Forget all that is going on around you know and, instead, immerse yourselves in a place filled with the dreamy, magical escapism full of “Rainbows & Unicorns” courtesy of fast-rising London based alt-pop musician/animator Psyrena (Madeleine Wise).
Pysrena’s brand new single, the video for which we’re exclusively premiering right here, is lifted from her forthcoming EP of the same name. However, if you need enough of a reason to check out this stunningly crafted, psychedelic animated video, well, it features a multi-instrumentalist octopus plus keyboard-playing bear and singing Flowerettes.
A few days ago we spoke to Psyrena to find out more about what inspired her love for animation.
1. Hi, thanks for your premiering your new track with us, could you tell us a little bit about Psyrena ?
Psyrena: “Psyrena is a mix of electronica, classical and pop. With my music I reflect joy and pain, mankind’s duality, in the soundtrack of life with goth sounding anthems and uplifting animated electro pop tunes. After my Fallen Angel EP I now embark the lighter part of my journey with the forthcoming single “Rainbows & Unicorns” and follow-up EP Quarantella Rockefella.”
2. The video to your new single is animated, what was it that got you into animation ?
“Not only did I grow up watching cartoons but I ended up working at Cartoon Network and [adult swim]. To me the characters in cartoons can be more life-like than life itself. When I see Donald Duck I don’t see an actual duck (who does?), I see a multi- facet being who makes the best of a situation. He is very human, maybe even a precursor of Homer Simpson.”
“Taking printed comics to the next level gives us animation, that much is obvious, but I’ve got to admit – I am a sucker for the Golden Age of comics. Give me inked and shaded two dimensions anytime over 3D marvels like Toy Story. Don’t get me wrong – I loooooove Ratatouille, but that old school vibe of hand-drawn frames reminds me of my childhood. I also love Manga. The animated series are hard to come by in Europe, right now I’m into Kaguya-sama “Love is War”.”
3. What advice would you give somebody looking to get into this particular field ?
“Don’t [laughs]. I am kidding of course, but people need to realise the amount of work and love going into animation. If your characters are shallow no one will feel a thing. If your characters are fantastically detailed illustrations, how are you going to create frames #2 to #20,000? There are brilliant software packages out there helping with repetitive tasks, but if your characters don’t have a soul to begin with you will not succeed. Ultimately animation is probably much more of a team effort than say traditional art. If you can find like-minded collaborators you’re on to something achievable.”
4. You collaborated with a number of artists and producer on your EP, are there any more collaborations in the pipeline ?
“I write and produce with my friend & mentor Yak Bondy. Both of us play virtually all instruments needed, both of us have a Logic Pro setup, so sharing ideas is really easy. But we do love remixes made by other people, who take our tracks and give them a treatment we’d never have thought of.”
“When it comes to writing for others, especially film music, it’s a different story. One job was to sing a song appearing in a bar scene of a full-length feature film. This job description turned out much more – I co-wrote the track with people on both sides of the Atlantic including Hèléne Muddiman (Ivor Novello nominee). The track was then orchestrated in LA and conducted by Eimear Noone, the first ever female orchestra leader conducting the 2020 Academy Awards.”
“So… you never know how a musical idea turns out. As for future collaborations… watch this space!”
5. Obviously there is a massive visual element to your work, how do you see this translating into a live performance ?
“First, let’s hope there ARE live performances in the future. I can see plenty of musicians resorting to Zoom & Facebook Live performances, hey, even I love using Instagram filters, but none of that compares to the real thing. Funny enough, the gigs I have performed worked without any frilly bits, but I guess the more electronic pieces need more of an effort. We are experimenting with backdrop projections and strange outfits, but all this really depends on the size of the venue and the event itself. You can’t have 20 dancers on a stage the size of a stamp, equally you don’t want to ruin a perfectly good song by overloading it with pompous visuals.”
6. You’ve got the EP coming out what can we expect from it ?
“The first single is called “Rainbows & Unicorns”. Together with the video it shows my inner garden, a place of sheer happiness and silly behaviour. This world needs more bears and unicorns and singing mushrooms, that’s for sure. Psyrena as my alter ego is living in a forest with her bear – my spirit animal and furry muse, which, believe it or not, exists in real life as my dearest friend & co-writer – the person believing in me even when I couldn’t sometimes.”
“On a deeper level this song is about unity, not division. I love Pride and the freedom of expression that comes with it. The animation & song is a wonderful representation of life in all it shades and facets. We need to remind ourselves that humanity means just that – all ingredients mixed together making many different yet equally yummy dishes. Dig in – let’s color rainbows in the night! The EP is called Quarantella Rockefella. Five electronic tracks, danceable, edgy, and much more positive than my last EP Fallen Angel. And for all my fans of that one – don’t worry, I’ll go dark again – there’s plenty more shades & depth inside of me yearning to get out.”
7. In terms of animations, could you tell us about some of your favourite animated videos / pieces of work ?
“Where do I start? Probably with Disney‘s Fantasia. This is a true work of art. No single character is being featured, no business concept is being followed, just two hours of color explosions and stories matching wonderful compositions. To me this is the ultimate masterpiece, regardless of technique or age.”
“I can’t help loving Tom & Jerry or the Roadrunner & Wily Coyote. The jokes and evil ploys may repeat themselves, but I could easily have this running 24/7. Just listen to the Foley, genius! I mentioned my love for good old 2D animation. I can’t wait for “Wolfwalkers” on Apple TV+.”
8. Thanks for your time. What are your plans for the next twelve months following the release of the EP ?
“Writing & synching plenty of material and combining the world of VR with music. EP 3 is in planning and will include a feature with someone very special, but that’s a secret. And yes, we will need to take this to stage. Please ask my tour manager Señor Corona for further details.”