The Places You Go EP is out now on Cool.Cool.Cool: Stream
There’s inherent loneliness to the human condition, but experimental New York artist Sylvan Paul leans into the abyss of solitude on his latest single, “The Places You Go,” rather than shying from its magnitude.
Released today on Cool.Cool.Cool. is Paul’s two-track EP by the same name, which delves into “the tension between trying to fit in and find a sense of belonging while simultaneously carrying an inescapable sense of loneliness.”
Not meant to be “nihilistic or sad,” Paul expands it’s “a recognition that we all have those places we go in our head, those places we can’t take anyone else, and that these moments of pure isolation are not something to stuff away or look down upon, because they’re actually the common thread that ties us all together.”
Guided by his “obsession with analog outboard gear and microphones,” the indie crooner complements his resonant vocals and reflective songwriting with a soulful bass riff, kickdrums, and flairs of subtle instrumentation. Effortlessly, he creates a mystifying psychedelic-leaning soundscape with contemporary sensibilities, all while slowly seeping into the corners of your mind.
The project, which arrives with a remix by Mindchatter, follows Sylvan Paul’s 2021 EP, America, yet signals a new horizon for the rising artist who has sights set on a debut album. Get to know Sylvan Paul in our interview below.
How did you first get started in music?
I started playing guitar when I was 11 and started DJing when I was 15, but the real catalyst for my musical journey was a bizarre sickness I got when I was 16. I had Lyme’s disease coupled with an ocular nerve infection, and I couldn’t be in the light for 3 months. That really fucked me up emotionally, and when I came back from that, I felt estranged from my peers and really everyone I knew, and the only way I could channel the intensity of those emotions was through music. Ever since then, it’s been a sort of therapy and release – but it’s obviously become a lot more than that over the years.
Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Aside from any childhood fantasies about being a professional athlete or firefighter, yes, absolutely! Ever since I had a realistic inkling of what I wanted my life to be, I’ve always known all that I’ve wanted to do is be an artist.
Does your creative process change with each release?
It does. I get bored pretty easily and have a chronic fear of being predictable, so I’m always trying to evolve and develop, both in approach and style. Even though the process changes, I have a consistent philosophy to how I create sound, which is largely characterized by my obsession with analog outboard gear and microphones. I’m always trying to push my equipment to their boundaries, finding the weird quirks that generate something unique to that moment and difficult to replicate. I love the idea of having sounds and processes in each record that I can’t just “copy and paste” in the future.
You’re sharing a new song, “The Places You Go,” today. What is it about, and what went into making it?
Well, one thing that happens a lot for me is I write something, abandon it, and then come back to it months later with a renewed sense of vigor or perspective. So on a compositional level, this was actually a track that I wrote late last summer and then returned to earlier this year. Shout out to my boy Matt F.X. for giving me some really good ideas about where I could go with it and giving me the inspiration to finish it! In terms of the lyrics and feeling, the song is about the tension between trying to fit in and find a sense of belonging while simultaneously carrying an inescapable sense of loneliness inherent to the human condition. It’s not meant to be nihilistic or sad, just a recognition that we all have those places we go in our head, those places we can’t take anyone else, and that these moments of pure isolation are not something to stuff away or look down upon, because they’re actually the common thread that ties us all together.
Mindchatter also remixed the new track. How did you first connect?
We went to music school together in California, and he’s a really good friend of mine. His sound is so unique and inspiring, and he’s been absolutely killing it. I knew he would do something special with this track if I gave it to him, and he sure didn’t disappoint!
The song follows your 2021 EP, America. What did you want to portray with this release?
The America EP was a social-political commentary on the role of violence in American culture, and while I hope to push out that message as much as possible, there are a lot of other themes I explore in my music. With “The Places You Go,” I’m focusing on themes of self-actualization. Specifically, the difficulty of moving in time with a world that seems to be spinning faster and faster out of control. But there’s always a through-line between my releases in terms of the musical influences that flow through them. ‘The Places You Go’ continues my pursuit of merging 60s/70s psychedelic feel with contemporary grooves and palettes, and I get to show a different timbre of my voice that people might not be too familiar with.
What’s next for you?
I’ve been working on a lot of new material, and it feels like a debut album may be coming together!
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