Low Hum releases new Dreamy single “Phantasms” ahead of album
Recently, Collin Desha let inspiration crash into him. After a successful first album with its 2019 Room to breathe under an indie rock character Low hum, Desha felt he could push his art further. So the Los Angeles resident and Hawaiian-born musician set out to find a new angle on his art.
Armed with last year’s resilience, Desha experimented with new soundscapes for her upcoming album, non-fictional works, released on October 8. Low Hum’s second album mixes the sweet feel of low-fi rhythms with intense undercurrents of hi-fi escape. While Low Hum’s work is still reminiscent of Tame Impala’s psychedelic music, Low Hum has fully emerged with its own fresh sound enveloped in the honeyed melodies of Desha. An exceptional track of non-fictional works, “FantasiesIllustrates what it means to kiss and tinker with your muse. The track hums and swirls with explosions of energy. Today, “Phantasms” airs exclusively on American Songwriter. Read below for a deeper dive into “Fantasms” and the spirit behind the song.
American Songwriter: Can you tell us a little more about what inspires and motivates you as an artist?
Collin Desha: I like to continue to approach my art from new perspectives. Lately I created this game where I challenge myself to carry the lens of my 13 year old self when creating, in the sense that I try to tap into the novelty of discovering something for the first time. – this happiness, no thoughtful, free and creative expression where the only rule is that there are no rules. David Lynch refers to this idea in his book Catch the big fish where you have to go deep into your “ocean” of the creative subconscious. I fish a lot in my subconscious during my writing process, where I like to land on something that you can’t pinpoint exactly where it’s coming from. This is usually when I know I’m on to something and that the impulse of creativity is like a drug. It always keeps me going for hours and hours, looking for those big fish.
AS: What’s the story of your next single, “Phantasms”?
CD: “Fantasms” was a very important moment for me during the creative process of non-fictional works. Until this track much of my music had been a painstaking enough process that I went through every detail with a microscope, but with “Phantasms” it happened organically and quickly. I had written the bassline and drums at Ableton one more morning over coffee, but the session kind of stayed in my periphery for a few months, while I focused on the other tracks on the album. . Once I got into the studio I wanted to do a bit of writing on the spot and not be so zoned into the finer details of the production, so we brought up the session and moved on a bit to the banana. My life at this point was changing so quickly. Covid just hit, my tour was canceled, my step dad just had a massive stroke, my wife had moved to Oregon to take care of him so I was home feeling like ‘be in the middle of a hurricane. I put a pen on some paper and the words started to come out of me about this constantly changing dreamlike state around me.
AS: What is one of your favorite writing or producing moments on “Phantasms”?
CD: When we got to the studio, about 80% of “Phantasms” had been completed on the fly. We used an electric sitar through a distorted Neve preamp to create this nasty fuzz. I put all the riffs in one take, without really having time to think about what I did, we just kept going. Jon Joseph programmed some drums and ran it through a Space Echo to create the groove for the hi-hat. Once that was done, we just threw up a mic and I started rambling on that melody that I was hearing in my head. We played with autotune as a writing tool, which was a first for me. Once I bring the track home and fine-tune the lyrics it’s pretty much become what you hear on the track now. The experience of this particular song has greatly influenced my writing process since that day. I realized how easy it can be if I let it happen, and I don’t have to make it such a painstaking process to achieve what I want.
AS: How would you describe the overall sound or feel of this song? How has your sound evolved since Room to breathe?
CD: This song for me is actually a return to the roots of Low Hum and to what I was exploring on my first EP, low. This is a tribute to an older track called “Alone” who is in a bad mood and plays with a heavy synth bass. It bypasses a sound of Nine Inch Nails and the approach to vocal performance is inspired by the hip hop world that I listened to a lot at the time. Instead, I opted for a more monotonous singular note sound versus a more colorful melody which I leaned more into on Room To Breathe. The whole creative approach of Nonfiction was based on being more daring and not relying so much on those elaborate soundscapes. I focused a LOT more on writing songs and arranging on this album and stuck limited production time after writing the songs. With Room to Breathe, I was always trying to figure out what my sound was. With non-fictional works, I tried to riff on the world that I had created before him, and to push myself towards new territories.
AS: What can you tell us about your next album, non-fictional works?
CD: I’m so glad it’s finally coming out! I followed the album in April and May 2020 so it was right in our early 40s as we are all going through a major change. I made this album with the intention of capturing a snapshot of that era versus the collage type approach that has drawn me in the past. The darker and bolder tone of this record feels like it adds a whole new dimension to the Low Hum world. It’s more confident and started a new fire in my creative process which is just the start of a LOT of new music to come.
AS: What’s one thing you want listeners to know about Low Hum’s music?
CD: My main goal will always be authenticity. I am obsessed with this idea that we live in a goal hungry society. We are constantly fed on what these algorithms design for us, consuming only what they deem good for our food. I want my music to give people hope that you can be yourself. You can listen to Low Hum to find a safe little space where I’m just me and you can also be yourself (and stumble a bit while you’re at it).