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Song Premiere: "Shanghai Grill" by Catacomb Saints

Catacomb Saints - Photo Credit: Ip Hoi Wan
8 May 2019

Catacomb Saints – Photo Credit: Ip Hoi Wan

Catacomb Saints is a Canadian duo composed of songwriter Neil Holyoak and synth artist Devon Beggs. They recorded their first song in a cave in Banff, Alberta. Neil was burnt out on folk music and could only sing one line over and over again. They traveled through the Canadian Rockies in mid-winter to seek inspiration in a dank, dark cave.

Immersed in the unusual environment and through sonic experimentation, they began a new composition. Playing the entire cave like a giant instrument, they used the natural reverberation to create a sonic landscape.

Neil began making records in Montreal under the band name Holy Oak in 2007. Inspired by poets such as Thich Nhat Hahn, Rabindranath Tagore, and Tomas Tranströmer, Neil’s fascination lies with the dark undercurrent of the subconscious.

Devon’s background is visual art, but his work in performance and video led him to experiment with synthesizers and homemade instruments. He uses a process based approach to synthesis and composition, in the spirit of Brian Eno or John Cage.

The Big Takeover is pleased to host the premiere of the quietly mesmerizing“Shanghai Grill”, a downtempo, narrative track off Catacomb Saints’ upcoming EP, Cruel as the Grave, which sees the light of day on June 11th. The song is a lament; a contemplation of loss and memories of the past – and what the future could have been like.

Floating on hushed and drawn out vocals full of regret and the light buzz of subdued and extended synth notes, the song gently opens up over time, with poignant lyrics, the glow of a mellifluous guitar line, and the soft shimmer of ticking cymbals.

Catacomb Saint are currently working on their first full-length album, which they’re recording at their studio on a small island in the Pacific Northwest.

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