- Jason Hesley
healthyliving to release "Songs of Abundance, Psalms of Grief"
healthyliving is the project of long-time collaborators and friends who met through the European underground metal scene - Amaya López-Carromero (Maud the moth), Scott McLean (Falloch, Ashenspire) and Stefan Pötzsch. Having worked on various musical projects together for years, Amaya’s, Scott’s and Stefan’s artistic and personal connection coalesced organically and fuelled a small transnational collective across Scotland, Spain and Germany.
Songs of Abundance, Psalms of Grief is their concise and direct debut full-length album, funded by Creative Scotland and will be co-released on the 7th April by the band and La Rubia Producciones, followed by a debut live performance at the prestigious Roadburn Festival in Tilburg.
Artistically, the band draws from the beauty and horror of the banal to create a kaleidoscopic and evocative musical world which commutes across genre borders. The album, Songs of Abundance, Psalms of Grief, covers “everyday emotions which are apparently unrelated and mundane” but were chosen for their ability to represent common ground we all share as humans. Indeed, the band themselves describe their music as the soundtrack to “digesting our humanity”, coming to terms with the hopes and fears we all share.
A nocturnal haze of guitar layers lap like mammoth waves, as healthyliving taps into something primal and transfixing with their hypnotic sound. Amaya’s eerie and cosmic vocals sit atop the storm, leaving the listener to find pure human vulnerability and emotion in frequently turbulent and unfettered vocal turns.
Vocalist Amaya expands, “The magic of musical composition/songwriting for me lies in its capacity to create worlds outside of reality where both performers and listeners can explore and process things. A sort of microholiday from everyday life or an exciting meditative state, so I hope that we can share this experience with anyone who listens to the album.”
healthyliving honour this natural connection; something which is reflected in the simplicity, rawness and immediateness of their approach to songwriting. “Whenever an idea was found to be inspiring the whole song and structure needed to be written and finished within the same session.” says guitarist Scott. “Going back to work on it later or changing it was not allowed.” It’s a testament to the band’s conviction in instinct over pre-planning. Stefan confirms - I’m into things being quite straightforward and intuitive despite the distance between us.”
Amaya continues, “All of the lyrics were written using free-association of the music with memories, or emotions that popped into my head in a dream-like manner.” She continues, “I titled “To The Gallows” first, as a summary of the main and oppressive feeling of the song; being stuck in a seamless feedback cycle of abuse that keeps repeating itself in a sisyphus-like vein. “To The Fields'' has an opposing energy, invoking growth, vulnerability and hope.”
The Scottish community from which the band mainly operate (and where Scott and Amaya still reside) is clearly of utmost importance to the band. The three members of healthyliving appear in other Scottish musical projects - Ashenspire, Falloch, Maud the moth, All Men Unto Me - are included. “The community has taken a really long time to form and it’s amazing that now there is so much going on around it.” says Scott. “The best thing is being able to create such a wide variety of music with close friends. There is something happening nearly everyday in relation to our little community of musicians which is really incredible and exciting.”
Amaya adds, “Feeling part of an artist community is absolutely crucial to survive long term and have any chance of thriving as an independent artist. When I lived in Madrid, I would go to lots of local shows and felt a relevant part of the scene there, even if there were not many opportunities for us regarding international activity or funding. It was slightly heartbreaking having to start again from 0 when I moved to the UK. Although I stayed in contact with all my friends back in Spain it took me a long time to find my footing again and the right people with a shared vision here in the UK.”
Stefan adds, “lest we forget the connection I feel as a friend and fellow musician to Amaya and Scott.” He adds this answer from his home in Germany, “It feels really effortless and rewarding.”
Amaya concludes, “I love connecting people together, and collaborating with others, so I am hoping to build something across the two countries; a mega-scene defined by shared interests and motivations rather than by geographical location.”
*(Bio Written by Rosie Solomon)*
2. Dream Hive
4. To the Fields
5. To the Gallows
7. Back to Back
8. Ghost Limbs