Melody’s Echo Chamber on “Emotional Eternal”


Melody’s Echo Chamber on “Emotional Eternal”

Renewed Resonance

April 27, 2022

Photograph by Diane Sagnier
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Melody Prochet is an architect of euphonic sanctuaries. Listening to his music, produced as Melody’s Echo Chamber with co-conspirators Fredrik Swahn and Reine Fiske, is to step into an enveloping, otherwise unreachable sonic reverie – an escape from the real world, a place to stop and relax. erase for a few minutes. It may sound pretentious or imprecise, but one of Prochet’s main inspirations is the natural world – a peninsula in the south of France near his grandmother’s house, a pine forest in the Alps. In this way, she invites parallels with songwriters such as Cassandra Jenkins, whose 2021 album was titled, quite literally, A Glimpse of Phenomenal Nature.

As the name of the project suggests, Melody allows ideas to resonate. And the title of his latest album, 2018’s have a nice trip, implied that the resonance would be indefinite. Once inspiration strikes, however, she will follow it at her own pace as far as it takes her. In this case, it led to her radiant third album, Emotional Eternal, available on Domino this Friday. It’s her first outing in four years and the first since becoming a mother, a life-changing move that not only guides the music and lyrics, but has been the impetus for their existence.

During our Zoom conversation, Prochet spoke with unassuming humility. Words like “transcendence” come up a few times, but they’re backed by substance – the proof is in the pudding, as they say. She was warm and caring when she told me about the new album, the meditative spaces where she finds solace, and the circularity of life.

Hayden Merrick (under the radar): The new album is breathtaking – it’s hard to find the right adjective. Your approach to music making is unhurried and you’ve said you’re open to the possibility that there may not necessarily be an album to be made. When did you know for sure that Emotional Eternal worth doing? Can you explain its origin to me?

Melody Prochet (Melody’s Echo Chamber): Yes. First of all, thank you very much. It’s really moving for me to hear you talk about the album because you are the first to hear it, the journalists, so this is my first echo of the record.

I thought have a nice trip was going to be the last record, and after have a nice trip delirium, I kind of sat in silence for about a year. But there were a lot of theta waves, soundscape music and mood music played at home – bands like Sigur Rós and that kind of meditative music my partner used to listen to. The origin of the disc was in the song “Alma”, [which] was the first to rise since I had been sitting in silence. It happened the first night I was separated from my daughter. She was one year old and it was an emotional outburst at the time. The only familiar way I had of… was a cathartic, spiritual moment of clearing the overflow of emotions.

I just did the song “Alma” and then I was like, “Okay, I love this song. I want to share it with Reine [Fiske] and [Fredrik] Swahn and my label. And that was the beginning, the click of the spiral and of the musical cycle. And for me, this song is a butterfly, a little poem to my daughter and to life, in a way. So that’s how it started.

The lyrics to “Looking Backwards” were written after seeing a man at the airport using his watch to creatively reflect light. I was wondering what other non-musical influences had made their way onto this album.

Yes, that’s a good question. So you mean, like, little inspiration thumbnails? I guess I’m very fond of metaphors and poetry that I find most of the time in my reverie, when I’m in a kind of state of absence and wandering in my psychic landscape. I don’t know where I am. Music, ideas and inspiration sort of come from natural sanctuaries that I found in natural places.

Like, for example, in the song “Personal Message”, there was this peninsula. There was this circle of pines, a little forest, where I went when I felt really disenchanted. I went there and made my little prayers and wishes which I sent to the shore, and I was lulled by the horizon and the beautiful sea. And that also happens in the forest where I live now and in other places like that, usually where there are no human beings around. I kind of create little refuges – sound refuges – and landscapes that don’t exist to walk around and feel good.

Is there a big gap between those experiences and the fact that you know there is a song? Or do you sometimes think that’s something you want to convey in your music – the feeling of being where you are, of refuge?

It’s strange, it’s like a portal between two lands, these moments. There is a time in between. I’m slow, so I need maturation, I need time for all these ideas to come up. Sometimes they are there spontaneously, but sometimes they have been bubbling in the undercurrent for years.

You called your previous album have a nice trip an “adult promise to my inner child’s heart” and said that when you get old you hope to still have a child’s heart. How do you think your relationship with your inner child manifests on the new album?

