Gabriel Pureco, a professional composer and producer, is the original mind behind PsychCloned. Mexico-born and North Carolina-bred, his story outlines a young artist’s gaming experiences shaping a creative voice. From the day his parents encouraged him to trade in his Rock Band instruments for a real drum set, to developing music scores for video games, blending gaming and music has always been his specialty.
Pureco pays homage to those humble origins with sweeping, emotion-driven, and cinematic instrumental compositions. Although he got his musical start in 2018, he’s quickly made up the lost time, cultivating a big name for himself as “PsychCloned.” During the summer of 2020, he released his first album, Melodrama. Mere months later, he unveiled his second release, Tumultuous. Now, Pureco shows us his new collection of songs in Sakura.
Beginning March 20, 2021, you can stream Sakura, PsychCloned’s latest album, on all major streaming services. The twelve-song collection leads listeners on a wild, dramatic adventure through musical genres and human emotion. Pureco mixes musical genres like a chemist. For example, he creates a sweeping, movie-soundtrack-worthy cinema in “A New Dawn.” Then, he contrasts the classic mood with the 70’s-inspired disco/funk/acid jazz jam in “Toward A Never-Ending Tomorrow.”
Sakura boasts a multicultural mix of musical flavors. Pureco departs from the album’s early cinematic pieces with the electronic synthwave symphony in “Final Snowfall.” He also features guitar-driven jazzy rock tracks like “Spirit Of Adventure” and “Confidence Found.”
On “Raindrops,” he experiments with Asian musical forms. Pureco takes listeners to a courageous peak with “Suddenly,” guiding us through avant-garde freeform jazz, heavy metal guitar-shredding, and ambient electronic music. Songs like “Unwavering Will” and the title track dig deep into rock and roll power ballad territory while staying true to Pureco’s strong, adventurous roots.
Sakura is not only a great listen, but an interesting and bold work for true music aficionados. An optimistic vibe runs through most of the record. Pureco (PsychCloned) assured us that’s by design during our virtual chat with him. Read his answers to our 9 questions below. Follow the links at the end of this article to connect with PsychCloned, listen to Sakura, and stay up-to-date on all of his current and future projects.
9 Questions with PsychCloned
The Static Dive: Where are you from?
Gabriel Pureco (PsychCloned): I was born in Mexico City, Mexico, but I have been living in the United States since I was a baby. I would say I am from North Carolina as that is where I have spent the majority of my life.
SD: How long have you been making music?
PsychCloned: This is a tricky question to answer. I technically started dabbling in music production back in 2018 when some friends and I embarked on an ambitious project to create a video game. That is when I was introduced to FL Studio and first took a crack at music production. I began taking this hobby more seriously due to COVID-19, as I found myself with more free time to learn all I needed to know about music theory to begin crafting my own rhythms and melodies.
You see, I did not take up my first live instrument (the drums) until late in high school around 2011, and I only had one year of formal training before starting college. I did join a band in college, Melodemics, but we never wrote our own music. We simply played covers from existing, albeit international, bands.
As far as being a more serious, professional musician and producer, that journey did not start until February 2020. This was right around the time the pandemic hit and took the world by storm. Back when I was working on developing a game with my friends in 2018, I relied heavily on my bandmate to come up with the melodies for our game levels. He had 15+ years of musical training, whereas I only had one year of training and percussion. I just did not understand the theory enough to be able to know how to start a melody, much less a chord progression.
I did learn a ton from my friend and if it were not for his guidance and tutelage, I would not be where I am today with my musical forthcomings. Since February 2020, and after reading and watching countless articles, guides, videos, and books on music theory and music production, I have released two albums: Melodrama (June 2020) and Tumultuous (October 2020). That is, 18 songs and 2 hours of music in less than a year! Just from listening to each album back-to-back, you will be able to see the personal growth and how far I have come along in my musical journey.
SD: Who are the musicians involved in your project?
PsychCloned: Sakura, the album, would not have been possible without the help, collaboration, and inspiration from a few musicians I met on Fiverr: Lordsky, Ry Jones, Nemanja Jovanovic, and Camilo Diaz.
SD: Who are your biggest musical influences?
PsychCloned: Growing up, no one in my family was musically inclined, but I always had a very keen interest in music. I listened to everything my parents listened to, which consisted of Spanish rock and folk/pop music, as well as classic rock. Some of my favorite bands growing up were Boston, Journey, Foreigner, Rush, Queen, The Beatles, Billy Joel, and Elton John.
However, as time went on and I came across new and more modern music, I found myself falling in love with an eclectic range of sounds. My new favorites became: The Fray, The Cat Empire, Juanes, Reik, Maná, Jay Chou, Asian Kung-Fu Generation, Kana-Boon, Dream Theater, Symphony X, and more. While the majority of the music I listen to is rock-influenced, it does not keep me from experimenting with my own music. You will find all sorts of genres fused into my melodies.
SD: What is your greatest non-musical influence?
PsychCloned: My parents would be my greatest non-musical influence. If it were not for their involvement in getting me to trade in the plastic instruments of Rock Band and Guitar Hero for the real acoustic drum set, I would not have discovered this passion I have for music that I have today. After thousands of hours and breaking 20+ guitar and drum controllers, I decided to give real drumming a try since that was the instrument in the games that brought me the most fun and joy.
