With years of classical music training and playing in orchestras under her belt, it would make sense for Melody Prochet to pursue that route professionally. “The first time I fell in love with a song was playing ‘La Valse Triste de Sibelius’ with the symphonic orchestra I played in for a few years when I was like 15,” Prochet recalls. “I’ve never felt such an intense emotion playing music yet again.”
However, the French multi-instrumentalist looks to other genres for inspiration including “loopy Ethiopian music, German kraut rock and primitive electro noise” to inspire her new project, Melody’s Echo Chamber, whose self-titled debut is out now via Weird World/Domino Records. Previously a member of Narcoleptic Dancers and My Bee’s Garden, Prochet’s psychedelic, dream pop sound in this new band fits perfectly with the band name, which came to her in a dream.
“[It was] from a dream I had in which my bedroom acoustic had changed into infinite echo mode,” she explains, ”and my voice resounded endlessly. It woke me up, and I loved the idea.”
Drawing from her past experiences along with her unconventional musical influences, Prochet decided to enlist the help of Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker for some help in the studio. She first met Parker whilst her old band, My Bee’s Garden, supported Tame Impala’s European tour in 2010. The two soon started collaborating – first with a few songs that they threw together. So when she was ready to record her first album under the Melody’s Echo Chamber moniker, she reached out to Parker – an experience Prochet feels gave her a new perspective on making music.
“His recording dynamic was something like when it felt like working and he got bored,” she says. “Usually after three takes, he’d stop and go hang out at the beach or do something else. He’s doing all this thinking nonstop and has always something nerdy going on in his brain that keeps him really excited, and it’s hilarious when he tells you about it. I think he lives on another planet sometimes. My vision of making music completely changed since I recorded with him. I realized that you should have fun while recording your music and that it doesn’t mean your music wont have melancholy in it and be as emotional. He completely changed and freed me in that sense.”
With songs like ‘Crystallized’ and ‘Is That What You Said’, Melody’s Echo Chamber combines layers of various genres pieced together in such a way that even if it looks like chaos on a song sheet, it’s actually a seamless sound to our ears. Aside from creating a dreamy musical experience, Prochet and Parker’s collaboration gave birth to what she says is her most memorable song on the album, ‘Snowcapped Andes Crash’. “It’s Kevin’s favourite song,” she explains. “We explored the most on this one and had a great production experiment in the middle of the song. But the whole process was memorable and really fun.“
Even though she recorded a majority of the album at Parker’s studio in Perth, she felt the need to get back to her roots and did the vocals in Cavalière, France – where she believed she could freely unleash her emotions on the microphone. “I recorded all the instrumentals in Perth in Kevin’s studio,” she says. “And because I need to be alone to record vocals to get as emotional as I want to be, I went later for isolation at my grandparents’ house in the south of France. The two places bonded pretty organically because I guess they’re both similar environments – same kind of climate, summery, warm, salty, lots of space to breathe and the beach! Perth was the uproot and exploration phase of a new place and self, and Cavalière was coming back to my roots, childhood, memories, deeper emotions.”
While talking about the album, Prochet isn’t shy to show off a bit of her music geek side when it comes to explaining her songwriting process. “Most of the time it starts with an old drum machine put through some delays to make a weird, disorienting rhythmic, some arpeggios and then the melody and lyrics come later; then trying to make clouds of sound on top of it,” she describes.
Despite the technical aspects she describes, she takes a more metaphorical approach to what she wants the album and Melody’s Echo Chamber to convey. “It’s really the album of my personal blossoming in which I abandoned myself and an album of exploration at different levels,” she reveals. “But I think it just has some love to give.”
Prochet further depicts that “blossoming” in her video for ‘You Won’t Be Missing That Part of Me,” a song that takes her feathery light vocals on nice ride with its steady mid-tempo beat. “I stayed in Australia a little while recording, and I really wanted to try to capture Perth’s particularly unique luminosity and beauty to illustrate a song,” she says. “We had this concept about filming me riding my bike backward so when we’d put the video backward I’d look like I’d ride the bike forward, but me and the bike going backward in space if you know what I mean. It didn’t work as we wanted because we didn’t have enough time to do it properly. So Matthew Saville just had fun with the footage he had. And I love it the way it is. It truly represents the vibe of this period.”
After the album’s US release in September, Melody’s Echo Chamber had the opportunity to join Danish rock duo The Ravonettes on the road as support. Having the opportunity to tour a fair amount of the US was an experience that tops Prochet’s favourite times of 2012. “The trip was sensational,” she exclaims. “We drove a lot! [We went] through the Rockies, desserts, and by a million lakes and canyons. We’ve seen so many amazing sceneries in just a few days and very beautiful cities. I had never experienced such a long road trip before. The Ravonettes were really sweet with us, and American audiences were so enthusiastic and warm with us, too. It was perfect.”
Melody’s Echo Chamber recently played the London Calling Festival in Amsterdam and a headlining gig in London earlier this month. However it looks like the band won’t be hitting the stage again ’til February, which Prochet doesn’t seem to mind too much, saying, “right now I’m eating some sushi. [But] in the distant future, I don’t know. Sleep like a million hours in a hammock in the sun somewhere far from Paris sounds very good to me.”
Melody’s Echo Chamber is available now through Domino.