Review Fix chats with Prismatics’ Brook Austen, who discusses the band’s origin, goals, creative process and new single, “Outside Looking.”
Prismatics is a Missouri-based four-piece influenced by the new wave, dream pop, and post punk movements before them, but informed by harrowing realities of modern life around them. Earlier this year, vocalist/keyboardist Brooke Austen, guitarist/vocalist Josh Clark, bassist/vocalist Jo Bossi, and drummer Ben Stenberg were set to record the follow-up to their 2018 debut New Emotion when coronavirus took hold.
Review Fix: How did you get involved in music?
Brooke Austen: I’ve been drawn to performing and making music since I can remember. When I was a young kid, I began entering small talent competitions and my dream was to be on Broadway. While my goals have shifted, I joined my first band at age fourteen and haven’t stopped since.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Austen: The creative process for me is oftentimes a period of introversion. I tend to burrow myself away, write songs or pieces of songs and lay in extra parts to our pre-existing demos. I will then present what I have worked on to the band and we go from there. I feel as though the rest of the band thrives in a more actively collaborative process. I find deep satisfaction in hearing what they come up with while in a room together and then adding my ideas to the mix respectively. We each have unique methods of writing and our overall formula varies from song to song. I would say a defining part of our creative process is reimagining our creative process.
Review Fix: What inspires you?
Austen: Metamorphosis, film, soundtracks, my dreams, the dreams of others, the myriad of artists whose work ethics and catalogs I cling to, poetry, the past, future, and the unknown.
Review Fix: What does music mean to you?
Austen: Fully experiencing human existence.
Review Fix: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you?
Austen: Our music is what happens when a group of people who love goth bands and Rush in equal measure join forces. More specifically, from prog to the ethereal, we have a diverse pool of influences and various genres shine through depending on the song. We tend to combine these influences and filter them through an art-pop, post-punk, and new wave lens.
Review Fix: How are your live shows different from your studio work?
Austen: The form of intimacy involved and the variety of give and take is what separates our live performances from our studio work. Speaking for myself, what I record is largely introspective in nature, like writing in a journal. This type of intimacy brings about a different style of performance. While we aim for precision with our live performances, there is a particular level of freedom and spontaneity that differs from our studio work. The energy of the outside world combines with what we are playing to collaboratively take the songs to different realms. Visually, our shows venture into the theatrical. Josh enjoys lighting design and we each strive to create a visual experience that aids in telling our stories. Overall, we want to stay true to the core of our recorded sound while providing a unique and additive experience at our shows. We strive to make it equally worth it to see us live multiple times and to also listen to our recordings, with each listening experiencing taking on a life of its own.
Review Fix: What inspired “Outside Looking”?
Austen: Pre-pandemic, I wrote the lyrics to Outside Looking with the idea of breaking free from the confines of living vicariously through others. I went into it feeling lighthearted and determined. It would be our version of a “road-trip” song. Little did we know a pandemic would soon drastically alter our lives, forcing many of us into a situation in which we are quite literally on the inside looking out. The song shifted from being a mildly quirky “I’m doing it! I am going to go out there and finally live!” inner call to action, to feeling far more wishful in nature. We recorded the video remotely while under stay at home orders and with limited resources (self-recorded phone footage the guys sent me, one tripod, one camera, one lens, and my younger brother). I wanted to go a horror route and living dead imagery fit the bill for what the song ultimately came to represent.
Review Fix: What are your goals for the rest of 2020?
Austen: As the year comes to a close, our goals remain steady: To push forward, create, and build upon our sound.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Austen: While we certainly dream of the day in which we will perform live again, in the meantime we plan on writing and recording as much as humanly possible. We look forward to sharing many new releases and diving deep into creative projects as a band.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Austen: I appreciate the chance to talk about our music and process. Those who would like to follow us can find all of our social media links at www.prismaticsofficial.com