Washed Out Gets Multidimensional
Where did the album title Mister Mellow come from?
It’s not meant to be super deep.
That was essentially my question. Is it supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, or embracing the stoner vibe?
Yeah, it’s actually kind of poking fun of what I feel like the average person thinks of me. Like I'm actually pretty fucking stressed out most of the time and not just sitting around smoking weed all day.
Well there’s no way you could put together such a complex video performance together if you actually were just tripping all day.
Exactly, I’m stressed out because I’m juggling massive projects and am excited by obviously. But I’m completely freaked out because it could fall flat on its face.
So what were your main influences, aesthetically and with the sound?
I spent tons of time looking at weird video stuff online. Some of the stuff dates back to super early like cinema experiences in the 20s and 30s. I was basically falling down the youtube rabbithole. And a lot of the stuff is hard to find, it takes some digging. Other than that, just obsessive collector and that sort of thing.
Did the music come before the video?
Yes, the music was done first but the challenging thing was sometimes I work by myself on the record, like the entire thing, but it’s hard to take a step back. So one way to get around that is I started playing the demos up against the visual stuff I was inspired by.
Did you know at the time that you were going to make a video?
No, it just suddenly clicked. The whole idea was that aesthetically it made sense together.
You have new music, and this insane visual album that just dropped. And a tour starting soon?
There’s like a preliminary short run of shows, where we’re going to be tweaking everything. And then the bigger tour starts in August.
How does the video get incorporated it into the live performance?
So the live show is an extension of the video you saw. There’s a 25 ft projection screen behind us, and a lot of that content will be presented super huge and crazy. There are motion sensors in front of the performers, so whatever movements you're doing in real time are projected with really wild effects.
That’s cool because I thought the video felt very retro. Like Peewee’s Playhouse, almost, with all the old-school claymation.
All of that stuff is a huge influence... and it actually influenced the music first. I keep saying I think about my last couple of records my idea was to get really pristine recordings, where this new stuff is very handmade and raw, rough around the edges and the layers don’t line up perfectly.
It’s interesting that you’re incorporating some modern technology, because then it creates a totally disorienting experience in an awesome and complex way.
The idea was to take 1980’s analog feedback as inspiration and use all this new modern technology with way more flexibility, and it ended up turning out really cool and fresh.
How do you prepare for that a tour?
I’m kind of freaking out. Just because I haven’t performed for a while and then just the complexity of the entire set up.
How do you prep yourself mentally backstage?
I don’t know, maybe just drink a little more to ease the nerves. In the past I’ve played like keyboards and stuff but this is all like sample pads. I’m trying to wrap my head around that.