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Psyche ahead of its time
Electronica band went to Europe to find an audience, now back in North America and home town Waterloo
Thursday July 5, 2001
Jason Schneider

Darrin Huss (left), founding member of Psyche, and sound designer Remi Szyszka will perform tonight at the Loft  in Time Square.

When throwing around prominent names in the local scene, I'm as guilty as anyone of omitting Darrin Huss.

It's probably because for most of the past decade he has lived and worked in Europe, but the music he created with various partners in the '80s and '90s under the name Psyche marked the group as one of the true pioneers in Canadian electronica, along with Skinny Puppy and Moev.

However, he hasn't forgotten his roots and has made a point of playing Waterloo now that the latest version of Psyche -- Huss and sound designer Remi Szyszka -- is once again attracting attention in North America.

"I'm really excited about playing in Waterloo," Huss says. "We're also doing New York, Toronto and Montreal, but playing in your home town after being away for 12 years is kind of scary. Basically, this all happened because we signed with Art of Fact Records out of Toronto last year and they released Misguided Angels, which is a summary of Psyche's career from 1983-2000. We're doing this tour to test the waters and to promote the Sanctuary remix EP which is also out now. We'd like to do another small tour, depending on how this goes."

In those early days the band was Huss and his brother, Stephen, and they created an immediate buzz in the area with their debut album Insomnia Theatre in 1984. But the market for electronic music, here and throughout most of English-speaking Canada, was virtually non-existent, forcing the brothers to look to Europe for an audience.

By the late '80s Psyche had a strong foothold in Paris after recording their second album there, which led to regular tours of the continent. By the turn of the decade, the brothers had parted ways creatively and Darrin continued to make Psyche records with various European collaborators, eventually settling in Germany as a respected figure in the electronic music community.

Even after all this time, Huss remains optimistic that the band can build on its North American following.

"The alternative music climate has been changing rapidly over the last three years, and because of the success of new directions in techno, trance and synthesizer-based music in general, the time seems ripe for the North American audience to find out what they've been missing."

He also points to the recent revival of classic German electronic artists like Kraftwerk and Neu! -- reflected in Radiohead's last two offerings -- and the successful return of Depeche Mode as promising signs that an overall reassessment of the music's value is under way.

Huss sums up what fans can expect by saying, "Our forthcoming album, The Hiding Place, is in fact the debut for Remi, so for me it feels fresh.

"Psyche has moved around in our own way through many different genres within the realms of electronics. We're now getting more in the dance scene without forfeiting the intelligence of the lyrics. So musically we've become a bit more high-tech lately, but the basic emotional content that we set out with from the beginning is still there."


Who: Psyche

Where: The Loft in Time Square

Day: Tonight

Time: 9 p.m.

©Kitchener-Waterloo Record 2000
225 Fairway Road South,
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, N2G 4E5