Anyone who’s been paying attention to the indie electronic music scene has probably seen Mindchatter‘s name pop up by now. The innovative NYC producer released a flurry of singles over the last several months, toured with Polo & Pan, and was just added to the Coachella 2022 lineup.
Now he’s dropping Dream Soup, the follow-up album to the acclaimed Imaginary Audience. Dream Soup is Mindchatter’s most mature, cohesive work yet. The tracklist ranges from mellow and acoustic as we saw on “Nothing On Me,” to the forward, house-leaning vibe we’ve come to expect from him on tracks like “Math” and “Hide Your Face.” Despite spanning this wide range of genres though, Mindchatter ties it all together with introspective, clever lyrics and a poppy synth kick that’s emerging as his signature sound.
Last week, Mindchatter (real name Bryce Connelly) took the time to sit down with us and talk all things Dream Soup, but we also got his thoughts on lucid dreaming, Akon, and touring with Polo & Pan. You can check out the new album from Mindchatter below, as well as our conversation with him. Enjoy!
Mindchatter – Dream Soup
Mindchatter is a New York City native and spent a year in LA doing a music program. But some fans may not know he also spent four years studying at GW in DC.
What was the music scene for you like in D.C.? Do you feel like that there are any opportunities that helped you while you were down there or influenced your music at all?
I used to DJ, and it was very much just a college town. There is this one club called Flash and it felt like you’re in Berlin or something. It was the coolest club and I managed to DJ there a couple of times. I would just be there every weekend and it was just like proper techno and European dance music and stuff. So that definitely played a role in my influence as I was coming up and just being able to DJ for people. I also was kind of like the college DJ, so I would have to play like Top 40 Drake and stuff. So it was a cool experience having to appease those people – the wasted college kids, but also find the middle ground of like playing stuff that I actually like.
When you were DJing these parties, what was your go-to track that would get the people dancing, but wouldn’t be too obscure?
There is this track by Akon that I played every time and it was such a throwback. Akon crushed it, and I would just play so much Drake. I played a lot of what was on the radio, but I still like stuff that’s on the radio. Not all of it. But even the stuff that I make now, some of it is kind of more catchy and mainstream, so I think maybe that has something to do with it appeasing college kids for four years.
So you’d describe your music as catchy and mainstream?
Some of it’s super weird, and some of it’s not that at all, but then some of it has like eight bars of a pop melody. I listen to everything.
Right. OK, so for people who aren’t familiar with your music, how would you describe your sound?
It’s a cocktail of many different things. It’s hard to describe, but I usually say organic electronic, which I kind of cringe at. Or indie electronic. It’s something kind of in between the cracks. It’s just a blend of so many different genres and influences. When I listen to music, I very much listen to music on shuffle, and sometimes I’ll work out to acoustic singer-songwriter stuff. To me, it doesn’t have to be like, you’re listening to rap music at this time and sad music when you’re sad.
Music lines up with visuals in really interesting ways. Like if there’s a movie or TV show on in the background of your apartment and you’re listening to a song, even if you don’t think that it matches the mood of the scene, sometimes it actually works out in a way that you didn’t imagine. And I feel like that’s the case with music where like, you can be listening to a song that you think wouldn’t be fitting for, the mood or the atmosphere, but it actually works in a whole nother way. At my shows and stuff, the goal is to have people kind of like dancing and crying at the same time, like happy and sad at once.
And has that happened, you’d say?
I hope so, to have at least one person sobbing.
You mentioned that you think music is tied to a real visual experience. And you have pretty strong branding and images that are tied across each of your releases. Leading up to the premiere of your new album, you were sharing on your socials that you have a kind of doodle book that you take inspiration from. Does the image come first and the music comes second? What’s the process with that?
Yeah, that’s an interesting question, I wouldn’t say that it comes first or second, it’s just all at once. Basically usually how I work is that, like you said, I have this whole kind of database of like years of random thoughts and stuff. A lot of it’s on my phone. And then as I’m writing, I’ll just draw on that. And sometimes a certain line will work with the melody that I’m writing and I’ll go from there. And it usually never ends up working out the way I imagine it. But the visuals are usually just a way for me to clear my mind. It’s just random stream of consciousness stuff. I have no idea what it means until like months later, usually.
That’s a cool mindfulness activity, I guess some people do yoga or meditation, you do random stream of consciousness doodling.
I don’t do it as much anymore, but for years, for like five or six years, I did it every morning where I’d wake up and it’d be the first thing I would do, I wouldn’t even look at my phone or anything. I would just go to the journal and write like two pages of free association writing where you try not to stop your pen from moving. And in the beginning, it was just total nonsense. It didn’t even make sense. It’s just word salad. It had no meaning whatsoever. But eventually, it started to kind of have a little meaning, and there would be some cool lines here and there and underline things. I love it. I would recommend it to anyone who does anything creative because it gets you used to not judging what you’re writing and to just let it out and to just brain dump on the page.
And are you the type that has lucid dreams? Are you kind of waking up with everything going on in your mind? Or is it more just like emerge from this slumber with a clear blank slate?
I do have lucid dreams sometimes. I’m really obsessed with dreams. I’ve read multiple books about lucid dreaming and attempts to try and control it and be like someone who can do it on command, and it’s never worked. I used to keep a dream journal. Sometimes a song will pop up in a dream as well, which I love.
Are there any songs from the upcoming album that have been influenced by those dreams?