Although Rock Band and Guitar Hero can’t teach you how to play a real instrument, they did a pretty good job at giving me the foundation and rudimentary techniques needed to pick up the real acoustic set very quickly, especially when it came to establishing timing and coordination with my hands and feet.
To no surprise, I loved playing the real thing way more than the plastic set that I had to replace every month or so due to the bass pedal snapping in half or the drum pads coming off on my plastic instruments. Although I traded in the luxury of being able to jam out to songs without needing to know anything about music or music theory, I acquired the ability to write and develop my own beats and there is simply no topping that!
SD: Why do you go by the name “PsychCloned”?
PsychCloned: While my name is Gabriel Pureco, I decided to go by the alias “PsychCloned” because that is actually my online gaming avatar and I think that helps to better convey my purpose for making music. The name came from a game I love to play, League of Legends, and it is inspired by my favorite character in that game, Wukong.
Within the game, Wukong has a unique ability where he can spawn a clone to divert attention away from himself (Decoy). This ability can be used both offensively (to engage battle) and defensively (to disengage from battle or to have the clone soak up an ability or projectile that would normally hit Wukong). Wukong’s ultimate move is called “Cyclone.” It causes him to spin around and knock opponents in the air for a few seconds allowing Wukong and his allies to deal unopposed damage. Putting both of those abilities together you get “Psych” from Decoy and “Cloned” from Cyclone.
Lore-wise, Wukong comes from the Chinese novel, Journey to the West, where he is known as the “Monkey King” trickster monkey that symbolizes freedom and free-spiritedness. This free-spiritedness is what I aim to display with my music. As I produce more music, I want to be able to connect with more people and help them enjoy and appreciate the magic in life. Thankfully, music is a universal language and I can let my melodies, chords, beats, rhythms, and instruments help me reach the hearts of the billions.
SD: What inspired you to create this project?
PsychCloned: All my albums have a story they are trying to tell. Melodrama tells the story of a battlefield, an impending war. The songs start off happy and innocent and then slowly take a turn for the dramatic and bitter until you reach the grand finale epic “melodrama.” Melodrama takes a lot of inspiration from my hobbies such as video games like Dungeons and Dragons, so you get a very indie-fantasy feel to the music.
Tumultuous, on the other hand, attempted to capture the rollercoaster year that was 2020. It is my way of expressing the crazy unpredictability that the pandemic brought along with it. This is where I started really going outside of my comfort zone with my music and delved into more modern and sophisticated genres.
Every song in this album is written with a unique genre in mind with no two songs sounding the same. Ultimately, this album ends with an upbeat, optimistic feel, urging people to take a sigh of relief (“Exhale”) and look “Beyond the Horizon” as we remain hopeful (“Hope”) that the dark days are behind us and that normalcy will come to our lives soon enough. This is where Sakura comes into play.
Sakura will be my third album released in just over a span of a year. This album continues the story of Tumultuous, but this time it is an album filled with warmth, motivation, and general good and happy vibes. It is my message to the world that it is time to put the tumultuous 2020 year behind us and now focus on looking forward to how we can take back control of our lives and go back to a way of life that makes and keeps us happy and sane.
It is also the next step of my musical evolution as I continue to experiment with genres and try to find new and creative ways to tell these musical stories and spread these hidden messages. While the overall feel and message of Sakura are to remain optimistic and upbeat, no album is complete with its own flair of drama and tension (“Coming To Terms” and “Suddenly”).
The reason I titled this album Sakura is that I felt like it would be the perfect name for an album meant to be released on the first day of spring. Sakura is the Japanese word for “cherry blossoms.” In Japan, cherry blossoms hold a couple of key meanings:
- The blooming of cherry blossom trees foretells the coming of spring.
- Cherry blossoms represent the brilliance, fragility, and transience of life.
In many ways, spring is not only a time to celebrate the blossoming of nature, but it is also a reminder of the fleetingness of life and how we must always be appreciative and grateful for the past and present because, without them, there is no future. With those meanings in mind, I can think of no better title for this album.
SD: What are your plans for the future (musically)?
PsychCloned: I am going to keep writing music, for sure! Music, after all, is how I express myself and it also serves as a means for me to escape from reality for a second when I just need a moment to relax and recompose myself. Whether listening, playing, or making music, I could not imagine my life without it. I am not sure what my next album will be about…I have a few concepts in mind, but I need to spend more time writing more melodies to see where the music will take me.
SD: Is there anything else you would like to say?
PsychCloned: I would like to simply thank all of my followers and fans. Everyone that has bought, listened to, shared, or simply supported me in my journey. While I am still a newcomer to the music industry, every bit of encouragement helps and I love hearing all the different ways people interpret my music. Even though my music is purely instrumental, I think that enables my listeners to experience my music in a variety of ways.I may write and compose my songs with a specific story in mind, but that does not mean that will be the story you will envision when you listen to it. All the instruments and sounds my songs contain will help paint your own stories based on your own personal experiences. I think that is pretty cool. It is magical! Thank you all for sharing those experiences with me and I cannot wait to see what sorts of stories come to mind when people begin listening to the new album, Sakura.