Brad Hale of Now, Now brings personal memories and reflections in the video debut for "Incredibly Still", under his moniker of Sombear. Having brought his emotional laced synth textures recently in a remix of Antwon's "Dark Denim", Hale continues to traverse the territories of applied feeling to childhood nostalgia through old travel video footage taken from a family trip to Disney World from years back. Sombear brings in the synths with the scanlines from Epcot's Tapestry Of Dreams Parade down memory lane, that juxtaposes Brad with images of his younger self on an amusement park holiday. The collision of present rumination on the past creates cause for a pause, where a quarter life crisis is met with enigmas of control and ambiguous directions. "We'll stand still long enough to find out". From the emotion charged vintage displays of Summer seasons long past, the poolside fun with family, friends and entertainers is grounded in the existential frustration of being unable to wield the power to control the tides of life's difficult, natural forces.
"1 year a way, a quarter dead, 'at 25 you're still young', they all said, so get to it, get it right ,while you still can, while youth is here, just ride it out until you end". As the digital arrangements sparkle and frame the read-only and random-access memories through song and video taped heirlooms; the stillness brings both a somber, sobering and invigorating perspective of Brad's boyhood self looking back while looking forward at the same time. The pre-written comforts of growing up here become enlightened by the Sombear synth sound systems that urges the forthcoming future of uncertainty and the possibility of an exciting, new electronic renaissance that has never been heard like this before, and maybe will never be heard like this after. These are the intimate and new sonic spaces of the former that comprise Sombear's own personal Minneapolis sound.
Brad Hale talked to us about these suspended spaces, the compositional approaches of Sombear and his song structural perspectives from Now, Now.
What is the ambient approach to creating still like, life sounds in the synth structures of "Incredibly Still"?
I wanted the song to give you a feeling of being suspended and kind of stuck in space while at the same time noticing all of these elements beneath you still moving and pushing forward. All of the synth pads that just kind of float through the song are underscored by that shuffling bass line. I like that combination of calm and anxious.
How do old family VHS films of Disney World holidays echo meanings to you from a crystallized, analogue recorded past resound in the digital now?
Everything I make is more often than not a way of satisfying my cravings for nostalgic feelings. I always find myself reaching backwards and trying to hold on to as much as my past as I can. This isn't to say that my songs aren't about the future, in fact "Incredibly Still" is as much about the future as it is the past. I feel like I'm at a tipping point in my life, on a line where I can either embrace the comfort of the past or make that uncertain jump and only look forward. This song and video is a way of trying to figure that struggle out, perhaps it's my way of documenting that change.
How does your work between the Now, Now and solo-ish work as Sombear inform the each other creatively?
This type of music is what I've always been interested in. I think my role in Now, Now is one where I am really critical of song structure in a pop sense. I always enjoy trying to find that perfect balance of scientific song structure verses an organic explorative direction.
Sombear's Love You In the Dark is available now from Trans-Records.
Catch Sombear on the following Tour Dates with Dessa:
14 Cleveland, OH – Beachland Tavern
15 Ann Arbor, MI – Blind Pig
17 Allston, MA – Great Scott
19 Philadelphia, PA – World Cafe Live
21 Pittsburgh, PA – Smiling Moose
22 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
23 Washington, DC – Rock and Roll Hotel
26 Louisville, KY – Zanzabar
27 Columbus, OH – The Basement