Sometimes to find the meaning in things, you need to start from zero. Following the departure of his drummer in Fat History Month, songwriter Sean Bean decided to move ahead solo under the name Bad History Month.
Grappling with themes impermanence, expectations and the humbling recognition of one’s place in time, Bad History Month’s new album Dead and Loving It: An Introductory Exploration of Pessimysticism works as a multi-stage meditation of sorts with sonic experimentations fraying the edges of each treatise. To celebrate the release of the album and to get all straight, we had Bean break it down for us track by track.
Stream Dead and Loving It: An Introductory Exploration of Pessimysticism and check out the track by track breakdown below and order your copy of the record, out now via Exploding In Sound, here.
“The Church of Nothing Matters”
Sort of a prologue introduction, laying out the idea of Nothing Matters being the only thing that matters. Heavy dissonance followed by peaceful realizations. Mark threw in some found audio from thrift store tapes of noise experiments that an anonymous dude did for the high school Science Fair in the 70s. It sounds to me like transmissions from end of the world in a perfect way. The bones of this were recorded in Maine with the dynamic duo Colby Nathan and Greg Hartunian (AKA Dimples, my favorite band in the world). Then we added a bunch of heavy bass and drums at Mark’s studio in Boston.
“Gazing At My Navel”
An oldie goodie rearranged with an overlong intro for added value. This song started the whole concept of the record. Colby’s got a little melodica solo on the intro.
“A Small Life”
This one was got closest to the rap sounds I wanted to go for. Used a drum pad for the synthetic snare and kick and played some bumpin bass. Another exploration of the downsides of too much Freedom without enough Risk. Bunch of piano recorded at the Sex Dungeon in Philly, RIP.
“The Nonexistent Distance”
Lyrically this was definitely my attempt to create the bucket of cold water eye-opening effect that I experienced the first time I heard “Black Rot” by Dust From 1000 Years. The line about being a slave to selfish cells eating the body while it ages was inspired by something out of The Ecological Thought, probably quoting Richard Dawkins.
This was the last song we recorded, it was a tricky one for a while til we got into the freaky experiment zone and then it was fun. We ended up totally rearranging it and sped up the tempo twice as fast and I just tracked the drum and sang it to myself and then layered up most of the rest during solo mad scientist nights through a D/I Marko set up for me. He got my breath to sound like gong/waves at the end of the vocals. Pretty cool sloppy studio magic on this one.
I really wanted that Kool Keith Moog sound from the beginning of “Blue Flowers” and luckily DJ Adric found the perfect setting for it on his keyboard.
“The Imaginary Tone”
This one went pretty easy, one of the oldest songs on here, probably from before my weird death trip, just classic bummer jams. Stole that line about the sun blocking the stars during the day even though they’re still there from Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Phaser.
This was another fun late-in-the-game one. Adric played drums, Mark chopped and phased them, then we got the super pro bassist Jesse Heasly to come improvise like 8 bass takes and I lucked out editing and picked the one that worked on the first try. The crazy bendy organ loop Dan played with a tape machine in Philly for a previous attempt at this song miraculously fit perfectly on this version. It’s about the same ol’ same ol’, being nothing and feeling relieved, just hammering it home, Freedom Rock style.
“A Warm Recollection”
Another Jesse bass joint. This one we sat and wrote together. What a pro. Uhhh it’s a love song about being in bed with somebody special and your mind wandering to the generations of people who had the same exact experience you are currently having in a million-year-long line of ancestors getting laid to create you. And then to the future generations of bodiless Singularitarians spying on us and envying our fun temporary bodies. Sex and the Singularity.
“A Platitude and A Final Understanding”
This one is about being so angry and ungrateful about wanting something that you can’t enjoy it when it finally comes. A platitude about cultivating an “attitude of gratitude”. The only one I managed to play live drums on all the way through. Big Nick Weedman of Rong fame played some killer slide on the middle section. A Final Understanding is about the circular nature of all big mental breakthroughs when ingratitude creeps in again to kill your spirit and you have to try again and again to get back to your positive mindset. Can you spot the drum sample?? Probably not.