Can you talk to us more about your song “Burn, Burn, Burn”?
Kevin: Sure! “Burn Burn Burn” is the first single from our new EP, Tangle, which comes out on May 18th.
Did any event inspire you to write this song?
Che: “Burn Burn Burn” is loosely based on a fight. I’m speaking to a romantic partner that has fallen into a pattern of neglect and doesn’t seem to realize it. I want them to burn with enthusiasm and passion but the long standing argument has worn on me and I eventually snap. In that way, the word “burn” is really interchangeable with the word “die”. It’s interesting how quickly concern for a person’s welfare can turn into hatred and that’s what we explore in the song and the video.
How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
Che: The filming process was definitely a challenge. I learned how to operate a drone and flew it around the Hudson Valley during one of the peak fall foliage weekends. I also suction-cupped a camera to the hood of a 1974 Dodge Charger (nerve wracking) to capture the burning reflections on our protagonist’s side of the windshield.
Unfortunately, we hit a cold snap while filming with our actors. I was recovering from the flu, and Kevin had just caught it. The night we filmed the black-room scenes I had a medicating whiskey in one hand and a set of jewel tone gels in the other. It probably helped us all to loosen up, and the scenes came out perfectly intimate.
The editing process was intense. It took a long time to get the relationships and story right but I love where it landed. Then working with colorist Matt Schwab completely took it to another level.
The single comes off your new EP Tangle – what’s the story behind the title?
Che: Tangle is a fight as well as a union. It describes us and our music perfectly.
What made you want to do a concept record?
Che: The concept of this album is that we quit our jobs to do it. Up until this point our music was a collection of ideas conceived individually in the scraps of time afforded to people who work full-time jobs, and we wanted to try something different. So, we saved our pennies and focused on collaborating on every part of the music.
It’s a snapshot of that time. The song “Matchless” is about my own doubts that I could rise to the occasion. “Wicked” was written during the celebration of a successful day of re-writes.
How was the recording and writing process?
Che: No element was above criticism and discussion. No step in the process of writing, recording, and mixing was final either—we stopped midway through our first recording sessions to completely re-write four of the six songs. I took one month off in-between recording vocals to work with a vocal coach.
We also originally produced the mixes with a pop leaning, but eventually landed on emulating our live-performance sound instead.
Kevin: We started by tweaking older songs and eventually developed a rhythm to our new way of writing.
For drums, Che would write the parts and then our live drummer, Will, would come in and we’d play everything as a three piece. I spent a lot of time dialing in sounds from our various synthesizers and sampling them to an MPC so that even our older unreliable synths could be played live.
Having Will Tendy engineer the record was awesome as usual. Working remotely with Chris Coady to mix the record was wonderful as well. We got to geek out a lot about gear while we were mixing. One of the reverbs on Che’s voice was the exact unit used on a Fleetwood Mac record.
What role does New York play in your writing?
Kevin: The musical talent in New York is amazing, so we’re always being inspired by the other bands in Brooklyn. While we were writing I also looked for inspiration from other kinds of art around the city, whether that was graffiti on the way to our rehearsal space or trips to museums like the Guggenheim.
On the flip side, the song “Jaws” is about the claustrophobic moments that come from living next to 8 million other people.
Che: Having any kind of non-bill-paying creative passion in New York is tough, but after several years I have started to feel like I can’t enjoy my creative pursuits unless they push me to the very edge of what is tolerable. I really can’t be proud if it’s easy thanks to New York.
Any plans to hit the road?
Kevin: We are playing a show up in Kingston in April. I’m from upstate originally and Che and I started playing and going to shows as part of the Hudson Valley music scene when we were in college—so it’ll be really exciting to play up there again.
Che: We kind of skipped that part and went straight to writing more music.
What else is happening next in Saint Marilyn’s world?
Che: I’m working with Kevin to score a documentary.