Written by Travis Shosa
This Album Auto-nalysis interview was originally published on COUNTERZINE on June 3, 2019. It has been re-edited and adapted for Stamens/Pistils/Parties.
Album Auto-nalysis is a regular feature where we ask some of our favorite artists to breakdown their albums track-by-track, to provide further insight into the thoughts, feelings, and artistic processes that went into making them. For this edition, we asked Italian jangle pop/dream pop artist Enrico Pastore (Wake in June) to detail his album lavender pink.
1. “Turtle Dove”
Enrico Pastore/Wake in June: “I had this idea that the first song should have been a short lo-fi ambient dreamy piece with no lyrics. The song contains only sounds coming from a guitar and effect pedals: a pink noise background resembling ocean waves, a beat, voices of an unknown language picked up by my amp from some radio station, the sound of seagulls and of a (quite angry) turtle dove. I find turtle dove call so lovely, especially on lazy summer mornings.”
2. “Safe Mode”
Pastore: “I was at work, listening to the song “Ovunque” by Verdena (i.e. Italian Nirvana-styled grunge band from the late-90s) on my PC. The volume was low, the speakers were distorting the sound and I heard a different melody. So I tried to recreate that and it became the first half of “Safe Mode.” A happy little accidents, as painter Bob Ross says at the beginning. It then fades into a dream pop kinda song with lyrics about waking up from a bad dream.”
Pastore: “I have this old memory when I was little of me and my two elder brothers on the backseat of my dad’s car (a white Opel Kadett Karavan, the car depicted on the album artwork). We were heading to the sea, there was a big storm outside, and we were listening to a cassette from a broken white Philips Moving Sound stereo. “Engrams” (or actually the whole LP) is about those kind of nostalgic childhood memories that seem to belong to a different time and reality, kinda nightmarish but at the same time sweet and dear to you.”
Pastore: ““Tendons” talks about a (happy?) accident I had when I was five: I was having a race with my elder sister, and the goal was a glass door. I remember having won the race but eventually my hand went into the glass and when I pulled it out I saw a big scar on my wrist bleeding. Also, I hung out at a friend’s house one night last year. We were all pretty drunk and smoking weed and at some point I had a conversation with a friend about depersonalization episodes and I was surprised finding out he has had them too in the past. So it’s also about it. Other verses mention the 1999 solar eclipse and imagining talking to my five-year-old self. Musically it’s some kind of synthwave-ish post-punk with dreamy delayed guitars and emo vocals on top.”
Pastore: “Neoteny is the retention of juvenile features well into adulthood. The intro is taken from Goosebumps episode “The Cuckoo Clock of Doom” about a boy going back in time and getting younger whenever he falls asleep and then wakes up. Sorry I’ve never been able at making summaries, but you get the idea. This song was also inspired by Michael Jackson, both musical style and persona. I could describe it as 80s funky hip-hop meets American Football meets Cocteau Twins.“
6. “Mega Cartridge”
Pastore: “SEGA Master System was the first gaming console I remember playing with during childhood. You plug it in, insert the Mega Cartridge (precisely), turn it on and you’re instantly transported into a digital fantasy world made of 8-bits and pulse waves. Actually, the lyrics have nothing to do (originally at least) with retro consoles as they talk about my depersonalization/derealization episodes I had last year. I usually have a list of song titles that I place randomly and I like how you get a new meaning by putting a title out of context.”
Pastore: ““Blesser“ is a lo-fi jangle pop tune inspired by bands like The Ocean Blue, late-80s pop such as Edie Brickell & New Bohemians and Suzanne Vega, and 90s emocore (Indian Summer). I wrote this song for an old friend of mine who died two years ago because of her illness. Blesser is the literal translation of her name, but also “to harm” in French. The first verse is about a memory I had with her (though I was 19, not 12), while other verses reference The Pagemaster movie, hiding “things” inside film canisters and a dream I had where I was my dad as a young boy. These are not related to her though. I like putting many ideas in a song that somehow tie together and create a different message.”
8. “Chain Hill/J2000.0”
Pastore: “When I bought my first delay pedal last year, I felt like every time I was making up a melody it sounded like some kind of 90s trance or 90s eurodance tune. I think you can hear it in the various songs of the album. So I decided it was cool to make a song heavily inspired by those typical late-90s eurodance/hi-NRG melancholic melodies, but played with a guitar. I then put some background jangly guitars à la early-Everything but the Girl, sad vocals and shoegaze-y distortion. The lyrics come from a bunch of weird dreams I had. And there’s a reference to La Bouche. Also one to Jumanji (1995).”
9. “He Once Dreamed of Being a Butterfly”
Pastore: “I have this old memory of a white house located by the sea under a pinewood all covered with ivy and worn by time. That is what mainly inspired the writing of the song. It begins with wobbly weird noises (inspired by a song from PS2 video game ICO composed by Michiru Ōshima) continuing from the previous song, then chorused guitars slowly emerge from the noises and heavily distorted guitar melodies (inspired by Deftones) add up before the song breaks down and fades out, replaced by damaged found recordings. The title is a reference to Zhuangzi’s Butterfly Dream Parable.”
10. “Space Cadet (Demo Tape)”
Pastore: ““Space Cadet” talks about my grandmother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s. When I was little my parents told me she was mad and that I shouldn’t go visit her in her room because she could do me bad. The title is slang for someone who’s often absent or daydreaming (that’s me) and a reference to that old pinball windows PC game. When my grandma died, her room became a living room and there I spent my afternoons playing PC video games. The song ends with pink noise/ocean wave sound, the same used in the opening track “Turtle Dove.””
Travis Shosa is the founder and editor-in-chief of Stamens/Pistils/Parties. Formerly the runner of COUNTERZINE, he has bylines at Pitchfork, The Alternative, and Post-Trash among others.