Chillwave pioneer of sorts (and arguable inventor) Ernest Greene has returned with a new album under his moniker Washed Out. Paracosm, the new record is out on August 13 through Sub Pop. Greene took some time to discuss his music—and the genre that it spawned—with Pitchfork, who are also streaming the record in its entirety through iTunes by clicking here. He discusses his music as a sonic rebellion against his Georgia roots and more.
On his early music:
“It was very much a reaction against Southern music. I grew up in Macon, Georgia, where the Allman Brothers came from, and I was always the kid rebelling against [them].”
On “It Feels Alright”:
I just turned 30 and, in some ways, I think my golden years are past me. You can call it nostalgia, but things were just more fresh when I was younger and more naive. It’s not even the actual moment of what happened, but the realization in that moment that it’s beautiful. I know I’m probably coming across like a hippie by saying that, but that’s what the record’s about. Love it or hate it. I see a lot of beautiful things around me in the world and I consciously chose to write about it, because I’ve struggled with depression before. You can choose to fixate on that, or you can will yourself out of it. For me, music was always a very positive way to will myself out of that situation. In your imagination you can perfect things in a way you can’t do in your everyday life.
On Chillwave and its subsequent backlash:
I really don’t think much about it, though I’ve seen a lot of people saying [“It All Feels Right”] is a reaction against chillwave. In some ways, I’m grateful for it, because it defined me apart from millions of other kids in their bedroom making electronic music.
On some levels, it’s simple music with straightforward pop arrangements, so it’s fairly easy to copy. There were a ton of imitators, or just people doing it better than me, a year or two afterwards. A backlash was inevitable. I’m sure the lo-fi quality might’ve rubbed people the wrong way, too. I feel like I don’t hear as much really lo-fi sounding stuff these days.
On Washed Out as a bridge between indie and R&B:
I see some similarities. There was actually a track I heard this morning that was a really interesting mix of R&B and early Michael Jackson [Dornik’s “Something About You”], but it also had some synth tones that felt a little chillwave. I think electronic pop music in general is leading the way. I felt really lucky with the music I’ve been making; I’d been doing it for three or four years, and it just so happens that right around the time I started to put music out that this newer electronic music was starting to happen. The Drive soundtrack was pretty big, opening up people’s ears to electronic pop structure. And I hear a lot of the new R&B pulling some of those things out, for sure. It was just the right timing.
Pre-order Paracosm here or stream it here, tracklist and tour dates below.
2 It All Feels Right
3 Don’t Give Up
5 All I Know
6 Great Escape
8 Falling Back
9 All Over Now
8-24 Monterey, CA – First City Festival
8-25 Los Angeles, CA – FYF Festival
8-31 Seattle, WA – Bumbershoot Festival
9-02 Victoria, BC – 9ONE9
9-03 Vancouver, BC – Fortune Sound Club
9-05 Eugene, OR – WOW Hall
9-06 Portland, OR – MusicfestNW
9-08 Sacramento, CA – Launch Festival
9-10 Boulder, CO – Fox Theatre
9-12 Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
9-13 Chicago, IL – Metro
9-14 Detroit, MI – Laneway Detroit
9-15 Toronto, ON – Opera House
9-16 Montreal, QC – Corona Theatre
9-18 New York, NY – Terminal 5
9-19 Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
9-20 Boston, MA – Wilbur Theatre
9-23 Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle