Thanks a lot to everyone who came out, had a chat with us, bought a CD, enjoyed themselves and supported us on that hot summer night on September 9th in Ghent! We’re back live and hungry for more, so feel free to spread the word to your local booker or club!
Check out the YouTube playlist containing recordings of songs as “Alcubierre Drive”, “Paused”, “Words”, “Face to Face”, “Into The Game”, “Not What I Expected” and more…
INTERVIEWER: Side-Line Reviews (Inferno Sound Diaries), by Stef Coldheart DATE: 22nd June 2016
Set up and driven by the creative spirit of Yves Schelpe, Psy’Aviah is already active since 2004. The band has been inspired by numerous influences becoming a kind of sonic chameleon or simply a pure sonic ‘pop’ enigma. Electro-pop has been often the basis of their work while multiple influences like electro-clash, trance, electro-rock, trip-hop and even dance have been explored. The new opus “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars” released on Alfa Matrix again is a new sonic exorcism of new influences while featuring multiple and talented guest singers. Time for a chat with Yves Schelpe.
‘I ALWAYS WANTED TO INCORPORATE STYLES AND NOT PIN MYSELF DOWN TO JUST ONE GENRE’
Q: What were the main ideas and purposes when starting the writing of the new album “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars”?
Yves: After writing the 6th album “The Xenogamous Endeavour”, which came out in 2014, I was suffering from ‘blank-paper-syndrome’ or commonly known as writer’s block. I did make music, but I just had no connection emotionally to it. The turning point came after watching the movie “Interstellar”, the atmosphere really inspired me and kickstarted the first song “Alcubierre Drive” (look at our video), in which both the music and lyrics are my personal soundtrack for the movie. After that the process shifted gears, most of the other tracks are also loosely based on the movie, yet, if you don’t know it you won’t notice it – as every lyric can be translated to the ‘real world’. I like it that they have this double meaning.
Q: So what is this new album dealing with and what’s the deeper meaning behind the title?
Yves: The title refers to several things. The most obvious is that this is my seventh studio album. “Sorrows vs Stars” alludes to the fact that the songs are sometimes positive, and sometimes totally depressing, just like life. The album itself is of course inspired by the events and atmosphere of the movie “Interstellar” as I mentioned before – but each and every track can be interpreted as if it would happen in the ‘real world’.
“Alcubierre Drive” for example deals with lovers, people, friends, slowly growing apart – whilst “Stronger” is a song about rising again after a deep fall. Every song has each own unique story to share.
Q: You again worked with multiple guest singers (and a lot of male vocalists this time). I can’t imagine it’s possible to get a similar connection with a guest singer instead of a band singer so how did it happen and how did the recording and production of the vocals happened?
Yves: You’d think it isn’t easy to connect, but when recording and preparing to record I always have lengthy mails or sometimes skype or telephone calls with the vocalists so that we connect and understand each other. As I write most of the lyrics myself I do also explain what’s behind it, record a demo guide vocal for them to interpret.
This makes it so that the sound stays true to my songwriting ideas. It’s actually the very same way I worked before with a ‘fixed’ singer, the only upside now is that I have a lot more creative freedom and a range of talented vocalists who each have their unique strengths.
Q: I got the impression every new album by Psy’Aviah sounds like a new sonic travel where you explore different influences. How do you see this evolution as composer and master mind of the band?
Yves: It’s a deliberate choice from the inception of the band. I always wanted to incorporate styles and not pin myself down to just one genre, as it limits my songwriting and storytelling. I think it’s because of listening to bands like Faithless, Moby, The Chemical Brothers, Praga Khan and Soulwax – who showed that you don’t have to keep to just one genre. A mix of ambient, trip-hop, dance anthems, aggressive tunes is possible and keeps it fresh and more interesting for me as well. Whilst I do mix up the genres, I always try to keep that certain ‘Psy’Aviah’-sound though.
Q: You once posted an interesting quote about the reason(s) you stopped playing live with Psy’Aviah. I think it’s an interesting point to share with us and what’s your opinion about the subject right now?
Yves: I still think it’s true, there’s a lot of promoters that don’t take their job seriously. In the end it then always reflects on the band when the sound is off, the lights don’t work, the soundcheck settings weren’t recorded, or the PA just walks out… And there’s a lot more. You might argue it’s part of the job, but in all honesty, I loathe that part and it lacks of professionalism.
Mind, I’m not talking about all promoters, but it’s always a gamble what you’ll be facing. Hence we’re always double prepared with our own mixing engineer, etc… Part of the reason might also have been a lack of motivation of the previous ‘live band vocalist’ to continue to push and go for it.
But, surprise, surprise, after three years (our last gig was with Praga Khan at ‘Anciennce Belgique’), we’ll be back on stage on September 9th, 2016 at ‘Kinky Star’ Ghent with a new live band: Marieke Lightband on vocals (winner of several singer/songwriter awards, and has massive experience outside the ‘scene’ as well), my favorite live guitarist Ben Van de Cruys and me behind the keys. Very much looking forward to this new journey! And bookings are open at http://www.psyaviah.com/contact/live-bookings/.
Wonderful news, we are preparing for live performances again, starting from Fall/Winter 2016 Psy’Aviah is again available for booking request. Check our booking page for more information http://www.psyaviah.com/contact/live-bookings/.
Introducing the all new live band line-up: starting with the newest member Marieke Lightband (known from her solo work, and the band KOALA – as well as being a violinist and guitarist), Ben Van de Cruys rocking the guitars and Yves Schelpe on keys, knobs and electronic-wires. Having played for various audiences and crowds in the past, in venues like Kultuurkaffee, Ancienne Belgique, VK Concerts, Paard van Troje (NL) etc.. – as well as special semi-acoustic tours & performances for FNAC and AXXA Bank, we have a strong live experience and are ready to bring that back again! Check our booking page for more information http://www.psyaviah.com/contact/live-bookings/.
