STEVEN DAYVID MCKELLAR
Steven Dayvid McKellar first emerged as the frontman of South African indie rock outfit Civil Twilight, whose acclaimed trio of albums starting in 2010 propelled tours with Florence & The Machine, Smashing Pumpkins, Silversun Pickups, Jimmy Eat World and more. In 2016, Civil Twilight announced their hiatus and McKellar dedicated himself to pursuing his love of visual art and painting but his first love of music wouldn't stay dormant for long. 2020 saw the release of his debut solo album (and our first release), ETHIO - a streamlined set of songs driven by warm, precisely arranged synthetic and acoustic tones, its eight songs celebrating not only melody and rhythm, but the space and silence among the measures. The concept album centered around the narrative of a fictional suburban American neighborhood and the characters who reside there - dissecting the paranoia, disappointment, hope and faith of these modern times. This year sees the release of his sophomore album, NAMA. Turning the camera's gaze inward, the album is a perfect counter to his debut. Deftly self-produced, NAMA is a musical self-psychoanalysis of McKellar’s id, where the primitive utterances of the subconscious are quite literally coaxed and arranged into fully realized expressions of song. It's an emotionally powerful statement record whose soaring melodies - buoyed by McKellar's gorgeous vocals - will stay with you for days after listening.
Genre: Alternative / Indie Rock / Electronic / Singer-Songwriter
RIYL: Thom Yorke, James Blake, Blood Orange, Peter Gabriel
STEVEN DAYVID MCKELLAR
One and Zero
Trillion Tiny Waves
Edge of the Garden
All songs written, produced, and performed by Steven Dayvid McKellar
Recorded at Camp Dayvid in Los Angeles, California during the summer of 2021
Additional guitar, synthesizer, percussion and backing vocals on "Nama Wind" and "Edge of the Garden" by Bucky Shorts
Mixed by Brendyn "Rusti" Rossouw
Mastered by Zino Mikorey at Zino Mikorey Mastering, Berlin
Mastered for vinyl by Dave Gardner at Infrasonic Mastering
Artwork and Layout by Stevie Kin, Toddrick Spalding, and Steven Dayvid McKellar
Photography by Lauren Stocker
A&R by Toddrick Spalding
“It’s a call to my future and past self, in an attempt to be more present while the world frothed with uncertainty and change," says South African-born-Los Angeles-based singer songwriter STEVEN DAYVID MCKELLAR about his new meditative full-length album, NAMA. A follow-up to his 2020 debut solo album ETHIO, NAMA furthers McKellar's internal exploration of the last two pandemic years, observing the current state of the world as affected by isolation with the larger cultural context that the polarized socio/political environment has bred in this country - but it also serves as a reflection of personal self-realization of coming to terms with oneself from the social and mental environment that was brought from the social distancing.
NAMA balances self-examination with an outward push into the unknown. Despite the seemingly restrictive minimalism of its construction, the album is teeming with a dense atmosphere, layers of crunchy, trancing beats, haunting melodies, and back-road, windows-down introspection. At the heart of NAMA, however, with its wide range of human expression, is an odd, paradoxical sense of joy -- that particular sort of quiet pleasure that can only be found in the unsatisfied desires of life that, by their mere existence, that point us hopefully toward the unknown and the numinous. As McKellar sings in the record’s playful track "Nama Wind," "Nama got a wind a blowing everywhere I be / In the darkest cave, in silence or in city / A foreign tongue hiding in the melody / The blade on the shoulder cutting through the deep bringing in."
Deftly self-produced, the record is a musical psychoanalysis of McKellar’s own identity, where the primitive utterances of the subconscious are quite literally coaxed and arranged into fully realized expressions of song throughout the album, from the minimal electronic heartbreak of lead off track “One & Zero” to the haunted claustrophobia of second single “Stop Running” and the fractured beauty of album closer “Edge Of The Garden.”
STEVEN DAYVID MCKELLAR "ETHIO"
Don't Ask Why
Keep It Safe
Call It What You Like
Asleep At The Wheel
Even The Bird
Written, recorded, and performed by Steven Dayvid McKellar
Mixed by Micah Tawlks at Peptalk Studio
Mastered by Philip Shaw Bova
Mastered for vinyl by Dave Gardner at Infrasonic Mastering Los Angeles
Album artwork by Steven Dayvid McKellar
A&R, and Design by Toddrick Spalding
Steven Dayvid McKellar, founder, singer and principal songwriter of South African indie rock band Civil Twilight, presents his solo album debut. A thematically connected set of songs driven by warm, precisely arranged synthetic and acoustic tones, ETHIO explores reality within a single contemporary American neighborhood. The result is a singular work, one that elegantly captures the essential confusion of our times.
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