It might seem like a curious choice to list Hamish Kilgour as one of Calgary Psych Fest’s headliners. He after all is most associated with The Clean the long-running scrappy jangle pop act at the forefront of New Zealand’s famed D.I.Y. pop scene. His name is synonymous with the melodic simplicity of the Flying Nun Records roster not out-there experimentalism or LSD-addled noise. Yet for his impact on indie-pop Kilgour maintains that psychedelia as an influence has always loomed large.

“Psychedelic can be a very broad term” he says. “I actually find some late ’50s and early ’60s stuff quite psychedelic — Joe Meek productions early folk tunes something like Wolverton Mountain or Big Bad John.” And from there Kilgour broadens his lens even more: He cites British Australian and New Zealand psych pop American experimentation early Television-era punk synth-driven French new wave kraut rock and even droning minimalists as formative. “A [group] that really turned my brother [David also of The Clean] and myself’s head around was the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band” he adds.

“[And there’s] Japanese groups like Watermelon Flower Marching Band Taj Mahal Travellers Spacemen 3 Daniel Johnston Bollywood Pakistani ’60s stuff Sinai Bedouin music Hawaiian music… the listing could go on and on.”

Indeed it could but we elect to focus on his upcoming visit to Calgary a city he has “a romantic vision of as Canada’s Wild West. Maybe because of the Stampede.” While Kilgour says he’s only bringing his guitar to Canada — it’s an old Supro with a Kalamazoo amp — he’ll be collaborating with old pal Theo Angell a staple of NYC’s psych-folk circles. Expect an A-V extravaganza; along for his haunting tracks Angell’s known for his work as a projectionist and his art’s even been featured on tours for The Clean.

There’s also sure to be chemistry between the two — they’ve known each other since the ’90s. Angell in fact fronted Kilgour the cash to buy a plane ticket to the Canadian West which Kilgour calls “a vision quest for Theo and I… I’m looking for transformation.”

“I first met Theo in the Lower East Side music scene and saw him perform with Hall of Fame. It came to pass that we ended up working with each other in construction and we were partners in a lot of hard dirty work” he says. “Theo has a wild side and takes chances; [he’s] willing to go out there. I think maybe I’m more likely to apply form but I am a primitivist and I will also go out there too. He has a wild imagination that I’m quite comfortable with.”

It’s clear that both men trust their creative instincts — Kilgour says they haven’t planned anything yet for their performance in Calgary. Their set he says will “organically evolve as part of our epic trip over the Rockies.” While that approach might seem scatterbrained it’s the way Kilgour’s always written and for a man with plenty of classic projects to his name — beyond The Clean he’s been a part of The Mad Scene The Bilders and many more — it’s clear that the process works.

“I’m not a logical person — I’m very scattershot and dip into doing things like a bit of painting or drawing or music making” he says. “I think I swim around surrounded by the things I like…. The tendency is to work with people who you share an affinity with.”

Angell isn’t the only person Kilgour’s been working with. He’s currently prepping a solo album All of it & Nothing on Ba Da Bing Records which grew out of a session with Tiny Ruins’ Hollie Fullbrook while he also mans the drums for brand-new Brooklyn trio Roya. Part of Kilgour’s prolific penchant might be based on his restlessness (“I have a tendency to be very self-critical and tire of my creations” he adds) but part of it might be creating something transformative.

“I like to feel that emotional intensity in music where transformation happens” he says. “Last night the New York Philharmonic played in Prospect Park. Everyone was out on their blankets with an incredible sky and a looming thunderstorm — just magic. Then fireworks [were] booming and echoing back off the majestic trees. Sometimes [inspiration can come from] someone with a guitar in a favourite Manhattan dump like the Cake Shop or an alternative space in Brooklyn.”

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