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BLXPLTN – Photo courtesy of BLXPLTN
Punk has always been a warning about how much worse things could get, and now? Well, we’re there – and Austin’s BLXPLTN are weaponizing their visceral, needle-burying proto-rock bursts to deliver the huge, nasty truth that the unthinkable is the new normal. They’ve soaked in the history and sonics of their chosen genre, echoing the political and musical bent of the likes of Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains, and Fear.
But as acolytes of genre-benders like Ministry and Big Black, the need to kill convention runs through the blood of TaSzlin Rico Muerte (songwriter, vocalist) and Jeremy Wolfe Kivett (drummer). In place of duct-taped guitars and banged-up kits, the two push drum machines and synths to within inches of their lives.
They call their hard-charging, socio-politically-driven music future punk with a good dose of vivid synths and electronics and bold, unfiltered vocal delivery.
“ZZEERRO (Dying for You to Get Rich)” is the latest unsparing salvo in BLXPLTN’s arsenal, and it meets its match with its potent accompanying video. BLXPLTN really do detonate on the aggressively blasting track and video.
The Big Takeover is super-stoked to host the premiere of the video for “ZZEERRO (Dying for You to Get Rich).”
There’s a live-wire immediacy to the song that was brought on by TaSzlin seeing something terrible on the news. What was it? Take your pick of all the horrifying things we now choke down on the regular. He went into the studio and wrote this, the first single from their upcoming album Phlegm TV.
The two unleash an unforgiving, freaked-out feedback squall, a relentless and rhythmically pounding beat, and megaphone-amped vocals from TaSzlin chanting anti-mantras. Yet when the chorus hits, the pair manage to gouge out some seriously brooding melodies amid the raw chaos.
And the video? Talk about a bad trip. If you’re at all familiar with these guys, you know they’re not gonna let you off the hook when it comes to the clip. The band appear as restless, Rotoscoped, color-inverted (the saturation of obsidian black and gleam of blinding white) visuals ripped straight from a stark, bizarre nightmare.
TaSzlin’s screen time is especially disturbing because he’s film way too close-up. Talk about in-yer-face! Flashes of line drawing animations go right for the jugular, including images of an ax splitting someone in two, rifles blowing kisses, and a cult bowing before a TV.
Some vintage stock cartoons offer no relief, because in BLXPLTN’s world, what was familiar is now to be feared. It surrounds the viewer, drowning all else out and drenching them in chilling – yet also thrilling – waves of acute existential dread.
Jeremy, who animated and directed the video, gives some insight into the process, revealing, “The idea for the video came in the studio while recording the song. Tasz was tracking vocals, and I started doing sketches based on each lyric as I listened in the control room. I put together a little flipbook storyboard to the first few lines of the song, showed it to him, and he said “Let’s do it!” After storyboarding it all, I hand-drew animated loops using a $5 drawing app on a Samsung tablet. It took 2 months to complete what ended up being over 50 animated loops. During that time, we were also working with my favorite video/editing guy Donnie (@putitallinmyshoe), who has done camera work on past BLXPLTN videos. I was inspired by the film Johnny Mnemonic and its kinetic, chaotic tension, so we shot extreme closeups of Tasz singing, giving the impression that the viewer is trapped in a box with him. We edited it to made him look like liquid metal, and completed the effect with frenzied imagery to match the driving cadence of the song.”
TaSzlin goes into the meaning/symbolism of the song’s lyrics, stating, “The lyrics are stream-of-consciousness, bursts through the mind, surges of anger in crescendo. Toward the end I say “Pushin’ every bullet like a a dope man lounging / Fill another cup from the blood in the fountain.” I’m talking about gun manufacturers and politicians thriving off of misery and death. The fountain symbolizes the public’s consumption of the media and the public stage on which the violence occurs. The chorus is a declaration: “You hurt us today, but we own the night / We’ll take it all back or the lights go black.” I was thinking about Fight Club. The common people have all the jobs – We have more control than we give ourselves credit for. If we band together, we can get our demands, but we’re kept hypnotized by the media, which tells us our feelings don’t matter and that resistance is futile. We’re basically up against the Borg. You must assimilate.”
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