; it’s not a time; it’s transpersonal.”?
Since he accidentally took a massive amount of psilocybin mushrooms and experienced ‘ego death’, or what he believes to be ‘Samadhi’ – the Hindu and Buddhist state of consciousness that transcends the physical realm – Tim’s aspirations are all to do with the furtherment of transpersonal psychology. “I had this experience that changed my life. I had this meltdown and I went and researched what had happened to me. I did a two-year practitioner’s course in neuro-linguistic programming, which included transpersonal psychology, and it opened up this whole new dimension to being a human being, that I had no idea existed. That’s how I got into this whole game.”
The band was formed when Patrick Duff, who was running a musicians’ workshop in Bristol, befriended Tim and introduced him to fledgling producer, Luke Barter. “I needed someone who could help me piece my mind back together,” Timothy adds. “Through Patrick helping me recover, we became friends. He encouraged me to get back into music.”
By chance, Luke’s mother worked on Labour’s New Deal for Musicians scheme, and she secretly entrusted the pair with the keys to a recording studio. “We’d spend all night in there making music. We maniacally sequestered ourselves away for a few months, then decided to form a band.”
From these clandestine beginnings, success has come swiftly and apparently of its own volition. The band was picked up for a residency at a local club when a local DJ heard Tim playing his demo to a friend in a record store and a drummer, management, and local buzz soon followed, affording the band recording space gifted to them by a benevolent millionaire, and airplay on BBC Radio 6.
?“It’s funny because I’ve got no idea how it happened,” says Tim of the band’s radio exposure. “All I know is we got an email saying you’re featured on this show. I don’t know how. No one knows.”