Browsing Tag

Psych Pop

In anticipation of OneSelf’s seventh album, we sat down with musician & producer Mario Deschenes to delve into the inspiration that led to his prolific ever-evolving creations.

Mario Deschenes

After delving into the nostalgically colourful haze of his former psych-pop albums, we were desperate to know the direction of Mario Deschenes’ new album that is currently in production, and how his journey as a multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter and producer started.

Thanks for sitting down with us to discuss your latest album, Seven Eleven; what can your fans expect from your 7th LP?

First of all, let me thank you for this interview. What my fans can expect is, it’s gonna be more than expected; they will get 12 songs and 12 videos. I have to tell you this album is not completed yet; today, I almost finished the 11th one; if I can complete this song as I think it gonna be a great one.

Yes, 12 songs and 12 videos, with a deeper implication from the lyrics to the final mixing. I was more attentive to each step and I took my time to have the best songs I could get. I think my fans will be surprised; they will hear Rock songs for their pleasure. I’m sure they will hear an evolution in this album if they compare it with my other albums.

For your new fans, how did your venture into music begin, and where has the expressive venture taken you?

My musical journey into music began with Can’t Buy Me Love, a world of possibilities hit my mind, and that is what I tried to go with since that moment.

My biggest influence is The Beatles. I was 12 when I heard The Beatles for the very first time. I was a shy boy, a very shy one. When I was in Grade 6, someone in my class brought an LP, Hey Jude’s album from, of course, The Beatles.

When I heard the first song of this album, Can’t Buy Me Love, something happened in my mind, in my whole body and soul. Do you remember, I wrote I was a shy boy, I took all my courage to go to ask her if she could lend me this LP, and she said YES.

At home, I copied two songs; I found the rest of the album was too loud and heavy, It sounds funny, but it was the first time in my life I heard music like this. For days I listened to these two songs; again and again, I had never enough.

This souvenir is so clear in my mind. I remember How I felt, it was the first day of a long journey. Later I bought a cheap electric guitar, no amp; it came later; I read everything I could find about the Beatles. The more I find things about them, the more I discovered other groups like Rollings Stones; it was the beginning of my biggest influences.

From the moment I wanted to play music for a living, I don’t remember it so clearly as the first time I heard the Beatles. What I knew is I had to learn how to play the guitar. I learned how to write songs in English first and years later, in French. I learned how to sing, have learned how to record my music.

It was a passion; with every new chord I learned, I composed songs with them. I have written a song with one chord. I thought it was a good song, Oops. Not really … Believe me!

Years passed by, and I kept writing songs and music. Friends of mine found that my songs were very good, for me, I did not think so. Today I understand more about how it works, my songs are better, and I am proud of the time spent learning how to create my style; you can hear this in my songs.

What themes do the 12 original tracks explore lyrically?

Seven Eleven’ features 12 songs alongside music videos that represent my vision of life, relationships, and the plethora of thoughts that keep me preoccupied. As for my brothers, relatives, father, teacher, nephew, getting older, dating, authentic friends, and my mother.

We love the nostalgic psych-pop tones on your former releases; how do you achieve those?

Thank you for loving, as you mentioned, the nostalgic psych-pop tones on my former releases. How do I achieve those? I could tell with time and patience and the will to do better songs I have never done yet; I don’t want to write or play or record the same songs.

I like when my songs are different, I always try to do something new, things I did not try yet; if it works, fine; if it is not working, I look for something else, and I am to the service of the song. It is a matter of feeling.

What are your favourite pieces of gear to make your reinventive pop-rock sound with?

My favourite pieces of gear are my guitar, a GODIN model XTSA, my GR 55 by Roland and the Vocalist 4 by Digitech, and the DR 880 by Boss for the drum parts.

I don’t think I reinvent the Pop-Rock sound. I only try to do my best for every song; I am demanding a lot from myself for my songs. I try to have my own sound; for one song, you listen to there are a lot of songs I did not take for several reasons. From my point of view, I only keep the best songs for my albums.

Where did you pick up your production skills, and what would you say you do differently from other producers?

Where did I pick up my production skill? In my early days of learning to record music and songs, I began with a 4- track recorder, an 8-track cassette recorder, a Digi 001, and, most recently ProTools. It seems easy or obvious, but it takes time, only time; year after year, I have improved my production skill. It demands a lot, but it is a passion, you know.

What would I say I do differently from other producers? I don’t know, I don’t really know; I have the chance to have a little home studio, and then I can try a lot of things. I think they have a studio too. The only thing I see is since I began the musical journey, I mainly worked on my songs, increasing my music at the same time as my production skills. I like to learn new things or new ways to record songs. That’s what I like; I can learn as much as I want to.

What are your plans for the future?

Along my seven albums, I created my musical style, the way to play the guitar, the way I sing, the way to write, how I write, and how I record. All these are me. I’m as unique as my songs are authentic as my albums.

For every album, I followed my path; I went further and discovered myself with my albums.

