How will we live together, and how we will care for each other? "Our Common Future" explores these questions and mixes dub, pop, and triphop, with a special warm sound from the lush synthesizer of Yves (Psy'Aviah) and the smooth and emotional vocals by special guest Kyoko Baertsoen.
Our interview below is with Yves.
1. How did you first get into electronic music?
When I was 16, I first started creating electronic music. While everyone else was playing guitar, drum kits, and bass, I saw the opportunity to work alone and form my own band.
Back then I was heavily influenced by Praga Khan, Underworld, Moby, and a lot of trance music (Svensson & Gielen, PUSH, etc.). Especially the album "Mutant Funk" of Praga Khan sparked me to write my own music, since that album showed me how genres & other influences could be incorporated into a song. To this day it's still a big influence, and it has shaped the band's tagline: "open-minded electronic music with heart and soul," which truly describes what we do. We're not afraid of trying out new genres, directions, or styles. From reggae to triphop to hiphop to ebm to ambient and more... It all has a special place and influence in the music of Psy'Aviah.
2. What are some of the challenges of writing music which addresses important topics like diversity and respect?
The most challenging part of writing such lyrics is to make them relevant for everyone. I try to tackle this by describing the world how I observe it, or questioning a subject, but not necessarily giving an opinion in the lyrics. It's up to the listeners to make the thought experiment for themselves. With the song "Our Common Future," for instance, the line "Survival of the fittest, or survival for us all?" is a good example of questioning the situation we're in this world. And, by then, in the chorus using the lines "We are all in the same boat here, we are all on the same planet," I try to make it relevant for everyone.
Another song of ours that comes to mind is "Keep Hope Alive," which deals about euthanasia. The lyrics never give out an explicit opinion, but again ask a question: "Who are we to decide to keep Hope alive?".
3. What inspired you to collaborate with Kyoko Baertsoen, and what was the process like?
I've been a long time fan of the triphop band "Lunascape." which was co-founded by Kyoko. I first heard her singing in 2001 with the Lunascape song "Sequoia" on a Belgian late night show called "De Laatste Show." I was instantly in love with the band. Kyoko has a very distinctive voice, very warm, emotional and a bit mysterious. I found it could be a perfect fit for this song and went searching on the internet about how to contact her to work together (thank god for Facebook ;-)).
The process is how I usually work with all vocalists. I sent an instrumental demo, and a demo with my own voice on it "singing" the lyrics. The vocalists then take that back and make it their own, recording it at their studio and send me back the vocals. It's a process that's very efficient and allows us to work on our own rhythms. But in general I love collaborating with different vocalists. Without being disrespectful here, those voices are like instruments for me in a track. For a while "Psy'Aviah" had a main vocalist, which was interesting as we had a more "band"-like structure and could perform live a lot. But I felt the need to go out and experiment with new and other voices again.
4. In making the video for "Our Common Future," what did you want to express?
As the lyrics try to make you reflect on the current socio-cultural and ecological state of our world, I thought it would make sense to "zoom out" and see the totality of our earth. What better way than to use the NASA Space Program footage for that. We then literally look at our planet from a distance and can contemplate its future and our future, while admiring the beautiful images shot by the telescopes and cameras of the space programs. Furthermore, it was a great way, visually, to incorporate Kyoko in the music video as she's singing the vocals through consoles, monitors, and screens.
5. What are some of your plans for the year to come, and what's the best way for fans to keep up with your work?
This very moment I'm working on a new "Psy'Aviah" album, where I'll return to my "roots," which means inviting people and collaborating with them on tracks. Most of the tracks are written and recorded, and I hope to finish the production somewhere in May 2014. The album will feature guests such as Mari Kattman, Lis van den Akker, Lisa Nascimento, and again Kyoko Baertsoen. We're also working on having a very cool remix line-up for the limited edition!
Updates, behind the scenes clips, and contests are posted on our Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts. So those are the best to stay in touch with us: facebook.com/psyaviah - @psy_aviah - youtube.com/psyaviah.