Track by Track: HEADS.
Berlin-based Melburnian frontman of HEADS. ED FRASER guides us through each track contained on his band’s debut LP.
I wrote almost all of the vocals for this record from my apartment in East Berlin during winter last year. Living very close to where the old border used to be, only a few hundred metres from my window I could see the spot where the wall used to stand. And so I found myself spending a lot of time standing there, looking out my window and essentially, and I don’t want to try and be too deep or something, but I was thinking a lot about the value of life – and the value of a life and of my life, and the lives of the people I care about, how things always change, the things that we do to each other as humans, good or bad or meaningless, meaningful – and how fragile that is.
So, I suppose probably unsurprisingly, the lyrical content on this record is very dark. I guess it could have gone either way, and I could have written some uplifting sort of ?things can be great, guys? type of record – but that’s not what happened. And that wasn’t a conscious choice or anything, it’s just the way the songs and the stories came out. So yeah, there is no happiness on this record, it’s all pretty bleak really. If you’re wanting some songs that are uplifting then you’d probably do well to listen to a different record.
?A Mural Is Worth a Thousand Words?
This song is about infuriating levels of stupidity, and the horrible things that people do to each other when they completely believe in an idea, and why that is so powerful – to believe in something when you don’t have anything else. And if you’re in it – then you’re in it for good right? It’s all a waste of time, if nothing else. Musically, the bass and drum rhythms from start to finish are some of my favourite things that Chris and Peter do as a rhythm section, everything totally shakes. The empty bottles in our studio clink and shake and try to fall off the shelf all at once. Whenever they start this song together it completely rattles my brain, I could play it all day.
?Chewing On Kittens?
This was one of the very first songs we wrote. Chris had this brutal rolling bass line that he sent to me while he was on tour in Russia or wherever the hell he was at that time, and straight away it reminded me of a story I had been thinking a lot about in that period. I won’t give you the punch line, but the bottom line is that sometimes when shit goes wrong it goes really, really wrong. Get the hell out while you can.
The Germans named this one, hence the ?k? in the spelling. And even though it doesn’t sound like it, ‘Skrew’ is actually the only song on the record that isn’t totally miserable. Still, in keeping with the theme, it’s definitely not happy. If I only had one word to describe this song I’d use ?honest?. If I’ve learned nothing else in my life I’ve at least learned to move on when it’s time. Maybe prematurely sometimes, but I’m not hanging around.
The Black River doesn’t actually exist. It’s a metaphor to describe the feeling that nothing is permanent and everything disappears eventually. About how inevitably all things will change. And there’s nothing you can really do about that. You’ve just got to go with the stream, basically. Apart from the Black River as a metaphor – everything else about this song is true; and it’s definitely the most personal song on the record for me in terms of the lyrics.
Have you ever been so high on strong hallucinogens that absolutely nothing makes any sense whatsoever? Just totally gone. Standing in a mirrored elevator, in front of you a mirror and another mirror behind you. Now there’s an infinite number of ?you?. You wave your arm and a never-ending sea of yourself – in front and behind, facing forward and back – all wave their arms. Now fall, while tumbling and spinning, into that – with colour and sound, smell and touch – everything – flexing, changing and renewing itself constantly every split-second. Yep.
?The Voynich Manuscript?
This is one of my favourites to play live, as it moves and builds and takes shape until somehow we’re left with an ending. The Voynich Manuscript itself is a total mystery. I like that idea, one of a code that no-one can solve, so I applied it to something more modern. And I really can’t give too much away here because it’s a mystery you know? If you can figure it out I’ll give you a reward.
####HEADS.’ self-titled LP is out now on vinyl, digital and CD through [Heart Of The Rat](http://heartoftheratrecords.com/).