A lot of reverb, but not really shoegaze. A lot of guitar hooks, but not really power pop. A lot of woozy female vocals, but not really dream pop. Guest Directors’ spooky and soulful music demonstrates a familiarity with the sonic landscape of their native Northwest, evoking images of evergreen silhouettes, dreamy breezes, and the power of seemingly perpetual precipitation.
What’s the song about?
“My bandmate Gary sent me his guitar part for this back in March 2020, with the title ‘Treading Water’. He tends to name things early so we don’t mix up new song A and new song B. I fairly quickly came up with my own guitar part to work with it, but then the track kind of sat around on my to-do playlist for months. As the pandemic surged on, and it became clear how much everyone was struggling to keep it together, the chorus of “Treading water is sometimes the best you can do” came to me, just based on what we were all going through, and I went to work on the rest of the lyrics with that in mind. It’s pretty dark – I don’t tend to do uplifting well, but it’s meant to be an acknowledgement of what we’re all going through, and that it’s okay to not be okay.”
Is this release different from your previous releases?
“In some ways, very much. This track has a distinct Brit-folk vibe to it that we don’t normally do so explicitly. We’re normally a loud, shoegaze-adjacent “rock” band, but this, like our ‘Connected Heavens’ EP from earlier this year, was all recorded by us individually in our homes – so we couldn’t get too loud. In lieu of a drum set our drummer Rian provided guitar drones and percussion, he mixed it as well.
Is there a story behind the artwork?
“The artwork is a scene from Hieronymus Bosch’s ‘Temptation of St. Anthony’. I’m a huge fan, especially of this piece. I really wanted the cover art for this single to represent the theme in some way, but I wasn’t sure how. At home, I have a series of framed postcards of different Bosch scenes, and one day this one caught my eye. This couple looks to me like they are just dealing the best they can with the absurdity that life has thrown at them, and trying to keep hanging in there, stuck on their little fish, and I thought it illustrated really well the feeling of the song. The olde-timey-ness also felt like a good fit for the anachronistic style of this track. Our bassist Charlie gave it even more character by distressing it a bit, giving it a bit of a worn-down look, which I thought was analogous to how we’ve all been feeling after the past year or so.”