For Tracy Hyde have been building dreamy atmospheres since 2012 and now have three different planets in the form of records to show for.
With the release of their third studio album New Young City, the Japanese shoegaze act continue to grow, pulling away from The 1975-esque sound that ruled their sophomore record he(r)art. Their 16-track offering is rich with 12-string guitar arpeggios that will take listeners on a whole new adventure through uplifting melodies and shimmering chords.
Before For Tracy Hyde's upcoming Almost Crimes show at 123 Block in Mandaluyong City this September 21 (Saturday) with Cosmic Child (SG), Outerhope, BP Valenzuela, and Megumi Acorda, Bandwagon caught up with the band via email to get the low-down on New Young City, which dropped last September 4 (Wednesday).
Opening Logo (Photo High Inc.)
eureka (Vo. Gt.): (★‿★)
Natsubot (Gt. Vo.): That moment when you’re stuffing your mouth with popcorn and washing it all down with coke as you wait for the prologue.
Mav (Ba.): When we were making our 2nd album he(r)art, Natsubot showed me a collection of movie company jingles asking if I could make an instrumental piece like those. Just two days later, he said “Forget about it, I made one myself”, and I was like “What the heck”. He made one for this album as well, and I admire his skills. ░▒▓新しいデラックスアルバム▓▒░
soukou (Dr.): :)
Be My Blue
eureka: I feel this song is a potential killer tune. When recording, I was told to sing more languidly, and this is the final result. Listening to it, I still sound pretty energetic, so I wonder how I was singing it initially.
Natsubot: The latest single from that band that the protagonist’s slightly music-conscious classmate is a fan of.
U-1: I played on this track.
Mav: Full marks for the way eureka sings the last phrase, “あなたとなら間違えてしまってもいいよ。 (I wouldn’t mind going wrong with you)”. I arranged the bassline with an emphasis on squareness to enhance the song’s rush. Some phrases were inspired by Plastic Girl in Closet’s 'Raspberry Plant' and DIIV’s 'Doused'.
soukou: I was paying attention to the drumming in Japanese rock bands, especially Chatmonchy, so I had the drum pattern on the introduction of their song “風吹けば恋” on my mind, as well as Number Girl-esque fills. I think the “DIIV zone” in the middle section really strengthens the song.
Thoughts of You
eureka: “今はただ君を笑わせる言葉が欲しい。 (All I want is some words to make you laugh)”. Such a touching line.
Natsubot: Coming across that classmate on the streets at night and walking together for the first time, and/or memories/daydreams of such a night.
Mav: If you can feel something heavy in your guts when the bass switches from single-note roots to power chords on the middle section, I couldn’t ask for more. I have a habit of playing power chords at moments I want to emphasise, which is totally a sign of my admiration of Lou Barlow. Some phrases were inspired by Coaltar of the Deepers’ 'Cell'. When thinking about how to approach the mix of this song, I revisited Galileo Galilei’s 'Sea and the Darkness', and was startled once again at how amazing that record is.
soukou: With the bridge I had the drum pattern from Ride’s 'Kaleidoscope' in mind, but I also feel that I incorporated the song Natsubot shared as a reference (I forgot which song) [Note: The Paper Kites’ 'Revelator Eyes'] pretty well. On the outro, in order to evoke a sense of impatience, I switch to a four-on-the-floor beat with the hi-hat open and playing 16ths.
Lost in the Wheatfield
eureka: The C section is like a Ghibli anime theme and is so fun to play! Since I’m a beginning guitarist the chord strokes on the intro make me nervous.
Natsubot: Even if you fall in love, the boring city remains boring. It’s just that even that boredom begins to look beautiful just a bit.
U-1: I played on this track.
Mav: I feel the C section and the outro are the core of this song. Since the intro is a carbon copy of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, I wanted to distance the bass from indie mannerisms, resulting in a manic bassline.
soukou: My favorite from this album. I tried to make the drums sound “indie” but I didn’t quite succeed. I feel that the C section sounds like Keisuke Kuwata but no one else sees what I mean.
Love Is Blue
eureka: ↓(Natsubot’s comment below) I guess that would naturally bring the two closer.
Natsubot: A nice little oldies tune that the owner of a tasteful cafe plays when the protagonist is dating with that classmate.