I think actually the first song Human Shape, the original melody or something came from that. But it’s hard to say just kind of blurs together, and because I don’t write songs linearly, but all at once. I’ll write a batch of songs at once, like 10 songs that come together at the same time, instead of writing one and finishing it right then.
Your second album Dream Soup just dropped. How is this different from your debut album, Imaginary Audience?
I think it’s a lot better. I think it’s more mature. I was listening to [Imaginary Audience] the other day, and it sounded a little old to me. Like it sounded as if I wrote that years ago, and I wouldn’t write that now. [Dream Soup] is a little deeper. I think the lyrics are more personal and intimate and are less abstract and a little more concrete. I think lyrically is the biggest difference. And then just like the album before, the songs cover a pretty wide range stylistically; there are all sorts of genres on there. One or two of the songs are just straight acoustic and vocals. And then there’s one song with hardly any vocals, and it’s just like techno. So it’s kind of all over the place.
You’ve been touring right before Dream Soup comes out. How has that been going?
Mindchatter: It’s going well, the last show in New York was great. This was a hometown show, so I got to see all my friends and family. We sold out Elsewhere [venue in Brooklyn]. It was a great time. I got to run the visuals—for kind of the first time, the way that I wanted—and we had it properly time coded. So for certain parts of my set, the lyrics would appear and people could sing along and stuff with me. I put in a lot of work into the visuals, for sure. I’m in Atlanta and Chicago this weekend. It’s going well.
What is your favorite song on the new album to perform on tour to perform?
Probably the song “Math.” It just kind of goes off live. It’s really fun to fuck around with it. I programmed it so that I can play some of the synth lines on my sample pad and the percussion pad. And it is one of the more fast-paced ones, so it’s always more fun to play something that people can dance to. I definitely try and keep it as dancy as possible.
When you opened for Polo & Pan the first time [in 2019], that was really one of the first times you ever performed live. So now you’ve obviously got quite a repertoire under your belt at this point. How do you feel like you’ve grown as a performer since then?
Well, I was just like scared out of my mind. In the beginning, I had no idea what I was doing. Like you said, it was the first time I’d ever been on a stage. I didn’t get to enjoy it as much. Now I think I’m at the point where I actually enjoy it, which has come a very long way. I changed up the set a lot just in terms of how I do it on the back end and the software that I use. I’ve learned a lot in terms of that, and it’s easier for me now. And yeah, it’s all about being able to be in the moment when you’re up there because if you’re in your head, everyone feels that. And so I think in the beginning, I was way more in my head than I am now. And there’s nothing really you can do about that, I think, other than just to get up there 20 times or something. And I’ve finally gotten to the point where that’s happened.
There’s a video that you or someone else posted immediately after you come offstage stage for one of your first performances and they’re like, “how was it?” And you’re just like “You know, I’m just glad it’s over.”
Yeah, exactly. I don’t think I would say that anymore.
So what was it like touring with Polo & Pan?
Yes, I actually toured with them twice. First, in 2019, the first year that I put out music, and then just this past year, I toured with them for two weeks. And even in those two years, they like really stepped up. The venues were twice as big. They’re playing massive arenas and stuff. That was just a really cool experience to be able to play in front of that many people…And really just the practice of being able to play a show, wake up in a new city, play, and show up in a new city. It was the first time I really did that for two weeks straight. They did 12 shows in cities I had never been to, which was really cool. Just the repetition of getting to do it over and over again is priceless because now I feel like I’m just more experienced.
You released your first single officially in 2019. This week, they just announced now that you’re on the Coachella lineup. Congratulations on that. What advice would you give your former self at the beginning of all of this?
I would tell myself to just chill out a little bit. It’s all going to be OK. You don’t have to worry so much about trying to manage every single little thing and it’s OK to put your head down and just do what you love, which is making the music itself and working on the live [shows]. It’s easy to say now looking back, but in the beginning, it can take a toll on you.
Earlier this year, you did a collab with Emmit Fenn. Is there any dream artist that you would love to collab with, or any that we could expect?
Kanye West would be awesome. I really like Radiohead and LCD Soundsystem. Those are the bands that I’ve always looked up to. Hopefully, I’m going to put out some more collabs this year that are already kind of in the works. So I’ll leave it as a surprise.
What’s the closest moment you’ve had where you’re like, wow I’ve made it?
Well, I don’t think I’ve made it yet. But I think there was this moment when I walked into the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium [in San Francisco, when opening for Polo & Pan]. Even though I was opening up and it wasn’t my show. I was with my manager and we walked in the wrong entrance. It just covers the entire square block and we just straight up laughed for a minute straight looking at this shit. And it was a cool moment, just seeing the stage and how absolutely massive it was.
What else should we know about Mindchatter?
I don’t only make music. I mainly make music. I pretty much only make music. But I also play chess. I have friends here playing chess, and I have a camera, so I like to do some photography stuff. I’m trying to start film and music videos and stuff.
Do you have any music video shoots or plans underway?
I had a big plan underway that ended up being like way too expensive. It was for the song called “Human Shape”. There’s a line in the song that says “My skin is made from clay, I mold myself to human shape”. And so I was going to be made out of clay, and would have been molding myself throughout the course of the video from a big blob of clay. I would have been this clay man that was singing the lyrics and dancing and stuff, but all the VFX quotes were insane.
So I guess for now, when we listen to “Human Shape,” we’ll just have to imagine you slowly being sucked into clay.
Yes, a big mud man.