What keeps me pursuing my music career? I think it is a kind of quest to leave traces of my journey on earth. This is a feeling that comes inside me, I don’t have any choices if I don’t do that, writing songs, recording them, singing them, I don’t feel fine; I have to let them out.

After a good day of work on my songs, I’m tired, my voice is so tired because I sang too much, and my soul is at peace. I’m proud of these kinds of days.

I cannot do anything to stop; as long as I can, I will make albums. I don’t want to stop recording music, especially my music. My 8th Rock album is almost written.

Discover OneSelf’s music on his official website.

Interview by Amelia Vandergast

Folk singer-songwriter Steve Andrews reached the pinnacle of feel-good music with ‘Climb Through a Rainbow’

Climb Through A Rainbow by Steve Andrews

When Steve Andrews, AKA the Bard of Ely, isn’t prising our eyes open to the disasters we create in our destructive-by-design lifestyles, playing Glastonbury or being lauded by the NME and Nicky Wire, he’s spilling soul across the airwaves through singles such as Climb Through a Rainbow.

With Pixies-Esque shimmering reverb and birdsong as the backdrop to his ardently animated acoustic guitar and unlimitedly happy vocals that bring alive the song that was inspired and composed in his friend’s nursery in Cardiff, it is impossible not to get swept up in the euphoric energy of the single.

Climb Through a Rainbow definitively proves you’re never too old to benefit from the simple pleasures of authentically feel-good music, which makes no bones about being on the silly side of wild. Honestly, I’ve got happy tears as I write this review. Nothing has touched my soul this much, ironically, since Nicky Wire’s solo album.

Stream and purchase Climb Through a Rainbow on Bandcamp now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Lewis & Ford advocate the artistic life in their addictive reggae-dubbed psych-pop single, Radio

After refusing to bow to social pressures and shack up in a life of drab uniform domesticity, the LA duo Lewis & Ford released the sweet feat of reggae-dubbed ear candy, Radio. For every artist that has remained committed to their creative life to the disdain of loved ones, the stridently euphoric track is a sure-fire hit of vindication.

In Lewis & Ford’s taking-no-prisoners high-vibe lyrical style, they versed “I won’t ever be like them and never leave this town, cause I can’t hear them hatin’ while my band is playing a stadium, you’re gonna hear me on the radio” as the ultimate middle finger with a smile affirmation that autonomy is as beautiful as the lush psych surf harmonies and dreamy melodies. While the rhythms pop, Americana roots contort around the kaleidoscopic colour in the galvanising tonal palette.

Stream Radio on YouTube, and follow Lewis & Ford on Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

UK singer-songwriter Kwun has made his spectrally soul-chilling debut with his single, Supernatural

On October 21st, the UK-based singer-songwriter and producer, Kwun made his melodious debut with the soul-chilling single, Supernatural, which fuses the songwriting styles of Nick Drake & John Lennon.

With vocals void of veneer flourishing in their own distinctive timbre instead of forced into assimilation, surrendering to the emotion in Supernatural, especially with the bitter-sweet vibrato, is non-optional.

Atop the trickling upbeat piano keys, shimmering motifs, gentle percussive fills, and orchestral swells, Pang’s spectrally sweet vocals lead you into catharsis; the healing propensities of Supernatural were no mistake. The single was recorded at 432 Hz, the frequency which resonates and harmonises with nature and the human body. While lyrically, Kwun provokes the listener into questioning adages old and new to become the greatest versions of their beings.

Mark Prentice (Johnny Cash & Bruce Springsteen), Sam Wheat (Pharrell Williams & Amy Winehouse) and Tony Cousins (Adele & George Michael) all put their deft finishing touches on this resoundingly promising release. We can’t wait to hear what his forthcoming album, Ancient Ageless & True, has in store.

The Radio Edit of Supernatural is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Koyama gave classic art rock a modern psychedelic twist in ‘Desolation of America’

The Desolation of America is the second album from the multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Koyama, who fuses classic art rock tones with modernist sound designs. The Radiohead influence is tangible through the complexity of the percussion and the ebbing and flowing vocals that drift in and out of focus around the psychedelic synthetics, especially in the politically melancholic single, Desolation of America.

If Koyama is this talented at 18, he has an exceptionally bright future ahead of him. Especially with his gift of lyrically gnawing away at socio-political themes while psychedelically stripping the dismay from the equation with his artful vocal pitches that complement the colourfully kaleidoscopic chords and droning keys. It’s almost impossible to believe that Koyama only started to write and produce songs in his bedroom during the pandemic. He is definitely one to watch.

Desolation of America is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Maxton Hunter sets his trajectory to the moon in his psych-pop single, Halfway Home

As classically soul-stirring as Chris Isaak and as compellingly contemporary as a pop-styled Courtney Barnett, Maxton Hunter’s latest single, Halfway Home, extends psychedelic indie Cali warmth across the stratosphere.

