Melbourne’s Marcus Kech dives into electro-pop escapism with debut album ‘StrangeLove’
12.11.2021

Melbourne’s Marcus Kech dives into electro-pop escapism with debut album ‘StrangeLove’

‘StrangeLove’ is an exploration of various production styles that offer a 10-track journey into the human experience and tapestry of life.

One of Melbourne’s most enthralling producers, multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Marcus Kech has delivered his upbeat debut LP StrangeLove drenched in euphoria and romanticism with shimmering synths, experimental soundscapes and glittering 80s music.

Hailing from Melbourne and bound by no genre, Kech has spent the last decade honing in on his musical prowess for guitar, keyboard and drums which has since further enhanced the sound of his unique style of production – a style he taught himself from the confines of his bedroom.

Perfecting his instrumental and vocal expertise, the last few years has seen the Kech deliver an EP and a slew of groovy electronic singles that touch the soul and linger, evolving his sonic palette which each new release.

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Now, moving away from his signature house/techno vibe, Kech is transporting listeners on a cosmic journey with expansive electronic productions and mesmerizing vocals in an utterly captivating collection of tracks that are unique and brimming with life.

While his 2020 EP was brimming with up-tempo electronic, disco waves and grooves, StrangeLove is a bright and stunning glimpse into Kech’s electrifying – and devoted – new chapter, signalling an ethereal rush of experimentation with more intense, layered sounds.

“With the ‘YWBOK’ EP, it was more so me just being creative at a time when I wasn’t as sure what was going to happen with my music and what I truly wanted to make. Then when it came out and people started liking it, I thought well this is a bit awkward, but if they like what I can do, then from here on out, I’m going to take my creations seriously,” Kech explains.

“My first line of action was to scrap the techno vibes and make what is true rather than what was easy. I knew that I wanted this one to be big and a good first impression for a debut LP, especially after displaying a little bit of my experimentation for the ‘My Life’ project I released last year. I wanted other people to be a part of this whether they were singers, rappers or instrumentalists… and I wanted to go deeper into sound design as well which was my next step to creating new depth in my songs.

“I just wanted to experiment and get a taste for what is to come, because this is just the start before I release the more in-depth and universal stuff that is in the works.”

 

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Through a kaleidoscope of alluring vocals, funky beats, swirling electronic production, contoured chord progressions, midtempo structures and retro pop vibes, ‘StrangeLove’ shines as an album through its cohesive and uniquely dynamic aesthetic.

Boasting strokes of influences from the likes of Tame Impala, Daft Punk, Bryan Ferry and Nine Inch Nails with a serious nod to the stylistic diversity of the ’80s, Kech is truly influenced by a variety of genres from across the world. From disco and funk to house, electronica, and rock, Kech’s ever-evolving sound is bound by no genre.

“I actually try not to listen to music that could sound similar to the style I’m creating, or I just don’t listen to music at all. It is too easy to listen to your favourite artists and then subconsciously end up making something like that, so my way of doing things is to listen to nothing or to listen to music that completely steers clear of the stuff I’m making,” he explains.

“One example of this is Nine Inch Nails… I could listen to the ballistic, angry sounds of their music whilst being more inspired by the production techniques used rather than the overall sonic sound that gets captured in that kind of music. I love it with all my heart, but it’s not the style I am creating so I don’t have to worry too much about even the slightest bit of plagiarism. Whereas if I listen to Tame Impala, I become too inspired by that style and then just follow that route… it’s just too easy and unoriginal for someone who wants to be unique and make a new sound to unknowingly recreate the whole vibe of another artist.

“But, if I had to give you names for anyone that may have inspired this record, then I would have to say the works of Bryan Ferry, Daft Punk (of course), and Nine Inch Nails. I stopped listening to Bryan Ferry and Daft Punk once I knew that this album had to be a good first impression, so I could remain original and find my own way.”

From opening tune ‘The Place’ which starts the album with chilling, almost eerie-like strings that set the tone on a dark note, before picking up when Kech’s vocals enter into a smooth ballad; to the dance anthem ‘So There’s This Girl’ featuring Ruby-Sofia, and the string funk heaven of ‘Disco’d’, the album shows the full power of Kech’s versatility as a producer.

 

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While the glittery and groovy instrumentation is truly magnificent, there’s a strong sense of depth and honesty on display in the uplifting yet thought-provoking tracks that reaches deep into the soul and hold a mirror up to anyone listening – a happy sound with existential undertones.

A 10-track journey into the human experience and tapestry of life, the album takes the perspective of Kech’s alter ego ‘StrangeLove’ (a character in which the album was named after) who experiences a tough break-up during Melbourne’s 2020 lockdown. It’s a record about the positives and negatives, traversing through happiness, sadness, love, heartbreak, isolation and freedom, painting an honest portrait of Kech’s own experiences of life and love.

“I always like to draw from personal experience, it’s not that it makes it easier, it breeds soul and true feelings when you do, and you can hear that. It’s sort of uncontrollable actually, the power of the mind is unstoppable when it wants to vent, so after a lot of time spent in Mornington Peninsula, a bunch of recreation, a sudden heartbreak and lockdown, my brain sort of just lost it and let everything out.

“I thought I had finally met the person that I would love forever and marry, even at this age, but as life goes, everything must come to an end. The hard part was that this break-up came so sudden and right before lockdown, and it destroyed me. It was during this time and these events that the alter ego ‘StrangeLove’ came to life.

“Having an alter ego is a great way to tell a story about something touchy or real when you don’t want to get too personal, a character makes it feel like a novel with colours and shapes rather than a reality filled with negativity. But even though the themes may be filled with negativity, I cover it up with energetic drums, funky guitar and bright sounds so that it doesn’t end up becoming a ‘sadboi’ record, and that is my favourite way to work… Write about your heartbreak and then paint a smiley face onto it.”

Immersing you deep into a pool of captivating storytelling through the use of Kech’s alter-ego, the record was written merely weeks after releasing the ‘You Will Be OK’ EP during last year’s lockdown – an experience that both fuelled the project and almost destroyed it.

“Being locked inside caused my brain to only ever think about this girl that I miss and what went wrong, all the classic break-up stuff, but not being able to distract myself much was just so difficult. So, the only way out was to keep writing.

“I remember it was a night in lockdown, around late June or early July, and I was sitting on my balcony feeling destroyed and speechless until I had a smoke, a glass of red and opened my computer to begin writing the songs ‘Pinot Noir’ and ‘T.V. & the Geisha’. So, at the time, isolation was needed to continue working but I seriously cannot stress enough how much I ended up hating it all and almost hating the project.

“I like to tell people that us musicians may thrive on being in a room and creating, but in the end, we really badly need freedom and the full life experience to be inspired to the best of our ability.”

Across 10 tracks on StrangeLove, Kech shows people that good can’t exist without the bad and the bad can’t exist without the good. His music is timeless, fluid and thought-provoking, traversing an abundance of genres.

In the midst of working on new material, as a solo artist and as a member of his band MysteryShack, expect big things to come from Marcus Kech as he solidifies himself as one of Melbourne’s most inventive artists. There’s no telling what he’ll do next.

Listen to ‘StrangeLove’ below.