Having formed my musical tastes in the early 2000s I’m a sucker for anything emotionally charged and full of edgy rocky angst. So it should come as no surprise that the sound of Canadian emo-rockers Selfish Things is right up my street.
Frontman Alex Biro also freely admits being “an emo kid through and through” and the Mississauga-based band’s intriguing brand of sad-sounding rock reflects exactly that. The latest offering of this is one of their heavier efforts Hole, from new album Logos, which will be released on 20 September.
It opens up with a booming bassline under Alex’s almost spoken vocals “A king without a crown, A castle on a mound, Yeah send me down the river to your truth, I’ll beg until I bleed to wash my sins and free myself from all the things I did to you.”
A sweeping synth sound and palm-muted guitars come in as the vocals intensify a little, then burst into a singalong chorus “Barely conscious, Barely breathing, Maybe I’m the one who’s sinking? Barely conscious, Barely breathing, Maybe I’m the one who’s sinking?” and ends on big cries of “Into my hole.”
The lyrics aren’t exactly happy and uplifting to this point, but the song takes a darker turn after the second chorus with the third verse lyrics “I’ve died a thousand times, My shadow stays in sight, He took my sister’s heart and cut the cords of life, Now my mother cries and she blames herself, Wondering what she did to create this hell, She did? She didn’t make this hell.”
Lighter versions of the chorus vocals come in, then blast into a heavier final rendition of it to bring the track to a heavy ending. Check it out in the video complete with creepy dolls in the background below:
And for more of a taster of the band’s rockier side, check out the superb 8147 Mulholland Terrace below.
If you like what you hear from the band then there’s plenty more to come from the new album. And you can see a hell of a lot of the band over the next few months as they head off on a massive tour across North America with Don Broco. More info on all their gigs is here.
We had a chat with Alex to find out more about the band. Read on below…
GR: Who are Selfish Things?
AB: “We’re Alex Biro, Mike Ticar, Cam Snooks and Jordan Trask. GTA kids, but the band was birthed out of Mississauga. I started Selfish Things after my old band collapsed in 2015, but didn’t really take it seriously or look for members until late 2016. Jordan was a chef at my wife’s former place of employment, Cam was an intern at our Canadian booking agents and Mike had previously been in bands with Cam.”
GR: You just released Hole. What should people be expecting from the song? And what inspired you to write it?
AB: “That’s an interesting question – I’m not sure what people should expect. It’s the furthest we’ve gone to the left sonically and houses a lot of elements from genres we all listen to. Synth bass, octave pitched vocals, samples, acoustic guitars, pianos etc… Really just a beautiful mess of textures and sounds – still amazes me it turned out.
“As for the inspiration, our family was in a place of pretty significant turmoil for the first time in my life which led to me just vomiting my feelings all over the track. It’s probably the only song I’ve ever been worried about putting out because of the lyrical content. Thankfully, we’re all in a much better place now.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
AB: “The guys always say it’s like Nirvana and Coldplay had a baby. I back that. I guess we’re technically the ‘4th wave’ of emo in some capacities as well, but adhere less to one genre and just write songs we like and think fit the message we’re trying to put out into the universe. Dashboard Confessional meets Taking Back Sunday meets Coldplay meets Jimmy Eat World or something. I don’t even really know to be honest.”
GR: Sounds like a cool mesh of bands! What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
AB: “This album was Jungian specific. I spent a large swath of the last two years reading his material and found that it really helped me understand human behaviour alongside my own impulses. Shadow self v. true self, the Logos as it pertains the animus, archetypes, the unconscious mind, etc…
“Otherwise, I’m definitely someone who just writes about what I experience. I’m innately a pessimist and look at things glass half empty most of the time, so I reckon that’s why most of our songs are so fucking sad, haha.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
AB: “Brand New were my lifeblood through the darkest moments of my youth. It’s difficult to listen to them now for obvious reasons, but I still find myself going back to Devil and God, Science Fiction and Deja whenever I get down. Taking Back Sunday, Underoath, Glassjaw, Manchester Orchestra, My Chemical Romance, Bon Iver, Dashboard Confessional and Jimmy Eat World all had a significant influence on my perception of music growing up as well. I was an emo kid through and through.”
GR: What have you got coming up through the rest of 2019?
AB: “We’ve got the album release on September 20th, alongside a tour with Don Broco, Trash Boat and Sleep On It. I’m on some fly dates with Cavetown directly afterwards for three acoustic shows, and we have another tour lined up that’s yet to be announced. Definitely the busiest year we’ve had so far as a band (I think we’ll break 150 shows by the end of it), but all worth it and everything we’d hoped for going into our first LP.”
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music?
AB: “No. Just that climate change is real and we’re fucked if we don’t do anything. Eat more plants. Methane destroys the ozone. Take care of each other.”