Today mrmoth releases a new EP, featuring the double A-Side single, “Desolation” and “Planet Earth.” The EP is exclusive to Bandcamp starting today, October 2, 2020, with all other online streaming services and retailers offering it beginning October 6, 2020.
Main creative force behind mrmoth, Michael Bird explains its origins. “‘Desolation’ was an unfinished track from the Desire sessions. Most of my songs tend to get built up in sections that I move around modularly until the song becomes something cohesive. ‘Desolation’ was originally cut from the tracks that would go on to become a different song called ‘Shark Eyes’ from that album.”
“The melody was so strong and so different, it was soon apparent it was a completely different track. It had such a hook to it that I would get stuck in, looping it around and around until finally, I just had to put the thing down and move on with the album. I would get stuck in that chorus and I could never figure out where to go from there. The reason why was because I trying to make a different song at the time.”
The resultant song is one very different in tone from the one that had nudged it into existence. A bleak synopsis of the political and social discourse around our worsening environment, the song seems to predict this moment as the beginning of the end of the whole human race. It’s a strange direction for a song with a beautiful, soaring melody and dance beats propelling it forward.
“I did sort of promise myself that if I ever picked the song up again, I wouldn’t do anything with it until I could cut the hooky-ness of it with something really substantial lyrically. It’s kinda pretty and hooky and it was the catchiest thing I’ve ever come up, at least from my point of view. And I just didn’t want to pair that with something that was sentimental or light.”
“‘Desolation’ is about this ecological quicksand that we’ve found ourselves in. But it’s also sort of more than that I think. Greta Thunberg had gotten me thinking about speaking to the future for this moment we’re in presently. And that’s where the lyrics came from. It sort of a reflection of the discourse around what we see happening why we seem so paralyzed from doing anything at all about it. I had the lyrics written and finished, and then COVID happened, and in a weird way, it was apparent that the same mechanisms of greed and misinformation were being leveraged. As you started to see the number of dead growing, it became apparent that this is a pattern we’re stuck in. It’s so note-for-note similar it’s hard not to see it as intentional, and masochistic, and systemic.”
The decision to record new songs came out of a need to make something new while working on the band’s new remix album, The Desire Remixes, which will land October 23.
“In January, I had started putting together what I’d hoped would be a live set that I could start performing live in late spring. And then of course, by March those plans were scotched. Since I was already knee-deep in the tracks I decided to make a remix album. I like making remixes but they’re not the same as making something new. So I really have to walk a balance with making remixes, in that I need to feel like something new is coming out of the experience and I’m not just rehashing the same song over and over again.”
“I had a couple of songs that were in the offing, and I decided I would come back and finish those. Those tracks would go on to be the new songs that are added to the remix collection — ‘Desolation’ and ‘Sleep.’”
For the new EP, “Desolation” is paired with a cover of Duran Duran’s “Planet Earth.” Anticipating the song’s 40th anniversary next year, this cover embraces the future-retro vision of the original and, like “Desolation,” reiterates its themes. As the human race stands on the cataclysmic brink of ecological collapse, we are forced to confront what we have made of our “Planet Earth.”
Bird elaborates, explaining that the cover’s genesis started with the suggestion of longtime mrmoth bassist, Bryan Leighty. “Bryan suggested the track around the time we finished our Cure cover, “Fight.” I’d once toyed with doing “Sound of Thunder” back when I was working on Unto the Waste Land, going so far as to complete some sequencer programming on it. That take got lost in the shuffle of finishing that album, but Duran Duran have always been a huge influence on me, so I was certain I’d eventually get around to them. When Bryan suggested it, I knew it was a natural fit. It took a little bit of time for me to work out how I wanted to approach it, but eventually everything fell together.”
“I have very vivid memories of teaching myself to sing, adolescently warbling over their live album Arena while cleaning out the family garage as a pre-teen. I was terrible, but my will was such that I was determined to figure out how to do it. It’s very full-circle now to revisit one of those songs and finally be able to put my own stamp on it.”
In line with the forthcoming The Desire Remixes, rounding out the EP will be four remixes, including one by Bird’s friends in Ashland, Ohio’s Crysmile. “Rachel is one of the first friends I made when I moved here and she remains one of my dearest. I’m so pleased she and Logan contributed such an outstanding remix.”
• The “Desolation”/”Planet Earth” EP is out now, via Bandcamp. It includes the two singles and four remixes (including one by Crysmile).
• The Desire Remixes album will release October 23, with 11 tracks, consisting of 9 extended remixes of songs from that album, as well as new songs, “Desolation” and “Sleep.” The concept of this album was to re-explore some of the hidden layers of the songs on 2019’s Desire in the classic, 80s-style extended remix format. Some songs are expansions of the original structures, while others are radically re-imagined. More details on this album to follow.