Tour-de-force producer Sam Ray—who records experimental electronic works under the name Ricky Eat Acid—refuses to be confined by the boundaries of any specific genre. He's tried his hand at everything from bedroom pop as Julia Brown to devil-may-care punk in the band Teen Suicide. In between his multiple side projects and his recent marriage (yes, he officially married Kitty this past May) Ray has managed to record a new full-length, Talk To You Soon—now, he's blessed us with the exclusive premiere of its second single, "Nice To See You."
With its whimsical synth work, percolating bass line, and orchestral strings, "Nice To See You" exemplifies Sam's knack for uniting cross-genre elements. Ray enlisted some of his closest friends—Caroline White of Infinity Crush and Spencer Radcliffe of Blithe Field—for vocals; you feel like a guest at a freaky impromptu dance party as they softly sing in unison, "It's nice to see you / Hope I see you again sometime / If you're ever in town and you wanna hang out / Stop by and say hi."
Listen to the song and check out our chat with Ray (who we caught up with over email)—on everything from marriage to millennials—below.
THUMP: Do the first two tracks work as a "joint opening," like a conversation starter for the album? (i.e. "Hey, it's nice to see you!")
Ricky Eat Acid: I never thought of that before but I like it a lot. It makes sense—the songs were always supposed to connect musically—so I guess the titles continued that without me even realizing it.
What was the collaborative process for vocals like?
Yeah, on this track it's Caroline White (who records as 'Infinity Crush') and Spencer Radcliffe (who works under the name 'Blithe Field') singing the chorus, along with my voice through a vocoder. The process differs from track to track but this song was maybe the most cut and dry of any—I had the part written and asked a few friends I work with regularly if they'd record themselves singing it a few times and send it over for me to mix and deal with. I'm very glad the two of them were both down for it; they have two voices I really love and think are very distinct in a way that really fit the song and its vibe.
How did you balance this project among all the other obligations you have for projects like Teen Suicide?
For a long time music was something I did predominantly for fun and in my spare time, and therefore it was very easy to say, "Oh, I'm so tired of recording for this record, I'll go work on beats for a while instead," or put my time into a video, or learning something else I felt would be interesting. Now that that's no longer the case, I try to find ways to keep things fun for myself—though it's not the main responsibility, it helps keep everything from growing overwhelming or becoming dull and stale, which is the last thing you want when releasing a record or touring. Getting to split time between the various projects I have basically accomplishes that, as I can put my effort into writing and recording and sketching out a new project for one while figuring out the release of the other. When Talk To You Soon was done, for example, I got to set it down for a long, long time while the Teen Suicide album was released and we toured to support it, and that allowed me to come back to it recently with fresh ears and discover all sorts of things I liked about it that I didn't realize before.
How did you and Kitty meet? What did you think about the public's immediate claim that the marriage was fake?
It's a long and complicated story that I will try to tell succinctly, but I'm very glad you asked because I've been dying to talk about it anywhere besides Twitter. We initially 'met' because I was a complete dick to her online years and years ago, and then—through various processes that we will call "growth," "learning," and "no longer being heroin addict nihilist human trash"—felt terrible about it and tried to find some way to get in touch with her and apologize/make amends, like in AA! I'd probably let her tell the rest of the story, but to gloss over tons and tons of stuff, I eventually managed to prove I wasn't a complete piece of shit and we became closer and closer friends over time.
I don't slight anyone for thinking our marriage was a joke initially, as it would be very on-brand for both of us. I guess it started when she asked me at Chili's one night if I'd play along with her telling everyone on Twitter we'd gotten married and I agreed. Very soon after that we made it official in the eyes of The Lord, and it became an ambiguous thing for a little as people on and offline tried to suss out how serious we were. I'd hope anyone who knows us or even spends any time with us can see by now it's no joke, and the underlying relationship and how we felt certainly has always been 100% clear at least. Now it's kind of funny to see people still questioning/wondering about it online, we have the receipts and everything, but we sort of dug our own grave there I guess. Hopefully that keeps dying down and everyone just knows soon, though.
Whenever I try to explain literally any of this to anyone over the age of thirty I feel like I am the reason that there are so fucking many thinkpieces published about millennials, but that was probably my destiny from the jump.
Talk To You Soon is out October 28 via Terrible Records.
Ricky Eat Acid tour dates:
October 23 - Washington, DC - Black Cat
October 27 - Brooklyn, NY - Baby's All Right
October 30 - Burlington, VT - Higher Ground
October 31 - Montreal, QC - Bar Le Ritz
November 3 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle
November 4 - Columbia, MO - Café Berlin
November 5 - Madison, WI - Frequency
November 6 - Des Moines, IA - Vaudeville Mews
November 7 - Lincoln, NE - Vega
November 8 - Denver, CO - Lost Lake Lounge
November 11 - Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court
November 12 - Boise, ID - Reef
November 14 - Seattle, WA - The Sunset
November 16 - Bend, OR - Domino Room
November 17 - San Francisco, CA - SA Music Hall
November 18 - Los Angeles, CA - Union