Armed with their emotionally-charged brand of synth-laden pop/rock, and songs that feel both bright and dark (but always catchy), The Echoing Green have crafted a sound that has evolved from humble synth pop into what is now something truly genre-defying.
Interview Meikee Magnetic
Where were you born and where are you now?
I was born in Ambler, Pennsylvania and moved around ALOT when I was a kid due the nature of my father’s job. My mother lost her battle with cancer when I was turning 12, we were in New Mexico at the time. My father, not being able to take care of me, opted to leave me at a boys home called The New Mexico Boys Ranch just for a year or two (was the plan) but I wound super staying there until I graduated High School, and have been based out of Albuquerque, NM ever since.
Let’s go into the band’s origins:
The Band started off as just a moniker for myself right after high school, but after signing a record deal, I solidified a more standard lineup around 1998. This was necessary because even though we were a synthpop outfit, we wound up playing a lot of tours and festival circuits with harder bands. The only way to not get laughed off the stage was to flesh out these electronic pop songs with some conventional rock elements. It was a trial by fire that really fused our relationships together, and this “live” lineup, to create our own unique rock-tronic hybrid of our sound. That actually gave us way more choices and avenues to go down when creating a song instead of being pinned to just one genre.
Violent Whispers Songs and Secrets is the newest addition to your releases. Tell us a bit about that and your choice to make limited edition vinyl:
Due to just “life” happening, the band wound up going on hiatus from about 2013 until this year. During that time, it seemed that genres like electro pop, synth wave and dark wave all had an awakening. So Chrissy (female vocalist and co-writer) decided we needed to get together again and make a new record, we all agreed. Since we had been out of the public eye for a bit, we knew that would be difficult when it came to fundraising. We initially were going to attempt a kickstarter, but then the world went upside down with Covid, and we felt that it was just too much to ask folks to part with their hard earned money for just a “pledge”. A pledge, that dude to unforeseen circumstances could take a really long time to come to be fulfilled. So instead we opted to put out Violent Whispers – a chance to give fans, new and old, a “catching up” type of collection beautifully packaged and remastered. Something TANGIBLE they’d get for their money, while at the same time helping us fundraiser a new record. We felt that our last two records were our best work, but were also the two records that were independent, and therefore, had the least visibility. This collected the best songs cherry-picked from those two records as well as a few songs made in between. On top of that, we added 16 extra songs (remixes/covers) to the digital download portion of it, just to take it over the top.
How did you choose art direction for the album cover?
Wil Foster (Echoing Green) is an insane photographer. As quarantine started to ease up a little in June, I went up to Indiana to visit with him and collaborate on new songs. During that time he showed me some of the artistically-driven photo shoots he had done. One caught my eye, in particular, that was designed and centered around this beautiful wardrobe piece – a handmade ornate collar made by Chie Sharp, and modeled by Kaylee Williamson. While the collar was the centerpiece, it was was actually the mood and some of the pics that did not showcase it that moved me. One in particular (our cover) where Kaylee seems to have her hands on her throat, unable to speak. It brought to mind one of the lyrics from our song “Seaside” – Our psalms, sung like secrets in the half-light – and our prayers, violent whispers, by the seaside. It was a scenario where art inspired art. Just looking at it, I knew the name of the collection fright then and there. The original photo has Kaylee in black on a black background. Wil and I were messing with the photo and I felt it would be poetic to actually remove her eyes, so I did that (it felt good to teach Wil a few new-school photoshop tricks, since he’s better than me at most everything else! I changed the black to more of a dark, cobalt, midnight-blue, and we knew we had it. A bit of trivia: One easter-egg-type-thing on the vinyl edition, that I hoped would be more pronounced, but is there if you look close, is the silver handscript of the title is actually a silver-metallic spot ink. If you look just right you’ll see it catch the light.
Tell us your future:
We’re currently making our new record “In Definite Infinite”, but it is slow going, mainly due to the current state of the world. We’re continuing to try and stay optimistic and be a light to those around us. Admittedly, this was not the best time to release a record (or ANYTHING for that matter) as spending money is more difficult than it has been. In these times folks get so down, that finding the emotional currency for appreciating the arts is difficult to muster any.
What does Dark Beauty mean to you?
For me it means honesty. I think the most beautiful things are the ones that have emerged victorious from hardship or oppression. The phoenix from the flames. The beauty that acknowledges that pain which came before… that place where weakness transforms into strength.