Wild Decade continues their spree of making music for the sake of amusement, art, and excitement. Connecting from coast to coast, NYC's Phil Maves and SF's Dan Leech (formerly under the Bad Bibles thumping moniker), and fresh from their art errata effacing album, Conductor; they present a first listen and look at their latest developments and offerings. Today Phil premieres his self-made video for Wild Decade's new single, “Glowing Green”, with a following listening party for the A-side plus the guerrilla spoken word skronk of, “Community”, on the flip-side.
Trading in the apartment hauntings found on their, “Nearsighted” video, Phil and Dan turn their drummer's rehearsal space into a temple of doom for, “Glowing Green”. Making use of the low-lit corridors and claustrophobic confines, Wild Decade shakes the dust off the books of ancient fables with cryptic messages scrawled in different tongues on wall tiles. Making use of every light source from incandescent bulbs, LEDs, halogens, to Phil's lone burning candle; the band dreams up the passage rites to the cult of their own design. “You will leave your home behind you, far away where they won't find you, bring nothing for your journey, no bag, no food, no money, through the door and up two flights now, this is where you will spend your nights now.” The back and forth harmonization of chants summons imaginative troves of discovered lost tribes with galloping blasts of guitar canons caught up in their own mythic war. The foreboding mantras like,”the hills are alive with things unseen”, and a global radioactive like obsession with the emanating aura of, “Glowing Green”, all come to life in the practice space catacombs.
The single, “Glowing Green” growls and howls with Wild Decade's haunted-apartment/home/studio trademarks. On the b-side, “Community”, Maves and Leech take a decidely dadaist and experimental approach to the songwriting concept. With a slow progression that hangs off and hangs on to every played chord; the band masterminds a dense post-modern and post-ironic take on the paradigms of the millennial sects and the regressive trends from the current states of our various communities. “Community” is a song that must be replayed various times in order to thread together the various meanings from Phil's meta performance piece. Memorable lyrical quips to note are, “taken in by shapes of sounds and non-committal language, rules and regulations no one can follow,” “cause everything is amazing when you write like you are twelve and play like you are in a daze,” “ego-driven-micro-demons,” “necrogazers”, “psuedo-nostalgics,” “straining to understand the lack of irony are inclusion of comedy,” “with a drop-outs degree and unfinished books on the shelf obscured behind themselves, a wall of noise, a wall of noise, a wall of noise”, “tramp stamp collectors,” “limp-dick philosophers,” “third generation punk royalty with too many accolades much too soon,” and so much more. Stay with us after the debut of the single, as we get deeper into the music with Wild Decade.
Once again, we welcome back Wild Decade's Dan and Phil join us for another round of discussions on cryptic messages, green glowing obsessions, and much more.
From Ferns to Wild Decade, I have always enjoyed your videos. Give us the break down on how this haunted visual affair for “Glowing Green” came about.
Phil: We needed suitable visuals that could be filmed quickly and cheaply. Thankfully, a little bit of light and shadow goes a long way.
Dan: Our drummer’s rehearsal studio, like many rehearsal studios you may find, is dark and a bit dilapidated, so it made for great footage. Because of the dark space, we had to use flashlights in order to be able to light us properly and we just got creative from there.
Phil: Google Translate also played a role: we have a cryptic message in the video written in 8 different languages. Some of it might not be exactly accurate. Let's hope we don't start WWIII.
What is it about the green glow that attracts you two? I like how Dan is bathed in that ghoulish, and ghostly glow.
Phil: The phrase “glowing green” isn't just in this song, it also pops up in 2 or 3 other songs on Conductor. It just seemed eerie and memorable.
Dan: A green light, in particular, has a very ominous and almost unsettling quality to it, which fits the music quite well.
Phil: Then again, I was scared of the Hulk as a little kid, so maybe that has something to do with it. Hello Freud!
You all seem to enjoy suspenseful video. What are some of your go-to cult, horror flicks?
Dan: I’ve always been a fan of suspense, whether in the vein of Hitchcock, David Lynch, and even the Coen Brothers to a certain extent. Movies that keep you on edge like Memento, or a trip into surrealist absurdity like Twin Peaks, or a gem like Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead completely immerse the viewer in a shadowy and uncomfortable world.
Phil: I'm actually not much of a horror movie fan! I'm more likely to watch Major League or Anchorman than the Saw franchise, although I do have a soft spot for old X-Files episodes. Even “Space.” (Cue knowing laughter from the X-Phile community, or what's left of it.)
I love the structure of this single, the indie doom of “Glowing Green” to the spoken word exercise of dueling intellectual strip-mining on the b-side of “Community”. What brought you to balance these two songs together?
Dan: “Glowing Green,” although dark, has a pop sensibility to it that adds to the emotional and rhythmic power of the song. Since we wrote it, people have been drawn to it, so putting it out as a single seemed like a logical choice. With a b-side, you have a little more leeway in pushing the sonic and lyrical boundaries of what you normally do. “Community” definitely does that and it complements “Glowing Green” quite well.
Phil: It's two powerful forces coming together to make something greater: chocolate and peanut butter; Brad and Angelina; Wile E. Coyote and an Acme brand anvil.
Let's talk about how you all wrote “Community”, that song alone is loaded. “A wall of noise” and that line about “limp dick philosophers” is pretty darn awesome.
Phil: I think I invented some new phrases and put-downs in there: necrogazers, micro-divas, wanna-Banshees, and so on. It's either a really nasty little rant, or a parody of a jaded musician going on a rant. Probably it's both.
Dan: “Community” has elements that push each other the whole time which makes it compelling in my opinion. The drums are slow and unrelenting with jarring, constantly changing guitar parts with unabashedly brash vocals on top of it.
Phil: Yeah, that was us taking the space in our music to its extreme conclusion. You could drive a truck through those pauses! We thought that was really funny too…these long waits for the next chord, over and over and over. I think we were almost daring people to turn it off – or laugh.
I have always felt that all the bands you all are involved with make a lot of statements, what are some of the kind of conceptual work that is paramount in these song writing processes?
Phil: I hope not! Having a perspective is fine, but making big statements usually means you forgot to write good songs. But I'll grant you that we do have certain viewpoints or stories we like to tell. Dark as our sound may be, we genuinely love melody and rhythm and language, and I think we do make music that reflects that.
Dan: Definitely. It’s extremely difficult to come up with something new or novel, since people make the argument that everything’s been done. But I believe that we and others can find distinctive approaches to otherwise well-tread roads. That’s what keeps driving the song writing process – an individual take on a common form.
Phil: Exactly. To me, that's a hell of a lot more challenging and fun than just drowning your vocals in effects and staring at the floor of the stage, while rhyming “see” and “me” for 6 minutes with no melodic hooks. That has the potential to be interesting, but the bands that do that stuff are usually just…necrogazers, pseudo-nostalgics…see, I can't resist quoting our own lyrics right here…
Wild Decade's Conductor is available now from Bandcamp.