I suppose it’s not the least bit surprising that politics and general frustration at the state of the world seems to be creeping into a lot of the art being produced nowadays. “Catastrophe” from Chicago-based SNST, a group made up of Chris Broach (of Braid and The Firebird Band) and his wife Sonja Rae, falls into that category. The band provides some insight into the track below:
Chris Broach - “This is one of those songs that I wrote with one of my new toys at the time (a Novation Launch Pad Pro), and I was so stoked. The synth chords are what I originally wrote - and it was so fun to play chords using these pads rather than keyboard keys. It lended to the sound and the way the chords are able to be choppy, yet flow. It was such a cool vibe. I had the song as an instrumental for so long, and I used to just listen to it as an instrumental. It had a Royksopp vibe to me, in some ways. Anyway it sat that way for a long time, as an instrumental, and when I have a song sitting for so long - I just lose any ideas I could have for a vocal line, because I'm listening to it as an instrumental and hearing the instrumentation as the focus. Sonja hit it hard with her lines and it shaped the song into what it is, now. I had the original "oooh ooohs" in there, as an idea, and those stayed in, but Sonja brought the song to a complete form with her vocals. She has a way of painting a picture that's abstract and open for interpretation, yet I know she knows exactly what she's singing about.”
Sonja Rae - “Lyrically I'm speaking about the state of government. How mostly white older men are making rules for the general public which (I feel) they are out of touch with. I wrote about being disconnected from your own decision making. One can be powerful enough to make a decision and never face it personally.... [they] don't have to experience the lives impacted by their decisions but [instead and] in fact [they] grow their careers as a result. Chris and I talk a lot about corporations being too powerful and Citizens United. There are also [people] voting to protect their community from ‘undesirables’ and [a lack of] self esteem who never have to see what those decisions do to everyday people. Lefties argue that folks don't vote in their self interest, but that's a slippery slope too... We're in a frustrating state right now politically. I don't know if there's anything to do but sing about it and vote for the best route forward.”
Chris Broach -“Yes, exactly. The truth is, I’m super political, and I talk about what’s wrong with the country all the time with, and sometimes to/at Sonja (and sometimes she’s like, ‘calm down! you’re right, but chill out’). It’s a constant source of discontent - with me - the political path we’re on. I just want some common sense. From the right, especially - but honestly, the left has to chill out and vote for progress, not perfection - or we’re going to end up living in a theocracy with more rich guys in charge of almost nothing, with no skills for the jobs they have at all, at all and making stupid decisions for all of us. Anyway - as an aside, this is one of my favorites on the record. All of the songs are, but this one just makes me want to move...”
SNST’s upcoming It’s Hard to Be Loved by You drops May 29th and combines new wave sounds with elements of post-punk and electronic. Listening to the album (which can be preordered here on vinyl or found on Bandcamp) it struck me that any number of the tracks are the type of thing I might expect to be heavily rotated on college radio, and I found the overall release significantly more interesting than the typical contemporary synthy sort of album.