Pacific Heights is back in 2018 with the release of the brooding and dream-like new single ‘The End Is In Sight’. It comes as the second single from the upcoming album A Lost Light, due out on August 31st.
Pacific Heights is the solo project for New Zealand-based musician and producer Devin Abrams, also known for the 15 years he spent as songwriter and founding member of the iconic group Shapeshifters.
The new album is a journey through the life of a young man looking to explore the Pacific Ocean on board a ship in the 18th Century as he dreams of helping his family escape the grey and gloomy grind of London.
We spoke to Devin Abrams about how he came up with the album concept, playing live, collaborations and what’s on the horizon for Pacific Heights.
Your upcoming album A Lost Light follows the story of a young man in the 18th Century, escaping the grind of London and looking to explore. How did that concept come about and what was the inspiration behind it?
This album’s concept came to me completely via a very visceral dream I had mid last year (2017). I wish I could articulate and quantify the inspiration of this dream, as I have tried to think deeply about where it may have come from but alas, I am unable to do so.
Do you generally like to follow a narrative in your work and if so how do you explore those ideas through your music?
This is the first time I have followed a very concrete script/narrative. It was actually the easiest or, shall I say, most efficient album I have done. Having such clear directives made the writing component of the album particularly focused and fast. Lyrics and sonics were all based on the timeline of the story and the emotional aspects to that journey.
You worked with Joe Dukie (of Fat Freddy’s Drop) on the new single ‘The End Is In Sight’, what was that process like?
Dallas aka Joe Dukie and I have been friends for a very long time and have collaborated before on one of my earlier albums, so working with him again felt natural and organic. We pretty much wrote this piece sharing files over the internet in the space of a few weeks.
Will you be touring the new album after its release? How do you recreate the ambiance and narrative of your songs in a live performance?
The wish of an ambitious artist – could someone fund my ideal live version of this album? A chamber orchestra, a small choir and some analogue synths and drum machines is the perfect fit in my mind. Unfortunately due to many other creative commitments and a lack of significant funds to pull that show off, it is on hold ‘til it can be properly executed.
You collaborate with many different artists throughout your work. Who would be a dream collaboration for you?
If I have a time machine and an “anything is possible” dream, I would say any of the following; Maurice Ravel, Bill Evans, Paul Simon, Nils Frahm, Phoebe Snow, Brian Eno, Bon Iver, Kanye West, Machinedrum, Portishead, Johann Johansson, Cinematic Orchestra, gosh I could easily keep going….
Outside of your work as Pacific Heights, you also produce music for other artists. How did you get into production?
I have always had a love for many genres of music and love the art of producing. It was after I left my old band Shapeshifter (which I shared production duties in) that I realised I wanted to pursue producing as a career. I thoroughly enjoy working with others to realise their songs and reach their fullest potential – whatever that might look like. I have also always enjoyed sonics in music, everything about sonics – mixing, depth, stereo movement, bass production, space, etc etc. As a producer you can live in both worlds of music production – the creation and the finishing. This is a place I can see myself being for many years.
With the new album coming out on August 31st, what does the future look like for Pacific Heights?
Hopefully more albums and collaborations with new and emerging artists. I am at a point now with Pacific Heights that I honestly have no idea what the next record will sound like or when it might hit me, but I know it will come when it’s ready.
A Lost Light album is avaliable or pre-order now here