Origins is our recurring new music feature in which a band digs into some of the influences behind their latest release.
Suburban living might come with the preconceived notion of humdrummity, but growing up outside the big cities isn’t all about repetitive sprawl. In fact, being out there in cookie cutter landscapes only causes the spark of danger in a teenager’s heart to burn hotter. That innate desire to seek thrills and experiences that rushes through one’s veins is made even more intense when surrounded by overwhelming normality.
It’s that emotional energy that Strange Boy explore in the video for their new single, “Suburbia”. The London duo are joined by Icelandic artist JFDR on the track as they recall days of “smoking cigarettes outside in the cold,” “flying wheels, lost keys and a broken tailbone,” and “late nights beneath faux-fur rugs.” As they sing of those youthful days, Tal Rosner’s video unfolds down a techno daydream of a typical residential street, finding at the end the bodies of two young lovers intertwined.
Check it out below.
For more on the song and video, Strange Boy’s vocalist/lyricist Kieran Brunt has broken down the track’s Origins. While teenagers and thrill-seeking certainly played their role, so did Berlin and Lou Reed.
This is unashamedly a nostalgic song about being a teenager. when new hormones are racing through veins and blowing everything out of proportion. I think falling in love as a teenager is one of the most beautiful and absurd things that can happen in our lives. I wanted this song to embody that rush of emotions. The use of the thermal camera in our video really emphasizes that too.
Danger and Excitement:
The second verse of this song is about all of the stupid and dangerous stuff I did as a teenager. I guess it’s a time when we’re testing limits and seeing how far we can push situations. Roaming the streets and parks late at night (sorry mum), I guess we were often looking for dangerous and exciting things to happen… sometimes they did!
[This photo is one] I took of one of the stupidest and most dangerous things that happened when I was a teenager.
The Violet Hour (Mr James) by Selwyn Leamy
My friend Selwyn Leamy paints these stunning pictures of suburban architecture, which are full of quiet beauty and nostalgia. I was thinking about them a lot when I made this song. The video by Tal Rosner also focuses on architecture, starting with an endless loop of the street I grew up on. I love how it creates something beautiful out of something repetitive and monotonous, gradually turning into this ecstatic, ravey fantasy.
I was working in Berlin a lot while I was forming the ideas for this song in my head. When not recording or eating falafel, I would spend most evenings in clubs listening to techno. Naturally those sounds found their way into the music.
I took [the above photo] of the Berlin sunrise after a night out.
Lou Reed, alongside Leonard Cohen and Stephen Merritt, is one of my favourite lyricists of all time. I think one of his greatest skills is creating a sense of place through appealing to the senses, like at the beginning of “Perfect Day”: “Just a perfect day/ Drink sangria in the park…” It’s so simple, but immediately transports you to that place, and that feeling. I tried to use the same technique in this song, with lyrics that are almost uncomfortably tactile.