There’s no mistaking that our world has been fundamentally changed over the last year. The residual effects of the coronavirus pandemic stretch so far and wide that it will take years before we can truly move on from this crisis. Obviously, the music and entertainment industry has been one of the hardest hit. It’s required a lot of patience, innovation, and adaptability on the part of musicians for them to find ways of connecting with their fans.
Missouri’s own Prismatics have learned a thing or two about being versatile this year in an effort to record their brand new EP, Endlessly. The follow-up to their 2018 debut, New Emotion, was mostly written, but then the pandemic arrived and they were unable to convene to actually record these songs. Miles away from one another, the band members had to get creative in an effort to record, so they each made their best attempt at recording separately from their homes. To some extent, they had to feel their way through the process, and then pull it all together and make it sound coherent.
The process may have been arduous, but Prismatics’ brand new EP Endlessly turned out even better than expected. The album pulls from the influences of new wave staples such as Blondie, and the experimental sounds of more cult-like acts such as Echo & The Bunnymen and Suburban Lawns. The songs are certainly inspired by important issues of the moment, like miscommunication in the social age, typically passive people turning into agitators on social media, and people’s longing to be authentically known.
With Endlessly just released last week, on January 15th, we connected with Prismatics for a track-by-track rundown of the album, offering behind-the-scenes insights into the recording and the meaning of these songs.
1. “Outside Looking”
“The idea for ‘Outside Looking’ was lifted from a near 20-minute tape of us jamming. While listening back to our recording, we came across a minute or so long section that we decided to eventually build upon. The formal writing process for ‘Outside Looking’ began shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States. When the lyrics were initially written, they were born out of a longing to better connect with the outside world. It was meant to be a piece of music in the spirit of a summer road trip song. As travel became truly impossible last year, a different facet of this lyrical perspective emerged out of a real sense of physical, rather than purely emotional, isolation.”
2. “Every Smiling Thing”
“The writing process for ‘Every Smiling Thing’ began as a guitar riff that the band overheard (guitarist) Josh (Clark) playing. He didn’t initially intend on expanding his idea into a full song, but the band quickly latched onto what he had played. While under pandemic induced stay at home orders, it went from a song which we were altogether unsure of and could have been cut from the EP, to being our choice for the second single on Endlessly. The lyrics for ‘Every Smiling Thing’ explore the healing aspects of what we perceive to be the supernatural elements of life, as well as the subtle poetry of the mundane. It asks the questions, ‘What are the repercussions of seeing magic everywhere?’ ‘What are the repercussions of never seeing magic at all?’”
3. “Second Presence”
“‘Second Presence’ is about the peaks and valleys of one’s existence, and how perspective can amplify or reduce those fluctuations. The chord sequence, atmospheric synth textures, pulsing, melodic bass line, and fresh, steady drumbeat ultimately came together to create a bittersweet musical passage near the song’s end that all of us in the band feel an intense emotional connection to.”
“‘Endlessly’ is about the vulnerabilities of communication. It illustrates a conversational exchange in which both parties have incorrectly read between the lines and are now engaged in a form of self-doubt that can arise as the result of being even subtly misunderstood. It dances with the idea that adults tend to over-complicate conversation, and seeks to remember a more straightforward type of freedom of expression similar to what many of us possessed during childhood.
Overall, this song is a slight stylistic deviation from the music we typically write, and it is the only creation within this collection that was crafted long before the idea for Endlessly the EP had ever crossed our minds. Since the song’s message was so closely aligned with the lyrics we had been writing for the EP, we wanted to include it both for that reason and for it to act as a snapshot of a previous time, a symbolic gesture echoing the nostalgic aspects of the song itself.”
“The lyrics for ‘Indecision’ concern the inconsistencies between social media and real life. As a whole, its message is disapproving of the ways in which some people tend to uphold purely reactionary attitudes online, rather than placing an importance on critical thinking. ‘Indecision’ was fulfilling to write instrumentally, as it was written while free from studio time constraints, enabling Josh, in particular, the ability to carefully craft and build upon each layer to his heart’s content.”
6. “Our Place on Earth”
“‘Our Place on Earth’ was the last song written for the EP and came together rather quickly. Everyone seemed to immediately know what they wanted to contribute to this song, resulting in something that feels very natural and very ‘us.’ The lyrics confront personal reckoning and metamorphosis. They are about the innate desire to be authentically known and to belong. As such, it is one of the more personal songs on the EP and served as catharsis during a year that demanded self-reflection of us all.”