Premiere: salamander Shares New Single “wildfire” | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, December 7th, 2023  

Premiere: salamander Shares New Single “wildfire”

Debut LP [container] Out October 18th

Sep 08, 2023 Photography by Dan Dickerman
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Next month, New York-based indie outfit salamander are set to share their forthcoming debut LP, [container], due out October 18th. The band is the project of instrumentalists Leo Frampton, PJ Hunter, and Ben Verde. Together, they’ve crafted a vision of experimental pop that is both fluid and fractured, fusing electronic beats, honeyed acoustic riffs, hypnotic loops, and jagged, distorted touches. The band have already shared an EP this year, tooth / waste, followed by a pair of new singles, “ride” and “xylem.” Today, they’re back with another new track, “wildfire,” premiering with Under the Radar.

“wildfire” hits on an entrancing balance of tones, opening with Hunter’s slight and dreamy guitar lines intertwined with airy vocal harmonies. In contrast, the refrain catapults the song into motion with thunderous drumming and reeling hits of distortion, steadily building the tempo into a jagged guitar solo. The band veers effortlessly between the two extremes, turning the track on its head multiple times as they playfully shift the dynamics, tone, and tempo. That stark stylistic contrast lends the track a freewheeling psychedelic edge, one that proves thoroughly sharp and magnetic.

Listen to the track below, out everywhere now. The band’s debut LP, [container], is out everywhere on October 18th.

salamander · wildfire

Can you describe “wildfire” in relation to the full-length forthcoming LP? Where does it fit in the record’s general storyline, thematically?

PJ: Although we didn’t go into writing and recording with a storyline in mind, themes and story-structures seemed to emerge in the process. Themes we dealt with range from life under late capitalism (fantasies of luck and authenticity, cars and water) to positive affirmations of life and creativity. We did strive to maintain an abstract lyrical quality, to fit the sonics as well as to seduce interpretation. Wildfire itself deals with anxiety concerning the climate, nostalgia and questions how to live in this age. Listening to the album from start to end, the most coherent story I think people will find is a sonic and affective story.

Sonically, where did this track take inspiration from? Did it come about based on a specific idea, or did it come in a more spur-of-the-moment fashion?

PJ: I wrote this track on acoustic guitar then workshopped it with my friend Cody Zusman, where we made it blasted. I then brought it to salamander with that treatment in mind and we developed it from there. Leo wrote a haunting piano melody that moves in a lonely treble and Ben’s drums are a perfect percussive counterpart to what I was doing on guitar. The result I found to be really dynamic - in a tempo way, as well as a volume way. The vocal harmonies were for emphasis and affect and were the final seasoning. We wanted it to be concise and I feel like we found that.

Can you give us a little inside scoop on the track’s accompanying music video? How did that come about?

PJ: The music video is being produced by visual artist Simon Deschamps, a friend who I was able to reconnect with after we went to university and after the pandemic. He had built a video synthesizer over the past few years with his partner Emma Murray and has recently accompanied us live with video projections, playing found footage clips of Betty Boop, Barbie and Water. The music video is going to include 3D scans as well as video synth work.

With the upcoming full-length project in mind, what do you hope listeners take away? What takeaways do you all have following the writing, workshopping, and recording process behind the LP?

Leo: For me, I’ve taken away how much I enjoy being in a group where any idea has a chance. I’ve known this to be true ever since PJ and I dumped tomato soup onto each other’s heads in the middle of an audience last year. That was an idea, and we gave it a chance. In the studio, this mindset allows us to work without having to conform to any single genre or instrument setup, we can explore whatever sound or instrument we want on a given song. Through embracing each other’s ideas, we ended up with the tracklist of [container], which listens like a roller-coaster of melody, noise, despair, and fun. We’ve also made sure to pick engineers and producers who are very willing to work with and build upon our vision, like Carlos and Cody in this case. For all these reasons, we walked out of every session for [container] better artists than when we walked in.


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