BY ANDREW CLARK
Aspiring musician and Wadsworth alumni Michael Recupero has high hopes after the release of his new psychedelic rock EP. He is the son of Wadsworth’s Chemistry teacher Mr. Michael Recupero, and is a former soccer player for WHS. The Wadsworth High School graduate performs under the name MJR, and his new EP is available on Itunes and Spotify.
The self titled EP, MJR, consists of four songs that are of a rare breed. They belong to the genre of neo-psychedelia or modern psychedelic rock, genres usually mixed into the alternative category, and is similar to artists such as Tame Impala and Blac Rabbit.
Growing up Recupero had a passion for music that his family helped foster.
“Music has always been my biggest passion in life” said Recupero. “My dad and mom really helped ingrain that in me from a young age, and being surrounded by other talented musicians in my family, like my aunt and cousins, has definitely helped inspire me even more.
What followed was the beginning of his musical career. Growing to learn a number of different instruments including the Bari Sax, which he played in band, Recupero was learning the basics of what he would need in the future.
“Wadsworth has such an incredibly driven band program and I’m so fortunate that I was a part of it—jazz band was probably my favorite and I learned so much from it,” said Recupero.
The young artist did not start learning to mix music until early 2018, and he did not expect to make it this far so soon.
“I’m still very much a beginner, but that makes it that much more exciting,” said Recupero. “Honestly if you would’ve asked me where I thought this was headed last year, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you. The whole decision to start releasing music is still very fresh.”
Along with starting a music career comes finding a sound to represent yourself. It has to help convey your message to people or make them feel the way you want them to feel, and Recupero found what he was looking for in Modern Psychedelia.
“I listen to a lot of different music and enjoy almost every genre in some aspect, but I definitely find the most inspiration in modern psych bands just because there are so many layers of instruments and sounds,” said Recupero. “Sometimes you’ll hear something completely different on the 10th listen of a track than the first 5 listens, or you’ll have a completely different experience listening to an album depending on if you’re listening through headphones, speakers, or your car, or whatever. I think that’s so cool, which is why I play around with a lot of the tones used in those types of music.”
The free flowing nature of the songs along with their cryptic lyricism make them almost dreamlike, and also avoids a clear cut message in each song.
“I’m actually not sure if I’m trying to convey any specific message with my music, I think that’s up to the listener to decide, said Recupero. “While each song is written with a topic in mind, my hope is that each listener can find something to resonate with whether or not it’s related to that topic.”
The lyricism is not the only element of the music. His use of the modern psychedelia elements give the listener a feeling they will not get from another genre.
“A lot of modern psych music just has so many visceral layers; it takes you out of reality and effortlessly places you in a new headspace,” said Recupero.
He already has a leg up in his career and he is having fun doing it. The modern psychedelic rock sound is a growing one as shown by bands like Tame Impala who have gone from obscurity to headlining Coachella.
“I always liked the idea of having washed-out vocals and more emphasized, swirling yet driven instrumentals,” said Recupero. “Not to mention that layering a saxophone over a guitar, synthesizer, bass guitar, and drum kit is probably one of the most fun things I’ve ever done.”