Commercial potential and magnetic don’t always go hand in hand, but they have a tight grip on each other in the oceanically breezy indie hit. It’s quite ironic how the lyrics leave Maxton Hunter pontificating on superpowers, given the celestial sense of melodicism that drives through Halfway Home. And vocally, he could very well be the last of the great dreamers. For catharsis’ sake, we can’t wait to hear what comes next from the up-and-coming artist.

Halfway Home is now available to stream on Spotify and all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Area 51 has nothing on Koosha Azim’s psychedelically sensory experience, ALIEN

Haunting and transcending are two rarely joined adjectives; the Iranian American contemporary artist, Koosha Azim, pushed them into a tight-knit while exploring alt-hip hop and psychedelia in his sensory soundscape, ALIEN.

The bleeding vocals, cinematically ethereal layers, and playfully unpretentious creativity are a stellular pleasure which scarcely resembles any Avant-Garde score that experimentalists have left behind before.

If he keeps pushing in this gratifyingly trippy and obscure direction, the San Francisco Bay Area artist will have the airwaves at his feet in no time. Naturally, we can’t wait to hear the transcendence that follows.

Koosha Azim’s latest single, ALIEN is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Graffiti Welfare tells his anxious coming of age story in the trippy meditative alt-electro album, Revolving Shores

Revolving Shores is the gravity-defyingly meditative debut album from the up-and-coming artist and producer Graffiti Welfare. After appearing on the airwave in 2018 through his EP, Into the Soul of Space, which has been extensively playlisted & lauded by critics, the Austin-born, Denver-based artist let the world in on his coming of age anxiety.

Regardless of your age, there is ample resonance in the LP that explores the profoundness of loss in context to perceptions of reality. As someone who has only recently lost their mum after a long illness, I’m pretty reasonably qualified to attest to the efficaciously comforting gentle tenacity in the 10-track release.

Revolving Shores gently eases you in through the minimalist melodic opening score, To Be It, which almost rings with neo-classic cinematic atmosphere, then cruises right on into my personal favourite, Just Follow, which reflects the feeling of unravelling as you lose direction.

DejaBlue picks up a little more melancholy through its genius titular metaphor for carbon copy ennui before Good News flirts with elements of coldwave EDM. What is easily the biggest experimental triumph the album, Synesthesia, dips into far more indie territory, with nuances of post-punk in the chilling, stabbing and distorted angular notes. SeaShell as the closing single was an all too efficaciously entrancing way of ensuring that Revolving Shores doesn’t leave you without sticking to your synapses first.

Graffiti Welfare Said

“Revolving Shores evolved from watching my childhood fade into the unknown as grandparents and friends passed away while I was coping with coming-of-age anxiety. By day, I was trying to finish my thesis and escape the clutches of graduate school with my sanity intact.

By night, I wanted to make sense of everything by creating something sincere, unique and tangible. Each track represents a lucid perspective that builds from the last, guiding a quiet meditation towards the unknown and back into waking life. Rinse, float, repeat – cause who knows where you will wake up next?”

Revolving Shores was officially released on June 17th. You can check it out for yourselves by heading over to Spotify and SoundCloud.

To keep up to date with the latest releases from Graffiti Welfare, follow him on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Darcy Court has released their triumph of a 60s-psych-tinged alt-indie debut, Bar of Clay

The instantly trailblazing 60s psych pop-inspired indie rock act, Darcy Court, brought plenty of the Cali heat into their euphonically blissful debut single, Bar of Clay, which unravels to the narration of the conflated emotions that transpire when locked in a too-good-to-be-true crash and burn relationship and all you can do is await the final collision.

The kaleidoscopic synaesthesia-inducing melodies feed into the rich timbre of the single that flirts with the alt-90s era just as much as the 60s psych-pop nuances to create an era-spanning indulgent tonal pool that you’ll find infinitely temperate.

Indie debuts don’t get much more promising than Bar of Clay. Darcy Court have got exactly what it takes to reach the same heights as their iconic 60s influences.

Bar of Clay was officially released on April 8th; it is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The Low Highs cut to the core of romantic scorn in their psychedelically dreamy alt-indie single, Don’t You Ever

The South Florida residing alt-indie duo, The Low Highs, have released their eagerly anticipated sophomore single, Don’t You Ever. The mellifluous earworm allows dream pop, indie psych and folk-rock textures to pull together in the atmospherically absorbing release that cuts to the core of romantic scorn.

Don’t You Ever captures the disjointing feeling of realising a relationship was filled with empty promises of perpetuity before exploring the confusion that leaves us questioning every exchange and retracted extension of affection as though our interpersonal history has been rewritten with the utterances of a few words.

The Kraftwerk-y style melodic synths and funky indie disco percussion paired with the hypnotically distorted vocals make exploring those torrid emotions infinitely easier. You’d be hard-pressed to find another up and coming outfit bringing a better aura to the airwaves. It’s almost ironic that a song on empty promises was so promising.

Don’t You Ever premiered on January 21st. You can check it out for yourselves by heading over to YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast