If you could recreate a time before you experienced the most extreme grief of your life, would you do it? For Rituals of Mine’s Terra Lopez, she did just that. With her latest album HYPE NOSTALGIA – her first as a solo artist – Lopez wanted to create a soundscape from a pre-loss perspective, revealing how the darkness she experienced was just microcosms of her being.
HYPE NOSTALGIA reckons with the emotional rollercoaster Lopez has been riding the past few years, and reimagines it. In 2015, Lopez lost her father to suicide and six months later her best friend passed away in a water accident. “Those two events within that six month-period, forever changed me, and I'm only now starting to feel like I've processed it after all these years,” Lopez says.
The same week her father died, she went on tour, and the same week that her friend died, Lopez signed to a major label, immediately working on new music. She never slowed down and neither did her emotions. Lopez went from being a high-functioning depressed person to encountering the most crippling mental health experience of her life.
Art had always been her outlet, but it was no longer a coping mechanism that worked. Trauma had taken away her voice, leaving Lopez unable to sing for a year. It wasn’t until 2018 when she decided to go to therapy and began taking medication for the first time that she could process the trauma she had experienced, not only in the recent years, but intergenerational trauma she discovered in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).
Sure, there are heavy elements to the record: dark synths, future R&B undertones, propulsive bass and moody lyrics, but the softness of Lopez’s vocals elicits a quiet confidence. On the self-assured lead single “Come Around Me,” the most straightforward song Lopez has ever written, she confronts being taken advantage of as a gay woman of color in the music industry. “None of this fake shit when you come around me,” she sings breathlessly. Lopez enlists musician Kristina Esfandiari (King Woman, Nghtcrwlr), to tackle the same subject on the anthemic “Free Throw,” meditating on the fake support that comes from their male counterparts in the music industry.
The bedroom pop-tinged “Exceptions,” which is the album’s wildcard, finds Lopez confronting her former bandmate leaving the project and the idea that people outgrow each other. As Hype Nostalgia reflects on Lopez’s own journey in reconciling with the darkest parts of herself and her life, she wants it to be something that can help listeners with their own mental health. “I just want to help other people,” Lopez says. “That's what really helped me stay focused throughout all of this.”
released September 25, 2020
Produced by Wes Jones & Dev the Goon
Engineered by Wes Jones
Additional Vocal Engineering by Terra Lopez (Reflex, Exceptions)
Recorded at: Panoramic House, Organic Artists, Bitchwave Studios, Output Studios
Mixed by Neal Pogue (Tracks 2, 5, 7, 8, 12) & Wes Jones (Tracks 1,3,4,6,9,10,11,13)
Mastered by Heba Kedry
Lyrics by Terra Lopez
Samples: Terra’s childhood cassette collection, 1993.
Photos by Jeffrey LaTour
Artwork & Layout by Justin Hunt Sloane
Styling: Kelsie Hastie, Makeup & Hair: Jessie Maranda, Production Design: Terra Lopez & Kelsie Hastie, Prop Designer: Alex Lopez, Production Assistants: Adam Pierce, Nik Guinn, Machu, Lex Oakes, Jessica Nunes
Thank you to: Wes Jones for the hours, relentless fine tuning, beautiful ideas, shared vision, pep talks over happy hours, and your continued belief all these years. Words won’t do justice but I think you know how important you are to me. Dev the Goon for your talent and incredible songwriting. It’s just the beginning! Adam Pierce for being a rock in this project and in my life and for always pushing to reach the next level. Kelsie Hastie, thank you for sticking with me during the hardest years of my life, for always being real with me, for growing with me, for inspiring me. You are the real MVP. Neal Pogue for lending your legendary ears and heart to the project and for your words (which are still my phone background). Carpark Records team for believing in this project and for easily being the best label experience I’ve ever had. Courtney Fairchild for hustling side by side with me in this. There aren’t enough pages to say all I want to say but just know that you all kept me going when I didn’t quite know how to: Samantha Maloney, Kris Esfandiari, Mike Archibald, Romeo Augustine, Nico Turner, Michelle Delso, David Lopez III, Alex Lopez, Andrew Lopez, Lex Oakes, Gary Viers, Raquel Maree, Nancy Hastie, Rich Pierucci, Eileen Hastie, Bruce Hastie, Lana Miller, Lauren Ross, Jess Caragliano, John Horton, Jessie Maranda, Jeffrey LaTour, Fried Rice family (Maya, Nolan, James), Terrorbird Media crew, Jon Pleeter, Tyler Bates, Emily Rosenblum, Leo Pfeifer, Daniel Lee at Roland, Coleman Goughrey at Ableton, sE Electronics, Patreon subscriber Sri Gupta, Alexis Padma, Atticus & Ellie and everyone who supports ROM.
“When death takes something from you, give it back” - Naja Marie Aidt