There’s a swirling, free-flowing sense of generosity to the music of singer-songwriter and record producer Casey Wells. He released his debut LP Impermanence this month after years of honing his craft.
The Mount Pleasant native is a solo artist in the truest sense — Wells writes all the music, plays all the instruments and does all of the recording for his DIY bedroom pop creations. Impermanence is awash in layers of synths, strings, guitars and backing vocals and has that pristine, reverb-drenched indie-psych quality of acts such as The Flaming Lips and Tame Impala.
Wells said he initially just happened upon the solo recording process as he developed his guitar and piano skills (he also plays viola), but cites his early experience with a USB interface and recording software as being formative to his development. Then, he discovered the full range of possibilities of simply doing it all yourself.
“I remember hearing the [Tame Impala] album Currents and thinking ‘This sounds so good — how do they even do this? It must have been made in one of the nicest recording studios in the world,’ ” Wells said. “When I looked up more about the recording process and everything and realized it was just one guy in his living room and he made the entire album that way, it kind of changed everything.”
Wells attended college at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, where he studied music production and engineering. He said his experience in the college’s high-quality studios shaped his style of drum and percussion programming revealed on Impermanence.
While it is easy to get lost in the studio trickery on an album as luxuriant and layered as this one, Wells said he likes to think about the songwriting side-by-side with the production, citing the lush, cinematic feel of the single “Over” as a prime example of this approach.
“The production ideas and songwriting ideas all converged into a singular track,” he said. “I’m really proud of it.”
“Over” hits on themes of death and time, like many on the album, and showcases Wells’ instrumental range and flare for crafting big, Pink Floyd-esque soundscapes within lively, pop-oriented structures.
Many of the songs fit together thematically as well as sonically, Wells said, presenting a distinctive outlook and vibe he feels captures where he’s at now in his mid-20s trying to make it as a musician.
“There is a lot of sadness and tumultuous emotions that are being processed throughout the album. … There’s some underlying sentiments of hope and perseverance as well.”
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