Album Release | Secrecies
A year after the release of their stellar single, "Hole in My Heart," Shawn Magill and Joey Noga of Secrecies bared some insight on their long-awaited, self-titled debut album.
Brittany Griffiths | 11 June 2019
Last Friday, marked the release of Dallas-based synth-pop duo, Secrecies, self-titled debut album. Two years in the making, the album released on local label, Idol Records, highlights the meticulous dedication to detail, the thoughtful conceptual approach and inventive instrumentation that Secrecies’ members Shawn Magill and Joey Noga paid to the creation of the record. Though it wasn’t constructed as a concept album, Shawn and Joey note that similar themes such as the transitory nature of life, the infinite possibilities of learning, and the process of discovery, continuously pervade the lyrics of every song and helped to create a framework for the beautiful sonic landscape of the album.
Secrecies began back in April 2017 after Shawn and Joey met by chance during a Cashmere Cat show in Dallas. The two bonded immediately over a shared love of synth-pop and electronic music, and jumped at the chance to be able to play with someone who shared like-minded sentiments about music. At the time, Shawn was in the process of working on some of her own music, and was looking for a bassist and drummer (both roles in which Joey was more than happy to fill) and it wasn’t long before they began collaborating with shared thoughts on recording the material in a studio setting. Their first studio endeavor resulted in the release of their debut single, “Hole in My Heart,” in March of 2018, and that May they headed back into the studio to begin recording the full album. The album was produced by John Dufilho (The Deathray Davies), recorded by Rip Rowan, mixed by John Dufilho and Aaron Kelley at Electrofonic, and mastered by Sarah Register in Brooklyn, NY.
Joey and Shawn took an intentionally hands-on approach in the production of the album, and spent many hours tinkering with different sounds and tweaking and fine-tuning the multi-layered composition of each song. “That’s why it took so long too,” explains Shawn, “it is just like layers and layers and layers of sound, and then it’d be like okay that’s too much sound. We were meticulously deciding like measure by measure.” Many of the challenges Shawn and Joey dealt with in finalizing the album came out of the realization that they would have to make difficult decisions about what to cut in order to create space to breathe within the songs. On “Feel This,” for instance, Joey recalls making an in-the-moment decision to use different types of sticks and brushes for the percussion parts in order to tone down the aggressive edge of his initial approach. After months of spending intimate time with the songs, Joey describes the feeling of looking back at the album as a whole — “In retrospect, it’s like ‘were these structures even good?’ We questioned the skeletons because we’d been so close to them for so long, but now it’s great to finally get this reassurance [from listeners] and be like ‘okay we’re not crazy.’”
That feeling of being closely entangled with the material during the process of creation is one that nearly all artists experience at one point or another throughout their careers, especially when working on something as comprehensive as an album, and it can lead to an artist having certain doubts about the final product. However, in the case of Secrecies debut album, let any reservations on the part of Joey and Shawn be quelled in light of the fact that it is a beautiful record. The album is laced with a track listing of standout songs such as “Life We Live,” “So Quickly,” “Far Away So Close,” “Hole in My Heart,” and (my personal favorite) “Feel Safe.” With catchy choruses and smooth melodies, the album opens itself up to audience appreciation across genres without stepping into the realm of the generic, and the intricate layers assembled in each song provide even more for the carefully attuned listener to latch onto and engage with.
For Shawn and Joey, that care and particular attention to creative and conceptual consistency doesn’t just stop with their music, but is evident in the striking collage-art Shawn created for the album cover, in the carefully curated video art implemented at their live shows, and in the representation of discovery in the music video for “So Quickly.” All of which lends itself to reinforcing the core idea behind the name of their band. “I think for me, it [the album art] sort of supported both the name of our band and album name,” say Shawn, “…finding things that aren’t often talked about. There are just a lot of really cool facts out there that I think we don’t know about or hear about because other facts are chosen to be highlighted. It just kind of all fits into finding new, secret things and bringing them to light.” It is precisely that element of discovery, the search for new and hidden things in the world, that make Secrecies a compelling band to listen to and follow.
You can catch Secrecies at their album release show at Three Links on Friday, July 12th with supporting artists, Nite, Zoe Zobrist, and Helium Queens and listen to their debut self-titled album at the links below!
Release Date: 7 June 2019
- Life We Live
- Anything At All
- Just Words
- So Quickly
- Everywhere To Me
- Far Away So Close
- Falling For You
- Hole In My Heart
- Feel Safe
- I Want Peace
- When We Speak
photos by Rob Chickering
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Brittany Griffiths is a writer from Dallas, Texas. She is the founder and editor of Spontaneous Afflatus, an independent publishing house that specializes in poetry and short story collections. She is also the editor of Wavelength Magazine. Last year she released her debut poetry collection titled, Ebb & Flow.
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