Psy’Aviah is the brainchild of songwriter, composer and multi-instrumentalist producer, Yves Schelpe. For the past two decades the Belgian creator has compiled a voluminous catalog of Electronica and Trip-hop hits. In that time he has produced over two dozen albums along with numerous singles & EPs. He has collaborated with an endless list of international talent and has connected with music fans around the world.
“Bittersweet” is the brand new album from Psy’Aviah, currently available for pre-order via Bandcamp and scheduled for worldwide release to all major streaming services on April 1, 2022.
The 13-song collection is the conclusion of a conceptual trilogy of albums that began with 2018’s “Lightflare” and continued in 2019 with the album “Soul Searching.” Over the course of the three records, Psy’Aviah shares a personal journey as he learns to navigate the nuances of an unforgiving world. On “Bittersweet,” the time has come to face and embrace both the good and bad of life.
The record opens with a personal reading from world renown Belgian psychiatrist and writer Dirk De Wachter of his poem “Rainy Repertoire.” Immersed in an ethereal scene of ambient synths he delivers his ode to the magic of a rainfall. “Sunbird” follows as Oliviya Nicole delivers a soulful performance as a sawtooth synth bass arpeggio rides a percussive, Kate Bush inspired groove.
Throughout the record, Psi’Aviah combines 80’s Synthwave vibes with 90’s Trip-hop beats and modern Dark Pop moods. From the New Wave feel of “Cold Summer Nights” to the hard driving Alternative Electro-Pop of “Tired (rediscovered),” Yves molds multiple musical genres into his own cohesive sound.
A dozen different vocalists contribute to the record. Psy’Aviah hits the dance floor for some Disco House and social commentary with Lumí (Sunnie Williams) on ‘Turn Up The Stereo,” and again with Eli Rho on “The Wildness in Me” and on “Moonlight Surrender” with Rebecca Schneider. We dig into a subdued Dark Alt-Pop with Huong Su on “Ok,” a Eurythmics-inspired Electro-Pop groove on “Pretender” and a bit of Björk-style Trip-hop on “My Secrets.” See the complete list of contributing singers here.
With the release of the new album, Psy’Aviah celebrates their 20th anniversary. To commemorate the occasion they have included a limited double-CD digipak featuring the exclusive 15-track CD “Rediscovered (20th Anniversary).”
This first edition will also come with a 12-song collection of bands paying tribute to Yves Schelpe’s history of hits with their own versions of some of the band’s classics. The record includes contributions from an international list of acts like; The Breath Of Life, Implant, Aesthetische, 808.Dot.Pop, Leaether Strip, Your Life On Hold, Digital Factor, Ic 434, Llumen and Madil Hardis. The result is a wild mix of styles and sounds, ranging from Synth-Pop to Goth Rock and from Ethereal Wave to EBM.
Check out the video for the song “Sunbird” below. You can also hear that track on the Deep Indie Dive playlist and “Pretender (Device Noize Club Remix) on Deep Indie Dance. We had the chance to chat with Yves Schelpe about the new record and his look back at two decades of music. Check out his answers to our questions below.
Follow the links at the end of this article to connect with Psy’Aviah. Dig into their back catalog and get on their socials. Pre-order your copy of Bittersweet today at Bandcamp and guarantee your access to 42 brand new tracks from this talented and influential band.
A Chat with Yves Schelpe
Where are you from?
How long have you been making music?
I created Psy’Aviah in 2002 – so that’s 20 years already now and it’s our anniversary year!
What inspired you to create this project?
How it all started, well the full philosophy I stand for today you can read at our short bio page. But the real “call to making music” really came when I heard bands like Praga Khan and Moby, they conveyed a message with electronic music but in a sense they were like bands. For me that was such an inspiration, something I wanted to do as well: tell a story, mainly electronically, but also with some harder rougher rock parts, or sometimes softer ambient or real violin/cello ensembles…
Who are the musicians involved in your project?
I work with people from all over the world, from UK, US, my home country Belgium, to people from Brazil, Mexico, France… If I need someone with a specific skill – I will find them to perfect the song.
Even if they come from a Jazzy influence (like Ellia Bisker); or from a classical background (both Ukrainians: cellist Polina Faustova & violinist Irina Markevich), to people from trip-hop vocalists like Kyoko Baertsoen (of Hooverphonic & Lunascape) & Mari Kattman (of Helix), to hard-rock/metal singer Addie Nicole (of Halocene) to the more electro-industrial talents like Jean-Luc De Meyer (of Front 242), Jeniffer Parkin (of AYRIA) and David Chamberlin (of Entrzelle) – to more experimental singer/songwriters like Tina Forlorn (of Sorrow Stories) and Huong Su. So there are too many to call, I’m missing to much talents I worked with…
I should maybe say that our core live band, our core live experience thus, is a fixed setup. As there I want to give the audience an inclusive sound over the albums and songs we do. So we rewrite some things, we sculpt them differently and stay true to the song – but make sure we tell a story on stage as well.
And that story is sculpted by immensely soulful vocalist and singer/songwriter herself Marieke Lightband, and our guitarist Ben Van de Cruys. I let them come with ideas, and with us three, the live band, there’s a kind of rule we all have to like it and feel ok with it, so everyone can stand behind the performance & song and give the best performance every time. Without them, I would be nothing!
Who are your biggest musical influences? What is your greatest non-musical influence?
Great questions, especially the last one. I’ve always been interested in the humanities and science in general. So Carl Sagan, Brian Cox, Neil deGrasse Tyson, etc… On the other hand I can’t leave out illusionists James Randi and Derren Brown who taught me to think sceptically about the world, in a way that is captivating & entertaining – yet very confronting on how fragile our brains are to being fooled.
I can’t help but point to a special of Derren Brown that everyone needs to see on how easily scamming can work, it’s called “The System” where Derren predicts horse race results accurately every time – the twist comes at the end and the episode is cleverly built up where you are invited to think how it would work… as well as the late Randi’s funny, but to the point TED Talk on how we can be fooled in many ways.
But I can’t but leave out philosophers and thinkers of my country Belgium – like prof. dr. philosophy Johan Braeckman and prof. dr. psychiatry Dirk De Wachter (who also features on the intro of our albums “Bittersweet” & the previous one “Soul Searching”). Both men expanded for me, personally on those ideas of Randi & Brown. But in a more theoretical way, or evolutionary/biological way: what being human is & what our brains are capable of – or what their pitfalls are… That is inspiring to me, deeply.
Musically though, I touched upon it already, the biggest influences come from Maurice Engelen, Oliver Adams, Nikkie Van Lierop and Ludo Camberlin – who did a lot of projects like Praga Khan and Lords of Acid. Those four together, with their creative minds, for me meant a lot when growing up – when I first heard the tune “LUV U STILL” by Praga Khan I immediately felt the impact and understood how dynamics work in a song; but equally a song like “INSANITY” or “DON’T WANNA LOSE YOU” blew me away by their breakbeats and vocal presence.
Songwriting has so many aspects, so many dimensions. I also found that back in bands like Faithless and MOBY: both don’t necessarily stay fixated on one genre, one box for their entire career. Which is freeing to me, as then I can really tell stories, be free.