Danny Elfman has shared “Insects” today – a reworked version of an Oingo Boingo song, which is the final track to come out prior to the release of his new double album ‘Big Mess’, out on June 11. Pre-Order ‘Big Mess’ — Listen to “Insects” track HERE.
“In the beginning of 2020 I was preparing a live show for Coachella. I’d been looking for old Boingo songs that connected to the dystopian nightmare I found myself immersed in at that moment in time living in America,” Elfman explains. “As I played around with different songs it occurred to me that ‘Insects’ made sense. Who were the ‘Insects,’ the blood suckers of today? It was obvious to me – they all hived together in Washington and seemed to thrive on sucking the rational sense of reality out of our brains.”
Directed by Sam and Andy Rolfes, the “Insects” video was created by puppeting over 80 contorted creatures in VR in which we follow Danny’s character inside a brightly colored game engine and digital world.
“Every microsecond of waking life, a relentless digital swarm of information and virtual noise slowly consumes our minds, rendering us like insects being driven by manic buzzing stimuli,” said Sam Rolfes. “That said, more legs means better dancing. The video for “Insects” starts off very ordinarily, following Danny Elfman as he gets ready for the day, meets some friends for lunch, but then is slowly consumed by a ravenous swarm of online static.”
Clocking in at 18 tracks, ‘Big Mess’ finds the Grammy and Emmy Award-winning composer breaking bold new ground as both a writer and a performer, drawing on a dystopian palette of distorted electric guitars, industrial synthesizers and orchestra in an effort to exorcise the demons brought about by four years of creeping fascism and civil rot. He is joined on the album by drummer Josh Freese (Devo, Wheezer, The Vandals), bassist Stu Brooks (Dub Trio, Lady Gaga, Lauryn Hill), and guitarists Robin Finck (Nine Inch Nails, Guns N’ Roses) and Nili Brosh (Tony MacAlpine, Paul Gilbert).
The songs on ‘Big Mess’ combine both harmonically complex arrangements and simple high energy driving music with biting, acerbic wit as they reckon with the chaos and confusion of the modern world. “2020 was an intense year, to say the very least,” Elfman says. And while the anger, frustration, and isolation of it all is palpable in his delivery, ‘Big Mess’ is about more than simply blowing off steam. In making the space to truly sit with his emotions and write without limitations, Elfman achieved a kind of artistic liberation on the record that had been eluding him for decades, rediscovering his voice and reinventing himself all at once in the process.
The feelings of anger, angst and frustration that permeate ‘Big Mess’ are explored in the album’s artwork and music videos as well, which push the boundaries between art and technology and each feature Danny in distinct ways. For the cover artwork Elfman was 3D scanned and transformed into a grotesque looking digital sculpture by Sarah Sitkin. Using CGI, 3D technology and artificial intelligence, each music video was uniquely made and are inextricable from the songs that inspired them. Led overall by Elfman’s creative director Berit Gwendolyn Gilma, each of the video’s directors – Aron Johnson, Jesse Kanda, Sven Gutjahr, Petros Papahadjopoulos, Sarah Sitkin, Sam Rolfes and Zev Deans – have created individual statements that shape a diverse but cohesive whole.
‘Big Mess’ Track Listing:
3. In Time
4. Everybody Loves You
5. Dance With The Lemurs
6. Serious Ground
7. Choose Your Side
8. We Belong
10. Just A Human
11. Devil Take Away
12. Love In The Time Of Covid
13. Native Intelligence
14. Better Times
15. Cruel Compensation
16. Kick Me
17. Get Over It
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