Mari Kattman interview regarding being featuring on newest Psy’Aviah EP ‘Can We Make It Rhyme’
Out now is Psy’aviah’s “Can We Make It Rhyme”, a 10-track EP featuring Mari Kattman on vocals. The release is right now available via Bandcamp exclusively.
“Can We Make It Rhyme” is taken from the band’s very recent “Bittersweet” album. As an exclusive B-side, Mari Kattman and Yves Schelpe chose to cover their Soft Cell favorite song “Monoculture”. This 10-track EP features remixes that offer a wide electronic spectrum, two trance dance-driven anthems by Omniks and Karl Roque, whilst the ‘retro club’ edit of “Monoculture” and the Assemblage 23 remix of “Can We Make It Rhyme” will be more for the synthpop dancefloor. The versions of 13th Angel and Jen Draven then again focus more on the song’s core soundpallet.
You can check out the full EP right below and download it from Bandcamp.
Yves Schelpe interviewed Mari Kattman for this release, you can read their conversation right below.
YS: ‘Can We Make It Rhyme’, can you tell your perspective on it when you had the demo and lyrics in your hands? And in what way did it convince you to say, yes I want to collaborate on this song?
MARI: I think the main thing that really made me want to participate in the track, was the meaning of the song that you provided to me. It’s always an honor to try and help make an artist’s vision come into focus, but even better when there is a great meaning behind the music. You also had a friend participating in the demo vocal reel and I loved his vocal style and the way he was reaching for the notes. It was a little different than I was used to but it really inspired me to want to take it to the next level, so I saw it as a challenge.
YS: I remember brainstorming about the music video for this one, and I thought, I need the emotions of Mari on screen for this one. Of course, budget wise, I can’t fly you over, or I can’t come to the US… But how do you feel the music video turned out with these ‘tritone’ colours? As it were your original recordings of yourself performing the song that triggered me making the music video in this colour a lot more, and make it moody, atmospherical, and leave it with an ‘open ending’…
MARI: I was really shocked that you were able to pull off an entire music video concept JUST from the red and blue lights I used to record my part. On top of having the lighting on hand, I thought maybe it was a cool analogy, red and blue together make one of the most beautiful colors of all. So “Can we make it rhyme” seemed like the blending of two different parts harmoniously. I think it was really clever that you moved my takes to the TV and smartphone shots. I also think its insanely cool that you could hire a company to make a music video that was so on point and beautifully shot. It seemed like a lot of planning and work so props to them and however many times they had to listen to the original track while filming.
YS: I knew you since the work of Day Twelve, which I even remixed for… I loved your voice instantly, and then I guess the first track we worked on was ‘Sacrifices’ and ‘Our Common End’. What are your memories on those, and what drew you in to collaborating with me on these tracks?
MARI: Honestly, back during that time, 2012 or so, I was just learning to record myself properly. In my surrounding area, I worked with a lot of musicians growing up who ended up finding other paths in life and abandoned their music projects. I was really having a dry spell finding committed people to work with. I knew I had to build myself on my own, with no help, which was really intimidating. So I started building this portfolio of work and just reaching out to people that I admired to see if they would be interested in working with me. I can’t remember how we connected. I was working with Aesthetische on a few tracks for their album Hybridcore and I think through the Alfa Matrix channels that’s how we started talking.
It was such a breath of fresh air to work with you on those songs and really feel what it’s like to work with other people who have committed their lives to their art and have a firm vision for the things they want to see culminate song by song. I never really had the privilege of that before in my life and I look back fondly on those times and being able to hear my voice placed in a space where it was valued and produced appropriately.
YS: You’ve been growing every year, collaborating with a lot of people – up to the point you were producing your own songs which I so love (e.g. the eat EP). Up to the point now that you are now signed on COP Int. – a huge deal, and something I was waiting for – when will she be signed somewhere as I love your productions! Can you tell us how that went, and how this feels for you?
MARI: Yeah, I mean, I think I have worked with nearly all of my heroes at this point (except for you Peter Heppner!) it’s an incredible place to be when you have broken bread with people who you intensely respect and look up to as far as work ethic and artistry. I feel really honored for the time I have gotten to spend learning from those experiences. There is really something about stepping into another person’s world and having to fit to their working style. None of the collaborators I have ever worked with, work the same and to be versatile because of that is a gift for me.
