Monday, October 28, 2019

Promotional Video Review: AS DARK AS YOU "What’s in Your Heart" by Heather Dawson

Location: New York
Country: USA
Genre: Post-genre metal
Promotional video: What’s in Your Heart
Song from the upcoming EP “As Dark As You” to be released independently November 15, 2019
Shot and edited by Thomas J. Flynn
Recorded and mixed by: Matt Graff at The KooP Recording Studios in White Plains, NY and Long Island City, NY
Mastered by: Jon Jetter at Right Angle Recording
Release date: October 26, 2019
Some people learn things faster than others, that’s just the way it is. Some people can grasp very complex math algorithms very easily but can’t understand how to communicate with other people or make human connections. Some people can never figure out who they are, or if they do, it’s too late and they can’t go back and change the things they did when they didn’t know who they were. But some people learn who they are early and don’t take any guff and navigate the world in a way that’s best for them. As I sit and watch the video for As Dark As You’s song ‘What’s in Your Heart’ I’m intrigued (and not just a little envious, truth be told) when I see young people who know who they are. That’s not to say they always stay on their correct road or they don’t make mistakes along the way, however it would seem that those mistakes or off ramps are still in the service of finding that ‘something’ that’s in their heart.
Kenny Truhn and I are Facebook/Instagram friends. We met through a mutual acquaintance and occasionally we discuss music, poetry or share some words we were working on but we’re not close friends musically or otherwise. For one, I’m probably a good 25 years older than Kenny and there’s probably not much we have in common. I do believe that he is further along on this path of knowing oneself than I and yet, he continues to search for the his path to creative and personal fulfillment
So when I scrolled through Instagram and saw a clip of this song, I had to listen and immediately I was enraptured with just the music itself. This genre or this type of song (and again I will reiterate I am not in the generation of the authors and performers of this particular song) but this type of metal music I have never really understood. It always seem to me to be cloying and wanting to straddle both sugar pop and death metal, which I sort of find incongruous, but still somehow maintaining credibility in the metal world. But this is not that. This is about a seven minute epic song that goes from a panic attack piece to a sort of psychedelic meandering midsection where you’re learning more about how the author is getting rid of the manic phase of their life and then we end in a beautiful Pink Floyd question. I have to say the journey that this song takes you on kind of settles the soul in the end.
In the beginning we have the furious and coronary aneurysm speed that is punctuated by a kick drum that does not stop. And at first, I got to say, I wanted to call the band and tell them to pull back the drums (which I never say) because that kick drum sound was almost disturbing to me. It made me anxious. But, I thought later, it’s supposed to make you anxious. The lyrics of course are meant to make you think, but the music itself makes you think as well; it gives no, it evokes strong emotion and each of the sections of the song take you on a different journey.
The first one is anxiety and the idea of driving yourself so hard that you’re breaking yourself you’re ‘cracking your teeth’ to get where you need to go. And guess what - you’re running in place. That kick drum, right?! And when you think you can’t take it anymore you go into another place with the song
The vocals in here kind of float on the top of the music and you feel relieved and, I don’t wanna make this too morbid, but it’s almost like you’ve gone over the cliff because you can’t keep the manic pace of searching and not finding. You’re ‘killing yourself to live’ so “here I go I can’t I can’t hold it together anymore” and you kind a let it go. So there’s a death here I feel like, there’s a death of that pursuit of something you can’t define and there is a realization that if it’s going to come to you, that granular seed that shows you where to go next, it won’t appear when you’re frantically turning over rocks and lighting things on fire. Instead that floating seed arrives when you’re quiet and therefore able to notice it. And so in the third part of the song we get even more ethereal and we pull even further away until the only question that we have to ask ourselves for is “what’s in your heart.”
What action, what visual, what word when spoken sends a jolt to your psyche? When you feel that jolt it’s so simple, that’s where you need to be that’s what you need to do. But, instead of being quiet enough to let that seed find us, we go through life piling on and piling on all these obstacles and all these layers that prevent us from even thinking about what’s in our heart.
The imagery of the video is really interesting to me as well because we have the band playing, we have Kenny singing and we have a white mask that starts bleeding, like a saint, like a statue of a saint in a Basilica will bleed in a display of Catholic miracle. It would seem you need to go through some trials to get what’s in your heart, but once you go through the trials you need to then bath yourself in humanity and silence to notice the blooming flowers, but again you can’t do that without not quiet and connection.
I’ve always envied Kenny and his cohort of what they have done musically, because it is very experimental and I believe that that’s the way they write. I don’t know this for sure, but it seems to me that someone comes up with an idea and they build on it and they build on it and all this sonic building ends up a song. What they eventually produce probably sounds a lot different from the germ of the idea when they started. It’s a very organic experience from what I can glean. There’s something so unifying in this video. Tom Flynn who directed and edited is kind of flying through with all of this imagery that aligns the song with this idea of movement, growth and rebirth. It captures this idea of stripping away to find out what’s at the center of everything.
I guess the thing that pulls it together for me is that - again I’ll say it - Pink Floyd ending. I don’t know why I aliken it to Floyd; it’s the first thing that came into my head when I heard it - but also there’s a Nirvanaesque Epilogue here. We have Kenny’s words ‘all we really know is all were shown Is what we we’re told is what we’re sold - I got to say this pinpoints problem of not knowing who you are perfectly. It’s not your fault if you don’t know who you are because you’re so wrapped up every day being told who you are by somebody else and being defined by somebody else. Whether it’s your parents or its advertising or its society or its school - there’s somebody out there telling you should be this you should do this. And what successful people do is realize - it’s all a farce. Successful people listen to themselves, they listen to their hearts, and they know what’s in their hearts. And they work and they struggle and they fight to bring what’s in their hearts to fruition. And this is what ‘as dark as you’ has accomplished with this video. I cannot wait to hear the rest of the record, Umm album, errr I mean ‘floating bits of electric vibrations in the atmosphere that we draw from our little portable talking boxes. -Heather Dawson

Lineup:
Kenny Truhn: Vocals/melodies/lyrics
Chris Petchonka: Guitars/bass/composition
Matt Graff: drums/engineering/mixing

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