FEZ – Black Dogs
FEZ are a highly intriguing new band based in London, East London to be precise. I loved their new double-single from the spot and decided to feature the more lively “Black Dogs.” However, this should not stop you form also listening to the more pensive “Counter Culture,” which can perhaps be seen as a bit of a summary of the band’s agenda. Yes, they do have an agenda which we’ll include here too. While “Black Dogs” enchants with a woozy melody, drenched in psychedelia and hard-strumming guitars, with a rad little guitar solo, its lyrical context goes deeper. The band says:
Lyrically “Black Dogs” is a criticism of the ease of access to antidepressant medication in the UK. Friends of ours who sought support from their GP for mental health difficulties were prescribed antidepressants without accompanying social or psychological support. Some said that the medication improved their mood slightly, others felt calmer in social situations, but the actual thoughts, behaviours or social circumstances that kept the problem going remained unchanged. We’re incredibly lucky to have access to mental health support, but unfortunately, underfunded services and long waiting lists can make it too easy to apply short-term solutions to complex problems.
This is unfortunately not just a British problem but an almost global dilemma. I’ve seen more and more artists picking up the topic in one way or the other. I believe that drug abuse and the shortcomings of us as a society can only be changed when we actively and often talk about it. Playing a brilliant song like “Black Dogs” on repeat sweetens the deal.
The band further says:
“We have an Agenda.
Since the explosion of Popular music there has always been a rocky symbiosis between the Art of creating music and the Business of getting it into people’s homes and onto their radios. When the dial shifts too far in either direction we end up with either unconstrained Art, with no thought of accessibility in sight, or hollow products, devoid of meaningful content. Arguably, the most influential albums of all time have played the game in conforming to Business’ constraints whilst also pushing the boundaries of their Art form creatively.
In recent years, however, the dial seems to have shifted too far in Business’ favour. In other words, the Industry has become so good at selling media to people that it no longer requires bold and progressive Art to turn a profit.
Frustration at the lack of creativity and ingenuity across all Art forms now populates daily discourse. How often have you heard frustration expressed at the number of remakes, reboots and remasters in the Film, Music and Video Game industries? How often have you heard discussion of the number of celebrity biographies and cookie cutter thrillers populating the literary charts? It is only natural that given the lack of Artistry represented in main stream culture that a pushback from Creatives is overdue.
The Musicians Call to Arms?
Our purpose is to be part of the movement that restores the equilibrium between Art and Business – to both strive ourselves and to encourage and support as many of our contemporaries as possible to push the boundaries of Music by making bold and radical Art that disregards current Industry trends. Only by moving Art forward can we all, together, hope to gain the attention of a cold, detached Business and shift current trends towards advancement and innovation over the retrospective stagnation which plagues our present culture. The DIY revolution is here.
I am excited to learn what FEZ will do next, and can’t wait to listen to more of their songs. For now, listen to “Black Dogs,” our Song Pick of the Day:
Photo credit: @supersamalander