Bathed in the soulful sounds that define the alt-folk genre he excels within, Perth Hills-born singer/songwriter Michael Day has entered into stunning new territory with the release of his latest single, Psych Or The Priest. A musician since a young age, Day crafted his enveloping musical style after years spent listening to leaders of the indie genre, including the likes of Josh Pyke, Angus & Julia Stone, and The Lumineers.
A reflective person by nature, Day translated this introspective focus into his music once again when he formed his current band in 2019. Backed by musical comrades Rhyan Lyndon-James, Ben Humphreys, and Dave Rajendram, Day’s sound is as folky as it is melancholic and ambient, with the sum of all these parts being illustrated in vibrant detail on latest single, Psych Or The Priest.
Tender in its delivery, and helped along by subtle trumpet and harmonica (and the production talents of Debaser Studio’s Andy Lawson), Psych Or The Priest sees Day drawing influence from the likes of Gregory Alan Isakov as he ruminates on the topic of anxiety and depression that often impacts his life. “The song started as a reflection on the emotions I had around the time, specifically the feeling of drowning,” Day explains. “As I sat on a train, thinking about the past number of years, thinking ‘What just happened?’, I felt like I was watching life as a montage and had no control over any of it, which left me feeling somewhat sad and useless, and maybe for the first time, I felt the feeling of hopelessness.”
It was these feelings of hopelessness and destabilisation that soon found themselves coalescing into the inspiration for Psych Or The Priest. Forcing himself to look inward and wonder if these thoughts are the product of his own psyche or external elements, the result is a track which Dayhimself says is bathed in pride, and indicative of the positivity he looks toward the future with. “I think this is me processing life and reflecting on my own actions and how they affect others,” he adds. “I hope others would hear it and be encouraged to self-reflect on how their actions influence and even hurt others, that wouldn’t be a bad thing. Maybe this song is just me feeling sad feelings and saying it’s ok to sit here for a moment.”
The track also comes paired with a powerful, ethereal, and visually breathtaking film clip which sees Day working with Harry James Blyth (Riley Pearce) to craft a visual which contextualises the message of Psych Or The Priest, and ultimately tells a story of triumph and catharsis. Filmed around the Mundaring Hills area, the clip also has a personal connection for Day, with the locations portrayed also part of where he spent time growing up.
“In light of the heavy nature of the song, the idea of weight was a big concept I wanted to portray,” Day says of the clip. “The idea that as we go through life heavy things continue to happen to us and sometimes it’s a feeling of compounding weight, that it gets bigger and more. The concept was to keep adding bags of weight and changing clothes symbolising different life stages or changes. The more we go through life the more hard things hit us and weigh us down. We go on carrying this baggage. We struggle with mental health or the different challenges life throws at us and one day we die. Life is hard.”
With Psych Or The Priest released in late September, Day and his band will also be touring around Western Australia in October, performing both a single launch and a three-date tour of Albany. Together these dates will allow fans to hear his touching new single, along with a raft of other acclaimed tracks in an environment which fosters both unique musical experiences, and – most importantly – comfort of the audience in attendance. “Storytelling, fairy lights and bean bags are a staple at our gigs to give a relaxed and inviting environment,” he quips. “And there are always impressive support acts who are on my listening list.”
Psych Or The Priest is out today, September 30.