Although being featured as a new artist, Brian Wakefield a.k.a. Emotional (also of Melted Toys) has been at it awhile, often penning separate projects simultaneously, and his latest offering, Demons, is his fourth release in just over a year. Previous recordings include Feeling and Ice Sculptor III (both on Gnar Tapes), and Feel Alright (on Splash Tapes).
As a longtime Gnar Tapes associate and friend, his lo-fi do-it-yourself style will be immediately familiar to fans of the label, along with his predilection for seemingly endless good songwriting ideas, which, given the quick turnaround between releases, seem churned out with the efficiency of a high-tech factory assembly line, yet also with the discerning eye of a real craftsman. Some majorly freakish creative stimulant must hang permanently in the air around the Gnaria crew (and I’m not just talking about the reefer smoke)!
Emotional combines the chiffon silkiness and post-coital daze of My Bloody Valentine, the spooky, other-worldly headspace of a less egocentric Ariel Pink, and the darkly romantic, nocturnal club thump of Clan of Xymox.
Emotional’s new cassette Demons takes the listener from the intimate clutter of a cosy garage converted into a hormonal teenage bedroom, to the star-scattered wonders of outer space … from the warm luxury of sun-dappled Spanish beaches, to lonely neon-lit back room bars, and sometimes leaves us in all destinations at once. It is glamorous without being polished; a catatonic ecstasy of dreamy, echo-glazed pop that should motivate anyone with the slightest musical itch to bang out their best melodies and make their own home recordings.
Brian Wakefield says, “Demons was recorded over the past 2-ish years while living in LA and at the Gnarnia house with Gnar Tapes in Portland, which was totally fucking inspiring. I love those guys like they’re my bros, you know? But these are songs I was like, “Ehhh, maybe too dark for the other albums…” I almost didn’t want to show these to anyone, but I always wanted to make a more ‘far out’ cassette where hopefully someone can find their zone in. I feel like a few years back, people were making tapes like this and it was totally inspiring in a ‘hey, I can do that!’ kind of way. Also, this tape would not have been possible without the rad Fred Thomas who runs Life Like Tapes.”
Wakefield and Fred Thomas met in July when they played at Vacation in downtown San Francisco, a cool vintage store run by Kristin Klein which also hosts local art exhibits and puts on free live music shows in its basement (past guests have included The Fresh & Onlys, Young Prisms, White Mystery, Ty Segall, White Fang, and many more). Fred Thomas was so impressed with Wakefield’s “High in the bedroom of one’s own mind jams” that he suggested a collaboration, which eventually led to the release of the Demons cassette on the Life Like Tapes label.
Wakefield continues, “Making Demons happened all during recording Feeling and Ice Sculptor III, when I was basically in a personal creative rut. I mean, I played bass in Melted Toys but was really focused just on that. I started jamming with myself and this is kind of what happened. Recording or writing this stuff for me is closer to having a diary than being in a ‘band’. It’s just what I gotta let out and for some reason throw it out into the world. I have had many times where I’m like, “Does anybody get it???”, but these jams are a part of that question and hopefully someone out there can dig it and understand what it’s like to be…Emotional.”
Featured photo by Miliken.
All words by Carrie Quartly, you can read more of her writing on the site here.