Frog Eyes’ Carey Mercer tells us about their return and new single “I Was an Oligarch”
After retiring his band Frog Eyes in 2018, Carey Mercer recently announced he'd revived the group with a new lineup and would release a new album, The Bees, this spring. They've just shared a second single from the album, "I Was an Oligarch," that is beautiful, noisy and singularly Frog Eyes. We've got the premiere of its lyric video, directed and edited by Derek Janzen, that's set in an empty home where something strange is going on. It's a little eerie and more captivating than most lyric videos tend to be. Watch below.
We talked to Carey via email about Frog Eyes' return, their new album, "I Was an Oligarch" and its video. Read that below.
Frog Eyes' new album The Bees is out April 29 via Paper Bag.
What precipitated Frog Eyes return?
We actually didn't set out with intentions to return to being defined by Frog Eyes as a name. I had laid out half of the record in an electro-acoustic setting: keys, drum machines, guitars, vocals. When it came time to “add” acoustic drums, it felt ham-fisted. So we chose each other, to recommit to each other's idiosyncrasies. This led to an eventual reframing of how we felt about ourselves as musicians — I think we realized that what we thought of as flaws are actually the things that we do best.
What can you tell us about "I Was An Oligarch?"
The term “Oligarch” certainly has a different punch than it did a year ago, right? But the song is not a geo-political commentary. It's about recalling a sumptuous, reckless feeling of possibility as it feeds a relentless arrogance; its subject is the little oligarchs of our scenes, our communities, the rising and the falling of makers and takers.
The lyric video for the song is pretty unique.
There is a video maker named Derek Janzen here who seems particularly adept at the lyric video -- at taking a simple device and unfurling it in a compelling manner, and his images seem to wrap around the words in a way that I find extremely gratifying. A video should support the music, make the music somehow even more vivid and satisfying.
Besides the two singles thus far, are there any particular tracks off this new LP that you're particularly proud of/excited for fans to hear?
I am fond of “Rainbow Stew"-- I like a short song that is jam-packed with as much mystical, imagistic horseplay as can be. “Here is a Place to Stop” is a kind of personal song about meeting [wife] Melanie, and our time together; she even made some lyrical suggestions. She also makes the song, well, really her and Shyla together — I guess all of the songs have this extra dimensionality that both Mel and Shyla bring to the song, it's so much more after they push into it. And that's the part that I am always most inspired by and most excited to share.