INTERVIEW: Psych Rock Artist Flicker Vertigo

Hi Nathan, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hey there, Vents! I’ve been gearing up for this album launch and getting ready for some exciting new chapters in my life. Also started working on some crazy new material for the next album. Life is grand!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Blissful Existence”?

‘Blissful Existence’ was actually the last song to be written for the album and felt like a fitting way to conclude that whole crazy creative journey. It was one of those songs that went through multiple changes during the recording before settling on the final version, with it originally being a lot more mellow, and written with more acoustic elements in mind. There’s a subtle organ in the chorus that was a lot more upfront to begin with, and eventually this was reigned in for that more explosive psychedelic vibe.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

On the musical side of things, this song came to me rather quickly and was fully written on one particularly inspired and sunny spring afternoon. I was playing around with some odd chord shapes and struck upon a melodic groove and then every section just flowed one after another. It was probably the most effortless song on the album to write, yet one of the most difficult to record.

Lyrically, the inspiration for this song came from watching old family home movies again and just enjoying those warm nostalgic feelings that come from viewing your past, but also commenting on the strangeness of being able to witness a past version of yourself through the perspective of you in the present moment, almost as if you were time travelling. I feel like as we grow up we tend to slowly lose that sense of wonder and awe at the world, and it came at a time when I was just beginning to reconnect with that old creative childlike spirit, so I wanted to celebrate getting back in touch with that again. The general visual aesthetic and textures of old films were also an inspiration, and the lyrics hit me all at once while I was out walking and I had to frantically scramble to write them all down before they disappeared again.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

The lyrical inspiration for this song seems like a freakishly perfect match for a music video, so there may be some sneaky little plans for a video in the pipeline. Keep your eyes peeled…

The single comes off your new album Epiphany– what’s the story behind the title?

‘Epiphany’ was written and recorded at a time in my life where I was searching for direction, having spent a couple of years plowing ahead in an industry that didn’t fully connect with me and I felt increasingly uninspired by. I’d spend each day going for long walks along the beach, and then one day whilst out walking I was suddenly hit with a massive epiphany and a rush of euphoria and felt like I fully understood life and who I was as a person. I felt my whole perspective on everything shift and since that day I’ve been overflowing with a burning sense of optimism, passion and excitement with everything. These epiphanies were re-occurring and ongoing things that I can’t fully articulate, but they’ve totally changed my life and taught me to trust in and follow my instincts. It had such a massive impact on the album, happening just in the beginning stages of it, and the lyrics on the album reflect this experience and the happiness and excitement that I’ve felt since, so it was really obvious that the album had to be named ‘Epiphany’.

How was the recording and writing process?

‘Epiphany’ began back in May 2015 and was completed over the course of about 18 months. I’d recorded and released 3 albums of instrumental material in the space of 3 months in a creative frenzy in the lead-up to this album, and decided to take a slower approach this time. About halfway through the writing process it became clear to me that these songs needed vocals, so I threw myself into the deep end and tried singing for the first time ever, which was huge for me. I also wanted to keep experimenting more with the guitar, so the entire album was written in open D tuning, which just opened up the door to so many creative possibilities. I really pushed myself hard to explore and invent and use more and more unconventional chords and create something left-field.

How did the domestic and natural environment influence the music on this album?

Nature played a massive, massive part in the album. Landscapes and visuals inspire melodies and music for me, and I can’t listen to music without imagining some sort of imagery, so the two are very closely linked together. I got a lot of inspiration walking by the beach, and just being in that environment puts you in the right headspace to allow creativity to flow. It’s more about the feeling that it inspires within you and then allowing that to leap out of you and be expressed musically. I feel like the music and art worlds tend to feed on each other for inspiration, with music inspiring visuals, and visuals inspiring music, and I’ve been on both sides having been a graphic designer, so it’s a real circular relationship.

How did dreams inspire the lyrics on this album?

Dreams are an extremely rich source of inspiration for me, and I’ve always very much been a daydreaming type of person. I get some of my best ideas when I’m tired and sleepy, and I really strive to capture that dreamlike state through my music. On several occasions I’ve heard the most amazing music in my dreams and then it just disintegrates as soon as my eyelids open and I wake up, which is always such an agonizing moment.

The closing/title song ‘Epiphany’ was entirely written about multiple strange dreams I’ve had over the course of my life that have stuck with me, and I was personally really proud of how well I managed to sonically capture those moments. I can see and feel those dreams all over again when I listen to it. The guitars were specifically made to sound warped and surreal to reflect that strange dream landscape, and it was my goal to conjure up that imagery. ‘Cataclysm Crashing Down’ was an odd nightmare that I had about planets slowly colliding, and a lot of the lyrics throughout the album are almost literal descriptions of visuals that I’ve seen in dreams as well.

Any plans to hit the road?

Plans are slowly gathering momentum. It’s definitely a dream of mine to travel the world playing music, so it’s surely just a matter of time!

What else is happening next in Flicker Vertigo’s world?

Keep on the lookout for some possible side-projects in the works, and hopefully yet another album won’t be too far away. ‘Epiphany’ was such a massive stage of my life and it feels surreal to finally have it completed and ready for the world to listen to, so I hope it satisfies those tastebuds for now. This is just the beginning.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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