Melody’s Echo Chamber
Location, Location, Location
Sep 07, 2012
Issue #42 - The Protest Issue
It's appropriate that French musician Melody Prochet named her solo project after a dream. The songs on her self-titled debut seem imbued with a logic of their own, spinning psych pop, electronics, and just a whiff of chanson française into a billowy cloud of sound. Although, Prochet admits that the dream that inspired Melody's Echo Chamber owes more to her nerdy side.
"I had a dream in which my bedroom's acoustics changed into infinite echo mode," she says, laughing at the memory. "When I talked, my voice resounded endlessly. It woke me up. I thought that, 'what if we had a switch to change our room's acoustics? It would be amazing.'"
Having spent her childhood in an idyllic village where her school was in the middle of a meadow, Prochet left home for Paris shortly after high school to attend design school.
"Growing up, my home was really musically intense," she explains, noting that the move to Paris was a way to rebel against her upbringing. "I've been following a classical music chain for a long time. I played viola, I played in an orchestra, I sung in a choir as a kid. It was really really intense. It has always been music. My brother recorded my first song when we were kids. My mom was in choirs also. I think I didn't have any choice, really."
Upon discovering independent-minded rock music-including Radiohead, Can, Spiritualized, and Sonic Youth, bands she hadn't heard as a child of classical musicians-Prochet dropped out of school after a year, reveling in a newfound relationship with music.
"I discovered classical music wasn't the only one," she says. "That you could make something really special and crazy and beautiful."
A self-described country girl, Prochet admits that six years after leaving home she still finds the contrast between country and life in Paris to be difficult.
"I'm thinking of moving out because it's too intense for me," she confesses. "I'm an extremely sensitive person. I cry maybe four times a week. It's ridiculous."
Still, living in the City of Light has been an unexpected upside for her creative output.
"My emotion overflows, and that's when I get inspiration. If you're in a really quiet place and nothing happens, it's hard."
To complete her solo debut, Prochet headed to her grandmother's beach house in the south of France to write. With songs completed, she then flew to Australia to meet up with her producer, Kevin Parker, who volunteered for the gig after she opened for his band, Tame Impala, with her previous project, My Bee's Garden. The other members of Tame Impala also pitched in, serving as Prochet's backing band during the recording process.
"I tend to write really romantic songs, with beautiful chords and arpeggios and the classical way," says Prochet. "I asked Kevin to add roughness and fuzziness and crazy stuff. I find it more interesting. I don't like beautiful things. I like the right balance between rough and beautiful."
Recording in Australia also unexpectedly inspired two songs in her native tongue.
"I never thought about writing in French because it was so hard," says Prochet, who counts Serge Gainsbourg and Françoise Hardy among her influences. "In Perth, I was staying there for maybe three weeks or a month. I was missing my language, so it was kind of a way to connect to it. I started talking in French to myself. It's kind of cute to think about it now."
A blogger who often posts found photos of fairytale-esque locations, Prochet looks forward to this fall, when she'll be supporting Tame Impala on tour through the U.S., a place she's come to fantasize about.
"When you're French, all the movies you watch are American," she says. "I imagine myself writing some new music in a backyard somewhere with hammocks and friends around. Kind of the same as when I was in Perth. It was the perfect place."