Signal Receiver is an international band founded in 2021. The project consists of writers and producers Edith, Lana, and Yamil. Signal Receiver’s sound is hard to label, but slowcore and ambient influences are present. Their songs are drenched in washed-out effects creating an ethereal, eerie, and isolating sound. What makes Signal Receiver fascinating is that the band formed through Instagram but has never met in person. The members were able to overcome this obstacle and consistently put out great quality singles since forming. Edith is also the band’s visual artist and creates stop-motion animations that perfectly complement the band’s music. They released their debut EP, Paper Flowers, earlier this year. I had the chance to interview Signal Receiver in late January via text and ask them some questions.
Petar Jezdic: What is each member’s role in the band and how did it come together?
Edith: It was a total accident. I needed a synth melody for a song and Yamil just sort of fell out of the sky. Meaningful lyrics were super important to me at that time – I’d spend entire nights just writing a few sentences because they had to be perfect. Then I went in the opposite direction. I wanted to find value in the absence of meaning. Lana and I had been friends for a little over a year, bonding over teenage angst and music. I loved her vocal style and how I never really understood what she was saying. It was pretty compatible with the direction I was going. Since then Yamil and I have been doing instrumentals and Lana sings overtop.
PJ: How does being long distance affect the creative process and creation of the music?
Edith: When I say our band works online a lot of people tell me “well that isn’t ideal.” But if the ideal is good music, then I don’t think there’s any right way to get to that. We make this work for us and things are great when we get into the flow of creating a song.
Lana: It’s not my favorite method but it works. We are able to produce insane sounds, we have a pretty good understanding of each other’s goals in our music. and even though I don’t get to share the excitement about what we are creating in person together, they surely hear it through my voice messages.
Yamil: Edith might send me a guitar riff or a synth part and I try my best to glue that together into a backing track.
PJ: Explain the connection that visual art has with your music. Does the visual art ever inspire the music or is it there purely to compliment the music? Additionally could you talk about your process for creating the band’s visual art?
Edith: Having audio synesthesia, music to me is as much about sight as it is about sound. I see them as inseparable. My process for visuals mostly has to do with being opportunistic. I spend a few weeks fishing whatever junk I think I can make use of the street and hole it away in my room. When I feel like I have enough to work with I try to find a theme in the objects I’ve collected and how they might relate to one another. How do buttons feel about mannequins? Are light bulbs and broken dolls friends? I never start anything with a goal or theme in mind. I just want to let inanimate objects express themselves. It’s a relief to me and probably to them.
PJ: I really enjoyed your newest EP, “Paper Flowers”. Despite not having lyrics your music has a deep feeling of longing and melancholy. What messages were you trying to portray to the listener with this EP in particular?
Edith: When I moved away from my hometown I left behind a lot of baggage. The tricky thing with baggage is most of the time you don’t actually realize it is baggage till you put it down. All of a sudden I felt so light. It was weird. I wanted to reflect on that feeling.
PJ: Can you talk about your approach regarding sound design in your music? It’s full of beautiful textures and tones. How important is sound and tonality to you?
Yamil: I think sound and textures are important especially if you’re making songs that are sparse and ambient-oriented. It sort of lets your mind wander around into the negative space. Whether it’s lo-fi or not, as long as the mixing on a track is interesting and sounds well thought-out I’ll like it.
I don’t know, I barely know how to work Logic Pro but I do like layering tracks over each other. Seeing it all come together makes the frustrating parts of recording, and the headphone-shaped-ridge across my skull, worthwhile.
Lana: To be honest whatever sounds powerful and genuine to me I put it together. I hum a note and another and I add it together. I loveeeee minor notes. Dreamy bold complex and simple is what I go for I think. Yamil and Edith help actualize this and it’s a beautiful mutual understanding of what we want to exert to the world.
Edith: I just play around with sounds till I find something that makes my brain tingle
PJ: What is each of the member’s influences when it comes to working on Signal Receiver?
Edith: When I approach these songs, I’m not thinking of what artist I want to sound like, I’m thinking of how I feel. Usually that has to do with the people in my life. So I’d say people mostly inspire me. Ricky Eat Acid and Planning for Burial definitely have a huge effect on how I look at music though.
Yamil: I like melodies and vocal harmonies so I draw a lot from 60’s pop and folk. I also like to read and most of the songs I end up making are really just me trying to recapture whatever it was that I felt when I read something I liked. I like the Surrealists; Antonin Artaud and Arthur Rimbaud as well.
Lana: I’m not even gonna lie I am not too well informed within music and genres and who artists are or what currently is popular. I don’t have a favorite anything or a certain major influence. I just put out what I deem I would listen to, if I had to say who influences me most… maybe Angel Olsen? Lana Del Ray? Fairuz? Lady Gaga? Alice In Chains? I would say all eyes on me because Bo Burnham weirdly flipped a switch for music making for me.
PJ: If you could open for any artist who would it be and why?
Edith: If I could open for anyone? Harry Styles. Easily. I think it would be really funny to see how his audience would react. That or Mount Eerie.
Lana: Fiona Apple maybe, from what I know, people appreciate the heaviness and lightness and everything in between in her music and songwriting. If I opened, it would be intimate. people would give space to let me be and say what I want to say. Even if it doesn’t entirely make sense to them or even me.
Yamil: Yo La Tengo.
PJ: What is each member’s favorite album?
Edith: The Glow Pt.2 by The Microphones. There’s so many unique sounds, instrumentals, moments of thoughtfulness and madness. It feels like you’ve been on a whole journey by the time you get to the end of it.
Yamil: My favorite album is probably Songs of Love and Hate by Leonard Cohen. Either that or Third by Big Star. Both are beautiful.
Lana: I don’t got one.
PJ: Lastly, where would you like to see Signal Receiver in the next few years?
Yamil: Still making songs.
Edith: Still exploring each other’s creativity.
Lana: HAVING IN PERSON GIGS. And Mastering our dynamic on creating music together
Below are links to Signal Receiver’s new EP, as well as the music video for their song Sleeping Patterns.