Adam McRae, the musician known as Reykjavictim, rode his bicycle on Nanchang Lu, met his wife and learned a language too.
“Nostalgic for What,” the title of the first track on his newest album Nostalgia, includes those exact lyrics about riding his bicycle and meeting his wife in Shanghai, China. On the hook, he sings, “Every time I get a chance to sit and think about it, I get so bored.”
Nostalgia signifies a new chapter of McRae’s life and music career, and it serves as a fond trip down memory lane.
The album was released on Sept. 1, 2020, and is comprised of nine tracks and ranges topically between pension contributions, world hunger, the digital sphere, language barriers, and more.
Within those topics, each song also looks back on a meaningful period of time in McRae’s life: a time when he lived in Shanghai, when he got married, and when his professional career took off.
“That’s the main change from now. I came back to Canada, and at first it was a reverse culture shock—everything is more slow and less populated. But I look back, and I enjoyed my time there,” says McRae.
“It’s funny. I look back, and there was always something to complain about back then, but it was great. That whole period, I look back on with great nostalgia.”
And that’s what his latest album is all about.
It’s nearly impossible to not immediately become a fan of McCrae’s personality and outlook on life, as well as his melodies and his lyrics. His album is about personal growth and a healthy appreciation for the past.
“Do I think back on Shanghai as the best time of my life? I could go back to Shanghai, but not only does the same Shanghai from that time period not even exist anymore, I myself have also changed. That period is over, you could never recreate it, and I am now selectively remembering the parts which fit the story I am trying to tell.”
With music being his outlet to reminisce the past, McRae continues to enjoy the art of creating melodies and writing new lyrics, all the while improving his mastery.
Back at age 16, the singer, rapper, songwriter, performer used to “goof around with a guitar” but had always anchored his music and authenticity to each facet of his life. Now, having travelled and performed across multiple cities in North Asia, the Ontario native has returned to Canada to take his artistry to the next level.
“I have two kids now,” says McRae. “I’m always showing them stuff, and a lot of the new album comes from reading kids stories. It triggers something for me, as a starting point anyway. I rap to a Dr. Seuss rhythm sometimes.”
For McRae, the possibilities for new music are endless. Having shifted his focus to a quieter Canadian lifestyle, and now a father to two kids, he continues to churn out new musical material when he can, that he creates in pieces and puts together when the time is right.
“I always found that when I have nothing to do, I waste time. When I’m already busy, I add more stuff and totally maximize my time. I like to torture myself like that and write my best music during the busiest times of my life.”
In the pandemic, things have slowed. He would have liked to put his new album into a performable mode, but there are too many layers and equipment involved that aren’t realistic for one person to do or perform in a pandemic.
“Performing is for my own personal enjoyment. A reason to see the next town over there.”
The final track on Nostalgia is titled “2020 Visions,” and while McRae doesn’t consider the song the “main seed” of the album, it’s got his thoughts and feelings of 2020 in the lyrics—packaged in a melodic chant overlaid on top of Silverchair and Britney Spears instrumentals from 20 years ago. It’s a song that’s about 2020, that now exists 20 years after the era and influence of Silverchair and Britney Spears, that somehow… works.
“The album has some fun stuff on there. I really enjoyed the amount of lyrics on there… just, lyrics for days. I wrote so much! I thought I was in a time where I had less and less to say, but I’m surprised I had so much.”