Despite the haunting and serious nature of Slow Bloom‘s video for “Phantom Tantrum,” the band members are, in person, the opposite.
With this project, the group’s goal is to show the members dedication to music, without coming off too serious. “We want to do something hella gory, creepy, and horror-film inspired,” says guitarist and video director Timmy Lodhi. “That just has to do with our love for horror and sci-fi.”
“It was like, ‘What would a horror film be like if it were spliced with a Sheryl Crow video?’” jokes singer Jonny Andrew, as the pair and I sit outside on the sidewalk next to a coffee shop. It has only been a few minutes and already this is one of the many jokes the two would crack throughout our conversation.
The group came together during a national tour between State Faults and Strike to Survive (Slow Bloom’s lineup also includes bassist Michael Weldon and drummer Jared Wallace). Each member’s musical resume is impressive and extensive — a quick Google search will prove this, but that’s not what this article is about. What sets this project apart from earlier ones is that, in Slow Bloom, the members can truly be themselves.
“There’s a non-genuine thing that comes off when you try too hard to be something that you’re not,” says Lodhi. “With this project, we obviously want to make good music, but not take ourselves too seriously, because then you can get into the politics of being in a band and that can get really gross. We’re not a Warped Tour band.”
What makes the band’s dynamic work is that they’re friends first (they eat “nasty pizza” together when they’re not practicing). The music aspect comes after. “We’re not trying to fit into any sort of genre. We’re not super-sad or anything,” Andrew pauses for a minute and starts laughing. “We’re not at all.”
After a moment, he continues to say Lodhi’s words remind him of the song for the band’s new video. The lyrics deal with someone who feels like they don’t belong in a social scene or click that they used to or they want to. In the open line, Andrew speaks of trying to be a prettier version of yourself for other people. During the chorus he chants, “Love me not, love me not” — it’s not a romantic love he refers to, it’s the basic human need for community. “When you put more emphasis on fitting that mold, then it gets way less fun than just being organic,” he says.
Though the song lyrics speak more of being true to yourself, the video for “Phantom Tantrum” isn’t based on the words. “A lot of the imagery was influenced by that movie The Witch. It’s a really good horror film,” Lodhi says. “I also stumbled upon these weird Pagan cult rituals on YouTube.”
A lot of the rituals included being naked in the woods, which led to Lodhi directing the majority of the video nude. “I was butt naked, covered in fake blood,” Lodhi says, laughing, and adds that he was surprised about how oddly liberating being naked in the forest was. “I don’t want to say there’s any deep meaning behind the video, because there’s totally not. We’re kind of a bunch of movie nerds,” he adds.
Andrew agrees and ponders for a moment. “But wouldn’t it be something if people found a meaning in the music video and the song?” he asks.
Though the band members say there is no direct correlation between the song and the video, you can decide your take on that by watching the premiere.
For more music by Slow Bloom or to pre-order the band’s upcoming cassette, visit the group’s Bandcamp.