Toronto punk band Fucked Up has just released a video project for ‘Year of the Hare’ and it is a bit strange! It is interactive, because it is the way to go these days, and not being from that generation, I got a bit lost at the beginning, but I think I finally got it. When you arrive on the website, you have to ‘use your keyboard to escape the loops’ as they say, meaning clicking randomly on the page? At least this is what I did first. I could not find many of these looping clips, then they suddenly appeared, one by one, and I played a loop till I couldn’t stand it anymore… so I wanted to see another one but didn’t know how to get back! I found out I just had to refresh the page to find another one….What a weird promo it is!
The clips give us a glimpse into the life of a depressed-looking guy working in a cubicle while some acoustic guitar or some ambient noise is playing in the background. Next, he is staring at a giant rabbit in the subway, then he is brushing his teeth while the rabbit is standing behind him. In another clip he seems obsessed by clocks and time at a restaurant table, then he is cooking an omelet when a clock starts appearing on it, and what surprised me the most is that only a few of these clips seem to have what sounds like Fucked up’s music, the rest of them are accompanied by ambient experimental soundscape. I don’t know how many of these clips are hiding behind the black page, but there is a weird repetition each time this same sad guy is waking up, walking in the streets, showing a sort of obsession with time and eggs, and bumping into this white plush big rabbit… are they rewriting Alice in Wonderland or Donnie Darko?
Exclaim has an exclusive explanation of the project by Fucked Up guitarist Mike Haliechuk: ‘The song itself we tried to structure like you would a film or a book — there are little musical symbols that run through the course of the song, parts skip back and forth in an effort to make it a bit confusing and less structured that a normal FU song, and it has these blips of noise within the quiet parts that we tried to make like foreshadowing that you’d use in a medium or art other than music. We tried to invert that saying “all art aspires to the condition of music” and make a song that wanted to be a TV show. So the loops are meant to be a way to unveil the song as a tribute to how it was written as a piece of music — scattered around and hard to navigate through. The lyrics use rabbits as a symbol for how little tasks and stresses seem to overpopulate our senses in daily life, so the treatment is about this guy who is just trying to wake up and go to work but is met with all these trials — some very banal and some very surreal. It’s kind of a day in the life of this guy who can’t escape the worst day of his life and keeps getting send back to the beginning a la Groundhog Day.’
I got this Groundhod Day feeling because of the loops, but in the rest of the interview Mike goes even further:’ I think the direction music is going in is kinda “a la carte” where there aren’t really gonna be albums, just songs, then hopefully pieces of songs, like you can buy a few of your favourite chorus parts or bridges or breaks, and then one day certain big labels will just end up owning certain pitches or keys and you can just sign up for your favourite key and just get sent a stream of sounds in A minus every month or whatever. Anyways so the video is trying to cater to that — you can just settle on one of the loops and just listen to it for a few minutes if you like it without having to slog through an entire song just because the six of us in the band decided that how those notes should be experienced.’
Is it what we are bound to? Not only albums are gone but songs are gone too and bands are gonna now serve us pieces of songs we can rearrange the way we want? What a concept!
He also talks about noise being a large part of the experience of this new record: ‘So the noise bit is the sound of the actual room looped. We just turned on the microphones and recorded the room itself. Then we took what we’d recorded and then played it back into the room and recorded that, and again and again until what we got was this gnarly sounding industrial hum, which im sure it was just the accumulation of these tiny noises that were actually there, but it’s fun for me to think of it as just an emergent sound that came from nothing and we like synthesized sound from nothing just by recording it.’
So expect a lot of noise and a lot of loops, they love loops and Mike explains why:’Loops are useful also I think because that’s how everyone experiences life. The video for the song is obviously a stretch and very surreal but it’s not really far for some people I don’t think. Wake up, make eggs, take the train, have a few suits you wear during the week, etc. I mean everything good is just the result of someone doing something really boring the same way for a long time and then having it transcend.’
I love that idea, there are a lot of very deep existentialist thoughts in this interview! Check out the loops of Year of the Hare’ on this page before the record comes out on June 16th through Deathwish Inc.
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