Q & A: Reichelt
Earlier this year, we were stunned by the shifting sonics from Reichelt’s new album, ‘Seduced By The Light Side‘. Since then, he’s even been nominated for Album of the Year at this year’s Gold Coast Music Awards. We had to drop the avant-garde artist a line to find out about the ambitious record, him taking it from a solo project to a more collaborative effort and working in the studio.
You mentioned the album’s progress went from you recording everything on your own to having musicians come in and fill some parts. How was it moving from an entirely solo experience, to working and collaborating with friends and other artists?
Really exciting. When my amazing friends come in, obviously they hear it from their unique perspectives and they bring new flavours and innovation that enhances the songs. Generally I like to not play them the song first so we can create from a spontaneous place, this has lead to all kinds of wonderful and surprising sounds and parts. For example in ‘Don’t Need It Here’, Dave hadn’t plugged his guitar lead into his guitar and was tapping it on his hand, making a loud buzzing sound, so we hit record and ran that through a pile of FX to make the throbbing, oceaney type sound in the choruses. It’s unrecognisable from the initial sound but adds so much to the track. It’s endlessly rewarding collaborating with innovative musicians. Ian Peres (Wolfmother, Xavier Rudd) has been a long time collaborator and constantly takes my songs to new and amazing places, he’s added a lot of flavour to this album.
You’re classed as multi-instrumentalist. How many instruments did you contribute to the album?
Voice, backing voice, bass on about half the tracks, rhythm guitar on almost all of them, lead guitar on a bunch, piano accordion on a lot of songs and cello on You At Last. I can’t play the cello so I tuned the strings to the 3 notes I wanted and played it open because I’ve never practiced fretting it. Does that count as playing the cello? An actual cellist would probably say no.
Each track on the album is an entirely new musical idea yet there’s still cohesion throughout. Was it difficult picking which songs made the cut and in what order?
Well this only just occurred to me a few weeks ago, 5 albums in, that audiences were hearing it like that, how you’ve described it. The albums are generally a snapshot of a window of time, they kind of organically make themselves. I’m constantly writing and then every year or so I get the feeling an album is ready and I take the last 10 or 12 songs that I’ve written and that I feel excited about and that’s the record. I generally want to record the latest stuff I’ve written. Ordering them is so much fun. I love telling a 30 or so minute story, picking art, the whole process is very cool. No it wasn’t difficult. You just do your thing, get out of the way, let the record unfold.
Don’t Need It Here is the album highlight for me. Tell me about that one.
Musically, we saw it as a playground in the studio for weird sounds. It had so much space in it so we went to town haha. Sammy (female backing vocalist) dropped those angel voices in the 2nd verse and Dave (guitar) pressed every button on the guitar FX pedal board. It was sick.
Lyrically, it’s about creating a space with people devoid of bullshit. Not engaging people from a place of trying to assert your name or self image. We naturally want connection with other people and don’t always realise that going into a social interaction trying to be noticed, trying to be right with an opinion or trying to get people to acknowledge some story you’ve made up about yourself or your life, is counter productive. This stuff disconnects us from each other. The song’s just saying “hey, you don’t need that here, you can just be you, you’re fine.”
You At Last also comes entirely from left field. Who’s the female voice we hear on this track and a few others throughout?
You At Last is my favourite. I wrote it in the shower after staring at Lisa Falzon’s painting of the same name. I was so enamoured with that work of hers I commissioned it for the album art. The female singer is Sammy Griffin, a Brisbane based song writer and singer. We went to university together and have played in each others bands for years. I love her voice so much. She’s just become a Mum so you won’t catch her live for a little bit, but she’s incredible.
You worked with one of the Gold Coast’s finest producers, Guy Cooper. How was it in the studio with him?
Awesome. I was living at his house at the time we made the album. He was incredibly generous sharing equipment, spending time on the record with me and generally being a rad, supportive human. He’s incredibly good at what he does. It’s very rewarding and fun creating with Guy.