Interviews / Music

The Technicolors Break Down Their New LP, “Cinema Sublimina”

Alt-rock band The Technicolors have returned with the release of their fourth album Cinema Sublimina. The latest release is a vessel of feel-good psych-rock and indie-rock that perfectly paints the natural beauty and synergy of Arizona’s wonders. Among the album’s tracks are highly acclaimed singles including “DJ in Brazil, Howl,” “Dress Up For You” and “Nightvisions.

While the LP may not have started out as a concept album, it ended up becoming a story that reflects the dissociation of reality. Tied together, the project’s personal thoughts are a battle between mind and body. In a time where singles dominate the music world, the band was proud to find a footing where they could put together a cohesive body of work that was focused on a single story. In their track-by-track, the band does a deep dive into the creative process of what it was like to work on each song.

1. Super Reflector

We had a busted-up groove that we really liked, and Sean and I initially put together a demo during our writing session in Joshua Tree. Once we hit the studio to properly track it the whole thing came together in a much quicker and bigger way than we expected.

2. Nightvisions

We had just returned from being on tour in Brazil, where Austin [Scates] and I had extended our trip after the shows to stay on a farm with some friends. We all ended up back in the studio two days after returning to Arizona, in hopes of capturing some of that dynamic shift between a place so vibrant and unfamiliar and the desert, where we all grew up and that sensation of being on your toes is often hard to come by. The song is sort of a cacophony of synthetic city lights and moonlit escapism and it definitely tells more of a story than originally intended, which seems to be a common theme. Wrote that one from scratch in the studio in a day after a sort of panic-failure of two different songs not working and all of us feeling pretty ‘stuck.’ Sean had the riff – as soon as he started playing Scates sat down at the drums, started hitting this metal stool next to the kit as a part of the groove, Nico came in with his part, Bob rolled tape and it all went from there. It’s too bad we hadn’t been fighting before it all happened because the whole thing felt like a terrible outtake from ‘That Thing You Do’ or something.

3. Dress Up For You

This is a song about dressing up for you. Which is actually a metaphor. The song started to feel like a bit of a mini-film or something, and our producer Jon was pretty adamant about having each instrument play its own role, much like a character, which not only helped us keep things simple on a musical end but it contributed to the story & overall theme of the song. Which is actually a metaphor.

4. Infinity Pools

This song went through so many different variations. We started it in the studio with Bob, but never finished it. Tried a different vibe with it tracking drums at our friend Jon’s studio in LA, and ultimately brought it to Chad out at Blackwatch in Oklahoma when I was living there during the pandemic. It wasn’t till Chad had added some final additions on the mini-moog that it started to all come together.

5. DJ In Brazil

DJ in Brazil is a western that depicts the modern man’s never ending quest to take shelter from the storm of self-deception and lies in a future-paradox that never seems to stop moving within the human frame. Based on a true story. 

6. Joybot

We really liked the title and it had been floating around for forever if I remember correctly. I have an old analog synth pedal that I really like and plugged my guitar into it and just played the intro riff as a joke. It sounded pretty cool so Sean and I made a quick demo of it in our friend’s shed back in AZ. About a year later we were in the studio recording our record and decided to try it out and the song just fell together, especially after Bob & Austin dialed in the drum sounds.

7. Human Form 

This song started with a loop that Sean had made with his little classical guitar, and we found it so entrancing and kept coming back to it. Sean kept muttering “human form” when he would get to the chord change so the whole thing kind of evolved from there. 

8. Howl

Howl was written in about 20 minutes. The melody, the chords, the lyrics, everything just came out like it was all waiting to overflow. It seems like every element of the song reflects & embodies those moments where something comes to a breaking point. Pretty good little ripper, this one.

9. Pretty Year

This was wild because we finished recording it about 5 months before the pandemic hit and after that, it took on a whole new meaning. The song was originally inspired by the movie “Joker” and Sean and I were really trying to capture the feel of someone being tormented by their own ambition, but after March 2020 it took on a whole new meaning, at least to us. Now every time I hear it I think about how we can only control so much, so you really have to cherish the good moments in life and the people closest to you. 

10. Mezzanine

I can’t remember how this one started, but this was the last addition to the album. I wrote it about a month after the pandemic started while chad was in the other room mixing “human form” and “infinity pools.” The final tune isn’t too far off from the original demo that I made. Probably my favorite song.

Cinema Sublimina is available to stream today. 

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Images provided by Elizabeth Miranda

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