quarta-feira, 10 de outubro de 2018

Foxxxy Mulder, "Heretic" - Track by Track

A constância em que David e Kori, ou Foxxxy Mulder para os íntimos, tem aparecido nas páginas do TBTCI vem crescendo, e não é para menos, depois do brilhante debute, "Premarital Hex", do ano passado, passando pelos singles/aperitivos do seu aguardando segundo trabalho, eis que "Heretic" conheceu o mundo no último 21 de Setembro.

Como era de se esperar, a obra é densa, soturna, envolta a sombras, e claro, melancólico até a medula.

Já havíamos realizado a premiere de "Everything in Bloom" semanas atrás e agora, David e Kori a convite do TBTCI, e principalmente pela curiosidade de poder entender e compreender os segredos e mistérios de um dos grandes álbuns de pós punk do ano, o duo dissecou a obra em detalhes quase sórdidos.

Se por ventura você ainda não apreciou o poder de "Heretic", eis aqui uma oportunidade única.

***** Foxxxy Mulder, "Heretic" - Track by Track *****

1. Everything in Bloom
David: This was actually the first song written for the record. I wrote it, I think, while Premarital Hex was being mastered. I remember it was day after I passed my PhD exams—which was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done—so I was kind of riding this weird post-exams euphoria, and I went for a walk through the graveyard near my apartment, and then this song kind of happened.

Kori: When David sent over the earliest version of this one, I immediately understood that we were shifting gears. Premarital Hex was a bit less delicate, and this one I knew was going to require a bit more softness. I think opening the album with this one sets our audience up for something a bit more exploratory. I always really enjoy providing back-up vocals for songs like this, getting to show a softness that sets the stage for something really explosive later on.

2. Broken Glass
Kori: I gotta tell ya, performing this one was SO much fun. I absolutely channeled Siouxsie Sioux when I belted it out in the bridge at the end. Every iteration of this song, every revision, is utterly different than the one before it. We struggled to decide which was the right tone to set with this one, but I think the final form it took is the most authentic, really taking a direct, almost stern approach to the bull shit this record interrogates.

David: Yeah, this song went through more revisions than anything else on the record. When I originally wrote it, it was very shoegazey. I was trying really hard to emulate Rex Shelverton’s guitar work on the first two Tamaryn records (The Waves is one of my all-time favorite records). We actually released a rough mix with those guitar parts on Heretic Demos and B-Sides.

3. Apostate
David: This song also evolved a lot. The demo is on Heretic Demos and B-Sides, if you’re interested in checking out the early version. The sound was initially inspired very much by Exploded View’s first record. Later on, we ended up trying to incorporate some elements drawn from Zola Jesus, particularly the vocal sampling. Lyrically I was inspired pretty heavily by Sylvia Federici’s book Caliban and the Witch, specifically her discussions of the Medieval heretic movements in Europe. One thing she points out is that these heretic movements were often less concerned with challenging orthodox religious doctrine, as the word “heretic” tends to suggest, than they were with democratizing social life. So, these movements would get demonized and labeled as heretical and whatnot, but at the core their aim was revolutionary social change. Anyway, this song brings that rhetoric of heresy—in all its forms—to bear on our contemporary moment. It imagines a revolutionary moment when the heretics, the witches, the criminals, the apostates, and, you know, all of us, gather and dance on the graves of billionaires. It’s not exactly pretty—I mean, everybody’s bloody and we’ve got broken bones—but, I don’t know, it’s something. Of course, we’re not saying go out and kill rich people. It’s more like the entire conceptual category of the “billionaire” should be eliminated from the realm of possibility. It’s just a testament to how much of a fucking disaster our global economic system is that anyone can accumulate that much wealth.

Kori: In this one, I just wanted to sound evil, or maybe really vengeful. I wanted my voice to sound like thick blood, and when composing the horns for this track, I wanted them to really bounce around in the headphones. To be dizzying and confounding, but still with a recognizable pattern. I think about patterns a lot when writing instrumentation, and the repetition in this track lent itself so well to the dizzying, spiraling horns that pop off in the back end of this track. I’m really proud of this one, and helping David revise the lyrics and the structure of the track revealed how absolutely eclectic this LP is.

4. Drought
Kori: This track is the banger, in my opinion. It’s the one I really turn up loud when driving around because David’s deep, gloomy bass voice only compounds the melancholy of this track. This one feels best in headphones, because LOUD. I like that this one sort of hurts my ears, the same sort of affliction clearly affecting our speaker. And that final image, “Quake and the ground goes up / swallows you away,” ending it that desperate way is such a seamless, ironic transition into the next track, which is just hellfire and damnation.

