“I’m excited by the unknown”: Brisbane’s SYCCO Talks New Single “Dribble” & Making Colorful Music

SYCCO © Madeline Randall
An enchanting newcomer out of Brisbane, Australia, 18-year-old SYCCO speaks with Atwood Magazine about her musical upbringing and inspirations, her latest song “Dribble,” and more.
for fans of Glass Animals, Maggie Rogers, Clairo, Tame Impala
Stream: “Dribble” – SYCCO




Speakin’ in tongues, it don’t mean a thing; maybe I’m just naive…

When you create without limits, the possibilities are endless: Musical inspiration can come from just about anywhere or anything. In the case of Australia’s SYCCO (pronounced “psycho”), her stunning new single “Dribble” came out of a strained attempt to glean meaning from someone talking in their sleep. It’s little, innocuous moments like this that can be so vividly blown up in song, given new meaning and light through sonic and reflective exploration. And while “Dribble” may not come to any concrete conclusions about sleep talking, SYCCO has absolutely caught our attention and piqued our curiosity.

Dribble - SYCCO

Dribble – SYCCO

Boast ’bout how you suffer,
I didn’t know he loved ya

I was talking ’bout the weather,
told me ‘stop thinking it’s blubber’, oh
Talkin’ in your sleep, don’t know what ya mean
Need to act civil, won’t let it fizzle
Talkin’ in your sleep, make up fantasies
Need to act civil, won’t let it fizzle

Released July 15 via Wilder Records, “Dribble” arrives as the fifth overall single from SYCCO, the artist moniker for 18-year-old Brisbane-based songwriter and producer Sasha McLeod. The song arrives five months after SYCCO unleashed her last single “Nicotine,” an intoxicating pop jam that has since become her most popular song to date. Produced with Ed Quinn from Slum Sociable, “Dribble” finds the teenager refining her sound without sacrificing any of her indie DIY charm: Raw yet polished, it’s a feverish indulgence of soaring vocals and dynamic synths reminiscent of Glass Animals’ How to Be a Human Being, and it’s a perfect introduction to SYCCO for those who haven’t met her yet.

An intense immersion of psychedelia washes over the senses, coming to a peak in the chorus as the artist invites all to dwell in her wondrous world:

Wipin’ up your dribble, dribble, let it dry
Soakin’ in a puddle of it, I won’t cry
Wipin’ up your dribble, dribble, let it dry
Swept up in your troubles, I’ll just keep it all inside
SYCCO © Madeline Randall

SYCCO © Madeline Randall

“This song was inspired by someone talking in their sleep and me trying to work out the underlying meaning from it,” SYCCO tells Atwood Magazine. “I guess because there literally was no meaning from it, I was like, “Ah, there – just dribbling,” and then the concept of talking nonsense came about.”

McLeod, who debuted as SYCCO less than two years ago at just sixteen, has been taking her time to release songs that feel like full, distinctive worlds. Her music is the kind that engulfs the ears and transports listeners to another plane, which is exactly what she’s done in “Dribble” – yet it’s her open attitude toward inspiration, experience, and creation that make her such a thrilling up-and-comer and artist to watch.

“I’m excited by the unknown,” she says. “I never know what sort of sound is going to come out when I start writing, and I want it to stay like that.”

SYCCO spoke with Atwood Magazine about her musical upbringing and inspirations, her song “Dribble,” and more. Get to know this exciting Australian artist in our interview below, and stay tuned for more from SYCCO in the months to come!

SYCCO © Madeline Randall

SYCCO © Madeline Randall



A CONVERSATION WITH SYCCO

Dribble - SYCCO

Atwood Magazine: Hey SYCCO, great to meet you! I hope you don’t mind my asking: What inspired your artist name? What, if anything is the relationship with your name and the music you make?

SYCCO: HELLO! I totally do not mind you asking!! “Sycco” was inspired by the word psychedelic, I love the music and colours attached to that word and aspire to make similar music that radiates LOTS of colour.

It’s been about two years since you debuted with “Starboard Square.” How do you feel you’ve grown, as an artist, in that time?

SYCCO: Um, I definitely know not to get my songs mastered through a website online, that has helped a lot! I for sure have a lot more confidence in my singing capabilities. I also think I appreciate pop music way more than I did back then – I don’t feel the need to make everything sound kooky.

What is your musical upbringing? Do you write your songs on one instrument specifically?

