Tag Archives: Adam Pruss

Adam Pruss: Beyond Faded

Originally, this track was titled ‘Infinity Soldier’

While passing from poorly lit hallway to poorly lit loft, a bong is thrust into my hand before “hello” even crosses my mind. I’ve entered into the cave that is the mind of Adam Pruss (Flowers for Reagan), into a world that I’ve accepted is beyond my comprehension, a world where my ear drums will surely be assaulted, a world where holding on is your best bet.  

Before Gold Panda, before Four Tet, before the extreme rise in popularity that the soft-core-drone scene saw, there was but one native New Yorker writing the earliest pages of the genre’s history.  Flowers for Reagan, pre-reinvention, put forth Reaganomics in 2007, an album that was simply too far ahead of its time.  It existed only in CD format, and as a limited run, but more interestingly, some of the tracks have been hidden within one of the latest FFR releases.  These days, Pruss can be found making far less stable music under the Flowers name.  In fact, to most locals, the name immediately elicits thoughts of complete audio chaos.  However, there is some sort of solace in his early work, as if to suggest that Pruss has already been where we are, has already become more numb that the most jaded city soul and is on to the next one.



Flowers for Reagan (From Home)

There isn’t anyone in the diy underground who is falling apart quite like Adam Pruss (yes, we know his name now).  Flowers for Reagan blesses us with a new track and a press statement worthy of publishing.  A complete reinvention or a bi-polar swing caused by a self medication shift?  Either way, it’s a rant:

Pruss:  Hi, my name is Adam Pruss and I’ve been making music rather consistently and prolifically as Flowers for Reagan since 2007. My output up to October 2010 consists of a disorganized mass of fractured electronic pop songs; in that October, I made an album about my father’s life, called The Comedian, and released it on my then-new bandcamp. With that album, my fractured sound start to take more cohesive shape; four EPs, one LP, three singles and a three EP side project later, I think I’ve finally hit upon something I can be proud enough of to share with more than just my friends. (My friends who got a $50 EP, by the way.)This something is actually two things: a compilation of ten of the last year’s best cuts, called The Implosion of FFR, released on 10/11/11, and my new LP, Falling Apart, which is coming soon. The following is the actual story of the implosion of Flowers for Reagan, leading up to Falling Apart.To most people, all of my pop songs (and every song I’ve made is a pop song) are, at their most coherent, barely recognizable as pop, or, earlier on, as songs. I learned this when I had my “big blog break” (read as: two different blogs taking notice at once) over a cover of “State Trooper” by Bruce Springsteen that sounded nothing really like me. The one blog that had posted previously about me called it a welcome shift into a sort-of pop direction. My realization of the contrast between how I perceive my music and the way others do shut me down creatively in a rather hard manner. Coupled with this, my girlfriend of quite a few years ended the relationship in a way I can only call “really shitty”. Mix in the fact that I have and am being treated for bipolar disorder, and you have the recipe for a stupendous depression that stretched on for five months.

About four months in, after three straight weeks in bed, my drug dealer from college texts me to say he is out of jail and back in business. My chemical balance and rocky past with substances put aside by the sheer fuck-offery of my depression, I decide to kind of go for broke and spend a weekend on PCP. It’s during this weekend I write “Turns Gold Then Is Gone”, a pretty embarrassing track from the pretty embarrassingly titled (and covered) EP Sucks. Sucks, initially released in my post-drug depression-fueled mode as a shining fuck you to everybody complete with a pretty gross/messed up cover, proved to be sort of turning point for me artistically and laid the foundation for my new LP. Unfortunately, that was released about a month before the depression actually ended, and I now had a taste for PCP.