David: In terms of lyrics, this is maybe my favorite song on the record. I think at the core it’s about the feeling of being crushed by the experience of modern life paired with the knowledge that you’re an integral part of the exact system that crushes you. You can barely pay your rent because your wages are shit, so you buy cheap things that are made in sweatshops, and as a result the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. So you feel guilty and trapped at the same time. Marx says capital is a vampire—you know, because it’s ultimately a dead thing that leeches value from the living—but soon you start to realize that you’re drinking other people’s blood, too, because you’re buying two-dollar H&M t-shirts that were made in a Cambodian sweatshop, because the apples you bought at the grocery store were picked by migrant workers who straight up didn’t get paid because the boss didn’t feel like it. You just want to get by in the world but, I mean, how are you supposed to do that? And so you go to therapy once a week in order to treat your stress, and your anxiety, and your depression, or whatever. And as a result, all these huge, world problems that are crushing you get individualized and medicalized, and maybe you take some drugs to make them go away, and you go back to work, because what else are you supposed to do? And if you can do that, you’re one of the lucky ones. It’s just fucked, you know?

5. Ghost
David: Witches are a big theme on this record, and this song’s pretty directly about that. Basically, the song tells the story of a woman who was executed as a witch—probably because she did something weird or said something mean to a man—and now she’s come back to haunt the community. It’s a story that’s been told again and again—just look at films like Black Sunday and The City of the Dead—except almost always, in these stories, the witch returns in all her evil monstrosity and the villagers are proven justified in executing her: She was in league with the devil all along and the only error on the side of the villagers was not killing her sooner. But the thing is, when I watch these movies, I always want to side with the witch because, in my assumption, she probably wasn’t executed because she was evil and hexing everybody and what have you. She was executed because the community didn’t like her—she talked out of turn too much or refused to play “good housewife” or rejected their religion or used natural remedies to heal people—so they labeled her a witch, said she was in league with the devil, and killed her for it. And when that’s the story, she fucking should come back and haunt her murderers. And we should be cheering for her, not them.

Kori: When David and I were in the studio recording vocals for this one, I felt myself almost trancing out. Keeping Zola Jesus’s deep, operatic, syrupy voice in mind, I really wanted to perform this one with its meaning at the forefront. I wanted to be intentional with performance, because performativity is so central to the ideas behind this record, and “Ghost” demonstrates those ideas best, I think. To think about the balance between female performativity and actual artistic performance, and how to act with intention and freedom, to ask the song what it needed and how I could be a maker in its conception, that’s fucking power. It was me in the dark digging deep into my gut to really get at the soul of this track, the ghost of it. I couldn’t help but cry a little while singing it, because god damn, y’all: this shit is real and yeah, I’m gonna haunt the fuck out of an oppressor and this song is almost a call to arms.

6. Easy
David: This song is maybe the odd one on the record. Both musically and lyrically it’s a bit different than the rest. But we liked it, so we kept it. I think there’s some vague Twin Peaks inspiration on this one, especially the character Candie from the new season. She’s such an enigmatic character, but there’s something compelling about her. I was also listening to J.Faraday on repeat when I wrote this song—he has a really great record called Beat Tape #1—and I think that comes out in the drum loops.

Kori: Okay, so I learned how to play a theremin for this song and I’m just really proud of myself for that. Then David made it sound fucking rad, so I’m proud of him for that. And the entire thing is just very sugary sweet, you will get a sad cavity, so please call us David Lynch. I hope someone makes out to this song. That would make me very happy and only vaguely grossed out. Get dreamy, kids.

7. No Angels Block Your Way
Kori: Of all the tracks on the LP, this one gets the highest score from me for the WL (Weed Listen). You know what I’m talking about, you burnouts. But seriously, I almost want to do a super slowed down cover (like we do) of this one. Is it even a cover if it’s your own track? Drone remix. That’s it.

David: This might be my favorite song on the record, even though I don’t expect it to be many people’s favorite. To be honest, I think we just straight-up ripped off Tropic of Cancer on this song. They have a record called The End of All Things that I was listening to obsessively when we were writing Heretic. And if I’m totally honest with myself, this song is just me trying to write a Tropic of Cancer song. They’re just so good that I couldn’t help it! I hope it ultimately turned out to be something of its own, but I don’t have the critical distance to judge that myself. The lyrics are an homage to this scene from Fire Walk With Me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXfS_pkMk-0 But even there, we’re not the first, because Sky Ferreira already wrote a (really great) song about that scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnD8rzQ5_Sc

8. The Witch
David: This is kind of a sister song to “Ghost.” I wrote it a few days after seeing Blanck Mass live. The ending of it is very much inspired by his record World Eater, although I wouldn’t pretend that it comes anywhere near the raw brutality of that record. World Eater is simply unreal. I actually assigned that record to my undergraduate students during the time we were working on Heretic. They usually returned to class utterly confounded by what they had just listened to.

Kori: We saved the most challenging track for last, because this one gets LOUD. And those vocal runs were not a piece of cake for me. I was extremely hungover when recording this one, but I think that made it better honestly. It really captured the sheer exhaustion that the record laments regarding what modern life is fucking doing to us. Jesus, I’m tired, y’all. “The Witch” tells that story, the one about the constant shakedown, then the sinking. I can’t tell you how much I dissociate these days. I lose hours sometimes. I know I’m not alone, and this is a collective dissociation in many ways. But I have a feeling that once the sleeping gives way to that icy dawn, we will terrorize. All it takes is just one push...