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The lush electronic psychedelia of Melody's Echo Chamber
It's a period of transition for Melody Prochet. The Aix-en-Provence-born, Parisian free spirit behind Melody's Echo Chamber, along with Kevin Parker of Perth, Australia space rock sensations Tame Impala, is poised to make an indelible impression on modern music. She's destined to be a big star. But meeting her to talk about her self-titled debut album for Domino/Weird World, a cosmological whirl of galactic synths, cascading distorted guitars and heavy-as-you-like drum breaks, led by her ennui-tinted, diaphanous siren vocals, she's down-to-earth, humble and refreshingly upfront about her giddy rise to notoriety.
“It's overwhelming but in a nice way,” Melody admits. “I don't have the time to think about it anymore. It's really good, really positive — which I'm not used to at all, because I've been writing songs for years and no-one has cared. I just like the idea that people are listening to it around the world.”
From the gorgeous waltz-time merry-go-round of 'Quand Vas Tu Rentrer?', a sensory blur of kaleidoscopic synth colour and whimsical vox, to the galactic textures, heavily processed space rock guitars and concrete, slamming breakbeat-like drums of 'Endless Shore' (which first came to DJ Mag's attention on Friendly Fires' 'Late Night Tales' mix), it's surely the most complete debut of the decade so far, influenced equally by electronic music, the beats of hip-hop and classic psychedelia. A mingling of lithe rhythms and star-surfing psychotropic head music, Melody's head's in the clouds but her feet are on the dancefloor. Grooving.
“It's just Kevin and me, complimentary opposites. I wanted something crunchy and rough. It was natural, this balance, of light and dark.”
Working alongside the aforementioned Kevin Parker, another cosmic voyager more concerned with the here-and-now than tired retreads of the past, with him taking care of the remarkably funky live drums and bass of the record, theirs is a partnership forged in Alpha Centauri.
“I've always been obsessed with drums, I think drums are the thing that colour a record,” Melody suggests. “I've been really obsessed with [Can drummer] Jaki Liebezeit, Silver Apples ['60s electronic music originators] as well. And Kevin, I know he is a fan of John Bonham from Led Zeppelin. So it's kind of a mix. Kevin is one of the grooviest drummers I know.”
Professing to a love for Brummie oddball act Pram, fellow French originals Stereolab (in particular inspirational frontwoman Laetitia Sadier) and Oxford shoegazers Ride, all these flavours feed into her heady medicinal compound. Yet somehow, it's very much her own sound and not beholden to past masters: a kind of neo psychedelia that chimes perfectly with the sounds of Tame Impala.
“I definitely like cosmic sounds,” she reckons. “It's a thing now, I notice it more and more. More futuristic. I'm really not revivalistic, I'm interested in doing something new.”
After meeting Kevin and playing him her rough demos of songs, he invited her to Perth to flesh out the tracks and add his trademark rhythm base to the blend. Finding the climate and atmosphere convivial, it inspired her to write more and finish the last songs for the album, one of which led her to a strange island off the coast.
“I went there in winter and in France it was -5; there, it was 37 degrees. It was a temperature shock. There's so much space, that's my favourite thing about Australia, you can breathe. Perth is a really inspiring city, beautiful beaches, we went every day. There is an amazing music scene there. I went to gigs there every night. It's the most isolated city in the world and that's why I think they don't get influenced by other people.
“I wrote 'Quand Vas Tu Rentrer?' on Rottnest Island off Perth. It means rat's nest in Dutch. They have these little beasts called quokkas, they're a mix of a kangaroo and a rat. They're really cute but when it's around 6pm, there's millions of them, because they don't have any predators. It's weird for a second!” she grins.
Pursued by media and feted by other musicians, she's not standing still and is already talking about her next move, hinting at a possible tantalising collaboration.
“I've been writing new songs already, I have strong ideas of what I want for the sound, and I've been in contact with different music world people who love the record, like Flying Lotus, it would be nice to do some surprising collaborations, maybe have a rapper to some trippy hip-hop. But I hope I'll work with Kevin again, because we're a good team, it's fun to work together.”