Signing with COP for my solo music is SUCH a new experience for me. I’ve worked with a lot of record labels in the past but I have never officially been on one alone. I love the fact that these releases are all me, for good or bad, if you hate it there really isn’t anyone to blame but me, but if you LOVE it, well then i’m doing my job. It’s sort of strange to think that I would ever get to this point, it’s a long way to come from 2012 in my room, figuring out how to connect an interface to a microphone and cueing up a DAW. It holds a lot of importance for me and I am so happy to have the support backing this next release up.
YS: Diving a bit deeper into the song ‘OBJECTIFIED’, I love it so much. The hypnotizing pad and arpeggio in the background, a very triphop / hiphop beat that evolves throughout the track. And behind it a very soulful voice telling a compelling story. What triggered you writing the lyrics, and how important is this one for you?”
MARI: Objectified has a pretty clear meaning. I wrote it one day when I was feeling pretty down about the state of how things are for women. Sometimes you don’t feel like you are anything but a piece of meat, and then a “better” piece of meat comes along and it’s all a very shallow state of mind. Women are held to an unfair standard, we are pinned up against one another and compared. We are told “Thats just how it is.” and “Thats just guys being guys.” but it’s exhausting, to be sexualized for everything you do. Oftentimes the sexualization takes the seriousness out of anything you are trying to put meaning into. Its soul shattering when you are trying to use your brain and your passion, knowing that there will always be an element of judgement that has to do with your level of attractiveness.
YS: Can you tell us something about your production process on your solo work, how does your studio look like, and what are your favourite tools in songwriting (both software, and techniques)?
MARI: It’s funny I always feel like my creative process is evolving but oftentimes these days its very organic, like, i’m driving in the car and I just hear this bassline or this melody, I pull out my phone and record myself humming along to whatever is happening in my brain. Then when I get home I rush to my studio desk, take out my midi keyboard and try and hash it out in my DAW. Right now I’m using Bitwig for all of my musical composition but I also love Logic when it comes to recording vocals. I wish that Bitwig and Logic could come together and tighten the audio recording aspect on the Bitwig end. Vocally, I took a course from Berklee on vocal production and now I’m all about panning my voice. It’s very normal for me to take about 5 vocal takes singing the same exact thing and panning them around the stereo field and one phantom center. It makes for a much bigger vocal sound.
Synth wise, I’ve really been focusing on writing synth parts/choosing sounds that don’t overshadow each other and that play nice on top of each other, its a really delicate balance that takes a lot of skill and time to really hear what is going on. Drum wise, it’s all about choosing interesting snares for me right now and layering foley sounds into the snare hits. As far as software goes, I’m really loving Spire and Vital right now, I just love the user interface on that. Vital wins the award for me for easy usability and for ease in tweaking sounds. As far as Plugins goes, I’m always always ALWAYS loving FreshAir for vocals, MondoMod for modulation and Wider for finding places in the mix that instruments can sit where they don’t step on each other.
YS: On the single of ‘Can We Make It Rhyme’ we decided to do a b-side as well, ‘Monoculture’. I was triggered to do this song mainly because of its lyrics and how it has a link almost to the ‘Can We Make It Rhyme’ lyrics in a sense – everyone thinking in blind vision, not open to other views and therefore getting stuck in tunnel vision. In that sense I pulled the cover version into the EP in this context – how do you feel about that, is this world to ‘monoculture’ in its thinking?
MARI: You know, being a person who is starting a new full time career, sometimes I do feel like the world is just one big hamster wheel and there is a lot of pressure to stay in line. It’s tough for creative people to live in a world like that, I often think it is a curse not to be able to do what you love all the time. We are all expected to walk the path that was laid out for us (school, 40 hour a week job, marriage, kids, retire) and you are damned if you want to walk a little different. You get up for work and you fall into bed at night with exhaustion and the days just blend. Its pretty gnarly! Keep us busy enough not to have the energy to care. I think Soft Cell was right on point and I am glad to have been a part of the cover.
YS: Can you lift the veil, give a sneak peek, or tell us something about the upcoming work you will have out on COP Int.?
MARI: My newest EP is out now on COP. It’s a two song EP with some great remixes. It is truly exciting to be showcasing my solo work again. I can’t wait for you to hear it!
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