Psy'Aviah is a rapidly ascending Belgium-based project founded in 2002 by multi-dimensional song-writer and composer, Yves Schelpe. With a focus on experimentation and storytelling, Yves, and the talented guest artists he collaborates with, are creating explorative music ranging from trip-hop, electro-clash, ambient, to custom-made soundtracks. Experienced in captivating diverse audiences around the world, Psy'Aviah has not only performed live for concerts and festivals, but their music is also reaching fans around the world through their creative music videos, remixes, art and theatre projects.
Known as "Psy'Aviah Live Band" when they perform live, the core members include vocalist, Marieke Lightband, and electric guitarist, Ben Van de Cruys. Though Yves Schelpe is the primary writer and composer of all of Psy'Aviah's repertoire, Marieke is credited for co-writing one of their most recent upcoming songs titled, "My Secrets", and Ben Van de Cruys has credits for recording guitar for two of Psy'Aviah's songs titled, "Tired" and "Ok". Psy'Aviah's albums tell stories, and extending that - each and every one of their live performances, music videos, and commissioned soundtracks work to bring those stories to life.
Most recently, Psy'Aviah has announced the exciting upcoming release of their new album titled, "Bittersweet", which will be releasing onto all digital streaming platforms on April 1st! "Bittersweet" is available for Pre-order now, and is a music release you won't want to miss.
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- PHYSICAL CD (+ Free Bonus CD & Download):
"The music I write is there as an outlet for what I see happening in the world: my world, your world, this universe." - Yves Schelpe
Photo Credits: GNY Photography (Gwenny Cooman) - https://www.gnyphotography.com
Hello, Yves! Thank you for joining us today. Congratulations on your new release and celebrating 20 years of Psy’Aviah! What was the inspiration to first start your band, Psy’Aviah?
Yves: Thanks, well… the inspiration. That really goes back a long way. I always had a passion for music, and, when I got my first PC when I was 14 I discovered music software. I started experimenting with out-of-the-box loops and cutting them, sampling even… I didn’t know what all of that was, but, at the end of the day when growing and releasing my first song on a compilation in 2002 on the Je M’En Fish collective, it got to me this was what I wanted. Winning a national competition on Belgian radio in 2003 and getting rewarded with a BBC “Next Big Thing” nomination in 2007 got me even more motivated. But the true inspiration, the core of it all, is “telling stories”, hones and intimate stories. Which I learned from Bowie, Moby, Praga Khan, Faithless and so on… and the sounds and exploration I also got from bands like Ayria, Implant, etc., where I first discovered that dark moodish electropop.
What three words would you say best summarize your music as a whole?
Yves: Honestly, I write my songs on piano & strings first. To get a feel these days, I often immerse myself in different genres, but always come back to a middle ground of a mixture of trip-hop, synthpop, electro pop and dance pop. It got me under the banner of “trip pop”, as well as the slogan we use since day one: “open-minded electronic music with heart & soul”. We tell stories, electronically, with voices that are captivating and with a hint of melancholy. That is the aim, that is the passion.
Tell me about your latest album release, “Bittersweet”.. what is something very special about it?
Yves: First of all it is the end of a trilogy I started with our album “Lightflare”, which was a cry for help – feeling lost in this world, with the title song being “Lost At Sea”. Following up came “Soul Searching”, and the title reveals what themes I explored on the second chapter of the trilogy… This third and final chapter called “Bittersweet” is all about acceptance and action. I am still sometimes lost about how the world is, meta-level, micro-level… but I need to accept I can talk about it without losing myself too much. Accepting the way you are and your role in the world, almost insignificant, but that doesn’t mean you don’t mean anything. Therefore, the songs are more up-tempo & up-beat, but make no mistake, the lyrics are sharp and sometimes in contrast, like “Ok” and “Sunbird”… They seem innocent, small, pop songs- but have a core of confronting you when you want to dive deeper in the lyrics. So “Bittersweet” offers that, if you want to dig deeper, you can, if you want to enjoy just the melodies – you can as well… As an artist, that is also something you need to accept, so we set out to do that on our songs.
There are so many great songs on the “Bittersweet” album – we thought “Ok” and “Can We Make It Rhyme” really stood out, but do you have any particular favorites?
Yves: Yeah, I think the two you mentioned are already two songs that are so close to me, that I can’t say they wouldn’t be on my list. Picking favorites is always hard, it will always crush an artist – if I had to choose I’d also add “Sunbird”, as it talks about dealing with my burn-out / addiction to work & passion and the way we wrote the song to sound very innocent, like burn-out is at the beginning, creeping up on you like you don’t know it. It also charted for over 14wks as a single already on some Belgian radio stations and around the globe, which I’m so happy about, as it’s so personal and still touches others too. Another one would be “Tired”, as we totally revamped that song and returned to our 2002-roots even, letting the “teen-angst” come out, but make it fit nicely on the album’s sound. Last, one, I could go on, but I’ll stop here, would be “My Secrets” which I co-wrote with Marieke Lightband. It’s really about this feeling as a musician, when you read the lyrics, do imagine yourself being someone who cries out their emotions on records, music videos, radios and on stage… Yet sometimes, the ones closest to you don’t understand what you’re telling in those lyrics – but other fans from way over the globe do. It’s “bittersweet” that feeling. And humbling.
