Interview with The Obsessives vocalist/guitarist Nick Bairatchnyi | By Sean Gonzalez | Photo by Jessica Flynn
“It was a lot of getting away from writing complicated songs to writing really simple songs for the sake of them being catchy—and for the art form of writing pop songs,” vocalist and guitarist Nick Bairatchnyi comments about the process of writing the new self-titled record from his D.C.-based band, The Obsessives. This is why the songs across the March 17 Lame-O Records release bounce with energy and vigor, maintaining a presence that is bound to leave an impression, even in the form of an earworm hook as on “It’s Not Fair.”
For The Obsessives, Bairatchnyi wrote a somber collection of lyrics that manifested into love songs, sharing a duality with the theme of family. Bairatchnyi reflects, “I don’t really talk to my dad, and the whole time we were living in Philly writing this last record, I was also in definitely the most serious romantic relationship of my life… It was an interesting analogy for me lyrically to try to find all the commonalities between struggling with the relationship with my father and this first real love relationship I had with a person.”
This insight makes the cries of “I’m not ready to let go” seem even heavier on “If You Really Love Me.” With these stifling anxieties present within the frameworks of the record, the opening tracks, “Intro” and “You’re My God,” burst with urgency in trying to uncover what is true to oneself.
Ultimately, The Obsessives sought to thrive in a space that heightened their senses creatively. This resulted in subconsciously bringing to life the idea of not reaching that place, hinted at on the atmospheric “A Shady Place” and resolved by the closing track “You’re Gonna Be.” Bairatchnyi summarizes this final song’s purpose, saying, “I wrote the lyrics for that song for [bandmate] Jackson [Mansfield] and I, because I feel that was we needed to hear writing this album—and to continue dedicating years of our lives to making records. That song I wrote for us, but it was really trying to make myself believe it. That song is also hoping that others will hear it and understand it, because that’s what we needed to hear.”