Lucy In Disguise on the line: The producer speaks on resplendent synth-wave LP, ‘Sunset Radio’ [Interview/Review]
Eternally taking cues from synth-wave savants like Tycho and Com Truise, Innerworks Records’ California-born Lucy In Disguise (real name Steven Romeo) recently unfurled his latest LP, Sunset Radio. Tracing the amorphous sounds of summertime, the album, a year and a half in the making, sees the electronica talent experiment with vocal-driven cuts, as well as employing more instrumentals in the foreground of the effervescent collection.
“Tangerine Evening” hits like an electric fever dream, equipped with an anesthetizing downtempo loop and subtle, smoky guitar strums, while the title track harkens back to LID’s concurrently futuristic and vintage synth swirls (see: “Echoes In Time” or “1987”). “Lilac,” likely the most beat-heavy offering on the LP (next to the almost extraterrestrial “Photon”), furrows and blooms in its unhurried melody, all the while centered by its delicate bass riffage.
The enduringly accessible “Dusk” drums up images of a calmer, warm-colored counterpart to M83’s cool-toned, freeway-friendly “Midnight City,” thanks its illusory indie vocal from Observer Drift and reverie-riddled synth line. With a full-bodied bass jaunt in tow, the track embodies the producer’s newfound instrumental earmark as earnestly as any other track on the record.
“Heist Money” penetrates the LP’s romance-at-sundown through line. Inspired by the Grand Theft Auto V soundtrack, trouble looms overhead as the tune toys with the listener’s sense of urgency: a beacon of LID’s cinematic dexterity, adding a shimmery topline like comedic relief in a spine-chilling thriller.
Through all his cross-genre electronica experimentation, listeners will do well to remember Lucy is a master of movie music, which is precisely what makes this record (and the better part of his entire catalog) such an exquisite driving soundtrack. Whether it’s a high-speed chase from an indie thriller or an iridescent ’80s-era cruise down Sunset Blvd (probably the latter with Lucy), Sunset Radio, with its epoch-less sound design, sets an unimposing score for the road, redolent of bygone summers and those yet to come.
Read Dancing Astronaut‘s interview with Lucy In Disguise below:
Describe the atmosphere you were trying to create with this album.
I wanted to make listeners feel like they’re driving down the coast on a warm sunny day. It reminds me of my hometown, Santa Barbara, California. Before I had any demos I knew I wanted to make the release more upbeat with catchier melodies and more vocals.
Is there a narrative/motif/through line running through the LP or more so just a combination of finished tracks?
It started out as a collection of songs but I quickly realized that all my demos had kind of a summer vibe so I ran with that general theme for the rest of the album. A lot of the track titles are things that remind me of growing up in Southern California. Except for “Heist Money” of course. That and the album title were somewhat inspired by Grand Theft Auto V.
From whom or what have you been drawing inspiration and why?
When I started the first demos for the album I was very inspired by a lot of indie chillwave-type stuff such as Washed Out and Tycho. The use of live instruments in both of those projects inspired me to record bass and guitar on the album. I’ve always been very inspired by video game music as well.
Tell me about what it was like to add vocals to your tracks, given your catalog is highly instrumental up until now.
It was a new and refreshing experience adding vocals to my tracks. A lot of times collaborations can be hard to finish but working with Observer Drift and Fashionista felt natural. I knew before I contacted them that their vocal styles would fit on my music.
What song are you most proud of from the record and tell me why…
That’s a tough question. I guess if I had to choose one song I would pick “Tangerine Evening.” This song is a perfect example of the new sound I’m trying to go for with the use of live instruments over the usual synth sounds I love to make. I’m also very pleased with how the drums turned out. Making the same four-on-the-floor drums gets boring after so long.
What’s next for you? / What are your long-term goals with the L.I.D. project?
Right now I’m working on a couple remixes and collabs that will likely come out in the next few months or so. I’m also trying to play a lot more shows in new cities over the next year. Otherwise I will always be working on the next album.