In that subsequent month, I was pretty free of my creative block, but the depression waged on, and I had no intentions to stop writing songs while smoking as much weed and dust as possible. Within this haze – which, luckily, I’ve mostly forgotten, because it sucked – I had no misconceptions of pop music, nor art really – just an obsession with sound. (The second month of the depression was my last month of audio engineering school. I didn’t make it to class.) From these sound experiments come two classes of song: huge pieces of sound art and perverted (read as: fucked) pop tunes. Due to my detest for any kind of possible audience, the latter are ditched and some of the former become the 4real EP and the subsequent ‘Dream Two’ single. 4real marks the first release by me that the blog that has covered me consistently for a year studiously ignores. (‘Dream Two’, on the other hand, gets a pretty scathing write up from them.) It also marks probably my lowest point, not really musically, but moreso in the sense that while making it I had a PCP meltdown and lost my hearing for two days. While that hearing-loss episode would be the end of PCP for me, it would still be two weeks before I break free from the depression with one act of courage, valor and strength.

That being, of course, cleaning my room.

(Mind you, I spent five months locked in there, only leaving for the common space to get water and use the bathroom or for the store to get a few packs of cigarettes, a jar of peanut butter and a jug of orange juice, my weekly diet. Nothing would surprise you about the state of it, if you imagine a latter-day Howard Hughes as a mid-20s jobless bachelor. Replete with stored urine. Which I was saving for later, thank you.)

It occurred about as randomly as it was anti-climactic. I just woke up one morning, took a look around me, became suddenly sickened and started picking things up. That snowballed into eleven hours until my room was cleaner than when I moved in. The sudden break in inertia got me examining myself and my lifestyle, and soon the darkness wasn’t so dark. I began to rejoin society, little by little.

The strangest part of this new awakening is that absolutely nothing I’ve made in the last year makes sense to me in the context of what I originally envisioned each work to be. The transitions from album to album are erratic; conceptually, my discography is a mess. It’s not hard for me to figure out why now: I was in a mixed musical bipolar state, torn between art and pop, so I tried to make both, and probably failed more than I succeeded. But if it’s pop or sound art or art pop or pop art, if it’s lacking clear emotion and sincerity then it’s a failure. While I was in no deficit of strong emotions, they came in like transmissions on a shortwave radio, and the radio in this case was broken. Not anymore, though. After experimenting with sound for four years, I’m now experimenting with earnestness, and it has spawned a new LP, Falling Apart.

Born from the rejected post-”Sucks” sessions and a whole bunch of new ones, Falling Apart can be called the first “mature” FFR album. It tells the story I just told you, but isn’t actually a concept album built around it. It’s just a collection of some decent tunes I wrote to sort out the demons a bit. This track is the first one I made for the album, and it stands as a good start and a suitable thesis statement, although it’s questionable whether or not it’ll make the final cut. I have about thirteen others written and recorded, but I’m still working out the kinks in the mixes and the masters. I’m planning a release on November 1st, and will be somewhat publicizing it around that time.To find closure to my age of spiritual anhedonia, I’ve released a compilation, titled The Implosion of FFR. It sort of puts to rest my work of the last year, and arguably forms a more complete statement than any individual release that it’s tracks were culled from. If Falling Apart is an album about my decline, Implosion is the literal soundtrack to it. It avoids singles, going instead for deep cuts and deleted tracks, forming a fractured narrative of the year leading up to Falling Apart. It’s also an excellent sampler of its music, for the uninitiated. It is available for free download here.Thank you for your time. I hope you enjoy my music.
Yours truly,
Adam Pruss
Flowers for Reagan

Art Therapy (EP)

Art Therapy (EP) by Flowers for Reagan   (May 13, 2011)

With his latest singles ‘Blacks (Save me)’ [included on this most recent EP] and ‘State Trooper, Take 2’, Flowers for Reagan has started to enter some more mainstream territory.  With traditional structures starting to lean toward more recognizable tunes, frontman Adam Pruss is starting to give us something more infectious then his often disturbing sound experiments (which make up the greater part of his discography at the moment).  Love him or hate him, FFR has definitely breached some, if not new, then definitely strange realm within the electronica scene. Taming his self-centered ego, Art Therapy (EP) gives the listeners something more tangible, memorable and experiential to chew on and all in all, it’s about time.

It’s nice to see a long, honest run of free flowing play early in a musicians career. Especially since so many bands and musicians are desperately looking to make that “hit album” on their first go.  But, if FFR can’t turn all of that experimentation into more digestible material, he may never reach the mass appeal he deserves.  Solid first try.