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Psycho Silver is at the helm of my latest film noir fixation but in music form


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No matter how avant-garde or mindfucking the plot twists may be, there are recurring elements in almost every classic film noir I’ve seen: a chiaroscuro aesthetic that paints the screen in lights and shadows, a femme fatale who could probably charm even the devil himself, and a cynical protagonist with a broken moral compass

It’s a genre that relies (quite heavily) on visual composition and atmosphere to convey brooding imagery—something that auditory art could presumably never capture, much less replicate.

Or so I thought.

Rising local artist Psycho Silver has seemingly made it her mission to prove this notion wrong. Similar to film noir directors who intricately build fictional worlds for their audiences to traverse, she constructs sonic landscapes that evoke the same sense of suspense and intrigue: “I love incorporating string elements and the soothing glass-like sounds of the piano, the heavy drum and bass beats of trip hop and house, [and some] chords used in film noir.”

Even her moniker (a nod to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 arthouse film “Psycho”) and visual concept echo the enigmatic allure of said genre. Now, you might be wondering, though: Which film noir character does she portray?

To each their own, as Psycho Silver asserts in our exclusive chat. “My main focus when it comes to making music is simply expressing the feeling,” she explains. “[I] make music based on what [I] feel and [people] relate to songs that resonate with what [they’re] feeling.” 

It’s almost as if she’s luring listeners into a dimly lit room—exposing them to the ghosts of their own emotions and struggles—and locking them in it for a deep introspection. Anyone consuming her art becomes the main character by default, and the only key to escape lies within the cryptic hints scattered throughout her lyrics and melodies.

“Rebirth” and the seven deadly sins

Bliss, romance, rage, and sorrow. These are just some of the themes many artists explore in their more challenging works. After all, just scratching the surface of human emotions already requires a level of raw vulnerability and honesty—what more if they dared to delve deep into the darker recesses of one’s psyche?

Psycho Silver is not one to shy away from such depths, though. In fact, her upcoming concept album “Rebirth” swears to focus on “the spiritual process and personal development” of an individual going through the seven deadly sins. “[This album] is a message for myself whenever I need reminding—a message from my past self to my future self,” she reveals.

Additionally, “Rebirth” is an extension of Psycho Silver’s love language. “I’m the friend [whom people] always go to when they need a lending ear,” she muses. “It makes me happy helping people in that aspect—seeing them fly from the cage they were in [and be free from] mental blockage. [So,] I hope this helps the people listening, too.”

“Superbia” and “Invidia” (“pride” and “envy” in Latin) are the initial offerings of this forthcoming opus, effectively setting the tone for a more intense (and borderline sinister) emotional exploration, with all sins elaborately dissected and laid bare.

Production-wise, Psycho Silver reveals that “Rebirth” exudes a “very spatial post-modern [or] brutalist aesthetic with a hint of neoclassical in achromatic palette.” She wants the songs to be “reflective like glass, contemplative like ice, fluid like water, and open like air.”

Now, can this be labeled “experimental” music? For some, it could be—but Psycho Silver begs to differ.

On navigating the mainstream with a niche sound

While nobody knows for sure which path would lead to commercial success in the music scene, there seems to be a formulaic approach to increase the odds: Stick to catchy hooks and choruses, write relatable lyrics, and go with an overall sound that falls neatly under already-popular genres. 

To some, wandering off this well-paved road the way Psycho Silver does might come across as impractical and risky—but she has a reason for doing so. (And a pretty good one, at that.)

“With the current times, [my] sound may not be considered pop, but you will never know what lies in the future,” she says, trusting her vision and believing in the fluidity of trends. What’s passé now could just be the Big Thing™ tomorrow. And honestly? Psycho Silver is onto something with this way of thinking. 

After all, who would have predicted the (rather meteoric) rise of Korean pop culture some decades ago? Or that synthwave and vaporwave would serve as background music for 21st century students in their cramming sessions? 

Going with what’s trending at the moment is perfectly okay. But those trends start somewhere, and somebody needs to take the plunge into atypical territories to set them in motion. That’s Psycho Silver for you.

The origins of Psycho Silver

At this point, you are probably thinking: How can Psycho Silver have such a mature view of things despite being new to the scene? Well, as it turns out, she’s been honing her craft for some time already—albeit under a different guise.

Prior to her solo venture, she was the vocalist (and guitarist) of a shoegaze band called Unmute. And get this: she was its lone female member. Just by being in that position, you can already imagine how holistic her perspective on music-making could be. She has been shaped by her experiences in the band—both creatively and personally.

How exactly does being in Unmute compare to flying solo, though? Psycho Silver says it all boils down to three key highlights:

Making the music. In a band set-up, everybody already has their assigned instrument, but going solo opens up a world of infinite possibilities. “When I transitioned to the electronic platform, choosing and exploring [sounds was] paralyzing.” The upside? She has more control over her art now. “It’s closer to my persona.”

Creative inputs and goals. Working alone means running with your ideas at full speed—without having to compromise with bandmates who might not be on the same page. “Even though I composed most of [Unmute’s] songs, [the members] would add their creative input,” she admits. “Half of the time, you will butt heads, and half of the time it works.” There’s magic that comes from collaborating. True. But being the captain of your own ship has its own charm, too.

Live performances. “As an introvert, this is my least favorite,” she playfully says. “I’m grateful and blessed that my former bandmates are very talented and handsome. People would focus more on them, and I get the chance to hide behind the mic.” But now that she has to go on stage alone, there’s no more place to hide.

Apart from these things, dealing with burnout is also a challenge the soloist has to face. While Psycho Silver acknowledges the freedom, she admits to getting pressured by her own standards. “[So,] from time to time, I let loose by going to art galleries and theaters, going to new places, learning a new skill, watching films, reading books, and eating a good dish,” she says.

She stresses the importance of sleep and cuddles, too—alongside listening to music outside her Venn diagram to refresh her artistic palette.

As our chat wraps up, Psycho Silver leaves a piece of advice her younger self would have loved to hear: “Do everything in moderation.” 

Some would probably dismiss this as cliché, but there’s wisdom to her words, especially for those balancing the cutthroat sides of life and art.


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Photos from Psycho Silver



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