Today, New Noise are premiering the brand-new video for “Loser” from shoegazing indie boys and emo rockers Only Sibling. Check out the stripped-down and dizzy video below:
“Loser” captures so many aspects of the ’90s emo scene I felt compelled to put on a cardigan and page through my copy of Ghost World while listening to it in order to mazamize the listless, angsty vibe it gives off.
“Loser” is from Only Sibling’s album Get Well Soon which is out now via Other People Records.
The magic of Only Sibling doesn’t just come from the heavy walls of sound the band creates, or from the contradictory soothing moments that slow the pace and allow for self-introspection regarding our place in a turbulent world. There’s something so much more to be gleaned in the poetry embedded in their post-rock/indie haze, which caught eyes in the 2016 debut EP, What Keeps Me Up At Night. Now, on the full-length debut, Get Well Soon, as the years have rolled by, there’s even more nuance to the stories packed in revolving around life, loss, love and, of course, death. New Noise caught up with guitarist and vocalist Alex Basovskiy on some of the surprising alterations made.
NN: This is such a dynamic and moving album, really mixing styles and coming off so sonically unpredictable. But there are still elements familiar from your past music that seem to be honed for a more streamlined piece of art. What would you say was changed or tweaked moving from the EP to this? And also, what’s the theme(s) of the album.
AB: Thanks! We really appreciate that. It’s hard to say what changed because we’ve been slowly chipping away at writing it ever since we recorded the EP. It’s been years since we did, but I think most of the time was just spent trying to hone in on a more concise sound as opposed to being all over the place like the EP was. I kind of just wanted to simplify everything, and we ended up sticking with that idea.
It’s such a unique mix – the last few songs are aggressive yet catchy – then you’ve got slow burners like “Mt. Holly” and “Lead Paint.” What are some of the inspirations and influences on this record?
I think as far as those bigger rock songs, we ended up channeling Failure a lot. Fantastic Planet was a record that felt huge without being over the top and it was a sound I always wanted to get closer to. Some of the more fun, noodly, fuzz stuff was a nod to Dinosaur Jr., but overall I feel like I tried a simpler pop rock approach with a lot of the songs and their structures. I know they get a lot of hate, but Weezer is a band that was always able to make super simple but memorable songs and that was definitely a band we ended up taking some influence from.
There also seems to be traces of Hum, Balance and Composure, Citizen and such, and it feels like so much is packed in – ’90s, shoegaze, emo. Given what was just said, what do you think best describes the band’s sound?
Yeah, that’s for sure a lot of the stuff we all like! Honestly, while recording we all started using the term “loser rock”, and it ended up sticking. I feel like it wraps everything up and describes the sound in a succinct way. It became the entire theme of the band.
That’s an interesting term to say the least! And given this mindset adopted, was the recording process like and what would you do differently in retrospect, or for the next album?
Recording was both stressful and a lot of fun. We did the record with Corey Coffman in Colorado. He plays in Gleemer and has recorded their records and a bunch of other bands we like, so it was a no-brainer to work with him. All of my friends can vouch for the fact that I don’t ever shut up about Gleemer, they’re truly my favorite band. We ended up getting along super well with Corey and became good friends, which I think helped the entire process tremendously. He got the vibe really quickly, and me and him wrote some parts together that ended up being some of my favorite moments of the record.
It ended up being stressful because when we went in to record, we had all the songs fully written and fleshed out, but the idea was initially to have me and Jordan split vocal duties. Halfway through recording, Corey suggested us simplifying it and just having one of us sing, so we ended up going home and figuring out a lot of the vocals over from scratch. I flew back a few months later to finish the record. Ultimately, I don’t know if I’d do anything differently because we ended up being stoked on the finished product. You just never know what can end up happening at the studio I guess, but that’s not a bad thing!
That’s quite a change. With that in mind, what were your favorite songs to record?
Honestly, at this point the whole process was kind of a blur. We had a somewhat tight schedule with shows routed to and from Colorado, so we tried to do as much as we could with the time we had. Maybe I’d say my favorite to record was “Loser” because we wrote the chorus lead in the studio together and I love that part. Plus, the vocals weren’t too annoying to record on that one [laughs].
Now, music-wise, Get Well Soon also has some deep lyrics. I wouldn’t say depressive, but heavy — what kind of toll do these songs take on you?
I think if anything the songs help alleviate the stuff that builds up and makes us want to write them in the first place. The band is pretty close as friends, but we’ve never been the type to openly talk about our feelings or major stuff going on in our lives outside of the band, as strange as that sounds. In a way, us writing the lyrics was our way of letting each other know what’s going on. At the same time, a lot of those lyrics were written when we were all in a very different place, so now they’re just a reminder of a moment in time. At the time of writing the lyrics, a lot of it definitely did weigh on me, but I’m in a way better place now, so if anything it’s just a happy reminder of how much worse things can be.
And on that existential note, did COVID-19 affect the production in any way?
Well, we decided at the end of last year that we would tour as much as possible this year. We started off strong and we had a bunch of stuff booked for the album cycle, and then the virus shut the whole world down. We definitely couldn’t do as much as we had wanted to, but we tried to get people engaged in different ways too. We made limited books with art, lyrics, and photos we took on tour and sent them out to random people who pre-ordered the record. We made a mug which I’ll be sending out to a random person tomorrow, and if you’re in NYC you may come across posters on the street promoting the record. All in all, I think we made the best of a bad situation. It sucks not being able to tour on the record right now, but it forced us to be a little more creative with how we could still push it. It’s all a learning process, so I’m sure you’ll see us do something stupid with it soon enough. We’re just trying to have fun with it.
And how’s everyone in the band coping? What’s the creative routine like, if any during these trying times?
We honestly didn’t practice for the entire duration of the lockdown in New York. Everyone was out of work so we had a lot of free time, but we also didn’t want to risk getting other people sick by getting together and practicing. I think everyone had a sort of vacation away from each other and did their own thing, which is sometimes very necessary
I personally learned how to develop film and watched a lot of bad reality TV with my girlfriend, so I can’t complain. We all did start writing a bit too, so you never know, LP two may already be in progress.
That’s great to hear and hoping everyone stays safe! Lastly, it might be a while until we get live music back, so what’s your message to old fans? As well as new ones you’re hoping will like the record? What would you want them to take away from it?
Unrelated to the record itself, but don’t take anything for granted. We’ve played some sad shows and been in some very shitty scenarios on tour, but I’d take all of that over being stuck at home any day. I think everything going on has been a big reminder of how transient the whole touring musician lifestyle can really be. We can’t tour right now, but make no mistake, as soon as we possibly can, you’ll see us on tour, being losers somewhere. Don’t give up on bands just because you can’t see them live right now!