Origins is our new music feature in which an artist peels back the curtain to reveal the inspirations behind their latest single.
Sawyer Gebauer has spent many a night evaluating how his surroundings have impacted his creative process. It was his move to Sweden that led to him launching his first musical project, Brittsommar, at age 19. A move to Berlin and recording in a dilapidated warehouse led to the group’s album The Machine Stops. His return to the States, shacked up in a virtual Texas ghost town, led to him launching his solo project, Catch Prichard, with the Eskota EP. Now, he calls Oakland, California his home, and once again the new locale controlled the direction of his music.
This time, it was actually a sense of stagnation in his new city that pushed him. The Bay Area left him feeling disjointed, needing to center his creativity in new ways. He turned towards learning piano, his spirit renewed by the challenge. With fresh skills at his disposal, Gebauer found himself recording at the foot of his bed, letting his misgivings about his environment pour out in the sanctuary of his bedroom. Perhaps ironically, the resulting effort, the Utter Disbelief EP, is perhaps best encapsulated on one of the few tracks recorded in a studio: “Going Crazy”.
“‘Going Crazy'” dives into the floating anxiety and insecurities we as humans all share in our own ways,” Gebauer explains to Consequence of Sound. “Fear of self evaluation, how much we change, or how much we may stay away from it.”
“I’m thinking that I’m thinking/ And going crazy on going crazy,” Gebauer sings, his shredded, husky voice like someone dragging the needle on a Nick Cave record. “Then I get that feeling/ Like someone’s tased me.” Mellotron notes hum darkly alongside padding electronic melodies that slide underneath the heavy vocalizations, the whole thing lifted into the gloaming by a soothing sax solo. It’s Catch Prichard reborn out of the struggles of relocation, as it ever has been in the past.
Take a listen below.
Utter Disbelief is out February 22nd. For more on the what made him realize he was “Going Crazy”, Gebauer has broken down the track’s Origins, beginning with a note for you, dear readers:
“Songs and stories are the alchemy of people, places, and experiences. They are not flash points in time. Not a broad brush of the human condition so easily spoken and understood. Rather, they are days, months, and years of emotion, scenery, and learning, that inspire the finality of creating something tangible in the form of verse. I have listened to the melody, I have read the words, and I have sat at my piano trying to remember how it was to create this song for the very first time. I went on a late night walk and listened again. After a long restless ponder, it is safe to say I am still uncertain of the exact source of inspiration. Whether it was a response to something external, or sparked from within. Regardless, this is my attempt to return and dig for the memories and dreams that remain in my subconscious. So, as an ode to time, reflections, memory, and loss, let’s dedicate this Origins feature to just that. For you, CoS.”
Moving to California threw me into the need to redefine. New home, new people, new work. The musical creativity was on idle because my internal energy was being burned. I was thrown into angst because the music was silent. The feeling of not having enough time. Not answering my call. Not living my purpose. Powering through the restlessness I discovered piano. Building it into my work along with guitar changed my formulation of songwriting. I wrote “Going Crazy” out of necessity. That feeling still follows me like a shadow at my heels.
Lana Del Rey:
I remember when we were in the studio mapping out how we were going to make this track and the overlying theme was, let’s make something Lana Del Rey would want a piece of. Someday. You can hear her influence in the sweet, lowdown beat that drives you forward. The drums and percussion are reminiscent of her Ultraviolence record.
Bruce Springsteen – “Tougher Than the Rest”:
This amazing song will always be close to my heart. There’s nothing better than a Springsteen synth part mixed with that huge kick and snare. You can hear us playing with that dynamic throughout the coming album, especially in “Going Crazy”.
Rhye – “3 Days”:
The song “3 Days” from Rhye’s album Woman was my top song during this time of internal burn. It was the anthem for my friend group. A lot of dancing to this song on repeat. This album sparked an expansion of my songwriting into a lighter field.
Teaching myself piano was critical because I couldn’t yet read music. The body of work that guided me was Joep Beving’s first album Solipsism. A long cold winter was spent with Joep at my side on my piano bench. We understood each other. I found his music when I needed it most. It has the soul and depth that I aspire to for my own music.