We first featured Memoryy at the start of 2016 following the release of his brilliant take on the classic “Don’t Fear The Reaper“. Earlier this year we went into quite some depth into his full-length debut ‘Skeletons‘.
With a couple of new remixes under his belt, we felt this was the perfect time to delve deeper with an enjoyable Q&A.
Cougar Microbes: What time did you wake up today? Was it out of choice or necessity?
Memoryy: We have a baby who ends up sleeping in our bed by the end of every night. Nothing says “WAKE UP!” like a 7 month old accidentally punching you in the head & a hungry cat meowing outside your door.
CM: Describe your sound to the uninitiated?
M: Memoryy is all about 80s synths & big pop hooks.
CM: What have been the highlights of your year (musically and not) so far?
M: We had our baby boy Hudson the same month as the new Memoryy album (Skeletons) dropped & we moved into our brand new house the prior month. So still getting used to all the change. Musically my favorite new thing was probably scoring this Amazon documentary with moody, dreamy electronic soundscapes.
CM: Tell us a little bit about your recent release:
M: Skeletons is my first full length album and one that I was tweaking on & off for 2 years. I recorded it half in Brooklyn & then in Albuquerque NM, so I linked up one last time with NYC friends like Brothertiger, (my old band) The Golden Pony, Brain Tan, Frances Cone, & Yeasayer producer Abe Seiferth. It’s my NYC Break-up album.
CM: How do you kill time on the road when on the road? hobbies/games?
M: I’m in “New Dad Mode” so I haven’t been on the road this year. But generally, I kill time with my iphone addiction & curating the ultimate roadtrip playlist.
CM: What have been your favourite venues to play? Any Venues you hated?
M: All my favorite Brooklyn venues have shut down (RIP Glasslands & Cameo Gallery!) At least Knitting Factory Brooklyn is still going – they have the best sound. And I have great memories playing LA‘s The Viper Room.
There’s too many awful venues to name — you’d be shocked how many have horrible sound or screw the bands out of money. Always say NO to Pay-to-Play! (Really hope you don’t have it in the UK – it’s a system where some venues charge bands to play there by selling tickets ahead of time, or the band owes the difference.)
CM: Are you able to write on the road or do you do this in your off time?
M: I write constantly – Either lyrics on my phone’s notepad or humming melodies into my phone’s voice memos.
The hard part is combing through them all later & picking the best ones. Skeletons was me picking the best demos from 5 years ago, so there’s a huge backlog here.
CM: What is the songwriting process like for you?
M: My immediate focus is on writing the most ear-catching melody & just try to make all the other parts support that. Once inspiration strikes, the music just flows – I can write / record a full instrumental song in 2 hrs.
CM: What came first, the lyrics or the melody?
M: Always the melody. Lyrics are the trickiest part for me. I’m always my toughest critic & overthink every possible word. “Can I say BABY in a song? Justin Timberlake can say BABY, but maybe I can’t. No that’s not who I am!”
CM: Do your songs go through many revisions and demos before recordings?
M: This album was the first time I really got into edits & re-writes. I just wanted every melody & lyric to be the best it could be.
For example, I had recorded a demo of an early version of “Not Over You” almost 10 years ago! There was a hook I always liked & wanted to resurrect that song, so I wrote & produced 4 different versions of it before deciding which to move forward with. One version almost ended up on the previous EP (Young Oblivion.) The funny thing is – the hook that I loved so much didn’t even make it into the final version.
CM: What is your favourite track of yours?
M: That changes on a daily basis (especially since my dayjob is writing music for Film / TV projects, so there’s too much to choose between).
But everytime I hear “Feeling Sinister” from Skeletons or my remix of Bridgit Mendler‘s “Atlantis“, I’m transported to a different dreamy place entirely. And I think that’s the power of music. It’s why I love what I do!
CM: Is there a song of your own you are simply sick of playing live?
M: For my final Brooklyn farewell show, I dusted off alot of the (previous band name) Kitten Berry Crunch tracks – I have a love/hate relationship with some of those sugary pop songs, like “When This Is Over” or “Miami.”
CM: If you could record any cover in the world what would it be?
M: I had an idea to do a James Blake-y cover of “Third Planet” by Modest Mouse. Then I remembered I can’t sing like James Blake
Also – any Justin Timberlake song where he sings BABY.
CM: Any other artists/bands from your local scene we really should know about?
M: The stand-out Albuquerque electronic artist to checkout is Reighnbeau. Bryce Hample produces glitchy, dreamy works of art. (We also traded remixes)
CM: What is the most flattering thing you’ve read about yourselves?
M: Some blog once wrote that I was a “Remix King” & I was honored! I did dozens of remixes last year to get a blip on the radar, so that was a hard earned cred.
CM: What was the first record/tape/cd you ever bought?
M: First record – Poison “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn”
First Tape – Debbie Gibson “Electric Youth”
First CDs – PM Dawn “Of the Heart, of the Soul and of the Cross: The Utopian Experience” & C+C Music Factory “Things That Make You Go Hmm”
I think this tells you everything you need to know about me. ha
CM: What was the last song that got stuck in your head?
M: I always sing Outkast’s “So Fresh & So Clean” during my son’s bathtime & not because it’s my favorite song. It’s stuck in there for sure.
CM: What was the last show you paid and queued up for?
M: Wilco in Santa Fe last month. They were one of my very first concerts when I was in high school & it was awesome to see them still at it all these years later.
CM: If you had to bring on artist back from the dead in exchange for sending a living artist down, which artists would it be and why??
M: EASY – Bowie for R Kelly.
One is a sex criminal & the other is a God.