Mav: While I really like this one, I hope that we can do a Beach Boys-esque song with vocals on our next release. Since my understanding of The Beach Boys is too shallow to write one myself, I’m expecting Natsubot the expert to come up with something.
soukou: I want to play this live.
Happy Ice Cream
eureka: The way I sang on this one makes me laugh, but I really like the song itself. Our engineer requested me to sing as if I was sleepy, so I tried. I wonder if this way of singing will stick. I wanted to be Spitz!
Natsubot: To love someone sometimes means to wish to be that someone. Maybe.
U-1: I tried to play on this track but failed.
Mav: I listened to Spitz’s Fake Fur 10,000 times to prepare for this song and ended up feeling “Spitz are amazing, they’re so cool” without any further understanding of “Spitz-y basslines.” After a few attempts at recording eureka’s vocals, we decided to imitate Eiichi Ohtaki. The first take after that decision was made, I recall laughing forever out of surprise at how talented she was at imitation.
soukou: I made a stab at “Spitz-y fills”, but started questioning what Spitz-y fills exactly were, resulting in messy drumming.
You, as a Season
eureka: I’m here, and you’re here, and the world is here, and not all about that is well, but I feel that this song embraces and affirms everything.
Natsubot: The time the protagonist spends alone listening to that special band that only he/she and that classmate know, contemplating about what kindness is.
Mav: My favorite from this album. I don’t know why but eureka’s singing on this track brings me to tears. Even when recording, I was keeping myself from crying while directing the vocals, and I burst into tears the next morning going to work while listening to the rough mix. It’s such a good song that it urged me to do my best arranging the bassline, and I think I did manage to do my best (especially on the middle section).
soukou: My idea for this track was to change the kick drum pattern between when I am hitting the hi-hat and when I’m hitting the ride cymbal, and then mixing both patterns when I start playing a 16 beat with both the hi-hat and the ride cymbal. I finished recording while wondering which is male and which is female between hi-hat and ride cymbal.
eureka: I want this to be a piece of music that would be beside you when you’re going to sleep, sunbathing, or by the riverside.
Natsubot: Early Saturday morning, when the two go out to a field just outside the city. Or perhaps Sunday morning, beside the window of the protagonist’s room with sunlight seeping through the curtains.
Mav: Because of the hustle and bustle of daily life, I couldn’t arrange the glockenspiel beforehand, and so I improvised on the spot while recording, which is why I don’t remember the phrases anymore. By the way, when thinking about the sound of a melotron, the song that springs to my mind is eufonius’ “恋するココロ”, not The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever”.
Grow With Me
eureka: Pretty much the same as Mav. No comment. I’d like to add some narration.
Natsubot: Silence is the most desperate expression of love.
Mav: The background music playing behind recollections and fantasy scenes in Key games and the like. No comment.
soukou: ( ´∀｀ )
eureka: This song is like an inorganic shell with emotions flowing out of it. It’s both cold and warm, and I like that contradicting atmosphere.
Natsubot: The turn of the plot. The bad guy always shows up suddenly.
Mav: The only song I wrote for this album. While making the album, I was feeling depressed a lot of times because of issues unrelated to music, and that plus listening to Beach Fossils’ 'Be Nothing' on repeat are the origins of this song. It took shape mostly because of changing the song structure following U-1 and soukou’s idea, as well as Natsubot adding vocal harmonies and lead guitar, so I feel grateful for my bandmates. During the recording, I managed to lay down the best feedback noise in my life. The guitar chords are inspired by Coaltar of the Deepers and Number Girl, the guitar and bass phrases are inspired by cali≠gari’s “ハイカラ・殺伐・ハイソ・絶賛” and Beach Fossils’ “Shallow”, and eureka’s guitar sound is inspired by 36g’s “まっかだな”.
soukou: The original arrangement just didn’t do it for me so I meddled a lot. I hope Mav isn’t mad at me. Drumming for this song was super-difficult, but I like the hi-hat sound because it feels good.
In Our Kingdom
eureka: Upon hearing the demo, I felt that it sounded like a Kenshi Yonezu song, and the lyrics’ reference to sex and awareness of there being an end to everything left a vivid impression on me, so I tried not to sound feminine. Originally I was supposed to sing the whole song, but I suggested that it should be entirely sung by a man instead, so we settled on a duet.
Natsubot: With a heart full of hesitation and regret, all the protagonist can do is lament.
