Pseudo Echo take you back in time with their ninth studio album 1990 The Lost Album Demos which was released in June 2021. This body of work is an extraordinarily unique time capsule, preserved in its original format, filling an important missing link in the history of Pseudo Echo. Brian Canham felt it equally important to make this album available to the people … the fans.
Pseudo Echo are one Australia’s leading recording and touring acts, having pioneered the eighties with their stylized look and electro sound, establishing themselves as one of the most iconic and influential, multi award-winning bands in the country. At their peak they were awarded “Australia’s Most Popular Band”, as well as Brian Canham taking the crown for “Australia’s Most Popular Male Performer”. Famous for their world-wide No.1 smash hit Funky Town, the band has also released a string of Gold & Platinum albums, featuring unforgettable Top 10 electro-pop hits including Listening, A Beat for You, Don’t Go, Love An Adventure and Living in a Dream. Brian tells Hi Fi Way more about the Lost Album.
How much has 2021 tested your own patience and resilience with on again off again scheduling of shows?
Absolutely, staying focused on work and keeping my chin up!
How much are you looking forward to touring again?
Looking forward to seeing an airport again for sure.
Have you had a chance over this time to create new material or see what might be in the archives?
A bit of both, we started looking at stuff we had in the archives and there were a few things that happened. We did the Acoustica album which was semi-archival and then there was the After Party album which started as a compilation of our moody, clubby and lounge stuff. As we started compiling it, I thought I needed to start writing a few new ones. The new ones ended up over taking the old ones and there was only a few we remoulded and ended up being a completely new album. As we were on that trip we knew we had found this relic of an album from when the band was on the verge of doing the fourth album then there was a surprise announcement that blew the band wide apart and I already had a bunch of material written for the fourth album then it looked like it wasn’t going to happen.
I didn’t have a band any more, everyone wanted to do their own projects and their own thing. I was left holding a lot of cards and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do a solo album or what I wanted to do with it. My manager said there was a big vibe on a solo career and said why don’t you use all your stuff for that, we just needed to give them a copy so they could all hear it and they needed it pronto. I grabbed my one and only master copy and asked them whether they could duplicate it.
What happened from there?
Basically, I hung up the boots as an artist and only in recent years I mentioned it a few times about this lost album with my wife Raquel, who manages the band, and every now and again I would break in to a piece on the piano when I remember a section and she would go what was that and I would say it is one of those songs. I don’t know the rest of it, I can’t remember the rest of the progressions. One day she said to me what about that big box of tapes we found when we were moving. I said I didn’t think it was in there as there isn’t anything labelled, I didn’t do a back up, so she convinced me to go and buy a tape deck and go through all those tapes one by one which took weeks. As I was going through them, they were so badly labelled, I put them in to a pile of listened to and not listened to.
One day I came across one of the songs which I remembered from the album. Oh my god, this is it, this is Just Your Day and the next was Destiny next was You Were There. Even the lyrics and the titles was suggestive about something here. We listened to the album right through and I couldn’t believe we had this album. These were the demos but produced and wouldn’t have changed a whole lot. Raquel said you have to release it, I said it will take me forever to re-record it, it is a lot of work. She was no, no, no you have to do it as is, it’s a time capsule, the missing link in your career. This was going to take a bit of convincing for me, artists tend to get a bit insecure about their demos, it’s a side you didn’t release publicly just warts and all kind of thing. I wasn’t sure, we were chatting away and the tape was rewinding and then we looked at the cassette, it was spinning on one side and the other spool was not. I knew that wasn’t a good sign. We quickly ejected the tape and realised it ingested a whole bunch of the tape. I could not believe it, after thirty years I found it but we managed to get it out of the tape deck without a crease or a tear, wound it all back in. It took forever but we did it patiently and then had it professionally digitised and transferred, remastered it and polished it up best we could for what it is. The fans needed to hear this as it is an important part of our career.
On reflection did you wish that album saw the light day at the time?
Around the time I thought perhaps it wasn’t meant to be so I didn’t really cry over spilt milk too much, I just moved on. The interesting thing is when I listen to it now, in particular the lyrics is that there is such a strong personal message in most of the songs from me but to me. It is like a message to myself and I didn’t know that at the time. I was just writing from my heart what came to me, I wasn’t trying to do anything for anyone or anything, I was doing it for me. To hear those messages and look at my life now, it is like I already knew then what I know now. It was like I was trying to tell myself but didn’t get the message, it just didn’t go in until thirty years later.
Destiny is a cracking single, who knows what might of been with that one?
Yeah, that’s one we are going to try and a video clip for and focus that one as a promo single. It is ironic, the lyrics, I can see so much of a message in there which could of been from my personal life or my professional life. It was turmoil either way, the band was imploding, my private/ personal life wasn’t great and there was so much I needed to give myself that message that maybe we don’t have control over it but it’s your destiny. You’re either going to get there or you’re not going to get there. Looking back I can say I certainly got there.
Is it a relief now that you can enjoy the fruits of your labour with 1990: The Lost Album Demos?
Absolutely, these were my heart and soul of my passion I put in to these recordings and for them to just be gone and no one know is a real shame. If it hadn’t been for Raquel, she said I have to put this out as it is such an important part of my career. The more I listened to it the more I got over hearing all the flaws you hear in your own material. I thought it wasn’t mixed perfectly but it wasn’t too bad. They were a high standard demo for the day, analogue and it’s all live, it had a real sound about it and if you took that away and redid it I don’t think it would be the same thing. It’s like finding an old painting, do you restore or repaint it or leave it as is?
Do you think there will be a vinyl or CD release for this?
Absolutely, given that we thought it was a vintage release we have released it on CD and vinyl is coming. There were a few set backs because of COVID but the vinyl will come.
Has the reaction to After Party been ‘surely that’s not Pseudo Echo’?
Yeah, that is sort of what it was, it’s where I’m at now, where my head is. I’m not twenty any more, it started off as a compilation with all those tracks and then I started exploring. I hadn’t written new music for so long, I still had the safety blanket, but I grabbed a few old tunes and said I’d love to do Love an Adventure and do it this real cool way. I had an old recording I started some years back but never finished it. It was unusual way I did this album, I had to cut it up from the mixed masters and add to it on top of that with all the components. It was a very creative process for After Party and really fulfilling.
Is this a taste of what might be with the next Pseudo Echo album?
With Pseudos they’re all just me, this is a different brand, the Pseudo Echo brand is more the pop-electro. With After Party I pushed it a little bit being a more mature adult and probably will be where my solo stuff will go.
Is there a solo album planned?
Hopefully early next year, maybe even some stuff off 1990 I might redo in a flavour that is me and now. There will be some new stuff, old stuff and just another avenue of other directions where I can keep things geared with a flavour of me and a flavour of Pseudo Echo.
Interview By Rob Lyon
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