Philadelphia soul-pop wizard Alex Fichera unites with another Philly artist, Sam Ansa, as Sharing Contest.
In the recent past, going back four years now, dosage MAGAZINE and I have written about the sonic and lyrical exploits of Alex Fichera, an artist who started off on his own, and as himself, writing, singing, and self-producing Wes Anderson-worthy Kinks-ish pop (2017’s “Hollow Streets” full-length LP), to different versions of the blue-eyed soul dream under the nom de plume Psychic Agency. That’s meant everything from PIR-Dexter Wansel-ish, electric piano-infused singles such as “Throwback / Meditate,” EPs like “Trips to Nowhere,” his jazzy “Blush” affair, and a spare, trip-hoppy Sade- single, “Film Grain.” For July 4 weekend, Fichera is still flashing his independence, but, this time in collaboration with another inventive Philadelphia artist, Sam Ansa, for the daring duo, Sharing Contest.
While their already released single, “Portrait,” and their debut EP, “Slumber (out July 2) was completely produced/mixed/mastered by Fichera, their self-titled sound – a “blend of classic slowcore and modern indie rock,” is in tune with the labors of two men acting as one unit. Plus, Sharing Contest just played its first live show as part of Porchfest, so their sleepy sound is armed and ready for summer gigging in the hazy, post-pandemic now.
“The process for the EP was very collaborative,” said Fichera of crafting a proper duo setting for Sharing Contest. “I started by writing the songs and producing demos, which I then brought to Sam where we tweaked things like arrangement and instrumentation. The songs were written over the course of several years, with no real musical direction in mind, so once I brought them to Sam, we spent some time connecting the dots and developing our musical identity. Sam is a great multi-instrumentalist, so working as a duo with him was refreshing, and allowed us to elevate the tracks to new heights. I also took a new approach by recording all of the songs, DIY, at Sam’s home studio.”
Along with a still soulful take on the cool slowcore genre, Fichera states, in an unusual progression from his past, that his main emphasis for Sharing Contest’s recordings was placed on authenticity and vibe. “With that, I strayed slightly from my super clean production style that I usually gravitate towards, and embraced some of the lo-fi characteristics of our new recording environment. What resulted then, is a collection of songs that are extremely personal to me, and that I’m very proud of.”
Along with the digital release of “Slumber” on July 2, Sharing Contest also have a physical release planned in collaboration with Nap Time Records on cassette tape. “We’re keeping the physical release limited and really focusing on the aesthetics of what we create,” said Fichera. All of the artwork for the album was created by Mariesa Maglione. A lot of the songs make references and metaphors to visual art, which is something that we wanted to come across in every aspect of the release. With that, each song has its own piece of artwork associated with it, which we’ve been posting to our Instagram along with snippets of the tracks. We also have plans for a music video, which should be released later in the summer, as well as a photoshoot shot by photographer Maria Di Pietro.”
Thanks for Sharing.