How do you want your music to help other people?
Yves: I’m not set out to help other people, I’m not qualified to do that. The music I write is there as an outlet for what I see happening in the world: my world, your world, this universe. What I do value is honesty in lyrics, and with a song like “Ok”, where the focus really is around being ignored and feeling isolated, I hope people can find solace in that. Same for other songs like “Healing” or “Can We Make It Rhyme”. Most importantly, if ever, the intro of the album (“Rainy Repertoire”) does most of the job painting a picture of the general themes. It’s spoken word with ambient by prof. dr. psychiatry Dirk De Wachter, who inspired me a lot, and whose point of view I really value. In the closing words of that poem “To the raindrops, like falling stars, That used to ruin my nights, my days, Bittersweet, now I hear its repertoire, In shimmering lights, taking my time to wash away, Bittersweet, I'm singing in the rain” lay the foundation of the acceptance theme that not everything in life is easy. And that it is OK to feel sad, talk about it, don’t be silent… Maybe that is what I want to help people with – as I want to help myself with that?
Most artists say that through their art they learn more about themselves, heal injuries… in what ways has music helped you, Yves?
Yves: Acceptance, and working around limitations. I learned to organize, be organized since I started the band. I learned to work around limitations and small budget scopes, accept that not everything is possible, but also grab opportunities if they arise with both hands. I learned that there is so much talent around, and I’m just a tiny grain of dust in this whole spectacle. I might do an album, and put it out, but the talented vocalists that work with me, I pick out specifically to tell the stories I want to tell. Not only that, but I learned that storytelling is the entire package, music, video, artwork, lyrics and the right vocalist on the right song to tell the story, sing it, with passion and belief. Honesty thus in songwriting, and accepting not everyone will like everything – but that does not mean you have to stop.
In your opinion, what makes Psy’Aviah’s music so individual and unique?
Yves: I’m convinced, but I can not prove it, that it is our storytelling and the diversity in both genres and guest-vocalists we have. From opera trained singers, to jazz, to hard-rock/metal singers. Combining them on a journey to tell a story and making it work to sound as a whole, is still unique, I think. But that is my vision, my idea - but I am biased of course... I think it is best you’d ask our fans that question.
I see that you feature many guest artists and musicians on your tracks. Who is the most notable guest artist you’ve worked with?
Yves: We had numerous, but I want to point out I never pick someone because they are popular or strategically placed. As I said numerous times in this interview: we are about storytelling, and then every detail counts. The voice needs to convince me, needs to attract me, needs to be able to tell the story.
In that way I can only say that for example we have a tight working connection with Mari Kattman (of HELIX), Kyoko Baertsoen (of LUNASCAPE), Addie Nicole (of HALOCENE) and going further we also had guests of the jazz/folk scene like Ellia Bisker (of CHARMING DISASTER, SWEET SOUBRETTE) to legends in the electro-world like Jean-Luc De Meyer (of FRONT 242) and more… But as I said, it is all based around storytelling, so they have to believe in the song, and then we move forward – otherwise the passion isn’t there.
What is the next "big thing" the world can expect from Psy’Aviah?
Yves: Celebrating our 20th anniversary, of course. It’s really been a ride, and adventure so far that’s still going on. Thanks to the support of my fans, our label, DJs & vjs across the world. So we’ll celebrate, and the “big thing” is this album as on the second disc we invited bands we personally adore, had close contact with, discovered, to cover our songs instead of a remix CD. So “Bittersweet” comes with an extra disc, for free, where numerous bands covered songs of us in very different genres. Which I think, in my philosophy of sharing is caring, make me happy. I love these bands, and I love to share their sound with you. They’ll showcase their sound with our songs, and in that way we come full circle: “acceptance” as a theme in “Bittersweet”. Let your songs go and live their own lives…
Where will your group be performing next?
Yves: The whole pandemic did make things difficult, but we did stream performances and showcases. So we’ll continue to do that – as this gives the opportunity for fans that can’t come to see us too. But we have plans for semi-acoustic events (where it’s more intimate & we rearranged songs in ambient & singer-songwriter ways, but still electronica – just more intimated) and of course in the summer some are planned to showcase our album & oldies as a regular full-blown band with the volume on 11. The live band is really looking forward to that!
View the Official Cover Art for Psy-Aviah's upcoming album titled, "Bittersweet".
Watch Psy'Aviah's music videos now on YouTube:
GNY Photography (Gwenny Cooman)