The new album is called “Anhedonia” and is coming soon. This is my most ambitious album to date, both in terms of the music itself and the release. “Anhedonia” will be released on both vinyl and digital. Due to the vinyl, the post-production phase of this album is longer and more complex than previous releases. I had to get the album mastered twice for the different formats, the artwork needed review and help from a photographer and a design team in order to ensure it would transfer properly to print and work in the large format; there’s the legal, copyright, and UPC stuff, vinyl proof review, and then of course waiting for the discs to be printed and shipped. Due to all of these moving parts pinning down an exact release date is hard; I’ll announce a date once the albums are in stock and ready to go.
What’s the album sound like? Well, it’s a The Religion release, so you can be sure it doesn’t sound like anything else I’ve ever done. I was inspired by the classic synthpop and new wave albums of the late 80s, as well as dance music and other electronic music from that time. I wanted to do something that followed in that same tradition, but I also wanted it to be authentic. I didn’t want to do a nostalgia record; I wanted to work the same way and in the same context, but for the music to come naturally and be its own unique thing. To pull this off I wrote and performed “Anhedonia” without the aid of software. Like the electronic musicians of the past I went through the painstaking process of hooking a bunch of synths and drum machines up to each other and played the songs through in real time with my hands. Nothing you hear on the record was created on a computer. I also approached the song writing in a way that’s a bit older – all of the songs were written for just piano and voice, like a pop or piano rock album, and then arranged and adapted for electronic instruments, with the arrangements inspired and informed by electronic dance music. In a way, I was looking back to an earlier time in electronic music for inspiration on how to write and record the songs, but not in terms of the sounds, styles, or instruments I used. It’s a thoroughly modern and thoroughly “me” record, but I allowed myself to experience this older and radically different way of working. I’m not a fan of nostalgia gimmick music, like vaporwave and things like that, where people use computers and software to produce music that shares absolutely no DNA with electronic music of the past, but apes its aesthetic and sounds with the aide of technology that would have been science fiction in the past. I opted to do something different, and I think it paid off. “Anhedonia” is by far my best sounding record.
A bit about the vinyl release: “Anhedonia” will be a very high quality record. Usually when small and unknown artists like me put out a record they opt for the lowest quality production options to save on costs. Vinyl is very expensive to produce, especially in short runs. I decided to go in the opposite direction and put together packaging, art, and discs with the same level of quality as special editions from large major-label acts. All printing is full color, from the jacket, to the sleeve, to the disc labels. The jacket has a matte finish, and a spine, rather than just a paper sleeve. The vinyl itself is heavy weight 180g and a gorgeous bright magenta. The album was specially mastered for vinyl, meaning that what you hear on the record was specially prepared for that format and will sound different (and likely, better) than digital. And finally, every album will come with a card for a high quality digital download that will sound better than what you’ll get on the streaming services. “Anhedonia” will look, feel, and sound great, and will fit in great alongside major releases in your vinyl collection. This quality made “Anhedonia” a more expensive record to produce, and I’ll have to sell the albums for a fairly high price just to break even, but I’ve ensured that the vinyl release will be the absolute best way to experience the album; I think that’s worth every penny.
I’m excited to get this album into people’s hands, and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it. There will be some cool and interesting things between now and then. I’ll be releasing a single – something I’ve never done before – so look forward to that. I also produced a music video that I’ll be putting out in the lead up to the release. Be sure to follow The Religion on Facebook to keep up on “Anhedonia” and the stuff coming out before then.