Physically wealthy and emotionally stealthy. Feeling like I’m in a park with Ian Malcolm’s theories coming to fruition. It’s all of my own making, so I’m happy it’s part of my DNA these days.
Can you talk to us more about your latest video for your single “Choosy”?
I pillaged through my friend’s collection of artisanal gifs online and compiled a series of images that reflect the dire digital comedy and intensity of the music. There’s joy in thinking of a burger trapped in amber for millions of years for future generations to take and recreate. And perhaps an SD card wrapped in amber would survive the next big solar flare. Perhaps that’s complete misinformation but the way ancient, sincere, and oft-human forms become gif fodder for modern prodding lights my fire – so to speak.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Like an SD card or a cheeseburger smothered in amber, this song captures and appreciates a specific window of time. I can appreciate the contents of each of these regardless of the good and bad (pickles or pirated M Night Shyamalan movies) and look back at it longingly. Choosy is the final gasp of a thought presented by the EP – culminating into the final twist. It’s coming to peace with myself and the situation I was in without getting theatric and recognizing that relationships don’t need an end goal. Its the time you’re experiencing it and not just running towards the credits.
The single comes off your new album Quite Okay – what’s the story behind the title?
The title comes from the lyrics in Choosy and follows two outcomes. In the first verse it’s “Suppose this vignette was Quite Okay, I stare at its form longingly” into the second verses “Suppose this vignette was quite Okay, maybe it’ll correct one day”. It’s an amber hued reflection of Choosy and the entire EP. It’s also a cheeky way to avoid problems when people ask how you’re doing.
How was the recording and writing process?
I start and end hunched over the tool like Nedry, the glow of the screen across my face. I do this all myself, recording and writing it all until I reach a breaking point and confide in close friends for feedback. I have the privilege of access with a home studio and take my time with these songs. A core process is figuring out what I intend to steal, and setting limitations to avoid anything more than a 20% copy. I’d hate to get caught on my way off the island.
What role (if any) does Portland play in your music?
Portland has its musical influences on me while also being a fertile testing ground for growing my live performance. The way both the influences and testing flows backwards into the writing process has also been great – I’m trying to learn as much as I can from these experiences. It’s a little bit of a bubble/cyclical loop but I’m excited to pop it.
Known for playing with different genres – how do you balance them together?
In the end, as mangled as the output, I always want some version of pop to exist in my music. While that connotation can mean the “death of a genre”, they’re not always doomed in the mainstream as long as they maintain their initial integrity. I don’t think anything I’m doing is particularly esoteric but if you think of it as a balance between multiple genres, you have to look at the scale it’s balanced on. The key is that you can’t wholesale merge all the elements, you have to choose pieces or else the scales tip.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
It’s like speaking in tongues, some sort of dino tongue that’s deep in my gut… it just comes out. In the spirit of “you are what you eat” – I am what I take in. I’m happy to no longer only write forlorn love songs and expand songwriting topics through happiness, friendship and other broader themes. A genuine love of music and self-imposed deadlines makes this easy.
Any plans to hit the road?
And ruin the marketing opportunity for a big reveal? Of course, but nothing firm yet. Working on some west coast dates in 2018 with sights on Japan in 2019!
What else is happening next in Schaus’ world?
And ruin another marketing opportunity for a big reveal? Of course! There will be one more music video for the Quite Okay EP and consistent shows in Portland with a big one August 24th at Mississippi Studios with the lovely Wild Ones and Blossom! Beyond that at least 2 audio projects, and 3 visual projects coming within the next 12 months. Oh yeah, and reading another Crichton novel to imbue my next interview with banal references.