Check out this Toronto alt-rocker's latest dark psychedelic single.
Benjamin VanBuskirk is the musician behind Toronto-based dark indie-rock outfit Blackout Orchestra. Ramping up to an eventual debut album release, VanBuskirk dropped the oldest song appearing on the record- "Nowhere Near the Looking Glass", a spooky fantasy themed alt-rock tune.
"I have an acoustic demo that's not too far off from the final version, musically, that's been kicking around since probably 2004," said VanBuskirk. "I've played in a few bands since then and it just never fit, but I'd always throw it in the set if I was playing a solo acoustic show. I think it just stuck with me because so many of the songs I write are very heart-on-sleeve, and this once comes from a more, I don't know- calloused place, I guess, which kept it interesting to me."
VanBuskirk says his single is about addiction, in whatever form that may come in.
"It could be a substance, or a person, a toxic relationship," said VanBuskirk. "It's that feeling knowing it isn't going to end well but you don't want to let go of it- you know you're going to ride it out to the end, but you know from the start that the end is not a good place. There's no wonderland or treasure at the end of that rainbow, but you're still drawn to it."
The artist decided to go old-school with his production style, recording everything on his cell phone- a BlackBerry specifically.
"It's just what I had available because my laptop is even more ancient," said VanBuskirk. "The good thing is that with a couple of decent microphones and an interface you can still create something that pretty closely captures the sound in your head. The downside is you have to be pretty meticulous to get things there."
VanBuskirk believes in the therapeutic value of sad music, and hopes "Nowhere Near the Looking Glass" can help to comfort someone else.
"The record is structured as two sides- the first side is very much about hitting bottom and the second side is very much about the climb back up," said VanBuskirk. "This song is kind of the "seeing the pavement coming up towards your face" moment, right before hitting that bottom. We decided it should be a single because we thought it was musically interesting, but as a stand-alone there's no real resolution, no hope in it. That said, I think even in that way it can be therapeutic. Songs that are just about the pain of going through something- like blues, to early The Cure, to something more recent like the last Phoebe Bridgers album- I don't find them painful to listen to. I think they can be really cathartic. So I hope maybe this can be one of those for someone."
You can help support Blackout Orchestra by following his socials, or by purchasing his music at the Bandcamp link below.
(Postponed due to COVID-19.)