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Combining synth pop and goth rock, Canada's Psyche built a solid fan base in Europe and a cult following in the rest of the world with their marriage of drama and melody. Initially surfacing as a minimal synth act with a bizarre, confrontational stage show, their work gradually became more pop-minded while maintaining a dark, brooding atmosphere. By the end of the '90s, Psyche had fully embraced their danceable side, asserting their status as godfathers of the EBM/futurepop scene.
Formed in 1982 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, brothers Darrin and Stephen Huss (or Evan Panic and Anthony Red as they liked to be called at the beginning) combined their love of horror, electronic music, and punk's D.I.Y. attitude and set out as Psyche. During their earliest days, Dwayne Goettel (later of Skinny Puppy) contributed keyboards to the group. Demos got them an opening slot on Alien Sex Fiend's tour of Europe in 1984. French label New Rose approached the duo for an album, and Psyche delivered the self-produced Insomnia Theatre, released in 1985. Good reviews in the European press and an opening slot for Suicide set the band up for the successful follow-up, Unveiling the Secret, which included two tracks that would become goth-club staples: "Prisoner to Desire" and the title track. A headlining tour of Europe followed and their third album, Mystery Hotel, appeared in 1987.
Darrin moved to Montreal and worked with the industrial band Vanishing Heat. Keyboardist David Kristian took Stephen's place for the 1989 album The Influence, and stayed with the band for 1990's Tales from the Darkside and 1991's Daydream Avenue, which included the big club hit "Angel Lies Sleeping." By this time, the band had become a favorite of the popular, subscription-only DJ remix service Razormaid, a relationship that gave Psyche a healthy presence in edgy clubs. Kristian left and Stephen Huss rejoined the band in 1992 and helped his brother compile the 69 Minutes of History collection. Darrin had moved to Germany while Stephen was still in Canada, so Psyche's future was uncertain. Darrin formed Inside in 1999 with former members of the Eternal Afflict, but after a tour, Inside split. Stephen was out again when Darrin re-formed Psyche with keyboardist Per-Anders Kurenbach and released Strange Romance in 1996 and Love Among the Ruined in 1998.
The 2000 compilation Misguided Angels included three unreleased tracks from the Kurenbach era along with the group's hard-to-find version of "Goodbye Horses," a song originally used for the character Buffalo Bill's dancing scene in The Silence of the Lambs. Kurenbach was out and new keyboardist Remi Szyszka was in for Sanctuary and The Hiding Place, both released in 2001. The remix collection Endangered Species appeared in 2002 and was followed a year later by an album of original material, Babylon Deluxe. American label Metropolis Records released the career-spanning collection Legacy in 2004, giving Psyche more exposure on their home continent than they had experienced since forming.
Following the departure of Szyszka, Kurenbach returned in time for the 2005 full-length The 11th Hour, which topped the German alternative charts. As Psyche approached their 25th anniversary, they released the anthology DVD Imaginary Life in 2006. Since then, the group has largely focused on touring rather than recording. They have appeared at numerous festivals throughout the world, and have issued several live recordings, remix albums, and compilations, in addition to reissues of their back catalog. Of particular note, Re-Membering Dwayne (2010) contained early demos recorded with Dwayne Goettel before he left Psyche, and Unknown Treasures (2011) compiled covers of the group's influences, such as Yazoo, Soft Cell, and the Cure. The single "Youth of Tomorrow" appeared in 2017. ~ David Jeffries
- Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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