Prince Daddy & the Hyena break down every track on their new s/t album
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Prince Daddy & the Hyena released their great new self-titled album on Pure Noise earlier this month, and as we said in our review, it's a concept album about death that blurs the lines between punk, emo, and indie rock to the point where it never fits neatly into any genre, and it's Prince Daddy's best work yet. Vocalist Kory Gregory has now given us a track-by-track breakdown of the album, and you can read on for what he had to say...
“Adore The Sun”
I bought a Juno 6 synthesizer at the beginning of the pandemic and fell DEEP into the synth hole the past few years. This song was the very beginning of that. The demo was just my Juno 6 and my voice manipulated by a Roland 404 sampler. I just had a melody and the words written which I was really proud of and wanted an excuse to use my new toy so I just went for it without worrying about writing a drum part or adding a chorus or anything like that. I can confidently say these are my favorite lyrics I’ve ever written and they exist somewhat as a mission statement for the rest of the record. Im glad we managed to maintain their little spotlight even up until this version.
“A Random Exercise In Impermanence"
This one is kind of telling two stories with the same words. A metaphorical one loosely following a character named “The Passenger” and his attempt at taking his own life. But also on a more literal level, about a car accident we got in a few winters ago. It’s about the first run in with mortality you have as a critically thinking adult. An adult whose brain is capable of at least trying to grasp the fragility and impermanence of everything as small as a flower or as a big as the sun. It felt creatively exciting to me to give some closure to some of the things I was writing about on our last record Cosmic Thrill Seekers and to kind of develop some kind of relationship between the two records. The accident was a pretty crucial moment for me as far as breaking out of whatever toxic cycle of mental deterioration I was writing about on Cosmic Thrill Seekers. The accident was the pivot towards another chapter of my life that realistically would have otherwise just been another lap in the same cycle. It felt like “growing up”, but not in a productive way.
“Jesus Fucking Christ”
A lot of whatever scary thoughts I had regarding mortality were closely followed by some sort of bitterness towards the concept of religion. Over time those thoughts would overlap and I guess I sort of came to a conclusion that the dark scary ugly evil tormenting character “the collector” or whatever I’ve been casually referring to is literally just the same dude that other people dedicate their whole life to making happy. The main riff in the intro and outro of this song were originally part of a song on an EP we never fully released called “Thrashville.” Also let's hear it for [producer] Scoops’ impeccable sleigh bell performance.
This song was not meant for Prince Daddy at first but towards the end of writing the record, we realized how relevant the song was so we started jamming on it just for fun. We eventually made this alternate version that made it to the record and it quickly became one of the songs we were most excited about. I can 100% confirm this song was written less than 12 hours after a viewing of Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.
“El Dorado” is an attempt at adoring the sun regardless of despising its heat. It is a crazy man's tangent, trying to convince himself that separating the inherit ugliness of consciousness from the genuine beauty of life as a concept is a feasible thing for an unhappy and unwell person to do. I don’t think a conclusion is ever really reached, rather just a stream of consciousness last ditch effort at making sense of things that make no sense.
“Hollow, As You Figured”
Unfortunately, sometimes being numb is the closest you get to peace or clarity. This song is sort of about that. It’s about how, on some days and nights, feeling completely numb seems like the equivalent of achieving some sort of spiritual enlightenment, or at least the closest you will ever get to it. We had so much fun recording this song. I remember my guitar being so loud and fucked up that you could hear the kick drum through the pickups of the guitar and it sounded so gnarly. You can still hear it on the masters. The solo at the end of this song survived over three incarnations of this song. The day I demoed this out by myself the first time, Cameron, our guitarist, showed up to my house having just got a whammy pedal. I had this instrumental part I hadn’t written lyrics to yet at the end and he wanted to play with his new toy. So we just sent him in without writing anything and the first thing that happened is what you hear on the final version. It was just so cool. We tried to make cooler ones but each time we recorded the song, we just kept taking the recording of the solo recorded on the night it was written.
“Curly Q” was written in the midst of bugging out following the birth and growth of my little nephew. It was my first time being super involved in the beginning stages of that whole life thing. There was something overwhelmingly dark and science fiction to me about a kid developing their first ever memories and emotions during these past few years. I felt very defeated by my ability to develop a pessimistic outlook towards something as promising and supposedly “beautiful” as the beginning of a life. The song is about those fears, and the disapproval I have for them. I think Prince Daddy as a whole finds a lot of joy in trying to keep things unpredictable. Especially on this record, the feeling of whiplash going from song to song was important to maintain. And I thought that, in the context of a P Daddy record, what is more unsettling than the only song of ours that is diatonically straightforward and “correct” also being the darkest song I’ve ever written? Because of that, in my head, this is the most Prince Daddy Prince Daddy song we’ve ever written for sure.
“Keep Up That Talk"
This was the only song off of the album that we didn’t record live in a room together. We wanted to make sure the drum part felt like a loop rather than a performance so we just sampled Daniel's drum parts and made the beat from that for the first half. “Keep Up That Talk” is about your brain being worn down by the fear of your brain being worn down. It’s about being scared of aging and it’s about being scared of my parents aging. The day my grandfather passed away, I was young enough to not let it really affect me as a human besides just suffering through the obvious sadness that comes with missing someone. But thinking back on something like that day as an adult, in the midst of a crisis about the temporal aspects of life, it can take on an entirely new impact.
I woke up from a dream that took place at the psych ward I attended. In the dream, I escaped in the middle of the night and was hopping on public busses in scrubs, using pay phones to avoid being caught, and narrowly escaping Men-In-Black-esque secret agents on the hunt for me. It was so sick. Parts of it felt like a noir film or a pulpy espionage movie or something. It felt like such a fun colorful adventurous twist on an otherwise dull and grey scenario. But of course, when you wake up, things aren’t quite as exciting.
“In Just One Piece”
This was one of the first songs written for the record. A lot of it was just me having anxieties along the lines of losing touch with loved ones and my time with the people I value being cut short for one reason or another. Whether it be a car accident or a fight or argument or whatever, it’s written as a plea to get out of those situations alive so tomorrow, I can prioritize different things than I did yesterday.
“Discount Assisted Living”
I don’t want to talk about this song!
I’m really proud of this one. I think we all are. Even Scoops, who produced the record, could tell the significance of this one I think and definitely encouraged the exploration and any kind of adventurous ideas we had for this one. We used modular synths and audio from a broken camcorder to make the outro. We used a drunk voicemail from an old friend for the intro. We had heavily manipulated pitched down vocals being played with. We have sections of just ambience and no traditional rock band instruments. We have a guitar part that repeats itself for 9 minutes without changing. We recorded it live in a room together with no lights on. It was heavy. It was dense. It was appropriate though. It felt super triumphant and rewarding for me, as it was written about something that I’ve never really tried to tackle writing about specifically before. This is my favorite song. This is the one.
You know those episodes of TV shows where the main kid wishes he was never born or something and then, as like a ghost, he gets to see an alternate version of the world if they were never in it? Ya know how it’s usually mad grim? Like their parents hate each other, their older sibling has completely let themselves go and stuff like that, kind of saying all of their loved ones are better off with them in their lives? Well this is that episode, except when the protagonist in this story gets to witness that alternate reality where he never existed, everything is actually significantly better. Everyone is happier, colors are brighter, and the sky is always blue.
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