Out September 11 via Avant Records, Dreams of a Dark Building is the latest political punch from Profit Prison. We spoke to them about the new album.
How do you think music can help support political projects and ideas right now? Why should the process go hand-in-hand?
I appreciate this complex question, and I’ll try to answer as best as I can. Right now, musicians can use their platform and revenue stream to raise awareness for pertinent political causes and reallocate profit to help fund those causes, respectively.
Art and music play a vital role in our lives and cultures and are thus inherently political. In times of extreme unrest, I think it’s important for an artist to find ways to position their work within the context of the overall struggle for human rights rather than as just a commodity or a vehicle for one’s ego.
This is a difficult process, and I am still trying to figure out how to navigate the modern landscape as a musician in an ethical way. Again, though, I think at the very least, it’s important for musicians to donate to and raise awareness of causes supporting Black Lives Matter and the movement to defund police.
What was the writing and recording process like for this song and the album?
The main chord progression and harmonized lead for “120 Days” came to me in a dream. I was able to remember the song exactly as it was when I woke up, and I quickly arranged and recorded it on a guitar. The lyrics came later, but for the most part, the song’s final form is the same as it was in my dream. The title is a reference to de Sade, whose exploration of the inhumane and perverse nature of political power has been a continued source of inspiration.
The rest of the songs were written and recorded over several months in 2019. I recorded them myself. I was having florid, hallucinatory nightmares most nights for a long while that heavily informed the lyrics on this record. The title “Dreams of a Dark Building” is a very literal reference to what I’ve witnessed in these portentous nightmares. A dark building, locked doors, shadowed figures, and an endless, descending staircase.
How did you come up with the concept for the video?
My friend Kate Rissiek made the video. She is a Vancouver-based visual artist and musician, and I am a big fan of both her art and the music she makes under the name Rusalka. I edited footage of me lip syncing in my house. I tried to make the lip-sync part look like Edward Weston’s “Epilogue.”
What can we be doing right now to try and effect positive social change?
Everyone needs to educate themselves. Listen to Black voices. Rid yourselves of capitalist and white supremacist Stockholm syndrome. We need to be willing to question ourselves and our attitudes and be willing to change ourselves in the best interest of liberation and equity for all people, on levels both individual and societal.
I also believe we need to work on getting rid of jails, prisons, police, ICE, and CBP entirely. These are racist institutions that are in direct conflict with the struggle for human rights. They need to be gone.
Do you have anything else you want to promote, like a livestream, socially distanced show, etc?
Other than this upcoming 12-inch, my musical life is fairly quiet. I’m in the process of writing a full length. I also play in a band called Excarnated Entity that will have a record out by the end of this year. It’s death metal.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for the interview. I hope people like this record. Solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and those who are currently fighting the fascist U.S. government. I am stunned at the courage I’ve seen on display in the streets of Seattle, Portland, and other U.S. cities. Death to all fascist insects preying on the blood of the world. Thank you.