Live & Direct with Phosphorescent
New York City via Alabama singer-songwriter, Matthew Houck, also known as Phosphorescent recently joined Rosemary Welch and WYEP Members for a Live & Direct Session that was truly unplugged. Phosphorescent’s newest recorded album Muchacho, released in March of 2013, differs quite a bit to what we heard in the WYEP studios. The songs off of Muchacho have extensive layers to each one, but we heard them in a raw form, what can usually be heard before the music is sent to the recording studio.
Muchacho was written in an interesting way, one that Houck sometimes prefaces the story with “It sounds cheesy, but…” as it was written in one week in Tulum, Mexico.
“I wasn’t writing any songs during this kind of time, I wasn’t sure if I was gonna do this Phosphorescent thing, or at least make another record at the time, but then these songs started kicking in. To sort of give them a chance, I kind of skipped town. Not for long, but with the intent of solitude and focusing on writing to see if there were songs there or not.”
Houck was trying to explore the dichotomy of happiness and sadness, or lightness and dark with Muchacho, as Rosemary brought up that he once said “You can still be happy, even when you’re a mess.” and this theme is shown through multiple elements of the album, starting with the album art. Muchacho starts with an invocation to begin the record on a positive note, and finishes with a koan which leaves listeners with something rough, but looking toward hope and light. Houck says that making this album has put him in a good place.
Phosphorescent’s album was recorded in his own studio located in New York and features elements of various other artists that Houck brought in one at a time. His usual process is to record everything in a room at once and then edit it in the studio by himself in the following months, but due to the reality of unaligned schedules, things were done differently this time.
“I brought everybody in by themselves and would give them some direction when there was some, but often would just let them play and not give them too many takes. I would let them have one or two takes because I wanted to keep it feeling like there was a certain spontaneity”
Phosphorescent played at Mr. Small’s Theater that night and continues his North American tour of the album Muchacho. To see what else Matthew Houck as Phosphorescent is up to, check out his website.
A New Arhedonia
Song for Zula
Terror in the Canyons (The Wounded Masto)