Toronto’s own Neon Bloom have just released their latest EP, Still Life, as well as a video for the lead-off single, “Our Faces”. We caught up with them to chat about the new song, their experience creating music during quarantine, and the band’s superpowers.
From The Strait: Tell us about “Our Faces”, the lead-off single to your new EP – what was the inspiration for it?
Fred: Inspirations for the music for “Our Faces” include The Talking Heads, David Bowie, and The Rolling Stones – minimal, somewhat angular, with a fair amount of swagger.
Jen: Lyrically, the song is meant as a positive, anthemic shout out to those who have been suffering from depression, anxiety, or other mental health related issues during social isolation (or at any time, really). The inspiration for this song came from interactions with people who were experiencing mental health issues, particularly related to the initial COVID quarantine, and a recognition of the emotional difficulties people are facing. The song is meant to sound upbeat and fun, but also deliver a hopeful message, encouraging people to not give up. Given the apocalyptic feelings of late, I basically wanted to be a cheerleader…with edge.
FTS: Your EP, Still Life, was written and recorded during quarantine this past year. What was that process like, and did it change your usual band dynamic?
Neon Bloom: It was definitely a big change for the band. The entire EP was conceived, written, and recorded during the initial COVID19 Quarantine period.
The band members began by sending clips of riffs and ideas back and forth to each other and building from there. Through phone calls, video chats, and recordings, the band pieced together the structure and music for each song. Everyone then recorded their individual parts in their own homes and sent the files off to guitarist/keyboardist Simon Chow for mixing.
Simon: In the past all of our songs and recordings were based off our live show and what we could play and perform live. For the first time we wrote all of these songs remotely inside of Ableton and it opened up a lot of new sounds and textures that we couldn’t really use before. There’s so many new options available, but also the loss of intuitive, in the moment, collective writing, and all the happy accidents that brings. It was a challenge adapting to this new type of creative process, but definitely something we’ll do again.
FTS: If each member of Neon Bloom was a superhero, what would their superpower be?
Neon Bloom: Collectively, if we could be some sort of “transformer/superhero”, the band would have Super Healing Powers – because we’ve been struck with many challenges and much adversity, both in our personal lives and as a group, yet manage to persevere through.
FTS: As we closer to 2020 coming to a close, what’s one positive that you can take from the year?
Fred: We’re fortunate that we have our health, and that we’ve been able to stay strong together through this challenging time.
Jen: From a social standpoint, it remains to be seen, but perhaps one silver lining of the pandemic will be an increased appreciation for our communities and the artists and businesses within them. On a practical level, there seem to be several benefits to working from home (less traffic pollution, less time spent commuting, more time spent with family, etc.) which will perhaps remain, at least partially, in a post-pandemic world.
FTS: What’s next for Neon Bloom?
Neon Bloom: We’ve been quite busy and productive lately! We plan to support each song on the Still Life EP with a music video. We’re working on these now. We were fortunate enough to get into a studio this summer to record. We’ve been working on these tracks, and plan to release a full length album in 2021.
Check out the latest single from Neon Bloom, “Our Faces”!