Journey in your brain to a land called Psychedelia, where colorful, kaleidoscopic imagery is typically drug-induced … until now. To describe the existential inquiries that swirl about in Psychedelia as the result of a good trip is to cheapen the complex art that Jeff Beam and his team are preparing for “The Psychedelic Sounds of Space” on Friday night. Long regarded as the twisted mutterings of hippies, the trip Beam has in mind will organically tickle your soul with some of the best music and visual art in town, no enhancements necessary.

Beam took some time to tell GO about that event and more. 

Tell us the highlights of your last 24 months.

Other than releasing my newest album (“Venus Flying Trapeze”) in December, I’ve recently moved back to Portland after five months in Brooklyn, where my girlfriend was completing her college degree. I put together a great band down there and played about 15 shows in the city. My favorite and most unusual night in NYC was seeing The Flaming Lips perform at Carnegie Hall, and then drinking wine with them after the show. New York City was a good experience, but I’m happy to be back in Maine. 

Where did the idea for “The Psychedelic Sounds of Space” come from?

I was in the process of booking a show at Space Gallery, and Ian Paige (former Space events coordinator) encouraged me to organize something that was more than a regular concert, something a bit more creative. As an aficionado of psychedelic music, I jumped at the chance to hold a psychedelic-themed concert and art experience. My bassist Sam Peisner came up with the name for the event. 

Why is it important for well-rounded human beings to have psychedelic experiences?

Our good friend Wikipedia eloquently states that “a psychedelic experience is characterized by the perception of aspects of one’s mind previously unknown, or by the creative exuberance of the mind liberated from its ostensibly ordinary fetters.” I’m a particular fan of the music that comes from this type of experience, most notably the existentialism, wisdom and ponderings present in the music and lyrics of The Flaming Lips. They address seemingly basic matters and experiences that are shared by all human beings but that nobody usually talks about (death, the meaning of life, feeling insignificant in comparison to the vastness of the universe). They’re able to break through the mundane aspects of life to get people to think and talk about these things, and I find that quite admirable. The discussion and understanding of topics like those is what will help us become more enlightened beings, in my opinion. 

What types of elements are essential to creating the effect you’re after for the evening?

There needs to be an engaging atmosphere for the audience. It can get boring just watching a bunch of guys play music. Adding visual art to the performance makes for a bit more interactive environment. An open-minded audience never hurts, either.

Who would be on your all-time wishlist for a night of psychedelia? Who’s providing the music for the evening you’ve put together?

Jimi Hendrix is one of the pioneers of psychedelic music, so he’d have to be leading the charge. At Space, the music will be provided by three bands: the Athens, Ga./Windsor, Maine, band Laminated Cat, followed by my band, followed by The Lucid. 

How is Space preparing the venue visually for an event like this?

We’re collaborating with the artist services of FreeFallon to design our stage. Greg Kowalski will be providing live art projections while the bands perform. Space is a perfect venue for this kind of show. 

Can an event this trippy happen every year?

Not only can it happen every year, but multiple events can occur throughout the year. The “Deep Heaven Now” psychedelic festival just came through Portland, and with it came a handful of the most interesting psych bands from around New England. There are certainly enough people out there who are interested in psychedelia; I’m seeing more and more of these type of events springing up. 

Mike Olcott is a freelance writer who lives in Portland and Boston.