THE NARCOTIX IS A WEST AFRICAN ART-ROCK BAND WITH FEATHERS ALL OVER.
Composers and multi-instrumentalists Esther Quansah and Becky Foinchas return with their debut album Dying, an excavation of the ego in 12/8 time. It’s an audio collage, an amalgam of moods, genres and hysterics that flips formal songwriting structure on its head. The songwriting duo of Foinchas and Quansah has always had a knack for subverting expectations, and this new release bears witness to staggering growth and deliberate abandon.
"This album is about the creative risk and reward of maintaining pure vulnerability while creating. It investigates themes of meditation, esotericism, and surrealism in our daily lives to address existential questions about the innermost self. Woven within the fibers of the music is a deeply spiritual aesthetic that challenges time and sonic reality through a formless usage of our surroundings."
Quansah and Foinchas met in an elementary school chorus class in the ghostly woodlands of Woodbridge, Virginia. The daughters of African immigrants (from Cote D’Ivoire and Cameroon respectively), they soaked up influences as far-flung and varied as choral symphonies, math rock, soukous and highlife, distilling them through a unique lens. The Narcotix was born in the front seat of a Toyota Corolla and has been described at various times as “a joke gone too far.”
MOMMY ISSUES MOMMY ISSUES MOMMY ISSUES MOMMY ISSUES MOMMY ISSUES
Mommy Issues was recorded in a quarantine fugue state and released in June 2021. It received favorable coverage in outlets like Pitchfork, NPR and Earmilk, introducing the Narcotix to new audiences while affirming their place in Brooklyn’s thriving DIY and experimental rock scenes. Following the release of Mommy Issues, the band cut their teeth playing numerous shows in NYC, Philly and upstate New York, sharing the stage with artists as talented and varied as Laraaji, Fievel is Glauque, Flanafi, the Deli Girls, Beshken/Ex-Wiish, St. Mela, Godcaster and countless others.
While attending the University of Virginia, Foinchas and Quansah met Sierra Leonean guitarist Adam Turay, showing him their compositions and bonding over a shared love of both avant-pop music like early Grizzly Bear and Stereolab and African music like the intricate soukous guitar rhythms of Koffi Olomide and the pulsing chimurenga of Thomas Mapfumo. They became interested in applying these ideas to popular western forms, using unconventional ways to arrive at accessibility. Quansah, Foinchas and Turay relocated to Brooklyn in 2017, developing their West African-inspired psych-folk concept and playing at various clubs and DIY spaces in the city.
The full ensemble came together after a few years in the city. The Narcotix met New England Conservatory alum Jesse Heasly in Brooklyn’s “weird rock scene,” and his pocket bass playing and avant-garde sensibilities provide an ideal complement to the music. Rounding out the rhythm section is Matt Bent, a virtuosic jazz drummer, DJ and producer who has as much love for Tony Williams and Wayne Shorter as he does for Aphex Twin and SOPHIE.
© 2023 by The Narcotix.