Melody's Echo Chamber of Emotion
“I’m just, you know, chasing butterflies, musical butterflies”
When someone names their child Melody, you can only think that some part of them, be it deep down or subconscious, hopes said child will grow up with an appreciation of music… possibly even becoming a musician? In the case of French artist Melody Prochet, time has more than proven this to be the case as over the past decade she’s honed her craft, with a knack for crafting ethereal and emotional psych rock and dream pop sounds across her records as Melody's Echo Chamber.
Four years on from her acclaimed Bon Voyage LP, Melody is back with album number three, the incredibly appropriately titled sonic journey that is Emotional Eternal, a “deeply human collection of songs full of prolonged moments of sonic transcendency – a record that clearly exhibits its maturity but still regards the world with a childlike wonder.”
With Emotional Eternal now released to the world, we jumped on a call with Melody to find out all about it!
With Bon Voyage released just over four years ago in February 2018, when did work on Emotional Eternal begin - pre or post COVID?
So after Bon voyage, I had delirium sort of, I kind of felt the need to sit in silence for a couple of years, I think. So I didn't listen to any music or play or sing anything for a while. But there was some music played at home, some meditational music, some theta waves, you know, a kind of very soothing music and like ambient like signals. And so there was kind of a seed of ambient music growing in there. And then I became a mother. So that took a bit of my time too.
Congratulations, by the way!
Thank you. So I guess Alma was the first song, the song Alma on the record was the first song to write since Bon Voyage, and this song is kind of a butterfly. It feels more like a little poem to my daughter than a song to me somehow, that was revealed during my first night separated from my daughter when she was like one. So that was a dense night for a young mother, so I guess it was a very cathartic moment. And I didn't think I would make new songs but then it was my only familiar way to kind of release some emotion overflow, or something.
I sit here thinking I can’t imagine what it’s like to even have a child, let alone what it would be like the first time you’re apart from them after the first year! So did inspiration kind of start flowing after this?
Exactly, it was kind of a spiritual little experience and then it just triggered the whole mechanic of making a record because the song was special somehow. And I was like “oh, okay, I kind of enjoy this”. But I want to do it differently this time. So I want to enjoy this process. And, and it was funny, because as you said, COVID was starting, so I went to the studio for five days in February 2020. And then we were locked down.
But that was really good. It was good because I needed the constraints, I need the frame, I need the structure. And because if I don't have a structure, I just get kind of trapped in my reverie, you know, in my deliriums. So that was really a good thing, a positive structural thing for us to work and also having time, this luxury of the time to let the best ideas resonate somehow and, you know, digest some things and so COVID was not a problem at all, for me.
This is very relatable to me! So you mentioned wanting to enjoy the process this time while avoiding getting trapped in your deliriums - what was different this time around?
I think life took me where it is more peaceful for me. And I think the record reflects it and, you know, it's more direct, I have taken a step back from the past, I did some work to get a sense of equilibrium more, being more in harmony with my own self and my values, on different levels, things that that are very singular and work for myself, for example, I moved to a place of nature.
Very quiet, an ordinary living style, and which I really cultivate, you know, just working in a regular job that I enjoy, study. I do very ordinary things and structural things, and my feet touch the dirt, and it's really great *laughs* It was really good for my own, you know, equilibrium. And somehow, to me, the record reflects that kind of thing, and it's kind of about the circularity of life and has a very soulful movement. I think it just reflects where I am right now.
Which leads me to asking about the title - Emotional Eternal - where with the context of everything you’ve just said seems like the perfect title, so when did this come to be the title of the record?
I was there at the very, very end of the process, where when the whole record was mixed, and all the songs in place, and I had a lot of different names before that one, and it's just the one that stayed. It's a state and, really actually the record has moments I think of sort of sonic transcendency or like, some just feels like a slow dawning of peace or, I don’t know, it hints at the eternal somehow and this evokes the circularity of life. And the name was, I don't know, it works on a different level for myself, because I'm also someone very sensitive and emotional, and always will be *laugs*. So it works on different levels, I guess.
I’m a sucker for assonance too, love it. Has it been similar with titles in the past, like was it a similar process for Bon Voyage for example?
