Visual artist-turned-musician Michael Kay Terence produced and recorded his first EP, Familiar Patterns, in his bedroom during lockdown. We caught up with him ahead of some live dates this summer to talk about new album Safe House and the joys of retro technology.
What was the thought process behind Safe House?
It was based on being in lockdown and being in the one room. The songs were really based around looking back on things that happened in the past and moments where things weren’t so good. Just trying to create a narrative that is a wee bit more cohesive, in the sense that I didn’t want it just to be random songs put together. Specifically, having been in lockdown, I actually kind of started to enjoy quite a lot being on my own, just being stuck in the house. And it was weird because I used to always love going and seeing people and stuff like that. But now when I’m not going to do something that’s for music or for work, I tend to not really go outside. I think that’s maybe something that everyone’s had to deal with, with lockdown. So Safe House is more about the idea of it being okay, being at home on your own.
I’ve noticed a bit of a recurring theme of nostalgia for tech in your work: you’ve released music on cassette or your website that I’ve lost a good half hour playing solitaire on.
Yeah, well, I love the older stuff. And there’s things I used to collect, you know, like Super 8 cameras and film, and I have an 8mm film projector. I love things like that because I think there’s a lot more authenticity about it and it’s more immediate. The little human errors in it are quite interesting and fun to see because I think it feels more natural.
I’ve got an old tape recorder where you would speak into it from a little microphone and record your voice. Like a little hilarious, tiny microphone. And I spent ages trying to record vocals for it. There’s a little bit of that in some of the songs. I approached all the recording and taping of all these things kind of like an experiment, just to see how it went and to have fun doing it.
It snowballed, because then friends were asking me to do things. My website was made by my friend Paul, because he was doing a digital media course. It sort of naturally happened from things I wanted to do for fun, things that were creative. It’s building quite a lot of momentum now out of a wee hobby: that’s quite cool, really.
Swiss Portrait play the Wide Days Showcase on 20th of May
Safe House is out now on Spirit Goth