Renowned singer-songwriter and music collaborator Emily Zuzik, best known for her work with Moby, Tim Lefebvre (David Bowie), and as a solo artist, announced the second single and video from her project Woves' forthcoming album, ‘Chaos Mesa.’
The project includes producer and composer Josh Ricchio (Freak Owls, Will Pharaoh) and drummer Kolby Wade (Will Pharoah). Woves unite their respective influences to create thematic indie-electronic songs, reminiscent of a drive through the neon lights of nostalgic nights.
As we take in all that is “So Used to Heartbreak,” we zone in on the syncopated ambiguity that lures us into its underworld. Intriguingly elusive as the fluttering synths, opulent guitar riffs and tight drum patterns courtesy of an analog drum machine take full control, the various layers to this composition are uncanny.
Emily Zuzik’s sultry timbres pull us into the ethereal realm of laced emotion that immerses us in the sonic experience of a lifetime as avid music listeners. You can’t help but to be drawn towards the mesmerizing hues that provoke thought and weave together an essence so rich in its texture that you’re blanketed by your own absorption. Fixating upon the luxurious harmonies contrasting to bring the ultimate release of therapeutic tenors, Josh Ricchio can be heard lending his delicate croons through a series of backing and lead vocals that have each artist feeding into their virtuoso talents.
In “So Used to Heartbreak,” Josh Ricchio explains that the singer is so used to being heartbroken, that feeling of wanting to die every time, that they might as well die in the person's arms while it happens again, while Emily Zuzik chimes in with stating that the singer is telling their lover that they're trapped by ghosts of love past and can't show up for what's in front of them in that very moment.
Not only do we have a sonic escapade that has us hooked on its resonance, but the narrative depicted touches on familiar themes that cater to their expanding fan base in a major way.
Hello Woves, welcome to BuzzMusic, and congratulations on the release of your second single “So Used to Heartbreak.” We love the intricate soundscape that truly has us hooked for every moment of its evolution. With such a descriptive narrative that speaks to the various angles of heartbreak, was there a specific moment or story that inspired the songwriting?
Josh: In So Used to Heartbreak, the singer is so used to being heartbroken, that feeling of wanting to die every time, that they might as well die in the person's arms while it happens again.
Emily: Or, the singer is telling their lover that they're trapped by ghosts of love past and can't show up for what's in front of them now. I think that duality in the lyrics makes this song really cool. It can go a lot of ways with its meaning
Could you please share a glimpse into what the creative process looked like when bringing this song to life? Are there any differences in the process you take on now that differ from when you went by Will Pharaoh?
Emily: We work as a team. Usually, Josh creates the song structure and vibe and I go in with the story and melody. Then we get together and get that down. From there, we find areas for harmony and try lots of vocal textures. Josh then takes all we have and weaves it into a sonic tapestry. I’m not involved with the initial song spark and Josh doesn’t usually weigh in much on lyrics. This song, So Used to Heartbreak, is all his words though. I think he initially wanted me to sing the lead, but I insisted that his voice was perfect for it and since we’re a band, he should sing at least one lead. I then came in with harmonic ideas on the chorus and textures like the whisper chant “Heart” at the top of the song. Will Pharoah songs worked similarly. I’m more the top line and lyrics gal. Josh creates the bed that inspires it. Sometimes we hash over my words, but not always.
Josh: The biggest similarities that Will Pharaoh and Woves share are that we write and record everything basically separated from one another, usually by coasts, and also (yes) it's the same three artists involved in both projects. The aesthetics of both are completely different, though. WP was a duo of producers writing songs for specific artists and vocalists to collaborate with, and Emily featured on a good number of those. Woves is, specifically, built around a 'synth wave' motif with darker, more intimate sensories and lyrics. We write in multiple genres, so I would get in a groove in my studio where I would create batches of instrumentals and send them to Emily to write her vox. Sometimes, as in 'So Used To Heartbreak', I would lay down vocals on a verse or chorus and we'd just keep it...our voices seem to match up pretty well, so it seemed natural. Kolby would usually do the same, and send me some beats or instrumentals and they'd fit the mold we were going for, so I'd just continue the process of fiddling around and working out the tracks before sending them off to Emily. We'd record all the vocals at my studio, Sing Engine Records, here in LA, where everything is also produced and mixed. The only other person who touched the music was Tom Ruff out of Asbury Park Media in Jersey, who mastered the album.
How does this song compare to the previous single released from the forthcoming project ‘Chaos Mesa’?
Josh: The majority of 'Chaos Mesa' is sung by Emily, so we wanted our first single, 'Release', to mainly featuring her. But, there are moments on the album where I do my thing, so it only seemed natural to release a track introducing a new voice people could expect to start hearing on any given track. 'Release' is also a pretty straightforward song, with basically only a bass synth, beat, and voice in the mix. We wanted something direct and to-the-point to introduce the band, then continue on to the more complex sounds on later releases. 'So Used To Heartbreak' also gets to the point without becoming derivative, but definitely progresses the overall sound forward. We have some really interesting and disparate things that happen varyingly throughout the album, but it's good to listen to it as a whole to see how each separate track fits into the story. The videos we have for each single also follow that dark wave path, with creeping, hallucinatory visuals that ebb and flow, triggered by the lyrics and sounds, but where the 'Release' video follows the choreography and path of two characters, the video for 'So Used To Heartbreak' is more abstract and visceral.
What can you tell us about ‘Chaos Mesa'? What do we have in store in terms of themes and messaging portrayed?
Emily: The album is somewhere in that synthwave/synth-pop vein. We don’t subscribe to the total ‘80s aesthetic though. We create with oscillating analog synths and beats. Sometimes the songs drag New Wave references into the lyrics, but not always. Release, our first single, was always a very retro tune for me. I imagined someone like Laura Branigan singing it in that big chorus kind of way. It’s anthemic as a stop change/run with the times/ burn it to the ground kind of message. But it’s not all retro sentiments, for instance, one song off the album, Nova, was inspired by a Brian Eno documentary I had watched. I tried to imagine being a woman on the sidelines in the moment of his rise from Roxy Music onward. It’s totally imagined and that is fun for me as a songwriter. On the flip side, another song off Chaos Mesa, The Kill, draws from Grace Jones and dark early Duran Duran, so that’s about as 80s as it gets. As far as Chaos Mesa’s title is concerned, I discovered it from a documentary on Mars that I saw at the Science Center. It sounded mysterious and sciencey all at once. Plus, I liked the nerdy definition of it too. As far as lyrical themes, I’m sure one will find the usual love and longing and loss that permeates most of what I tend to write about. Some of the songs are more rooted in moments in time. I think Heartbreak is like that. There are a couple of others on the record that also come to mind. I feel like there’s some kind of journey in each song. You just sit back and figure out where it takes you.
What's next for you?
Emily: It would be great to do these songs live. I don’t know when that will be though. Josh and I are both in LA but our drummer Kolby lives up north. Rehearsals would be a pretty far commute. We are definitely looking into getting these songs to TV and film because they are so cinematic in feel.
Josh: Releasing the album! Maybe end-of-summer...