"Destiny must be at work here," Small Black frontman Josh Kolenik proclaims of the beer his band inspired. "I had a dream four years ago of a fish in a cloud with a woman. Then Brian [Strumke] from Stillwater [Artisanal brewery] showed me the artwork for the beer and it matched exactly."
Small Black Beer, as it's officially known, was born from Strumke finding inspiration in a cut off the Brooklyn group's latest album of hazy synth-pop, Limits of Desire, titled "Breathless." And to celebrate, the brewery hired director Ian Perlman to capture the band's set at the heavily graffitied Brooklyn event space 285 Kent for the above video. Kolenik says the track, which was the easiest song to record for the album, has fast become a standout in the band's set. "No mosh pit yet," he jokes, "but people are doing Air Jordans for most of it, bouncing five feet in the air." But spring-boarding concertgoers aside, the 285 Kent show in particular holds a special meaning to Kolenik. "It was the first time we played any of the Limits of Desire stuff live for anyone," he says. "People went wild."
The beer, however, doesn't sound so frenetic -- and that's a good thing. "It's a black beer with minimal roast character, brewed with spelt to make it crisp and lean with a rich flavor," the frontman says. "It's pretty smooth and cloudy which feels good, in retrospect, with regard to the sense of weightlessness we were going for with the song."
The "weightlessness" he's referring to is the fact that the song is about near-death experiences and, Kolenik says, "feeling free of your own body with the ability to look down at yourself and evaluate." But before you think he's on an astral-projection trip, he clarifies, hashtag included, "Some of it's #based on a time I got cracked on my bike, riding around Brooklyn." And that sort of explains the motivation behind the next beverage the singer hopes Small Black inspires: "Some really extreme version of Mountain Dew … Maybe 'Mountain Dew: Code Black (Kombucha Tournament Edition).'" OK, then.