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Kim House of Fotoform – Photo Credit: David Wentworth – Photo Manipulation: Jessa Carter
“The holidays will certainly be different for all of us this year as we face the challenges of staying safe (and sane) during the pandemic, while trying to bridge the distances between us. This song came from the heart, and to us it encapsulates the bittersweet feeling the holidays bring, especially this year.”
Seattle’s Fotoform have been creating dreamy guitar-based post-punk for several years now, and their self-titled LP and Part-Time Punks EP made it onto our very own Jack Rabid’s top releases of 2017 and 2019, respectively, following their earlier work as C’est la Mort.
Longtime music collaborators (and married couple) Kim House (bass, vocals) and Geoff Cox (guitar) are now joined by former Death Cab for Cutie / Long Winters drummer Michael Schorr. The trio played a handful of kinetic and visceral live shows before going into the studio last spring.
The new three-piece lineup was recording the follow-up to their 2017 debut with Evan Foster at No-Count Studios (Dirty Sidewalks, Boss Martians, the Sonics) when the pandemic hit, putting the sessions on hold with half the record completed. The subsequent lockdown forced them to retool their process, pivoting from the rehearsal room to collaborating remotely across south Seattle.
“They Say It’s Always Lonely” is a departure from Fotoform’s typical shimmering waves of guitar. The song is very much a product of 2020, bittersweet and distant, four minutes of longing for connection with loved ones that simply can’t happen this year due to the pandemic. Sadly, Kim’s father passed away earlier in the year, and the song tries to come to terms with the inherent melancholy of the holidays, magnified by 2020’s pervasive absence and isolation.
“They Say It’s Always Lonely” came in a flurry of activity and in a holiday rush. Working from home, Kim seriously revisited keyboards for the first time since high school. A vintage synth sound was the catalyst for the song, and the synth parts and words tumbled out, soon joined by a drum machine and guitars.
The song itself documents the initial sparks of inspiration, with the majority of tracks recorded as they were being written. This one flows straight from the heart. Evan Foster then mixed the home recordings, and Jack Endino mastered the final song.
Big Takeover is deeply pleased to host the premiere of the nostalgic video for the longingly bittersweet, yet sparkling “They Say It’s Always Lonely.”
Kim’s layered vocals drift with a wistful and airy sigh through the number, supported by heightened synths press, twinkling sonics, subdued guitar chime, lower bass line underscore, and a steadily pulsing drum beat.
Fittingly, the video (which is the band’s first) was also a family affair, with Evan’s brother (and bandmate) Erik putting together the video from the band’s home and travel movies and a single distanced shoot in a friend’s backyard on a dark December afternoon. (Bonus points for the cameos of the Barneys New York kinetic holiday windows from a few years back, RIP.)
The band is shown performing the song outdoors alongside holiday fare that includes a toy reindeer and a tinseled tree. The images are doubled, or tripled even, and overlaid with a silvery and crystalline kaleidoscope of light, adding a trippy touch to the festive vibe.
“It’s pretty late in the season to be releasing a holiday song, but we felt compelled to try to share a little joy and warmth as we all face the holidays differently this year.”
All proceeds from the song this year will go to the West Seattle and University District food banks to help combat food insecurity.
Fotoform can’t wait to get back into the studio to record the rest of the album for a 2021 release and look forward to touring the US and Europe again once it’s safe again to do so. Till then, here’s a sonic snow globe….