ENCOUNTER: Depressica

We’re partnering with Depressica (Jess Mayuga) as she releases her debut full-length, Distance Makes The Heart Grow Somber. In trade for digital room & board, she’ll be sharing with you the creative and contextual process behind her new album. In the past month, she’s been settling in to IndieBeat and has crafted an ENCOUNTER about her album process.

Combining storytelling & soundtracking, ENCOUNTER is a Musical Memory Mixtape. In each edition of ENCOUNTER we ask our guest artist to curate a playlist and use it to tell a story about creative experiences. What better way to become closer to artists than to hear the music they experience.

Read on to find out why Jess chose some of the songs, and stream the entire playlist via Spotify below.

We now introduce you to an ENCOUNTER with Depressica.

Creating Distance: On The Subject of Introspection

Hi. Between my last post for this Fall Residency and now, I have finally undergone the name change I’d always wanted to make. So hello, nice to meet you; I’m Depressica now.

At this time last year I had a rather disorganized mental map of the scores of directions that my life could have gone in. My thinking was not at all focused, but the uncertainty of post-grad life became an amazing time for reflection and introspection. I thought a lot about my existence and my relationships with others and how those would change or not change in whatever the future seemed to behold. From these thought processes came Distance Makes The Heart Grow Somber, a collection of saddish songs that very much come together in a trance of forced daydreaming.

These are the songs that helped me to create Distance.

Jay Som – I Think You’re Alright

I was stuck in the back of a small venue in Santa Ana, behind what appeared to be the World’s Tallest Man the first time I heard this song. It was dark and I could barely see, but Melina Duterte (aka Jay Som) sat on what I remember to be a misty stage on solo guitar and I remember melting on contact. After her set was over, I turned to my friend and said, “That’s what I want to make.”

Florist – Vacation

This is the song that taught me how to slow down and be soft. For a long time I was focusing on music that was high-energy but at that point, I don’t think I knew how to dim that energy into an ambient glow. Watching Florist’s Tiny Desk Concert helped me see that my own music could be introspective and warm, which is something I played around a lot with when working on Distance.

Jaymay – Summertime Is Where It’s At

I really do think I peaked in my songwriting when I was 15, so it’s always important for me to always be listening to one of my old favorite songs when in the middle of a writing spurt. Jaymay takes me back to when I was young and naive and unaware that I was both young and naive. She also reminds me that there’s nothing wrong with who I was back in the day and that growth doesn’t always have to be transformational.

Mildura – Younger

Now that I’m thinking about it, I was stuck in the back of an even smaller venue in Santa Ana behind the World’s Second-Tallest Man when I first heard this song live about a week before I saw Jay Som. My friend and I walked in bummed that we’d missed Mildura, but that was before my ears perked up like a dog’s when I recognized the opening line and proceeded to sob-sing to the rest of it. This song, I think, helped me bring out a certain element of honesty in my own writing that I was once afraid of showing.

Brief Conversations With The Other Side

This is a song I wrote in early July, some number of months into what felt like an endless summer (but not in a reckless freedom type of way). This song is the opposite of Fondly in how it illustrates how little power I felt I had in the circumstances that I was facing at the time. Part of it reflects imaginary conversations with people around me and the other part is a cry for help: Am I doing this right?  How will I know I’m going to be okay?

The songs in this playlist don’t necessarily answer these questions, but they speak to me as voices of guidance. They tell me, “You are not alone in transition. You are not alone in feeling. You are not alone in youthful nostalgia. It is okay to be the way you are at twenty.” Experiences and emotions manifest themselves differently for every person. Occasionally, I feel an urge to resist the direction in which my own experiences manifest themselves in writing, but having an arsenal of works from other artists reminds me that there is nothing wrong with how I choose to navigate the world around me.

Distance Makes The Heart Grow Somber is available on my Bandcamp page and your favorite streaming site.

Follow Jess on Social: Twitter & Instagram