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Interview: Sp8ce Owl opens up about the catharsis of music and “The Underside Of Yesterday”

By May 6, 2023No Comments9 min read

Electronic music producer and artist Sp8ce Owl, aka Joseph Meyers, recently unveiled his new single/music video, “The Underside Of Yesterday,” a track lifted from his latest EP, The Other Side Of The Atlantic.

Sp8ce Owl has felt disconnected from the world at large for much of his life, but the constant throughout has been his enduring passion and interest in music. For many people, music serves as an escape from reality and whatever may weigh on their minds and souls. It has the power to escort you to another dimension.

After discovering his innate gift for writing, recording, and creating 2017 marked the beginning of Sp8ce Owl embracing his musical fate and beginning to build a fanbase and professional musical career.

Directed by Sp8ce Owl and Michael Perlmutter, the video depicts evocative images of Paris intercut with footage of a man falling slowly, helplessly against a white backdrop, imbuing the visuals with a surreal dichotomy.

InBetweenDrafts spoke with Sp8ce Owl to find out more about the inspiration for “The Underside Of Yesterday,” his writing process, and how he got started in music.

What inspired your latest single/music video, “The Underside of Yesterday?”

The inspiration for ‘The Underside Of Yesterday’ was Paris. I wrote the song the day after my birthday last year while I was staying in Paris. I was in the courtyard of my hotel with my mobile studio set up, feeling really inspired by the city. Paris has such a vibrant energy. The sounds of the city seemed to swirl around me. All the voices speaking different languages all swimming together, the traffic, which even the sirens had a musicality to them, and the various other street noises all seemed to dance off each other creating an environment that enveloped me. I arrived the day before, and on the ride from the train station to the hotel I was in awe once again by the sheer beauty of the buildings that passed by. Art seemed to spill out of every corner, and it made me think of the time when a lot of writers, musicians, and artists flocked to Paris to soak up all that Paris and France had to offer. People like Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Josephine Baker, and Gertrude Stein, just to name a few, all spent time in Paris. I imagined how the city must have pulsed with creative energy. Not to mention the jazz clubs that at one time or another had heard all the greats. So, I thought about all the poems, stories, and art that Paris had helped birth, and it overwhelmed me with a desire to create something. So, I sat in the courtyard of my hotel and opened myself to the energy around me, and ‘The Underside Of Yesterday’ is what came out.

How did you get started in music?

My musical journey started simply to do something healing. Early on in my life, I acquired some unhealthy habits. Stemming from a desire to numb myself from some of the damage from childhood, and not knowing healthier ways to process some of my experiences, I used drugs and alcohol to change how I felt or tried not to feel at all. Looking for an alternative to my old patterns, I thought trying to create something could help, and it seemed like it could be enjoyable. I have written poetry since I was a teenager and that helped, but it was very much something that was created from my mind. Music, on the other hand, came from somewhere else. Music came from an unclouded place. Born from my spirit and the universe that surrounds us. I felt like I was tapping into something greater than myself, and in those moments, I felt my clouded mind feel free finding peace as things like time, hunger, and my outside environment just melts away leaving me completely in the moment grateful for every second. I was instantly hooked, and in the beginning, it became mainly about catharsis. A way for me to process and move through the emotions and experiences that I used to try and numb myself from feeling. As I dove into making more music it became a larger and larger part of my life. At some point during this, I decided to try and make a career out of it. People say you should do what you love, and there is nothing I love to do more than make music. I was then lucky enough to start working with Chris Curry and then Croshal Entertainment Group who offered support and guidance to help me try and make this dream come true. My journey with music has been the single most life-changing experience that has affected everything from my self-worth and self-esteem to my growth spiritually, and something I feel grateful for every day.

Did your sound evolve naturally, or did you deliberately push it in a certain direction?

