Jacksonville, FL Alternative Rock project PHARMACOSE, a mostly one man shown known as (Dr.) WESLEY JONES, has unveiled the long awaited and previously teased out EP, Ascension’s Constraint Pt. I. Written, produced, mixed, and mastered by the enigmatic and multi-talented front-man, Ascension’s Constraint Pt. I is a delicious fusion of classic and modern alternative, with precise and deeply thoughtful themes built within a stunningly layered instrumentation!
“When I set out to make Ascension’s Constraint in 2020, I thought it would take me about a year or so. It ended up taking over three years. It has been an arduous path getting here, full of frustration, late nights, trial and error, and, honestly, a fair amount of failures. And this is only Part I! More than once I wanted to give up and never think about it again. In some respects, it might have been a healthier option, since I’m almost six years removed from my mental health struggles, but some part of me just will not sit still.
Toward the end of 2019, I felt great about where things were headed with Pharmacose. We’d just finished part 2 of Prescription Fiction, and we were starting to get some shows booked. Things were beginning to get exciting. Then March 2020 happened, and while we were extremely fortunate not to experience any major tragedies, personal circumstances changed for all of us, and suddenly there was no “we.” It was just me. Though that’s not entirely accurate, since Lu and I are still working together some, but there was no longer a band in the traditional sense.
I could have let Pharmacose go quietly, and part of me wanted to, but I just could not quit. There was a moment around when the lockdowns were announced that I knew I was going to be stuck in the house more, and I decided that I was going to do whatever it took to get my production abilities up to snuff. I already had some clue as to what I was doing, but it still took me a year of writing, recording, realizing it was not good, and then repeating the process before I started to gain a bit of confidence. Somewhere during that time I decided that since I was doing deep dive on production, I may as well do the same for mixing.
Along the way I built a project studio, and that’s where I was nearly every night from around 9:00-12:00, and sometimes more on the weekend. I put out versions of the songs on this record starting at the beginning of last year, and when it became time to start thinking about compiling them all into an album, I realized the recording and mixing just wasn’t good. So, earlier this year, I set out to figure out where I went wrong and to do what I needed to do to get the songs sounding how I wanted them.
I ended up re-recording almost all the parts, which obviously meant that I had to mix everything again. It was disappointing at first to realize all this, but I’m glad I took the time to do it. Everything sounds so much better, and anyone who listened to the original versions won’t recognize these ones. Additionally, I feel like I’ve got a decent idea about what I am doing now, meaning that Part II won’t take nearly as long.
Ascension’s Constraint is part of a larger work that also includes a companion book. At first, I was trying to release one part of the story per month along with a song that goes with what is happening in the story, but I got very far behind and decided to put the book on hold so I could get the songs done. Part I of the book is pretty far along, though, I just need to finish it. I think that’s the next step in this journey. I’d hate to abandon it, because I enjoy the story and it helps to solidify the messages I am trying to send.
When I say messages, I really don’t mean to be preachy, and in fact I am not necessarily trying to tell the reader/listener what I believe is really going on in the world. I am not sure what’s going on in the world because I feel truth is in short supply, but this is only my opinion.
Ideas that the songs and the book explore include the possibility of a higher self/soul, higher dimensions, and the simulation hypothesis. For those that are intrigued or might want more background, I suggest reading about Roger Penrose, Stuart Hameroff, and David Bohm, among others.
I’d be remiss if I did not acknowledge point out that the timing of this release is serendipitous. UAPs appear to be real, and we may be on the cusp of disclosure. Lue Elizando, Tom DeLonge, and many others have mentioned that the phenomena may have ties to consciousness and higher dimensions. It was not my intention to time the release to coincide with all the information coming out, but hopefully my works will inspire the reader/listener to dig deeper into these concepts.” – Wes Johnson
Pharmacose is an alternative rock project hailing from Jacksonville, FL, that combines steadfast analog sounds with cutting edge flair. The project– a portmanteau of “pharmaceutical” and “comatose” –began as a collaborative effort between Jones and producer and bassist Lucio Rubino. They have previously released material under the name Digital Array.
Jones, a Memphis native, formed Pharmacose in 2017 with producer Lu Rubino shortly after moving to Jacksonville to pursue new career opportunities. Rubino, a veteran producer and bassist, has worked with Paramore, Storyside B, and The Showdown, among many others. Their creative process was chiefly inspired by Jones, a medical doctor, and his past struggles with mental illness.
Pharmacose began as a coping mechanism for Jones in the wake of an acute mental health episode, culminating in the release of Prescription Fiction, Part 1, in 2020. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jones and Rubino put together a live act by recruiting drummer Albert Cruz and lead guitarist Kevin Horne. The group was gearing up to play live shows in anticipation of the release of Part 2 of Prescription Fiction. With the subsequent lockdowns canceling those shows, and Cruz and Horne subsequently departing, Jones decided to begin working on new material and used the time to explore new sounds and assume a greater role in production. The result is several new songs, which ultimately completed Prescription Fiction as an entire album, rather than releasing Part 2 as a separate chapter.
In August 2023, Pharmacose released the first installment of their second album, Ascension’s Restraint.