Before Canadian indie rock trio Close Talker release their next album, titled Lens (due April 21), the band -- Will Quiring (vocals/guitar), Matthew Kopperud (guitar/keyboard), and Christopher Morien (drums) -- want to remind people to stay grounded and true to themselves. So they created a song poking fun self-indulgence called "Okay Hollywood," and today (March 30), Billboard premieres the explosive video for the track.
Set in a junkyard in Vancouver, the video's gloomy coloring helps bring out the song's deeper meaning, although the band call their track "a light-hearted reality check" for those who take themselves a little too seriously. Throughout the video -- which happened in one take -- explosions light up the junkyard as the Close Talker guys sit in a broken-down car. In the end, they leave the no-good vehicle and crumbling junkyard behind, furthering the metaphor that they won't let self-indulgence get the best of them.
Kopperud and Quiring discussed the concept of insecurity within the song and its video, as well as how their next LP is "a snapshot of their lives," in an email chat with Billboard. Check out what they had to say below.
Was there a point where you thought you guys may have been taking yourselves too seriously that inspired you to write "Okay Hollywood"? And do you use it as a way to keep yourselves in check now that it's been officially released?
Kopperud: I think between the three of us, we keep one another pretty grounded. We care a lot and pour a lot of ourselves into the music and the band, but hopefully not to a fault or to a point where we lose perspective. "Okay Hollywood" wasn't written around a pivotal moment where our head swelled into a conflict or we put our foot in our mouth or anything, but rather is documenting this idea or tendency to seek self importance even at the cost of imposition to others. "Okay Hollywood" follows this trait that we all possess, but want to combat.
In all contexts, both musically and socially, we want to remain a couple of buddies from the prairies of Canada who enjoy the company of our friends and family. In many ways the song is a reality check to remain passionate without feeling you need to guide the conversation back to something cool you've done to somehow self validate your actions or passions.
As for the video -- during filming and watching the video since it was finished, do you feel like your concept of stuff blowing up in a junkyard really brought the song's meaning to life?
Kopperud: Initially we wanted to overdevelop the idea that 'cool guys don't look at explosions' and thought the video would be a perfect pairing with the song. Looking back, it's funny to see the subtle fear in our eyes as we only had one shot to nail the take. There is charm in the fact that we're desperately trying to look cool and unimpressed with our surroundings, yet during the shot we're so hopeful and fearful that the concept is working out the best as possible. I think this lends itself to the song even more -- the desire to come across as impressive by way of acting unimpressed is rooted in insecurity. When shooting the video, we felt far from secure, yet we tried to present this 'cool guy' persona. I think our acting skills were just bad enough that you can see right through us, which is great. In short, "Okay Hollywood" is about seeing through a person or yourself and calling out that tendency to self indulge.
Would you say that the other songs on the album reflect on the theme of "Okay Hollywood"? Is there another overarching theme to the album?
Quiring: Looking at the album as a whole, we felt the word "Lens'" fully captured what this record is about. The album, in its most plain sense, is a snapshot of our lives and focuses on all the things we were dealing with at the time, both good and bad. Things like marriage, friendships changing and priorities shifting made us look at life through a different lens than we ever had before. We were dealing with new experiences and this slowly began to take shape in our music, both instrumentally and lyrically. Over the past couple years, it has become fairly evident that being in a band has changed us all dramatically. Not necessarily from a character standpoint, but rather in the way our lives are carrying out. The time commitment needed to become an established band has consequently forced us to shift our priorities. No longer are we putting the same importance on things we had once held so highly just a few years ago, and I think in a large respect, this album is a self-realization of that. We've developed a different outlook than we once had before and, in the most honest way, these songs are us trying to navigate that reality.
How do you think Close Talker has matured since your last album?
Kopperud: We've come to trust our instincts a lot more and not be as concerned with playing the odds or composing what we feel the masses might like. We're truly writing for ourselves and making music that is sustainable and challenging for us artistically. Our previous albums mark where we were at during those eras, and likewise Lens peers into where we are at now, which we feel to be a more developed and cohesive place as a band. Lyrically, this album is the most vulnerable we've been in documenting our own perspectives socially in the midst of immense change in our own lives. I think with art it is hard to disconnect the influence of all of life's circumstances. Close Talker has become much more than a project, but a vessel and outlet for us to really dig into something special and meaningful. I think Close Talker has matured to a point of surpassing just being fun, but a necessary part of our lives.