The Dear Hunter build a hideaway in the stars in their "Shouting At The Rain" video.
With so much of contemporary music being mired in the personal -- an open expression of selfhood if we're being generous, and boorish id-driven egotism if we're not -- it's a welcome change of pace to jump into a more fully realized musical fiction.
For years now that's just what the Rhode Island-born The Dear Hunter have delivered, with the Acts series spreading out a single, novel-like story over the course of three albums (so far), and nine EPs focusing on a different color concept in The Color Spectrum. And while you might call that sort of thing gimmicky, there's a heart at the center of Casey Crescenzo and company's music that grounds it in the real world, as in the new video for "Shouting At The Rain."
Watch "Shouting At The Rain" video, and read an interview with Casey Crescenzo after the jump.
For Migrants, their most recent album, the band has eschewed any sort of unifying thematic effort, but that doesn't mean there isn't story line to spare. In the video for "Shouting At The Rain," we follow a young boy who retreats to the comfort of his imagination to avoid the drama of his arguing parents. It's a story that's all too common, of course, but on the plus side, it gives us an excuse to flex those escapist muscles, which can come in handy down the line, say, when you're writing songs.
Drilling down into the specifics of interpersonal relationships is what drove his writing on the record, Crescenzo explained. To bring the songs to life, he and the band are touring with a string quartet beginning this fall, which may help with his latest project: composing his first symphony.
We asked the songwriter to explain a little more.
Buzzworthy: You've described Migrant as outside of the thematic structure you're used to working in. Are there still themes that you find yourself coming back to?
Casey Crescenzo: Well, I think there are themes that have always inspired me, but on this specific record it was really the theme of honest introspection, admitting my faults, voicing my opinion of the problems I see in my relationships, etc. I think that taking a serious step back and taking stock of myself on all levels at this point in my life has been paramount in my growth as a human being.
BW: How would you describe the idea behind "Shouting At The Rain"?
CC: The musical theme of the song is relatively simple. The honest truth is that I wrote the song one weekend while I was feeling particularly frustrated with the reaction I received from the people around me about the music I had been writing. I think that once I made it clear I was not making a story, or theme-driven record, people close to me expected a record of singles, so when they started hearing the music, and the singles weren't there, they expressed a not so subtle dissatisfaction.
Ironically, it really inspired me, almost out of spite, to write some more music, and this song was the most honestly to-the-point about that experience. Feeling drained, and used up -- sometimes people forget you're a person, and start to look at you like a well they can just lower the bucket down into whenever they need it, and it can be trying at times.
BW: Do you think "Shouting At The Rain"'s video treatment is aligned with the lyrics in a literal way?
CC: Funny story. Originally, one of my managers and I came up with the story idea for this video for the song "Whisper," but when it was filmed and edited, it seemed to miss the mark of the pacing of that song. I didn't want to let the idea go to waste, and thought about "Shouting at the Rain." It made sense in my head, so we asked them to try recutting it to the track, and it ended up working very well, and making way more sense in conjunction with this song.
BW: Where did the idea for "Shouting At The Rain"'s video come from?
CC: Really it came out of the idea of escapism, and where we go in our minds to get away from reality. This specific mini-story is about this boy having trouble coping with issues he is too young to deal with, and the way he tries to run from the reality of his home life, but the video tries to illustrate that no matter how hard you close your eyes, it can't change anything, and at some point you have to face reality, however hard it may be.
BW: You're composing a symphony? Is that something you have any experience with? How different is it from writing a rock record?
CC: I am indeed, and no, I have no experience, directly, with writing a symphony. I have experience writing music with many parts, but symphonic music is vastly different than rock music.
BW: Have there been changes in The Dear Hunter's lineup? How has that changed the live show? What about the addition of the quartet?
CC: The lineup has been the same for two-and-a-half years at this point. The live show is the most rewarding it has ever been. This will be our first tour with a quartet, and it is sounding amazing in rehearsal. I can't wait to share it with our fans.
Photo credit: Jonathan Weiner