polyheDren "Psychic" release date!
April 29th, 2022 is the release date for PSYCHIC, the first full length release from Dren's polyheDren project. You can preorder the release here at bandcamp (including the CD!) polyheDren is a unique music collaboration project that brought guest musicians on to every track to collaborate with Dren, and the list includes:
Nels Cline (Wilco)
Josh Freese (NIN, Sting, Devo)
Iva Bittová (Nonesuch, ECM, BMG Recordings)
Rini (AR Rahman, & co-composer of The Fame Game/Netflix)
Sangin' Sara Williams (Ledesi, Spearhead, Stevie Wonder)
Ali Paris (Alicia Keys)
JD Mayer (inFAMOUS soundtracks)
Moorea Dickason (Raze the Maze, MoeTar)
Daria Novo (of course), Zoe Ellis/Ashling Cole (Prince, Santana), & Misha Khalikulov (Rupa and the April Fishes). Press inquiries should go to Josh Mills at It's Alive Media (josh at itsalivemedia dot com) and radio promotion is handled by Graham at AManAPlanACanal. 100% of the sales/streaming for this release goes to Bay Area Music Project, and after school music education program.
“This polyheDren recording began with the desire to collaborate with other musicians as the pandemic kept us all at home,” said composure/producer Dren McDonald. “It seemed like a unique opportunity to try to work with musicians I had never worked with before. Going forward, I plan to continue doing these releases, with new artist collaborations that will support different non-profit organizations with new, upcoming albums. This is just the beginning of a much bigger idea.”
The collaborations for this project started organically, with McDonald seeking out vocalists for the first few singles. As momentum began to build around the release of the singles, he decided to extend the project and release a full length. Next he reached out to friends The Residents and Josh Freese to take part. Because Freese had always been a Residents fan, McDonald saw an opportunity for further collaboration. In fact, the song “Sixteen Gold Candles” was the result of sending files back and forth for many months.
While Dren has collaborated with The Residents many times in the past, it had never been with music. He’d helped design limited edition releases, tour merchandise, stage managed and even been on stage with them - as a costumed glob of human jello! While The Residents remain anonymous (50 years since their inception), they don’t tend to collaborate with too many other artists. They just don’t see ‘eye to eye’ with a lot of other folks, so it was definitely a special occasion to be able to bring about a collaboration that involved them and someone of Freese’s talent. Josh’s latest record, “Just A Minute, Vol. 1” (Loosegroove) is a record of 1 minute songs (perhaps inspired by The Residents’ Commercial Album of all 1 minute songs), including “The Ghost of Hardy Fox” (Hardy Fox was revealed as one of The Residents after he passed in 2018). Freese is no stranger to creating musical oddities, as he’s also been a consistent collaborator with Devo, Nine Inch Nails, Danny Elfman, A Perfect Circle, Weezer, and The Replacements.
The song, “Lonely Lullaby,” was written by McDonald specifically for Iva Bittová to sing. The song was inspired by his daughter’s preparation for college (and his mixed feelings about her departure from home). The first concert that he brought his daughter to see was Iva Bittová at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, so there was something poetic about having Iva sing that song. As a parent herself, she clearly has the emotional insight to bring that song to life with her incredible performance.
Nels Cline made his name known as the curator of a New Music Monday weekly show at the Alligator Lounge in the 1990s in Los Angeles. McDonald first encountered Cline here, as many of his friends and bandmates took part in the free music shenanigans. Cline always had a reputation for completely putting himself, creatively, into any project that he took part in, and polyheDren was no exception. So much so that Dren created a remix of the original song Nels played on (“Scorpions A Lot”) to include the entire intro that he created, and to feature more of his sounds in a new mix of “NelScorpions A Lot.”
The resulting full-length polyheDren album collaboration is a shared musical vision that lies somewhere between funk, electronic, post-rock and world music with each guest artist revealing an unexpected performance to each track. Track listing as follows:
1. Two Sweet Sixteens and Four Weddings (feat. Rini)
2. Tethys Express (Album Mix) (Feat. Rini)
3. Sixteen Gold Candles (Feat. The Residents & Josh Freese)
4. Film Stars (Album Mix) (Feat. Moorea Dickason & Daria Novo)
5. Lonely Lullaby (feat. Iva Bittová)
6. Scorpions a Lot (feat. Nels Cline & Rini)
7. Buckaroo Moon (Album Mix) (feat. Sangin_Sara & Daria Novo)
8. Planted a Flower (Album Mix) (feat. Ali Paris & Misha Khalikulov)
9. NelsScorpions Altered a Lot (feat. Nels Cline & Rini)