Track x Track: The Minnesota Child – Fireflies

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Breaking down the latest from the Oakland-based artist.

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February 8, 2018

In these troubling and uncertain times, it’s important to remember that the natural wonders of life and the world around us and protecting those basic elements are at the heart of our state-of-affairs anxities. Oakland-based musician Ethan Buckner, operating under the moniker The Minnesota Child, holds these truths in his heart both in his work as an artist and as a full-time campaigner for Earthworks, an environmental nonprofit.

His gorgeous new EP, Fireflies, is a life affirming, joyful collection of songs that find the beauty in both the dark and the light. Drawing inspirations from Bon Iver and blending sounds like the distant cries of Jim James or the plaintive keys employed by Frank Ocean, The Minnesota Child’s latest is a modern swirl of indie, folk and pop that, while not overtly political, seeks to offer hope and solace in illuminating our best institutions.

To go along with a stream of Fireflies, we had Buckner break it down for us track by track. Check it all out below and follow the band here for more.

Fireflies:

To me, Fireflies is the anthem of this record. The song poses intimate questions about how we live our lives in relation to all the tumultuousness around us – and then offers an answer with the drive of the chorus, “we need light // we are fireflies.” The whole EP fluctuates between the personal and collective, between navigating darkness and finding hope and resilience. Fireflies really sets that tone.

Home:

I wrote Home a few years ago, but just the verses, and never performed it, because it didn’t feel complete. It just sat as a poem in my notebook. Finally, a few months before going into the studio, I picked the song back up and the final chorus just came to me and I knew I’d finished it.

Open:

After writing for solo/duo/trio arrangements for nearly a decade, this is the first song I’ve ever written explicitly for a bigger band. I wrote it two weeks before we went into the studio and I knew we had to include it in this project. Open is a raw declaration of vulnerability, and we tried to layer it with as much depth, power, and experimentation as we could to demonstrate that.

Stay With Me:

Stay With Me was a joy to record and is even more so to perform. It’s a love ballad that whisks me away to those sweet moments when being in a beautiful place amplifies a connection with a lover and vice versa.

Love Is Everything:

I wrote this song while watching the waves crash through the iconic stone arch at Pfeiffer State Beach in Big Sur, California – it’s really one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever been. The refrain, “I know that love is everything,” really just came through me. I must have written that song in 15 minutes. Because to me, when everything else breaks down, that’s what this life is all about.

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