It’s a good question. I think it’s a record that evokes adulthood in the eyes of a child’s wonder. I don’t know how to put it into words, but I’m still chasing butterflies on the record. [Laughs] But someone said they heard the storm from my past and that a darker side of my nature was still there. But I think it’s a really good balance that I’ve found. And also I always have the playfulness when I go to the studio. It was a joyful process – it was already for have a nice trip. It was very happy. But this time it was really peaceful and I really enjoyed being together – there is such a deep friendship with Reine and Swahn. I think I took my inner child by the hand and tried to calm him down when it hurt.

You sing in French and in English. Does the nature of certain lyrics influence the language in which you sing? Do you feel that French can give you an extra layer of intimacy, for example?

Yes. [Laughs] I think it’s a funny dance between languages, but fun. On my first album, I went to Australia—and I had started singing in English when I was in France—and when I went [to Australia], I started to sing in French. Exactly – maybe self-awareness or intimacy… I don’t know. It’s funny, it started like that, and then when I went to Sweden, I started singing in Swedish too. I knew the words, but it was more about the melodic, mysterious and poetic way it sounds in Swedish. Although Gustav Ejstes’ lyrics are perfect and beautiful, I had no idea what he was saying at first. And then when I came back to France and found my own, another world in the south here, in the Alps, I started to feel quite comfortable with myself, I guess, for just sing more in French – that’s the source of my expression, maybe, my mother tongue.

I think my favorite song on the album is “A Slow Dawning of Peace”. It’s a good way to describe what it’s like to listen to your music. What do you hope listeners will take away from the album?

It’s interesting too. Well, I’m happy if the record has some sort of uplifting quality. I think it evokes the circularity of life. It has very moving movement and moments of a kind of sonic transcendence that could hint at the eternal, and to me it feels organic and luminous. I hope the record will reflect that and someone will feel soothed. I hope there is room for the listener to get lost in beautiful landscapes that don’t exist. I love when music takes me to other worlds and I can just wander and dream, and it makes me less afraid of the unknown. I want to embrace the unknown in songs.

What music is doing that for you at or around the time you were writing?

We listened to a lot of music in the studio, and as I said before, I didn’t listen to a lot of music while I was [writing] this disc, but I listened to so much music that all my cells are impregnated with it. Sigur Rós’ influence on the electric guitar is one of the biggest and newest other worlds. [E] Bows was such a great thing for us to explore. I know this has been done a lot before, but I love these landscapes they created with this effect. It took me through, like, whales and dolphins – I love this aquatic world. What else? Jonny Greenwood’s recent and early works with Martenot strings and waves—there will be blood or “Present” [Radiohead song]—the instrumental pieces are absolutely wonderful to travel.

I read this for have a nice trip you learned the drums at the conservatory you attended as a child. I was wondering if you learned anything new this time around – an instrument, a studio technique, or even something about yourself.

First of all, yeah, the drumming thing in music school, conservatory, it was really amazing to go back. I played drums on “The Hypnotist” this time, and I also played more strings, which I was very shy of before, so I’m playing strings on “The Hypnotist.”

But the novelty was to open up to Josefin Runsteen on the strings – on the violins – and it really transcended the whole thing to another level, for me, of virtuosity. I was really amazed by his appearance on the record. I wasn’t even there when they recorded it because I was in quarantine, so it was really weird. I had written a simple little arrangement for “Alma”, and they really transcended it; It was very cool. And working remotely and having people organically record what you had written over MIDI and make it so much better was kind of magic. I didn’t think it could work remotely, and it did.

It must have been amazing to hear him play after only hearing him on MIDI.

Yeah. And just another novelty: I’m studying art therapy to become an art therapist, and that’s really cool and fascinating to me. I like to study new things. It feeds the brain.

It’s so cool. This may be another tricky question, but have a nice trip has been described as your comeback album; what do you think it does Emotional Eternal?

[Laughs] Hmm. I don’t know, but there’s definitely something about going back to the origins and the circularity of life. It’s funny because have a nice trip it was already the third because I had a second record that I scratched that I had produced with my old partner [Kevin Parker of Tame Impala]- that’s why it took so long – so I have no idea. So it could actually be the first of a new cycle and not just the third, if you know what I mean. It could be the start of something new.

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