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INTERVIEW – Leandrul [Electronic]

It’s been a couple of years since we spoke with Leandrul, and in the time between, she has been hard at work creating an absolute powerhouse of an album. Up there with the very best albums I have personally ever heard – and I don’t say that lightly – Leandrul releases the project, named ‘Psychosis Of Dreams’ tomorrow.

We will give an extra push and reminder on socials, but please give the album a listen when it’s released tomorrow! I promise you won’t regret it <3

I had the chance to catch up with Leandrul about the project in a new interview below.

PW – Hey Crosby! Welcome back to Pastel Wasteland. For those who aren’t familiar with your work quite yet, how would you introduce both yourself and your sound?

Sure! Thanks for having me back!

Hey everyone, I’m a female electronic music artist and producer, and I write, record, sing, and produce music under my artist moniker, Leandrul. I am especially passionate about mental health awareness, and strive to support those with mental illness and their loved ones through my music.

PW – When we first spoke back in 2019, you were working on an album, which is about to be released: ‘Psychosis Of Dreams’. What can you tell us about the journey to making this project?

Well, to begin, the project is based off my experience with mental illness and the recovery process, and this experience started back in 2010, when I was first diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). However, I first got the idea to write the album in 2015.

I guess something about the album that I want listeners to understand is that the album itself is chronologically influenced by my own life’s timeline, hence the first track being named “2010”.

As it is a concept album, I had to coordinate this chronological build up of realizations: that you’re not alone in your suffering, that hope exists, and that self love is achievable. To do this, I had to figure out how to convey a change of heart, while repurposing lyrical themes and repeating melodic references.

One example is, I used the line: “you don’t think I am enough to love, to love…” repeatedly throughout the album. The line can be understood as a statement toward someone else when it first appears in the album, but by the end, it becomes apparent that the line is directed toward myself, and was ultimately repurposed as a way to display a change of understanding of my own psyche.

While I attempted to make the album rich in metaphor, my purpose was to use metaphor to deliver the final message of connectivity, hope, and the acquisition of self love through healing. So, the journey of making this album spanned over a decade, but I feel it was worth every moment.

PW – The title of the album is mentioned in the lyrics of the first track. What is the meaning behind the title ‘Psychosis Of Dreams’, and what does it represent to you?

Yes, it is mentioned in the first track, which actually happens to be a Garageband recording and was recorded in 2010, before I even had any idea of making this album!

The song, “2010”, inspired the whole trajectory of the album with the one phrase: “In this psychosis of dreams, if only I could see”. At some point, I realized that the “psychosis of dreams” (that I couldn’t see yet), was a metaphor for recovery…that metaphor being: Dreams occur during sleep, when one’s eyes are closed, and in that sense you see nothing (except the dream in your head) You are blinded from reality. But then you wake up, and you open your eyes and see — you remember the dream – the psychosis of dreams – but only as knowledge to help guide you when you are awake, when your eyes are open and you exist in your true reality.

This metaphor of not seeing and then seeing represents my belief that there is hope for people with mental illness, and that they can “awaken” figuratively and see for themselves a life worth living.

PW – Mental health is the main focus of this project, and it encapsulates many relatable, universal themes. What message are you hoping to convey to listeners who have similar struggles?

I only can expose what my experience with mental illness was like, and everyone’s story or journey looks different. But I know, after working toward recovery, going to therapy, meeting fellow patients in treatment, and accepting help from others, that I was not alone, and that there are people who understand. What I hope translates to listeners is that mental illness is real despite the stigma around it, and that it is treatable-because there are hundreds of thousands of people who have mental illness—you are not alone, and there’s hope for a better life.

PW – Did you find the process of creating this project cathartic in any way, and what is the main thing you have learned as a result?

Yes! It was definitely a tool for me to gain closure with my past and it really challenged me to be brave, to believe that this message is valid and important. There were many times when I battled my own symptoms which led to doubt toward the whole project. It isn’t exactly easy for me to use myself as an example, tell the world that I have mental illness—because people judge you for that, and sometimes it can really negatively affect you socially. But I guess I learned through this process that for me, it’s worth being brutally honest about my mental state if there’s a chance it will help someone else.

PW – There is a dichotomy between soft, ethereal tracks and cutting, abstract soundscapes in the album, which I found completely refreshing. Who or what are your main influences, especially in terms of your production?

Thank you! I would say that production-wise, I pay very special attention to Nine Inch Nails albums and Grimes albums. I look up to those two artists’ production skills quite a bit.

The textures of the album, however, were decided based on my favorite types of sounds, which is why there’s a lot of bouncy bass lines and industrial percussive elements—alongside reverb drenched choral vocals. They were thought out ahead of time.

PW – Do you have a favourite track on the album, and if so, why would you choose this one?

I do have a favorite! It’s “Redemption”—the last track on the album. I think it’s my favorite because it brings together all the sentiments of the album. I also feel it’s the most important song off the album because it asks the most meaningful question I could ask with regard to my mental health journey: “Is there redemption for someone like me?” It’s kind of like asking, “After everything I’ve been through—after hurting myself, after trying to end my own life, after I’ve made so many mistakes—am I still salvageable?”

The reason why it’s the most important song on the album is because it poses this question to the listener as well: Is Leandrul redeemable? And if the answer is “yes”, then the listener might be able to say the same for themselves if they related to parts of the album. It’s the most important song because the listener can now participate in the experience, because the answer to that question is in their hands.

PW – Lockdown has been a huge struggle for creatives across the industry. What are you most looking forward to post-restrictions?

I am totally looking forward to playing live shows! I can’t wait!

PW – Is there anything else you’d like to add, either about the album, or just in general?

Yes, I just want listeners to know that while I made this album for myself, I made it just as much for them. I had three intentions going into this project:

1 – I wanted closure with my past, some type of understanding for my heart to rest on.

2 – I wanted listeners who suffer from mental illness to feel less alone and feel hopeful.

3 – I wanted listeners who don’t have a reference to mental illness/experience with mental illness to be exposed to it on an emotional level, so that they can understand what it’s like for people with mental illness—because maybe there’s a chance that we can have a more compassionate and empathetic community and world.

PW – And finally, where can we find you on social media, and where can we listen to the album?

You can find me on Instagram and Facebook as @leandrul and on Twitter as @crosbyleandrul

You can buy my music on Bandcamp this Friday, March 5th, 2021: https://leandrul.bandcamp.com/ …or on iTunes!

‘Psychosis of Dreams’ will be streamable on Spotify soon after that as well!

Thank you again, Pastel Wasteland, for this conversation, and thank you to everyone who took the time to read this! Heart speed.

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