TRACK-BY-TRACK: Dead Slow Hoot – A Kinder Kind
Dead Slow Hoot‘s new EP A Kinder Kind is a truly personal body of work with a powerful message: written during a time of change, the EP acknowledges toxic behaviour and finds ways to overcome it by adopting healthier coping mechanisms. We caught up with the dark-indie quartet to delve deeper and discover more about the tracks that make up their latest release…
A Kinder Kind
In 2019 I went through an intense period of self-doubt, to the point where I felt I needed to be a completely different person. I had recently moved to London from Sheffield and changed almost everything about my day-to-day life, and just found myself oscillating between wild excitement at all of the possibilities that new life could offer and a really deep sadness when those plans failed to immediately materialise. In a sense, I was grieving the person I had been before and felt resentful of the transition, but also completely refused to communicate. A Kinder Kind is the collection of songs I wrote during that period of time, as I worked through my own issues and follows a loose narrative of acknowledging the toxic patterns of behaviour, choosing to be different and finding new (healthier) coping strategies.
Dark Pockets functions as a sort of prologue to the EP. It’s about a sense of foreboding, that letting out all of the darkness hidden inside of you will cause a chain of events you can’t reverse – like inducing an avalanche on your own life.
This is about the need to put on a positive public face all the time, acting as if you’re growing when really it’s a defensive tactic to prevent anyone from asking questions about what’s really going on. That’s something that gets brought out of you around other people, and especially when it comes to creating an online presence… it’s hard to reconcile the gap between how you want to be perceived and how you really are.
Low Road articulates a darker side of the insecurities that Gesticulating Wildly deals with. It’s about how, without a defined sense of what you actually care about, it’s easy to be constantly distracted by people or trends that contradict your lifestyle in a way that can cause you to behave really destructively, just to try and keep up with them.
Ocean On All Sides
I wrote Ocean On All Sides out of desperation in a lot of senses, just looking to make sense of how I was feeling. It describes a sense of anger that I couldn’t pin down to any one person or action, but would direct at anyone or anything I didn’t like – “an oppressor born out of unkind presumption”. It literally tracks the realisation that I felt isolated and unable to really give myself to anything without looking over my shoulder and ends with the admission that I just felt trapped in that loop, like getting shipwrecked in the Sargasso sea.
This song is special to me because, even though it tracks feelings of isolation and bitterness, it also has a really honest admission that sometimes you just look for things to be wrong so that you can fulfil your own rage fantasy. It’s kind of the most intense song, emotionally, on the record but – for me – it was the tipping point towards finding a healthier way to be.
Following on from Ocean On All Sides, this song is really about acknowledging that the solution to insecurity lies within yourself. I think that’s tied up a lot with societal expectations and how you match up to them, which is where the ‘taller tree’ concept comes from. We live in a society that expects you to climb over everyone to get ahead, and we apply that in every aspect of our lives, but it’s just toxic and it hurts everyone else. Of course, that philosophy is deeply political, and the song is as much about advocating for socialism as it is about dealing with insecurity.
Until Your Breathing Drowns It Out
UYBDIO is about trying to accept your life for what it is and finding joy in what you have. When I wrote the chord progression, I decided to experiment with the time signature between each section, which gave the chorus a really repetitive, mantric feeling. The line “until your breathing drowns it out” is a mantra I found myself repeating on long cycling commutes to and from work – without any other distraction I would end up overanalysing things that were making me angry or embarrassed, and one day I came up with a mantra that allowed me to focus on what was actually important (i.e. not getting killed by a car). It’s corny, but that was really therapeutic and I knew I wanted to write a song that could generate the same sense of calm and acceptance, which became this one. In a lot of ways, this is the one I’m most proud of musically, it has so many time changes but it still flows really easily and they pass by almost without observation.
This is where I’m at now, accepting that there are significantly more important things in life than being cool. It’s about striving to be a better person by honouring the people you love and making an effort to be kinder in your thoughts and your actions. In some ways that’s unattainable – there’ll always be a ‘kinder kind’ – but that shouldn’t stop you from trying to be generous.
Dead Slow Hoot‘s new EP A Kinder Kind is out now via Philophobia Music, available to stream or purchase HERE.