Five Questions With… Psycho & Plastic
The Berlin-based electronica duo, comprised of Thomas Tichai and Alexandre Decoupigny, has signed to Rae Spoon’s Coax Records. Here the two discuss their upcoming cassette release, artistic evolution, and a love of British Columbia audiences.
By Jason Schneider
The latest signees to Rae Spoon’s Coax Records are Psycho & Plastic, the Berlin-based electronica duo comprised of Thomas Tichai and Alexandre Decoupigny, whose debut on the label is a limited edition cassette entitled Kosmoclub, out May 31.
The six-song package features new tracks alongside selections from their previous full-length album, 2017's Kosmopop, and its arrival coincides with Psycho & Plastic's highly anticipated appearance at the Tiny Lights Festival in Ymir B.C., June 7-9, where they will also be holding electronic music workshops. The duo will also be performing in Vancouver, Victoria, and Kelowna this week as part of a west coast visit.
With a passion for nonconformist music, Psycho & Plastic are on a mission to reintroduce a sense of wonder and adventure to both the dance floor and the home listening experience. Their growing catalogue and energetic live appearances are vibrant testimonies to their prowess as producers, composers, and performers.
Psycho & Plastic are in many ways prototypical Berlin electronica artists. They have earned praise from radio stations and music blogs across Europe, notably their video for Matekater, which was selected for screening at the Groovy Movie Picturehouse during Glastonbury Festival. The duo’s fiercely independent spirit is not only embodied in their music, but also in their own European label, GiveUsYourGOLD, that is home to a growing number of other innovative artists. For more info, go to psychoandplastic.com
What makes Kosmoclub different from your past work?
Thomas: Making Kosmoclub has been the first time for us that we didn’t start with a narrative concept or some abstract idea about the music we wanted to make. Instead, we took already existing pieces from our 2017 album Kosmopop, which was released in Canada in 2018, and set off reworking them for the dancefloor. In the last two years, we played an increasing number of live sets in clubs and at raves, often in-between house and techno DJs. That’s kind of the natural thing to do for us in Berlin and generally in Germany.
Alexandre: Over time, the direct feedback from the crowd helped us understand what works in those situations and what doesn’t. And we found possible ways to translate what we had previously done in the studio to a peak time dancefloor. We went back into the studio with that knowledge to capture some of the musical results of the process. This is what you’ll find on the Kosmoclub cassette, alongside two of the original versions we used as starting points.
Why did you decide to release it as a cassette?
Thomas: Cassettes are a fun and colourful format we had never done before. And we love trying out new things! For our fans who come to a show or meet us elsewhere, they offer a compact and cost-efficient way of getting their hands on a physical piece of our music, which is way more personal and memorable than the streaming that we all do anyway.
Alexandre: On top of that, cassettes are super handy for making limited editions, both for the label and for us as touring artists in this case. For a physical product, they are quite easy to travel with. And our Canadian label Coax Records’ experience with cassettes has so far also been nothing but positive.
How would you describe your artistic evolution so far?
Thomas: It’s been a long journey of musical self-discovery—all in all very rewarding but at times also painful. We started working together as Psycho & Plastic in 2011 and released our proper first EP in 2013. We mostly followed our passions, independent spirits, and stubborn minds without caring too much about musical fads or overall trends. We both never liked staying in one creative place for too long; there are just too many ideas worth exploring out there! We happily leave the critical interpretation of our back catalogue open to anyone who wants to listen through it and connect all the dots.
Alexandre: we think that we’ve come a long way in understanding that every artist makes music for an audience. It seems like a platitude, and everyone hears that right away from when they first pick up an instrument. But to us, theoretically knowing and understanding this seems like a huge difference that comes with experience. It’s eye-opening to learn what we can bring to the table as artists that resonate with an audience and helps them enjoy themselves, to understand what kind of reactions to our music we hope for and how we can get closer to communicating that musically. There’s still a lot more to learn, and we’re far from perfect, but we’re determined to keep progressing.
What's been the biggest change in your life over the past year?
Thomas: The one thing that has impacted both of us immensely and reflects on what we do musically is the fact that we were able to cross the Atlantic and play some shows in Canada for the first time in summer of 2018. A big shout out to the Artswells Festival and Rae Spoon at Coax Records is in order here! Apart from the obvious perks of touring internationally, we’ve both been deeply touched on an emotional and social level by the experience. Realizing that you resonate with people halfway across the globe, both as artists and humans, is profoundly humbling and inspiring. British Columbia audiences have greeted us with unbelievably open arms and hearts.
Alexandre: And we were fortunate to meet many amazing musicians and discover the wealth of values we all share and have in common. Despite often coming from seemingly very different backgrounds and musical traditions. All of this is why we’re back this year, and why we decided that our next musical project will be a collaborative one. We want to bounce ideas back and forth and turn this common vibe into new music that we can share with everyone.
What's something you'd like added or changed on your Wikipedia page?
Thomas: That’s pretty simple. We would love to have a Wikipedia page to begin with! So if you’re reading this and are into writing for Wikipedia anyway, knock yourself out. We’re more than happy to provide background info and quotations if need be. Just hit us up!