Heavily creative and theatrically captivating, Throwaway takes artistic expression by storm with the brief yet striking Kyubabe.
Fiercely passionate and conceptually poetic, Kyubabe proves impossible to pigeon-hole. Blending genres from raw indie guitar-pop to distorted metal to freestyle, the track rises and falls in waves of story and sentiment.
Calmness and quiet is contrasted by intensity and pace, seeming to detail the very struggle and uncertainty of an individual lost within their own existence; or more specifically, within the chaotic depths of an OCD-induced spiral.
Kyubabe offers up a notably experimental style, with an emo or indie rock edge for nostalgia, and ultimately portrays a sense of story and character that fascinates. The wave-like progression is in everything from the instrumental presence to the lyrical shifts; darkness and fear become confidence and scorn, joyful imagery becomes terror, and vice versa.
Ultimately though, there are recognisable threads throughout, the song’s purpose being clearly to deliver a certain mood and story effectively, which it undoubtedly does.
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The lyrics and tempo changes in Kyubabe serve up a kind of sonic whiplash that is really frenetic and engaging. Did the song always have these tempo and mood swings, or did the arrangement change as you continued to work on it?
That’s just how I naturally wrote music in the era of the first two Throwaway albums, WHAT? and Hand That Takes. I wouldn’t even realize I was writing a song with two tempos until I brought it to a drummer and we began rehearsing it.
With Kyubabe, we tried mapping certain sections to a more “traditional” double time or half time feel, but the song lost a lot of character that way. Especially given what the song is about, it didn’t make sense for it to neatly map on a tempo grid, especially if it wasn’t that way naturally.
There’s all sorts of images in this song, from honeybees and flowers to witches and monsters. How did you manage to string all of these images together while still maintaining a cohesive feel lyrically?
The lyrics are about having Intrusive Thought OCD, which I’ve struggled with since I was about 12. When you’re in the middle of a bout with Thought OCD, it’s almost like having a permanent devil on your shoulder sending you a feed of disturbing thoughts and images. Until I sought out therapy in my 20s, I felt like I was hiding the fact that I was secretly a monster. The song comes from that perspective: trying very hard to pretend like you’re okay and nothing’s wrong, distracting yourself with this overly sanguine imagery. But then, in the chorus, these intrusive thoughts burst in and force these images into the forefront of your brain.
By the way, no one has ever called out the Who Framed Roger Rabbit? reference in the lyrics, which I was horribly worried at the time was way too obvious. Or the anime reference that makes up the title, for that matter—Puella Magi Madoka Magika. The mention of “witches” was inspired by that series, as it’s a prime example of something being cute on the surface but dark underneath.
“Thought OCD, it’s almost like having a permanent devil on your shoulder sending you a feed of disturbing thoughts & images.”
Just listening to the song alone, it sounds like you had a lot of fun during the recording process. Was there anything special about the sessions for this song (and forthcoming EP) as compared to previous sessions you’ve done?
We recorded this album, along with WHAT?, with Lizzy Erickson at Manifest Studios in LA. Lizzy’s a close friend of mine and an excellent producer, so we had a great time throwing ideas at the wall and seeing what stuck. The other half of my musical life is as an improviser, so I love trying out various layers of noise and seeing what comes of them, if anything.
When can we expect the full EP to drop?
Hand That Takes came out on FPE in July. We’re currently doing a five-show tour in Japan to promote it.
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Grab the single here.