Handing over the mic to artists/musicians who break down their new albums track by track/share the thought process behind the creation. Today we’ll hear from Maddy aka Haunted Disco, musician from Arkansas whom we profiled few years ago as part of our post-independence marathon.
Take notes, Tycho. THIS is how you make good chillwave. Sure, this entire genre as a whole is kind of prone to being a bit aimless–it’s entirely built on aesthetics and “the VIBES, man,” and because of its flash-in-the-pan nature, it’s almost completely dead these days. However, there is a way to get it right, and Haunted Disco proves that on “Commodore”. Lush, dreamy synths, retro soundscapes, and clear vaporwave influences make this one of the standout electronic releases of the decade thus far. – Album of the Year
For me, this instrumental is the feeling of escaping the grips of an abuser. The realization that they can’t harm you anymore and that it’s all over. The damage is already done, but now you can heal. There are a lot of emotions that get tied up in abusive relationships, most of them are awful, but I wanted to focus on that feeling of freedom you get when you’ve finally escaped someone’s shadow. Having your own agency can be a beautiful thing when you’re not used to having any agency at all.
Limelight is about simultaneously craving and fearing attention. I grew up frequently trying to gain attention for myself, always wanting that sweet hit of validation. However, being as socially awkward and introverted as I am, this desire is immediately replaced with trembling fear the moment I have any attention. I don’t know what it is, but the moment people notice me, I start to panic. So why do I even want it? I don’t know, I’m still working this out with my therapist.
I was assigned male at birth, and spent the first quarter of my life believing that was true (it wasn’t). As a result, I’ve had dysphoria all my life and never had the tools to deal with it or even recognize it thanks to being surrounded by transphobia growing up. I repressed so much and it felt like a life unlived, locked away. Yet, I always knew something was wrong. I can trace my dysphoria as far back as my memory will let me. Unfortunately, knowledge of this information only exacerbates dysphoria and doubt for me and the road to transitioning feels so daunting. This song is about breaking through all that, a little piece of gender affirmation to remind me that I’m on my way to being who I want to be.
An artefact of my ADD is that my mind is always racing through so many thoughts. Coupled with my anxiety, it’s amazing what paranoid thoughts I’ll sometimes land on. Sometimes I’ll spiral out and be lost in completely fabricated anxieties. This is another problem that I’ve had for a long time and didn’t start addressing until recently. I’ve been going to a therapist and psychiatrist regularly in an attempt to fix a lot of what I ignored and it’s been great. It’s still an uphill battle. This song is primarily about recognizing the storm that my mind has always been, with a little hope that all the work I’m putting in right now will pay off in the end.
This song is a stream of conscious walkthrough of someone who’s up way too late at night, lost in thought. I placed this after the last track thinking it would be clever to transition into this perspective after a song that sings about that perspective, although I’m not really sure if that comes across at all thanks to how vague my songwriting ends up being, especially on this track. I was going ham on the vagueness here.
I feel like the older I get, the more time compresses. Months are flying by and I feel like I’m barely engaging with the time that I have. Depression makes me zombified and I’m just letting life pass me by. The passage of time feels like falling. There’s not really anything you can do about it, you just let it happen to you. I think this is a terrible mindset to have and I’m working to get away from it. I think I just used this song to help work this out and speak these thoughts out loud.
This is specifically about my relationship with mirrors. Thanks to the aforementioned dysphoria, the mirror has always been an existential crisis for me. Sometimes, I just sigh and accept what it shows me. Other times, I’m so disturbed by it that I just can’t even look. When that happens I’ll avoid the mirror for days. Then, to add to the confusion, there’ll be times where I’m transfixed by my reflection. It’s kind of dizzying bouncing between these feelings that, to me, make zero sense.
The third track in my trilogy of Damn! tracks. These tracks will appear on my albums as a meditative moment to pull back from everything and take stock. They try to focus on a feeling that is tied to the rest of the album. In this case, it’s repressing who you are and feeling disconnected from the world around you. Present physically, absent mentally.
I think the overall theme of Commodore is trying to take control of your life. For me this means a lot of things: escaping the abuse of my father, taking my mental health seriously, being a more present person, being the woman that I want to be. It’s a lot easier for me to simply acknowledge the roadblocks I have; it’s much more challenging to do something about it. The statement this album tries to make is “I am going to try”. That’s the best I can promise myself.