We live in a world where we sample music and, but I urge you to at least once listen to the album from the first to the last track. As the tracklist is specifically balanced and chosen to offer you this rollercoaster of sounds, emotions, energy and soul – a varied mix of electronic music, but with the typical Psy’Aviah touch I always give to the songs. Written & produced at my homestudio in Antwerp, mixed by Mitia Wexler (at wxlr.mxstudios) and mastered by Geert de Wilde (at the IC 434 / Skyshifterstudio). Out now, on April 15th, worldwise via Alfa Matrix records on all major digital platforms (such as Apple Music / iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, etc..), online cd stores (ECI, bol.com, elektronaut, FNAC, MediaMarkt, etc…) and your local record stores (if not there, just ask at the counter).
Their conclusion was #heartwarming to read after putting a lot of heart & soul into this album:
This seventh album is perhaps the most complete and sonically stunning album in the Psy’Aviah back catalogue to date. Once again Schelpe has pushed the boundaries of electronic music and continued to explore and experiment with different approaches and it has once again paid off for him. Simply, this album shows why Psy’Aviah is one of the stand-out names on the Alfa Matrix roster.
Shout outs to KONER,@Alex Dalliance, Liquid Divine, Cutoff:Sky and Girlflesh as they’ve been noticed by the reviewer for having delivered stellar remixes. Also mentioned are the crisp sound, for which I again thank Mitia Wexler of @wxlr.mx (mixing) and Geert de Wilde of IC 434 (mastering).
‘Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars’ is a real contender for album of the year. Yves’ synthwork and production is stellar, and the album flows very well through its peaks and valleys. With such an array of talented vocalists and great writing, there is never a dull moment.
” ~ Thx a LOT Steve Mecca & Chain DLK for the review!
April 15th will open the gates for a new world “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars”. This seventh album called for a new approach, thematically drawing inspiration from the 2014 movie “Interstellar”, life and musically opening a gate of wonder and euphoria with a unique blend of triphop, electroclash, eurodance, synthpop and eurodance while staying true to PSY’AVIAH’s deeply emotional core in both sound and lyrics.
Pre-orders start as of today at the Alfa Matrix Bandcamp page & post a review if you want – or order the physical CD at the offical Alfa Matrix store. But you can also wait until April 15th when “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars” will hit every digital download & streaming platform (e.g. Spotiy, Apple Music), as well as physical CD stores (e.g. FNAC, MediaMarket, etc..).
Excellent 5-ST★R Reviews
Intravenous Magazine summed up the new album as “perhaps the most complete and sonically stunning album in the Psy’Aviah back catalogue to date. Once again Schelpe has pushed the boundaries of electronic music and continued to explore and experiment with different approaches and it has once again paid off for him. Simply, this album shows why Psy’Aviah is one of the stand-out names on the Alfa Matrix roster.”; whilst CHAIN D.L.K gave it a full 5 out 5 stars and concluded that “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars’ is a real contender for album of the year. Yves’ synthwork and production is stellar, and the album flows very well through its peaks and valleys. With such an array of talented vocalists and great writing, there is never a dull moment”. But please judge for yourself and pre-listen on bandcamp or on our soundcloud (also embedded on this page).
Aside from the new directions Psy’Aviah takes, there are of course there are still here some songs which defend the more “sorrowful” part of the album and reminds us of PSY’AVIAH’s darker side: like for example “Alcubierre Drive” featuring once again lush guest vocals by Kyoko Baertsoen (ex-HOOVERPHONIC, LUNASCAPE) and her unique timbre fitting so well this blend of trip-hop rhythms and EBM basslines; or yet the melancholic and moving “Looking Back” and the very expressive voice of David Chamberlin (ENTRZELLE).
But “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars” definitely has this kind of interstellar shining touch, connecting dots together and offering a very unique kind of modern synth pop with an upbeat futuristic twist reinforced by another impressive selection of guest vocalists, with this time a clear progression towards more male vocals than on past releases. Take for example the alt-pop “Frozen” which is fusing energy and soul with stunning vocals by Andrew Galucki, or yet the more house / 80’s e-pop approach on the dancey “Liberosis” and its driving synth lines, club beats and awesome voice of Alvin River, the loud e-pop “Face To Face” with Roeland van der Velde (MODEL DEPOSE), or yet the addictive body-pop song “From Another World” with Bernard Feron (MED, COMBAT VOICE…).
Besides the more moody and almost “PSY’AVIAH classic” songs like “Lessons From The Past”, with one of Yves’ favorite partners in crimes for years now: the talented singer Mari Kattman, but also the minimal and semi-acoustic “Opia” with Pieter Van Vaerenbergh (METAFUZZ, ZELON) as well as the band’s last single and video clip song “Never Look Back” with Ellia Bisker (SWEET SOUBRETTE);
we find harder and straight industrial-dance compositions evoking the band’s early and more aggressive period like on the dreamy club hit “Peace Paradox”, the more chaotic and cyber distorted breakbeats of “Wild Ride” feat. the unmatched Miss FD, a club trance inspired pop track “Stronger” with vocals this time by Addie Nicole (HALOCENE), as well as on “Not What I Expected” that is a sort of frontal floor-packing track with incisive synth lines, hypnotic grooves à la PRAGA KHAN lead by strong female vocals with attitude by Fallon Nieves.