The second single from the Brooklyn rock ‘n’ roll band is “a contemporary retelling of the Orpheus myth and an ode to the pitfalls of the police state”
Komodos is a relatively new band (they were formed earlier this year), but the members pride themselves on being founded on “the ethos of unadulterated rock & roll”—sourcing sonic influences from the last half-century and embracing NYC rock as not just a genre but a lifestyle, as a group of five young twenty-somethings who “write together, drink together, carouse together, and (for the most part) live together.”
That said, for this single—the band’s second— they’re not just seeking musical inspiration from, say, 1970s New York, but reaching back a litttttle further to the art of 6th Century Greece. More specifically, the myth of Orpheus, the Greek god of music and poetry, whose musical gifts had the power to move the plants, animals and even rocks around him. The myth is more fucked-up than that Snow White-sounding fantasy, of course. As much of mythology does, it involves death, desperation, negotiation and, after a visit to the Underworld, an oh-so-human succumbing to temptation that leads to the ultimate loss.
For their twist on the tale, Komodos didn’t just rehash the myth however, but infused modern, almost Orwellian elements to create a story that, as so much of the best rock music does, also serves as a rally cry against authority and an act of rebellion in and of itself.
A day ahead of its release, this is “Orpheus (Let It Burn)” from Komodos.
Ahead of the song’s drop, the band sent over some thoughts on the writing and recording of the track as well as what’s coming next for Komodos:
“’Orpheus (Let It Burn)’ is a contemporary retelling of the Orpheus myth and an ode to the pitfalls of the police state. This track shows a different side of our sound and we’re excited for people to hear some of our range. It’s the second single from our debut EP, K.O., which was recorded in our apartment studio and produced by our homie Max Harwood (Lewis del Mar).”
In addition, they answered a few additional questions about the song, the record and being a band (of friends) in New York.
How did you come upon this myth and decide to put your spin on it?
Taran: “I got the idea from a Rushdie novel, The Ground Beneath Her Feet. It has a different retelling of the same myth, but while reading it I kinda realized that some of its broader elements reflect my past experiences. The journey into the underworld, a realm of unknowns, is something that Orpheus takes on out of both spite and devotion, and I think that’s a narrative that a lot of people who’ve found themselves in these kinds of intimidating situations can relate to—it can be overwhelming and fucking surreal. It’s also something that people with certain privileges definitely can’t relate to, and I think that’s an equally important side of the coin.”
How does this single fit into K.O.? Is there an overarching theme we can expect from the record?
“’Orpheus (Let It Burn)’ skews toward one end of our sound—which will be more apparent once the EP is released—with this side having more psych/shoegaze elements and the other leaning towards a harder-hitting post-punk/garagey feel. As far as theme, the songs on the EP themselves all have a certain level of grit that’s carried over from just living in the city and reflecting on what we’ve seen here. There are endless opportunities for commentary on a community as vibrant and diverse as Brooklyn’s. This record gets at the give-and-take relationship we have with New York—how we can be affected by our surroundings and affect them in turn.”
What NYC bands (past or present) do you cite as influences or inspirations — whether for their music, performance or way of living and working in this industry?
“Despite all of us having a pretty comprehensive knowledge of the rock tradition, we each pull from a different set of influences when we write, and that really comes across in how the record sounds; it’s not just an imitation of another set of bands but something distinctive in its own right. There are definitely traces of older influences in there—the Velvet Underground, Joy Division—not to mention some of the iconic garage rock bands that came out of NYC a few decades later, but we’re also super inspired by some of the contemporary post-punk groups that are putting stuff out now, especially those in the UK. UK tour, where you at?”
You pride yourselves on not just making music together but really experiencing life in the city together. Do you think this makes you a better band?
“Yeah, definitely. We draw a lot of inspiration for lyrics, mood and sound from our experiences living together in the city, which really lends itself to easy collaboration in terms of writing and performing. The chemistry we have when just hanging out and jamming carries over to our on-stage presence—it’s something palpable that our audience easily picks up on and definitely makes the experience all the more exhilarating for us.”
What are a few of your favorite spots in Brooklyn and why?
“We spend a decent amount of time in Ridgewood, it’s got this energy that other neighborhoods just don’t have. We went out there almost every weekend last summer, whether at TV Eye or Nowadays. Nowadays—best club in BK. No, we’re not sponsored. Generally speaking though, we’re fans of places where you can imbibe and vibe—Rocka Rolla, St. Vitus, A Bar, the birria truck on Metropolitan. Our neck of the woods also has some great parks (Transmitter, Maria Hernandez, McCarren) that can be really nice to escape to when all the concrete gets to be a little too much.”
Keep an eye (+ ear!) out for K.O., which will be released this November.
And speaking of Ridgewood, catch Komodos liiiiive at Trans-Pecos with Moderate Rock, The Sheer Currents and The Tarrys Thursday night. Tickets available here.
Feature image (provided by the band): Darren Lee