Psymun & K.Raydio: We want people to step outside the box with their ears

Photo courtesy of the artist

For a while now, Psymun and K. Raydio have individually been names to watch. Since their latest string of collaborations, in preparation for their LucidDreamingSkylines LP, they've made some significant noise locally and nationally. Psymun's glitchy, ambient grooves meld perfectly with K. Raydio's nuanced voice for a fresher take on R&B.

Gimme Noise caught up with the duo in advance of their show at Nomad this Friday, as part of a showcase of cutting-edge local R&B.

Gimme Noise: How did this collaboration come together?

Psymun: I think it started when I randomly sent her a beat, and I didn't think she would reply. We'd never met or talked or anything. She sent a message like, this is good, send me more.

K. Raydio: It was crazy because I was in a production drought. I kind of went through a year, in terms of sound, where it was either really cliche R&B production that I was getting, or I would get something that was just too busy. It was crazy, because one day I just checked my e-mail, and he was like, hi, I'm Psymun, I've heard your stuff, here's a couple beats. They were like, perfect. So dope! We started e-mailing and we just kind of became friends from just hanging out.

Psymun: When me and Damacha came out with our album, I wanted to get K. Raydio on at least on one song. We were lucky and got her on three songs. After that, we were like, we should just do a full-length.

What was it about the beats that caught your ear initially?

K. Raydio: They were so authentic and natural. A lot of times with production, it'll either be too much or too little, and Psymun's production is just very authentically him. It doesn't sound forced. He has this very innate, keen, distinctive ear. Especially as a vocalist, I really like working with left-of-center production. I worked with Denver producer Man Mantis for some older projects that I had, and his sound is similar in the sense that he still has an ear for hip-hop, but it was more like thinking outside the box. We were able to create our own sound that was very uniquely us. It was all different but it all sounded cohesive. I had been struggling with writer's block. The last project I did was the Significant Other EP, and there were two parts. The second part came out March of 2011, and a lot of production [I'd receive] after that was kind of cliche. When Psymun sent that [first beat], it was kind of that break of writer's block that I really needed. It was so different from all the other production I'd been hearing that it kind of was refreshing. It just helped. He ended my writer's block.

Do you come up with the lyrical direction ahead of time, or do you feed off the beat?

K. Raydio: Definitely feed off of it. "Sirens," that was one where the production was so haunting. When we have sessions, he'll send me production or we'll just meet together and kind of talk about it. It's been pretty cool because it's always a fresh take and always a fresh ear. The album is really cool because the songs are really different but they all kind of paint a picture. With "Sirens," we had written that song months before the actual George Zimmerman trial, and it was more just a portrait of the American judicial system. My uncle's been locked up for almost 30 years. It's just something to try and paint a portrait of what's going on in this country. It was poignant when that happened to have "Sirens" go... We didn't expect "Sirens" to explode like it did. It just kind of happened.

The album title is LucidDreamingSkylines. We felt the opening track "Sweet Dreams" is kind of in like a dreamlike state, like the album is, but at the same time it incorporates the perception of reality, and it's up to the listener to decide what's part of the dream and what's real, is it vice versa, it's kind of up for interpretation. It works because you can have a dream or you can have a nightmare. Kind of in that sense, some of the songs are a little bit more light and introspective, and there are others that are introspective in a little bit more of a haunting way. It's open for perception.

Psymun: I never thought about it like that, but I like that. 

K. Raydio: When you listen to it, it's kind of the cycles of dreams. You don't just have one dream. Falling asleep and waking from that, if you do wake from it. We didn't set out for it to be any specific concept. It's more the music does that for you. I've never had that happen to this extent before. We work really well together, which is awesome. 

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