SYCCO: When I was about seven my father taught me guitar a bit and then I just watched YouTube and played the drums. I tend to start with a drum beat or keys first now though, and prod the song as I write.

Your music reminds me of acts like Glass Animals and Maggie Rogers (amongst others). Who do you look to for inspiration?

SYCCO: Oh wow – interesting! I like that. I definitely look to Charli XCX, Clairo, Remi Wolf, Tame Impala – there’s actually so many, it would switch every week to be honest. Music is so so great, wow!

When you’re writing and recording, what do you look for in a song?

SYCCO: Definitely a melody that I want to sing over and over and over and over again and won’t get sick of.  Or I’d say “stank face expression” in the instrumental or the vocals – something that you feel so hard, your facial expression changes.

SYCCO © Madeline Randall

SYCCO © Madeline Randall

You’ve been releasing a few songs each year since your start. What has the experience been balancing school, music, etc these past few years?

SYCCO: I’d say music has always come first in every aspect of my life, so I’m not sure its ever been balanced totally well. Although having another job has been good to separate myself from my music and helped me realize it’s not my whole identity. I know I’m answering a different question here! I think music makes me happy, so I don’t necessarily feel like I need balance.

I think music makes me happy, so I don’t necessarily feel like I need balance.

You began 2020 with the song “Nicotine,” a truly intoxicating jam. How is this song a new milestone for you?

SYCCO: WOW! This song was definitely a new milestone because it’s straight up the most blatant pop song I have released so far so it was cool to dip my lil toesies into some new water and see that sort of reaction and how it made me feel. It was also the second song I had co-written with someone ever, so I think that was really exciting for me to open that door.

My false reality is slowly taking over me,” you sing on your way into the “Nicotine” chorus. What do these words mean for you?

SYCCO: This line is about your daydreams or the dreams you have before just before you fall into a deep slumber at night; wanting to believe that these fake realities are real that you start to lose sense of what is and isn’t. It also just takes up your brain cause you’re constantly wishing it was a reality.  Personally, I had wanted something to happen so badly, I would cry about it and lose sleep over it and it literally took over me.

“Dribble” is a feverish indulgence of soaring vocals and dynamic synths. What inspired this song?

SYCCO: This song was inspired by someone talking in their sleep and me trying to work out the underlying meaning from it. I guess because there literally was no meaning from it, I was like, “Ah, there – just dribbling,” and then the concept of talking nonsense came about.

Does “Dribble” hold any special significance for you, whether sonically or lyrically?

SYCCO: Definitely!! Sonically, Ed Quinn from Slum Sociable did an insane job with the prod, as soon as I heard it there was such a deep emotion attached to it which I really love. Also, I feel super proud of the guitar solo because I heard it in my head first, which I think is sick because it was like it was already in the song (I don’t know if that makes sense) – but I think it also demonstrates the hectic frustration when you know that people aren’t understanding what you’re trying to say.

Wishin’ it was cooler, middle of the day I’m doin’ better
I was so thinking so peculiar
Sittin’ in the sun, I wish I knew ya
Talkin’ in your sleep, don’t know what ya mean
Need to act civil, won’t let it fizzle
Talkin’ in your sleep, make up fantasies
Need to act civil, won’t let it fizzle

To me, this song is so finessed. I hear it, and it feels next-level. Is that a sentiment you share?

SYCCO: Yeah, for sure, I hear it and I feel so proud of it and wouldn’t want to change anything in it, except I also think it has this raw nature to it, especially with the vocals.

What excites you most about the music you make?

SYCCO: I’m excited by the unknown. I never know what sort of sound is going to come out when I start writing, and I want it to stay like that.

How have you been spending this year? Have you been able to continue making music in lockdown?

SYCCO: At first I was doing a lot of writing and then I started to lack inspiration – but where I live, restrictions have eased a bit and I’ve started doing Zoom sessions, so I’m feeling very lucky and excited.

What other music artists would you recommend to our readers?

SYCCO: I’ve been hitting Aalok Bala a lot recently – she’s translating from another dimension, it’s so immense. Deaton Chris Anthony is so exciting to listen to, and today specifically I have been hitting “Just a Phase” by Two Another & Arno Faraji.

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:: stream/purchase “Dribble” here ::
Stream: “Dribble” – SYCCO



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Dribble - SYCCO

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Mitch Mosk

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com