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"Never stop being self-critical, and knowing there is always room for improvement". - Brian Canham

Posted: April 4, 2024
Many of Pseudo Echo’s songs have become classics. When asked what makes a song become a classic? Brian states that “being the proverbial ‘sound of the time’, and being a hit of course, something that makes a song represent a period, with its sound, lyrics etc.

Photo provided by: Pseudo Echo

Pseudo Echo: 40 Years of ‘Listening’ and Success

2024 marks the 40th Anniversary of Pseudo Echo’s iconic song ‘Listening’. The band has also released “Machine” a remix of “Listening” to celebrate its 40th Anniversary since the original release and to be followed up with a Remix album late 2024.

Forming the band in 1982, Pseudo Echo has had a wide variety of success across the world. Guitar Thrills Contributing Editor Sally Jane had the opportunity to interview Brian Canham from Pseudo Echo and talk about the band’s achievements.

Originally based in Melbourne, Australia Pseudo Echo had multiple top 20 hits including ‘Listening’. Their international success continued with the cover ‘Funky Town’ (originally by Lipps Inc) peaking at No.1 in Australia and New Zealand and becoming a top ten hit in Sweden, Canada, the United States, and in the United Kingdom.

Also see related article: https://www.guitarthrills.com/when-is-a-gimmick-not-a-gimmick-but-an-opportunity-to-connect-with-fans/

Success and ‘making it’ comes in all different shapes and forms and is entirely up to the artist as to how they want their success to be. For Brian Canham the early dreams of Pseudo Echo were wondering what it would be like to have people all around the world being able to hear his music and to even know of his existence. “At the ripe old age of twenty, I finally had formed a band that I thought was worthy of having commercial success... that was Pseudo Echo.”

Did you ever have any doubts about the success you wanted to achieve?

“Not really, Pseudo Echo went from strength to strength right from the beginning ... there never seemed to be a time in the journey where I had any doubts, that is until I started to sit back and really look at the band closely. It was then I realized that “all” of the members needed to be “stars” in their own right, though I wasn’t sure that’s where we were.”

When asked what makes a successful music career Brian Canham had 3 takeaways and that is Consistency, Self-Evaluation, and Hard Work.

Many of Pseudo Echo’s songs have become classics. When asked what makes a song become a classic? Brian states that “being the proverbial ‘sound of the time’, and being a hit of course, something that makes a song represent a period, with its sound, lyrics etc.

Talking about classic songs the decision to record and release Lipps Inc cover Funky Town was a tongue in cheek accident. “I [Brian Canham] suggested jamming a rocky version of the song in our encore (almost a bit tongue in cheek) during the “Love an Adventure” tour. Unbeknownst to us, the program director of “EON FM” (Lee Simon) managed to get a hold of a “desk tape” (unauthorized bootleg) of Funky Town, and promptly coaxed us (and management) into releasing the song as a single. We promptly took his advice.

Keeping it original music was always the goal as they felt the need to “shake off a bit of the stigma, even though the song was so successful for the band, it didn’t come without its fair share of criticism”.

Still touring and performing their original music four decades on takes a lot of time and commitment from all band members and support. “Never stop being self-critical, and knowing there is always room for improvement, as well as setting personal boundaries within the band and respecting each other.”

Since starting the band in 1982 after all these incredible years there has been some stand out memorable performances for Brian Canham including performing The Ritz in New York and recording the show live for an “MTV” special.

Four decades is a lot of time for the music scene to change and grow. The main difference Brian sees, “is that it used to be a major accomplishment unless you had a record deal to have your music heard or played on radio. These days, pretty much anyone with the slightest knowledge of music technology can upload music and stream it to a potential audience around the world. We have many fans who have been with us from the start, as well as the people they have introduced the band to, and of course lots of new and younger fans.”

It’s forty years since Pseudo Echo released their debut album “Autumnal Park”. What was the learning curve like recording your first album, and what did you do differently for your next recordings?

“It was a huge and exciting learning curve recording the “Autumnal Park” album for sure. Firstly, it was entirely analogue! We even manually triggered any arpeggios via CV (control voltage) played from a midi electronic drum pad. Any editing that was done (eg. drum takes) was by cutting the actual analogue tape, and then rejoining to the correct (or best) take with a special blade and tape! Also, the mixing was all done manually “on the fly”, with all hands on the console, moving faders and turning things up or down etc. With the second and subsequent albums, we had entered the digital age! Everything was easier, automated, programmed, sampled, and sequenced. We could mix a song, and with every run through we could make more adjustments until we perfected it. Each method has its upside and downside, but ultimately, it’s all just a means to an end.”

Brian commented on Pseudo Echo’s growth over the years and “[Pseudo Echo] has become a household name (at least for over 40’s), synonymous with the 80s, ‘new wave’ and ‘electronic’ genres.” Pseudo Echo have just returned from New Zealand performing with Simple Minds, Collective Soul, and Texas with rave reviews.

Currently on their 2024 Machine Tour you can expect an intense slice of 80s electro pop/rock for one thing, and a broad selection of the band’s hits from our heyday, as well as some high energy rock / synth / guitar blazing action, synchronized to vibrant visuals, complete with a super enthusiastic six-piece band. Authentic to the original sound.

The band has evolved over forty years, these days a six-piece, incorporating our new twenty-year-old female drummer, as well as a backing vocalist and extra guitar. The main thing with Pseudo Echo is the ‘vibe’. “I always look for the best players I can get, but more importantly they need to have the right energy spiritually and want to be there for the right reasons. Respect for the brand and heritage is paramount.”

You can find Pseudo Echo online at https://www.pseudoecho.net/.




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