I believe for the most part my sound has evolved naturally. Almost every song I create reflects the state I am in emotionally, and as I grow more musically, and learn more skills, I am able to express that emotionality in different ways, sometimes largely affecting the overall sound of that particular time. As I have spent more time in the studio, I also get more comfortable exploring new techniques. During this evolution, I learn new skills – sometimes leaving some of the old behind, giving different phases in this journey different and sometimes distinct sounds. The last phase has had the most deliberate direction. I have been traveling to Europe more as of late and becoming quite influenced by the music I have been hearing while there. My friend Jake introduces me to music that I always really enjoy while I am there and take a lot away from. While listening to this music and all the music I hear while I am there, I immerse myself in these sounds exploring different techniques. I have been bringing a mobile studio setup while in Europe, and each place I go brings out a unique sound to the music I create while there. One of my favorite parts of this process of evolving is there is endless room for growth and learning. I love the fact that there is potential to never stop evolving, and you can always get better at your craft. One of the things I enjoy about going back and listening to my older songs is to see where I was musically and the changes that happened over time.

Are there any special recording techniques you use in the studio?

Most often when I start a track I start with the drums. I do this because I do not use a metronome, and this helps me feel the tempo. After I do this, I usually try and put something melodic down. The part of the song that expresses the direction and emotion I want to convey. After the general mood is set, I build on it with things that accentuate what I have already put down. Once this is done, I add parts that will be the progressions and changes in the song. I do this all in session view in Ableton. When I have all this done, I section them off while still in session view. I record it into arrangement view by launching the separate scenes creating the different sections of the song. Finally, I mix and master everything in arrangement view.

What is your definition of tone? And has your tone changed over time?

My definition of tone is the overall feeling and emotional landscape a song creates. Tone is what the artist is trying to convey to their listeners. I feel tone is vitally important to a song because it is one of the main things that connects the artist to the listener. I feel the tone of my music can somewhat change with each song, but there is an overall tone for all my music, and I feel that tone is about the feeling of connection.

How do you keep your sound consistent on stage?

I have just worked in the studio up to this point, but that looks to be changing in the future.

What inspires your writing? Do you draw inspiration from poems, music, or other media?

I get inspired by the beauty and vastness of the universe around us, as well as the beauty and vastness inside all of us. As I have started this musical journey it has opened me up to the vibration of everything around us as well as inside us. I am influenced and inspired by the exciting new theories of physics that are exploding with all the scientific advancements we are able to make with the new technologies we have at our fingertips, and how they are proving things that were considered mysticism before. I also go to the ocean and redwoods often to get inspired by the power and magnificence that they hold. I go for walks and listen to music that inspires me and connects me to the moment. I also believe the books I read help me in trying to create an immersive environment while making music as well as the cover art and video ideas. I believe the universe is teeming with inspiration if you are open to it, and it is something that I find incredibly beautiful.

What can you share about your writing process?

The first thing I do when I go into the studio is become aware of the emotional state I am in, and what I want to explore or tap into. From there I either start with drums or an instrument that can start to express what I am feeling. Once I get something down it goes from what I am feeling to what I am trying to say. Since I most often do not use lyrics, I need the music to express what it is I am trying to convey. Once I get the overall bones of the song down it then becomes about building the environment that I am trying to create by adding things that I feel bring out the emotionality of what is trying to be said. Creating is a lot about expressing myself which makes each song have a deep personal connection to me. Once a song is complete if I don’t have a vision for the art and video I sit and listen with my mind open, and my eyes closed and see what visuals arise.

Which artists in your opinion are killing it right now?

Lately, I have been listening to a lot to Maloya, George FitzGerald, Lane 8, Mr. Tout Le Monde, Moonkids, OTR, Imad & Offrami, and Tibeauthetraveler.

What can your fans look forward to over the next six months? Music videos? Live gigs?

Fans can look forward to two new EPs coming out. One in the summer and one in the fall. There will also be a full-length album that will be available on vinyl that will come out at the end of the year as well. Each EP will have at least one video and visualizer for the remaining songs. The LP will also have videos and visualizers to accompany it. As for gigs, we are exploring opportunities to get me more comfortable with them.

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Album art courtesy of Sp8ce Owl

Randy Radic

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