Jacksonville, FL Alternative Rock project PHARMACOSE has released the newest single off of their new LP, Prescription Fiction, “Pretty Porcelain.” A carefully constructed audio-journey through the ups and downs of bipolar disorder, and the increasing prevalence of mental illness in modern society, this second piece from Prescription Fiction expounds on the frustration and rewards of creating art in what often seems to be a vacuum. Despite the dark depth and complexity of the subjects, the album is an alt-rock gem of massive choruses, distorted guitars, and brutal percussion.
“‘Pretty Porcelain’ is a song I wrote right before the pandemic started. Lu and I had been recording together for a while, but I wanted to start doing some things on my own to bring to him. For me, being in the studio is a blast. Few things in life are as fun for me. I wanted to be able to bring some of that home, so I started putting together a home studio. It was primitive at the time because it was a small room in an apartment. The acoustics weren’t good, but I wrote and recorded the song anyhow. It turned out just okay. I was going to get Lu to mix it regardless, so I took all the tracks to him, and we just decided to redo most everything. At the very least, having a fully tracked demo makes things go a lot faster in the studio. I think we knocked out the recording in one or two sessions and finalized the mix in another. I’m very happy the song is getting released, because it represents the first steps on my own journey to become a better producer. I feel I’ve come a long way, and later in the year some of the stuff I produced on my own will come out.
The flip side to all this is that music production might be the most humbling thing I’ve ever done. Granted, there is a lot of good information out there, but there’s also a lot of bad advice, and when you’re still in the journeyman phase, it can be difficult to sort out what information is good and what isn’t. I started putting investing an insane amount of time recording and trying to learn. Some days I would come home from work, spend 8 hours in my studio, and then go to bed. I’d do it all over the next day. On the weekends I spent almost every waking hour doing the same thing. Somewhere along the way I started to become overwhelmed and frustrated to the point where I began to wonder what I was even doing. I was spending all this time trying to get better, and it seemed to be fruitless. ‘Pretty Porcelain’ came about because I decided to write about all that frustration. I just wanted to quit. It sounds funny, but somehow I compared all this effort to a piece of porcelain: it’s there, but it’s just not helpful or good for much other than perhaps being a topic of conversation. Overall, it’s a narrative of what things would be like if I just gave up and quit music. In the end, I think it’s my own personal cautionary tale. Fortunately, I didn’t quit, and at this point I don’t think I ever can.” – Wes Jones (Vocals)
“On the surface, Prescription Fiction is a collection of songs that were written over the course of nearly a decade, but when put together, it tells the story of my mental health over that period. ‘Take a Pill’ was completed first, and I remember writing the lyrics down so furiously that it was almost illegible. I’m fairly certain I was manic then, but that period of my life was so emotionally chaotic that I can’t be certain. ‘Does It Matter?’ and ‘Alternate Reality’ were also written about that time. They’re frustration, anger, and sadness just spewed in all directions and at times incoherent. Those were written before I moved to Jacksonville, at which point I wasn’t doing much with my music. I was working and just trying to keep it together. Things fell apart in 2017 and I was hospitalized. I met Lu, our producer and bassist, when I was trying to get my life together. The songs that came after are reflections of the past, that episode in particular, and how I was feeling at the time. ‘Checked Out,’ for instance, is me using escapism to escape a lot of the shame I was feeling at the time, and ‘The Clearing’ was written right when I was starting to feel hopeful again. I encourage whoever listens to it to look at it that way. I’ve tried to be as emotionally honest as I can in hopes that maybe someone listens and realizes that if I can get through it, then maybe they can, too.” – Wes Jones
Track List: 1. Welcome To My Mind 2. Pretty Porcelain 3. The Clearing 4. Checked Out 5. I Keep Dreaming of the Sun 6. Does It Matter? 7. Smash 8. Take a Pill 9. Alternate Reality 10. Perfect Pharmaceutical 11. Victory At Wit’s End 12. The Forgotten 13. Not Today
Pharmacose is a collaborative 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. Frequent collaborators include drummer Albert Cruz and guitarist Kevin Horne, who also round out their live act. 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.
Drawing on such themes as reintegration to life in the wake of acute mental health episodes and the side effects of psychiatric medication, Pharmacose wields their brand of rock to let those suffering from mental illness to know that they are not alone. The result is a powerful, explosive lyrical journey into the depths of existence that would appeal to fans of Queens of the Stone Age, Porcupine Tree, Starset, Chevelle, The Mars Volta, and beyond.
By confronting anger, shame, and ultimately galvanizing hope, Pharmacose advocates for the awareness of mental health. Through vibrant soundscapes suffused with riveting synth. The group hopes to empower people to seek help, push through, and move from isolation toward connection.
Pharmacose released Prescription Fiction, Part 1, in 2020. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, they were gearing up to play live shows in anticipation of the release of part 2. With the subsequent lockdowns canceling those shows, 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, the first of which will be released in March 2022. In the meantime, Pharmacose will finally release Prescription Fiction as an entire album, rather than separately releasing part 2.