Louisville-based rock band Annapurna has kept as busy as they can during the ongoing pandemic. After releasing their Natural Position EP last May, the band found ways to continue to collaborate, and released their most recent single "Vallonia" towards the end of the year. They've kept up with their work, and don't plan on letting Covid slow them down. I got a chance to ask Annapurna guitarist Gregory James about their pandemic workflow, their upcoming music video, and what else they have in store for 2021.
Your most recent single Vallonia was released in the midst of the pandemic. How did quarantine and social distancing influence the creation or recording or this track?
When things first got shut down, we had to cancel several shows that were lined up for the upcoming months. Even though that was a big bummer, it allowed us to shift our focus from performance to writing/recording. “Vallonia” was written right at the beginning of quarantine, and we began tracking it about two months after its conception. Each band member came through and laid down their parts separately, which allowed us to have one on one sessions that resulted in a much more polished end product. Luckily, we do most of our own production in house, so the recording process was very laid back and we didn’t set any hard deadlines for ourselves. We figured, things are already wild enough, let’s take our time with this one.
How have you remained active as a band during this time?
Back in May, we were able to release our Natural Position EP, which we consider a big step forward for ourselves as a collective. A good deal of time was spent promoting that over the next couple of months and it proved to be a huge learning curve, as the entirety of that effort was done online as opposed to a live setting. We then began putting together some different tone demonstrations and play-through videos to give folks a deeper look inside our sound and how we achieve it. While most of the content we put together was done remotely, there was still a solid dialogue between all the band mates and everyone seemed to be on the same page in terms of our trajectory forward. The process of creating “Vallonia” was a definitely highlight of the year, from writing to recording, and later developing a visual component for it. However, the pandemic certainly inhibited us from getting together as much as we would’ve like to, and we feel for all the other musicians and bands out there that have been negatively impacted in the same way.
The lyrics of the song have an almost ominous tone. What is the general message behind Vallonia?
There is quite a shadowy vibe to it, and even though it’s coated in a dreamy fit, the lyrics are aimed at shedding light on some, shall we say, “questionable” practices when it comes to our individual right to privacy. It’s no secret that our data is constantly being sold off to companies and corporations looking to profit off of our habits and information. The chorus beckons “be on your best behavior”, which is almost a taunt from an external force implying that we are constantly under watchful eyes, and there is a strong potential of having our own data, information, and even words, used against us. It goes a step further in the second verse by suggesting, “soon enough they will upload me into an artificial simulation of selfless ease”. This shifts the focus onto the development of artificial intelligence and it’s potentially destructive nature, especially in regards to our own human consciousness and ability to think freely. However, the end of the song offers an alternative. It implies that we should do everything in our power to expose the apparent breach of our freedoms, fight for our right to personal privacy, and harbor conversations that ultimately move us forward as a whole.
A little birdie told me you just wrapped a new music video. Is there a visual for Vallonia on the way, and can you say when?
That little birdie clearly has some good intel. The rumors are true, we just wrapped up a new video for “Vallonia” this past week. While we can’t disclose the release date just yet, we can give major props to the masterminds behind its creation. We had the pleasure of working with directors Mike Thompson and Tommy Johns, as well as their stellar crew. We were blown away by their attention to detail, efficiency, and professionalism. Mike approached us with a concept, and within a couple of weeks we were ready to roll. It’s really exciting, because we haven’t even seen the finished product yet, but we’re willing to bet that it’s going to surpass any expectations we have. Stay tuned!
What else can listeners expect from Annapurna in 2021?
We’ve got a lot cooking for this upcoming year, pandemic or not! One of the biggest things people can expect from us is a lot of new material. Over the past few months, we’ve been on a writing frenzy, and also honing in on the sound we’ve always wanted to embody as a band. There is already a hefty collection of new tunes in the works, so expect our catalogue to grow significantly. Assuming the music industry as we know it returns to a more stable place, one of our strongest desires is to get back on stage and be able to share all the new songs that we released over the past year. So when the time comes, we expect to be performing as much as we possibly can. Until then, we’re intent on staying healthy, staying positive, and preparing to unleash all this pent-up energy!
Listen to Annapurna's newest single "Vallonia" below!