By: Leann Bescript
We all know sadness births some of the best art, but where do we draw the line between commercialized sadness and the depths of true passion? In the case of Dana Yurcisin’s Static Sex, the difference is one cancelled engagement, two records and what I believe is a glockenspiel.
Static Sex has bandcamp releases dating back to 2010, but the project gained new momentum in April 2014 when Yurcisin found himself alone in Portland, Maine- a far cry from the shores of his native New Jersey.
Riding high on the excitement of an undiscovered environment, he set out to write the album that would become Fire Ride With Me: a dramatic and arguably “overdone” album in the sense that there’s a crazy mash of random instruments all playing like an impromptu subway orchestra.Yurcisin said he wanted it to feel live, as though a bunch of people went into a garage and played over each other as loudly as possible.
As a solo artist and producer, he hoped to shy away from the quiet nature of bedroom recordings by supplementing with bigger parts played by close friends. The result is a jarring mix of new shoegaze sounds, Springsteen-esque pomp and Neutral Milk Hotel guitar fuzz. Lyrically, Static Sex’s songs follow a stream of consciousness narrative, name dropping people and places in a way that reads more like a diary entry.
“Dressed to depress bent over in my pillory, swing the Speckled Ax on three and keep that other shit away from me. Whatever John is on is scaring everyone else up a tree and Nick’s been hawking Christian morals with no sense of irony,” from “Grimeland” on Fire Ride With Me.
“In drawing from friends, experiences and places of my past, I was attempting to build one of these worlds to share with whomever might have the same compulsive desire as myself to scour album liner notes,” says Yurcisin.
Although Fire Ride With Me was conceived as a fresh start and a nod to David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, all new things, eventually become familiar. Halfway through writing the album, Yurcisin became inspired by a newly discovered nostalgia.
“FRWM is a record of beginnings, but one that also acknowledges that no beginnings exist in a vacuum, and the specter of the past always looms large,” he says.
During this time,, Yurcisin worked for UPS, driving around Maine in a rental car and mapping out routes for delivery trucks. While alone on the road, he reconnected with an old friend from New Jersey via email.
The two began sharing their separate but occasionally intersecting lives.
“I feel like we all have someone like that in our lives,” says Yurcisin. “Someone that, no matter how much time has passed and how much you’ve grown apart, you remember fondly and intimately, and wish against all reason and circumstance that you could be with again. She was and is that person to me.”
The two had a quick but intense relationship; all the while, Fire Ride With Me was merely one song from being finished. It was put on hold for the time being, which Yurcisin blames on his “inability to properly articulate unadulterated happiness via songwriting.”
In late January 2015, after brunch at a favorite dive, the couple were engaged to be married.
Things were going smoothly, as post-wedding plans came into view with snow melting and warmer days just around the bend. Early April dawned on the husband-and-wife-to-be in high spirits.
“We enjoyed the first seventy-degree day of the year walking all around town after a cruel and relentless winter,” recounts Yurcisin. “I kissed her and she got in her car. She smiled wide, waved goodbye, and I haven’t seen her since.”
Through his heartbreak, Yurcisin was once again able to return to the music he so hastily abandoned.
“I’d take something to live about over something to write about any day of the week,” he explains “But the reality is that I, once again, had material, no matter how little I cared for it.”
In May 2015, Fire Ride With Me was finished with the completion of its final song: “Sleepdriving.”