What is it like to see Filius Sol play live?
It’s like hanging out with your friends late at night, talking about philosophy and the universe. While looking up at the night sky, you feel like you understand the moon.
Does that sound cryptic as fuck? Well, so is Filius Sol’s music.
When I first met Doug (aka Filius Sol) it was at the Bean Scene 2 (hookah coffee lounge). I set up a gig there with my band at the time, Becoming Atlas. I was talking with another Bean Scene regular, Nick Phillips, who recommended Filius Sol to play with us.
It’s not fair to say Doug is just a solo guitarist. He does just as much with his pedals as he does with his guitar. He loops various guitar parts with each other, adjusting tones and effects as he does it. One of his pedals is an octave pedal. he uses this to add a rhythmic bass part that he will loop so it repeats. Then he will have 1 or 2 other guitar parts looped with it, each with their own separate tone. It is indeed quite mesmerizing. I always found it fascinating to see how each song, slowly, 1 piece at a time, came together.
I got to talking with Doug at another gig i had with him at The Med (Mediterranean Hookah Cafe) about influences. He told me that he uses his music as a channel to deal with depression and anxiety. This made a lot of sense to me, as the loop pedals create a sort of rhythm that remind me of meditating; breathing in and out.
You are probably thinking, “Wow! That sounds amazing! But what is the catch?” Either by design or on accident, with his set up, (both his amps and his army of pedals and tone preference) there is frequently some feedback. Sometimes he does it on purpose to manipulate the feedback into some trippy sound effects. Other times it is on accident and kinda kills the vibe a bit. Noise rock has never been very popular because of the unnerving feedback they work with. Naturally, the feedback manipulation is not for everybody. Maybe some sound guys at venues think he is a amateur because of the feedback; or maybe they are worried he might blow a speaker. Little known fact: Doug told me that if he feels like everybody is being too pretentious, he will play just solid feedback to clear the room. (You don’t get more rock and roll attitude than that.)
Filius Sol is an artist that doesn’t apologize for his art. I have a lot of respect for him because of that. However, the audience may have a difficult time being open minded enough to get it. His existential style of music therapy is not for everybody. And he legitimately doesn’t care. The music is not about trying to impress you. It’s his music. He doesn’t need your approval. It’s not a performance. It’s a therapy session. It’s up to you to “get it”.
Maybe his music makes you feel a little uncomfortable sometimes. Maybe it was supposed to. Maybe performing with anxiety is harder than it looks. Maybe he is expressing his mind so passionately, that you can feel his uncomfortableness and fear. Maybe it’s a little too real for some people.
Filius Sol is best enjoyed with an open mind. Don’t be the guy hanging out with is friends late at night who is thinking about work the next day. Just enjoy the moment. You are going to have a bad trip, unless you open your mind.
I think that Filius Sol is one of the most under-rated artists in Wichita. For some people it is an acquired taste they need to warm up/adjust to.
Recently Doug has been playing with a drummer at his live shows. His performance is a little more straight lined now. The drummer has made it easier for him to connect with his audience. In some ways it seems to have lost some of that existential quality that made it unique and difficult to discern. Overall I think it was a solid move though.
If you liked what you read, then go to (https://www.facebook.com/Filiussol/?fref=ts) and give him a like on facebook. You can download his music at:
Go see him live, if you get the chance.