When Don De Vore and Reggie Debris are not shuffling back and forth between their home base of Los Angeles and New York City, they endeavor to travel the globe in pursuit of their art no matter where the path leads them.
Collapsing Scenery is a fascinating combination of post-punk, chillwave, dancehall, and electro fireworks that have culminated in their sensational debut full-length record entitled Stress Positions. Two highlights of the record, “Bush Mama Blues” and “New World Borders (feat. DAM)” lend a sophistication of sonic palette that would make pioneer’s such as Brian Eno and Lou Reed stand up and cheer.
Here at Culture Collide we are pleased to premiere the remix of their single “I Never Knew” by Brian Degraw. Soak in African and Caribbean flavors of both the percussion and samples atop a shimmering indie-pop artifact. Fans of Ariel Pink and Animal Collective would surely fine a lot to enjoy with this single, and this artist in general.
In regards to the song, Don and Reggie exclaim: “I Never Knew was a bit of a departure for us, in that it’s the only apolitical song on the record and a love song at that. I wanted it to open the record as a kind of acknowledgment that political struggle is meaningless if it’s not underpinned by love.” We have always been fans of Gang Gang Dance and Brian DeGraw. They have been a consistent force in NYC, always impossible to categorize, always pushing themselves and their listeners into new zones, and carrying a torch for a fading and rapidly disappearing New York. DeGraw’s take on the song discovered a gently lilting dub epic hiding in the spaces. It’s a really lovely, considered piece of work.”
Beyond the music itself, we have the distinct honor of having these gents lending their own take of their travels while recording the album. It’s a journey that truly becomes reflected for all to hear and this personal diary is evidence of it. Here the itinerary in their own words:
WHEELER RANCH – TEXAS
The first proper Collapsing Scenery session, after years of talking about the project and months of preparation, was on a remote ranch in west Texas. The closest town is Bandera, The Cowboy Capital of the World, pop. 850. Our friends and hosts had recently finished constructing a studio on their family property and we were among the first to break it in. The ranch itself is a sprawling, never-ending expanse of rolling hills, populated by wild turkeys, herds of deer, and much-derided, invasive wild pigs. There was a stockpile of military gear in a silo on the property, and we recorded a 20-minute improvised instrumental (that later became ‘Metaphysical Cops’) in total darkness, wearing state-of-the-art night vision goggles. At the end of the week, we’d amassed about 24 straight hours of music, which we then spent months sifting through, finding sections and moments that became the basis for songs.
GEE JAM – PORT ANTONIO, JAMAICA
Recording in Jamaica had been a longtime dream of ours. The sonic innovations of the dub era are a huge influence on our recording style, and Sound System culture is a major touchstone in our live performance set-up. Gee Jam is nestled in a hill above one of the most beautiful towns and beaches on the island. We had the incredible good fortune to link with legendary dancehall MC Ninjaman who collaborated with us on a track called ‘Money’. Rolling around Port Antonio with Ninja was pretty fucking remarkable; every person we encountered, from kids on up, treated him like royalty. The brief session at Gee Jam yielded ‘New World Borders’, ‘The Blue and the Black’, and our Tamaryn collaboration ‘Kill the Indian, Save the Man’.
Songhellir is a cave on the Snaefellsnes peninsula. For centuries, it’s been famous for its acoustic resonance. The interior is covered in carvings, many dating back hundreds of years, of travelers’ names and mysterious runes. The natural reverb within the cave is the stuff of legend. I recorded the opening lines of ‘I Never Knew’, as a voice memo, within these cool, musty walls.
LAFX, NORTH HOLLYWOOD
We have to shout out our favorite studio. We spent more time in LAFX than any other spot, and it’s a truly special place. We were initially drawn in by their giant API desk and incredible outboard gear, but we made it a second home largely because the people who run it and work there are genuinely lovely and exceptional at their jobs.
Collapsing Scenery also announced tour dates including:
10.01 Ottawa, ON @ Club SAW *
10.02 Montreal, QC @ La Vitrola *
10.03 Toronto, ON – Velvet Underground *
10.04 Syracuse, NY – Lost Horizon *
10.05 – Queens, NY @ Knockdown Center – Thrasher “Death Match”
11.30 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Lodge Room