Mav: When I hear programmed brass with an emphasis on vibrato, I’m immediately reminded of songs from the Touhou Project game series, but when I said so during recording, nobody agreed with me, which made me sad.
soukou: I just can’t see why this song is rated so highly.
eureka: The way the lyrics in the chorus change from “愛を裂いてくれ (tear up our love)” to “愛に咲いてくれ (bloom in love)” [Note: “裂いて (tear)” and “咲いて (bloom)” are Japanese homonyms that are both pronounced “saite”] is beautiful because it seems to represent the transition in the singer’s heart from giving up to accepting.
Natsubot: The determination to separate out of love. Whether it’s negative positivity or positive negativity depends on how you look at it.
Mav: I like Dinosaur Jr.’s version of 'Just Like Heaven' more than The Cure’s original.
soukou: Just like “Just Like Heaven”!!!
Can Little Birds Remember?
eureka: When playing this song live, I always strum the opening chords facing towards the drummer, and that moment is really fun. I feel so much more at ease than when facing the audience and singing!
Natsubot: Reuniting with that classmate. An ode to what there once was, what there is now, and what will be lost in time.
U-1: I played on this song.
Mav: In order to imitate alt rock/emo mannerisms, I used the front pickup of my bass to make it sound like a precision bass -- the sole case of me doing so on this album. soukou did a great job banging on the drums Cloud Nothings-style without the toms, so I want you to pay attention to the drums. Some phrases were lifted from Juvenile Juvenile’s 'Forget Me Soon'.
soukou: I wish I could be Cloud Nothings. Braindead drumming.
eureka: My second favorite from this album. When singing, the lyrics felt as if they came straight out of my head. I’m sure everyone feels the same.
Natsubot: The protagonist cries in bed all alone. Perhaps he/she is unaware that that classmate is crying too.
Mav: The production skills of our engineer Iwata-san (Junya Iwata of Triple Time Studio) really shine through on this one. I gain a sense of self-satisfaction from the whisper overdubbed on the final line, which I requested just out of my own personal preferences. While Iwata-san was undertaking the colossal task of mixing the track, me and Natsubot sat in the waiting room discussing whether any innovative shoegaze bands came out of the Japanese scene over the past decade. I remember reaching the conclusion that 揺らぎ (Yuragi) were awesome.
soukou: Tutututu waaaaaa (the intro of My Bloody Valentine’s 'Only Shallow'). I wanted to drum on this one [Note: the instruments on “Seabed” are programmed]
The Cherry Orchard
eureka: My favorite from the album. The line “黙れば儚く見えそうな人ほどいたずらに笑うから (Because those who would look ephemeral if they kept silent laugh a lot)” is so endearing. I wish the slide guitar solo would last forever. We’re Cocteau Twins.
Natsubot: A few years have passed, and the protagonist is now walking with a new lover. Something about the way the person moves reminds the protagonist of that classmate. Just as the protagonist is struck by surprise at that realisation, someone very special to him/her walks by...
Mav: To be honest, right after receiving the demo of this song at the beginning of work on the album, I was convinced that we would take over the entire Japanese dream pop scene. The bass is played through a chorus pedal because we’re Cocteau Twins. Natsubot ordered me to “play a lot of chords because we’re Cocteau Twins” so that’s reflected as well. During the mixing session, I stressed how great the C section was, and Iwata-san heartily said “The lyrics are awesome” -- something that’s left an impression on me.
soukou: I tried out a variety of things to see how I could play around with a repetitive drum pattern, and the results are pretty satisfying. I particularly like the moments where only the drums are syncopating. Out of the whole album, perhaps the drums are best arranged on this song?
Glow With Me
eureka: A time for you to digest the emotions that you felt through the course of this album
Natsubot: The lights in the cinema turn on. You leave your seat and open the heavy doors, savouring the aftertaste of the story. That’s when you come to the realisation that you yourself are the protagonist as well.
Mav: Listen to Shortcake Collage Tape [Note: Natsubot’s moniker as a chillwave producer] too.
soukou: I wish I had someone to glow with me.
For Tracy Hyde are performing alongside Cosmic Child (SG), Outerhope, BP Valenzuela, and Megumi Acorda on September 21 (Saturday) at 123 Block in Mandaluyong City. Tickets to the Almost Crimes show will be available at the door for PHP 700. RSVP here.
For Tracy Hyde are set to kick off their Asia tour this week:
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