For Bon Voyage, it was triggered by a Swedish jazz record called Lycklig Resa from Jan Johansson, and it's a classical one for the Swedish I was hanging out with and it means bon voyage in Swedish, and it has this beautiful little train cover. I just - I just loved it. And then I just wanted to just call it in Swedish, but it just didn't really feel right. So it translated to French. And then also because I think there was this kind of, you know, maybe some kind of vision that I wanted to quit the whole thing and say, goodbye, you know, I don't know. And also it was a trip and like a really trippy one for me, introspectively talking.
So you mentioned Swedish jazz, and I want to ask about the Dungen connection a little bit, but I’m curious - where was Emotional Eternal recorded?
What was it like revisiting the same studio with these guys years later?
Oh my god. Yeah. So it was such a joyful surprise, getting reunited with Reine and Swahn in Stockholm, it was kind of the best part. Because really as I said, I didn't think I would make another record. So, you know, we are really connected in some odd vibrational way, I don't know how to say, they just resonate on the same sounds. We love the same kind of music and we connect on deeply human values so I really am very grateful to them. And also, I don't know, Swahn has this very extreme, optimistic persona.
He's very warm and fun, and he has like studio nerd, incredible capacities in soundscaping explorations that I don't have, so it's very complimentary, and Reine is such a treasure chest of beautiful musical oddities. You know, he's known for his incredible record collection that's printed in his cells somehow. Definitely a great virtuoso in his genre, I think, so we just work in a triangular way. It's weird.
It sounds perfect, I love this chemistry.
Yeah there’s just chemistry and I’m just, you know, chasing butterflies, musical butterflies. So it’s really cool.
Something else really cool from the album has been the music videos - as a lifelong video game nerd, the clip for Looking Backward in particular spoke to me, tell us about how that video came to be?
Yeah, so I just asked Hyoyon Paik, this Korean Unreal Engine artist that I’d seen her work on the really cool American band called Junaco, really beautiful music, and she had created a whole other world - really beautiful, light and very real but quite distorted, which I really enjoy - getting lost in that kind of landscapes. So I just asked her to create a whole other world
And really we collaborated closely in making this one, and she also made one for Alma that's going to be out soon, which is also one of my favorite things. No, I really had a lot of fun with that. know if you saw that second video for Personal Message, because that one is also kind of special.
I absolutely did see that - so many beautiful shots, please tell us about that video, too!
So that one, I saw a documentary about tree communication, and, and there was this 3D tree, and then it was diving into the roots. And I was like, “this is what I want”. So I asked the person who actually made the documentary to redo the video. And he did *laughs* That's pretty cool. And I just really love what he said about his creation. He said, “on the surface forests can seem like a collection of individuals. But below ground, they're united”. And for us is a system that flourishes through sharing, and I thought that was quite beautiful. And that was kind of a message I want to share with people.
Amazing, I’ve actually seen that documentary! I thought I recognised the director's name - David Corfield from BBC - or something!
Exactly, yeah, that's him that just said what I said. Actually, I talked with him on Zoom, and he has a beautiful mind. He's up there. *laughs*
So so cool! So with the album out now, what else is keeping you busy and excited?!
Yes, yes, of course. I am studying art therapy. Oh, wow. And I'm working in a retirement home to experiment art therapy and musical therapy., I'm really passionate about it. So yeah, that's one thing I really enjoy doing.
Oh wow! How’s the response to it been? Some cool art being made?
Yeah, yeah. What's interesting is that I'm learning is an art therapy that's based on ephemeral art, so there is no production. And it's really cool to to make a link with my artistic practice and why I do it and, the psyche and all this. Yeah, it's, it's interesting. It's actually very, very cool.
So, so up my alley, that’s beautiful, and all I’m thinking now is, you know, maybe, possibly, there could be an album inspired by this in a few years?!
Probably, yeah yeah yeah, probably *laughs*. I think I want to create more landscape, more silent landscapes with more space for people to wander in. So this is what's happening right now, so it's really interesting. And I think that, you know, this ordinary living style. I just love to cultivate poetry, like that kind of moment, simple.
Always creating in one way or another?