Organizing Chaos with Mindchatter

On the second track of Mindchatter’s sprawling debut album, Imaginary Audience, the human being behind the often cartoon moniker, Bryce Connolly, hits his listeners with a timely ultimatum:

“Choose a side…

alt="Mindchatter Pick a Side"

cause I don’t know which one I’m on.”

Stream on YouTube

In the scenes, soundscapes, and ideas that follow, these words become less of a concrete request to the song’s subject and more of a breathing amalgamation of the space Mindchatter functions in. His stellar new project is hectic, cerebral, and versatile; exactly how he so meticulously crafted it to be. Bryce Connolly can’t seem to choose a side, genre, mood, or tone, and that’s undeniably his greatest strength. 

Watching Mindchatter’s ambitious musical ideas unfold so elegantly is quite the experience. He toes the line between anxiety and tranquility, tension and release, electronic and human. It’s a joy to take a step back and soak in all of the intricate layers in their complex glory, but it’s especially rewarding to lean in and appreciate each little tick, hum, and whir. Every sound has its special place and purpose.

Genre is especially hard to pin down, as the blanket term “electronic” fails to capture the fusions of hip-hop, R&B, and indie influences throughout. A hard listen to Imaginary Audience makes it clear that there’s quite a bit musically and conceptually to unpack with Mindchatter, which is why we decided to speak to the mastermind himself and take a closer look at the enigmatic world he’s created for himself.

How it all began…

“First, my mom got me taking drum lessons with one of the percussionists on Broadway that she worked with. Then one day I stumbled upon Logic and torrented it… [I] became obsessed. From there I was just making beats all throughout high school. At 22, I decided to go to music production school in LA and I started Mind Chatter from there.”

How the music gets made…

“My process changes pretty much every time. Lately it’s been starting with the piano. I didn’t even write lyrics until a few years ago. It used to start out with making instrumentals until I thought they were good enough to add vocals, but recently I’ve been starting with piano chords.”

Where the influence lies…

Do we note some James Blake and Radiohead?

“Well you definitely named a few right there. I’m a huge Radiohead fan and I love James Blake so I’m happy that bleeds through a little bit. I listen to a lot of older stuff. I grew up listening to Zeppelin because I played the drums. Jamie xx influenced me quite a bit and I listened to him a lot when I first started to produce”

LCD Soundsystem is a big influence too. James Murphy is an idol of mine.”

On creating Imaginary Audience

“[The album was created] over the course of a couple years really. That’s why there’s such a wide range which is what I really enjoy and strive for. I’m not a huge album person. My problem with albums is that there’s usually not enough variety and I have hardcore musical ADD. When I listen to music just for myself I just shuffle my stuff. I’ll have on Nina Simone and go straight into hardcore techno. That variety works for me. So I wanted to make an album that really covered a wide range. It helped that I slowly pieced this album together over a few years.”

So you almost strive to avoid cohesiveness?

It’s all coming from me to begin with so I’m not worried about cohesiveness as a lot of people are. If it’s coming from my head, it will be cohesive. With that being said, I want it to cover different moods and styles. Variety is something I always strive for and I want the next album to me the same if not more.

On the ideal setting to listen…

“Anywhere with a really good sound system…

My worst fear is that people are listening on their iphone speakers because I put a ton of work into the mix. I guess I would say anywhere with really good speakers or out in nature would be really cool. There’s sort of an isolation aspect to it so I think of it more of a headphones album than something you would play out. So I would say with good headphones on walking through some beautiful nature.”

On New York’s influence…

Influence? “Totally. I grew up here so I started listening to all kinds of music at a young age. It’s so diverse. I think that’s part of why my music is such a mish mosh of different genres. Because that’s what New York City is.”

On plans for 2021…

The plan is to play some live shows as soon as possible. I have some more music pretty much ready to go, it just depends on what makes sense for releasing more stuff. It’s really up in the air. Who knows. Hopefully I’ll be able to play some festivals soon.

If you enjoyed this piece, check out our interview with Hojean.

Thanks for reading!