Psychic Materials by Casey Mecija
with Marcel Ramagnano, Kieran Adams,
Jeff DeButte, Heather Kirby, Jenny Mecija, Anissa Hart and Ryan Carley
When understanding fails, music consoles. There is always the chance that a dream revisits us, but there is also the impossibility of holding onto or recalling its details. These songs assemble emotions that live in disparate locations. They are pieces of dreams about queerness, memory, diaspora, history and love. Like an attempt to make sense of the residue of a dream, I hope that the imposition of a coherent narrative onto them is a necessary act but does not undermine their enigmatic qualities. These songs contain materials that help me to know who I am, all the while finding comfort in the places where knowing is not possible.
Casey Mecija has been a fixture in Toronto's music scene for the last decade. In the mid 2000s, she helped turn her home on Bellwoods Avenue into a community hub for young musicians and artists, insisting that an ethos of collaboration and collectivity was better than the pressures of an industry driven by capital and market trends. She hosted basement concerts that would help to launch the careers of some of Canada's most popular artists, while fundraising for the local foodbank. At the time, she fronted the orchestral-pop band, Ohbijou, which was born out of the spirit of the home, founded on friendship and a desire to make music and art that inspired social change.
By 2013, Ohbijou had become wrapped-up in the industry it originally hoped to shirk. Exhausted by compromise, touring and the pressures of appealing to markets, the band went on hiatus. Casey returned to school, completing a Masters and now, a PhD at the University of Toronto. She is also the host of CBC radio's The Doc Project.
Psychic Materials, Mecija's first solo album, is a return to the DIY aesthetic that she long ago began to craft. It is brave in its address of queerness, diaspora, history and love. There is no one like Casey Mecija. In her insistence that art has a place in social movements, and her fearless ability to match melody to desire, again, she offers her listeners assurance that music can give language to emotions not yet named.