Relationships have long been the muse of song writers providing a plethora of emotional contexts and content to spill forth. It seems simple right – reach into the heart and hurt, jot down a few words and wallah – got yourself a hit!! Not so…
There’s a lot of communication between a blogger and the artist about themselves, their music and such but it’s rare to get such a complete insight into the piece from start to finish on a truly intimate level – straight from the inner realm of the artist’s mind.
Perth artist Rhys Prosser provided me with such an opportunity on the release of his new single ‘Toxic Relations’ (out on all streaming platforms now – see links below).
I could have rewritten his words, used the information differently, but I’m not a marketing guru feeding keywords to an audience – I prefer to let you seep into the inner realm with Rhys and print the truth of the matter straight from a creative to his future fans…
‘Toxic Relations’ is about being with someone that is not necessarily treating you in the best way. The person is abusive, but you stay with them because you don’t want to be alone. It’s about being in a toxic relationship that is so draining and provides a constant high level of anxiety every time you go out in public with the person. You are always scared that they are going to have an issue with something no matter what you do. I wrote it from the perspective of the man in the relationship, it’s written in a way that it’s more of a journey or a story in the sense that it starts off with just going out on a Friday night and then by the end (after going out) you’re still trying to convince yourself that you should leave but you stay with them anyway.
The song starts with a jazz style beat which I took a lot of inspiration from John Densmore’s (The Doors drummer) drumming style. And then it quickly changes to a straight and in time beat. The way I came up with that arrangement was actually by quantizing the piano notes and then re-recording the drums etc. on top of the in-time notes rather than the flow of the jazz drums. After the first verse it changes tone completely with the second part of the song, this part was always just a solo piano section, but I wanted to add more substance, so I recorded drums and bass onto it to give it a bit more feeling. It’s there to get you prepared for the next part which is the rap section.
A rap section in a song is something I have wanted to do since I started music back in 2017. I am not really a trained rapper, so I wanted the part to sound more like a spoken word/talking style and I am super happy with how it turned out. I think the style of rap was definitely influenced by twenty-one pilots, in particular ‘Levitate’ from their Trench album. Having a rap in a song is a huge part of what I’ve always wanted my music to sound like. I love the entire section and it is probably my favourite part of the song. After the rap section finishes, it goes straight into the piano solo. I spent hours trying to get the second part of that solo in time, but I’m super happy with how it turned out. Then the song returns to the jazz section to end the song.
Overall, I am so proud of this song, and I can’t wait to start performing it live!
Great insight, thanks Rhys – and what did I think of ‘Toxic Relations’??
Lyrically the track is on point, vocally its strong, audible and with experiential improvement to be made however it’s within the instrumentation that I was most intrigued.
There are so many pleasing elements seamlessly pulled together to create what one could assume to be a brilliant interpretive dance track although not the intent. I visualised each dancer’s step, gyration, hand movement and reflection of mood with great ease. The switch up between genres, sounds and tempos was influential in my experience and I think the interpretive dance idea worth exploring for a complimentary video to live alongside the official one which has already been released.
That is not to take away from the creative aspirations of Rhys Prosser himself as he’s clearly in the seat knowing what he wants to produce and bringing it home with ‘Toxic Relations’ – It’s a little quirky and a little offbeat but it’s the definitive example of an authentic, well envisaged and produced original piece of music and it’s part of a bigger journey worth following.
And wouldn’t you know it…before I’ve even been able to share this with you Rhys Prosser has released a new single – ‘Pretending You’re Here (Perspective One)’ featuring Paul Russell.
Follow Rhys Prosser Here: