Releasing on November 27 2020, grab an exclusive sneak-peek at the link below.
Hailing from across Ontario, musicians Lauren Dillen, Ray Goudy, Devon Savas and Oliver Compton came together in suburban Toronto to become Burs. The psych-folk act pride themselves on their emotionally intimate songwriting, reflecting in the title of their band- both being small things that stick with you.
Their most recent single "Is This Thing On", to be released on Friday, November 27 2020, features indie-rock inspired folk founds and melancholic vocals that bring to mind the early projects of Bright Eyes and Car Seat Headrest, or the current styles of Big Thief and Phoebe Bridgers.
"Writing the track began when lockdown was in full swing, Lauren and I were doing lots of 'live from home' streaming stuff," said vocalist/guitarist Goudy. "The lyrics were shared between the two of us and it was only written once, so it wasn't really edited.”
The content of "Is This Thing On" was born from feelings of self-doubt and existential crises.
“The lyrics are about the struggle of finding a voice that could only be yours, wondering about what sort of weight an individual’s word holds among 8 billion others on a dying planet," said Goudy. "The experience of that is performing on a livestream- which is like being in an anechoic chamber, where you can only see yourself and other people’s text comments, and then writing the lyrics out the next day in a small forest ravine by my family home.”
The band recorded the track themselves at the beginning of the pandemic.
“The recording of this single was one of two - the other being its folk-centric predecessor, "Flowers" - initiated shortly after the beginning of lockdown," said bassist Savas. "We recorded remotely from our homes, which was a stark contrast to the in-person collaboration we had previously. We love each other’s company, so being able to lock ourselves away together proved to be a vital informant of our past compositions. Being secluded and separate from each other forced us to revise our methods of collaboration, which ironically paved the way for a higher sense of musical fragility and vulnerability. I think the greatest benefits to this process were the solidification of our ambitions, a strengthening of our senses through working relentlessly in uncharted territories, and a newfound appreciation for what we get to do- no matter how we do it.”
The band enjoyed the break, cashing in on that extra downtime to develop the track.
“Since we had no particular timeline for the track, we were able to really take our time with the song," said drummer Compton. "Given our circumstances at the beginning of the pandemic, the tracking, editing and mixing processes all sort of mixed together. Ray sent the initial acoustic guitar and vocals to me in early spring, and I layered on a couple percussion parts. From there, in order; we tracked more vocals, electric guitars, drums, bass and finally some additional textural parts, all in our respective homes. Throughout this time, I was making mixes and sharing them with the band too. Our process remained collaborative and we all provided input at every stage."
Although recording during quarantine wasn't all sunshine and roses.
"The distance between us and the somewhat more limited resources at our disposal did make the creative process more difficult- previously when working songs as a group, we would spend lots of time together getting creative with overdubs and listening to the material as a team," said Compton. "This of course meant we had to adjust and make an effort to stay connected while apart, but we ended up with a product we are all very happy with.”
The indie rockers found a way to combine their sounds in what may be one of their strongest singles to date.
"It still blows my mind that we found a way to combine our contrasting niches, which is why I believe this is our strongest piece yet," said Savas. "I hope our listeners choose to engage with a strong listening medium - headphones, car speakers, monitors - in order to experience true immersion."
Burs hope that by listening to "Is This Thing On", their listeners can visualize a more complete image of who the artists are as a band.
“This project really ended up showcasing lots of our strengths as a group, and we feel like it
reflects our values well," said Compton. "We just hope to be honest with what we make and that others can find some peace in what we feel compelled to share. It was definitely a labour of love.”
"Amidst our global and digital climate, my only other hope is that our cocktail
of sound may lead by example in promoting a seemingly necessary process of coming
together, listening carefully, and shouting not over top of each other, but rather in
unison," said Savas.
Pre-save link: https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/burs/is-this-thing-on
Exclusive listen: https://soundcloud.com/bursmusic/is-this-thing-on/s-LneN6xxfCQw
(Postponed due to COVID-19.)