Paperdeer is an emerging Budapest-based electronic music production and artist duo featuring Benjámin Kiss and Norbert Biró. The duo will be releasing a new album this year, an album that was written and recorded during pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns. The forthcoming album’s latest single “Fortress,” which features longtime collaborator, Hungarian vocalist Böbe Szécsi is a sleek and slickly produced bit of electro pop featuring layered arpeggiated and twinkling synths, atmospheric electronics, skittering beats, Szécsi’s plaintive vocals and a soaring hook with an expansive song structure. Although the song is bracingly chilly, the song is rooted in the tense uncertainty of our moment, with a pent-up frustration and desperation for necessary change — right now.
“It has been an endeavor in distant music-making,” Paperdeer’s Benjámin Kiss says about their creative process in press notes. “Norbert sent me the initial beats a year ago, and I fell in love with it. So, ever since, we have been going back and forth with the ideas until the song came together. We approached the vocal from two directions and then really completed the tune when we worked out the lyrics.”
“The lyrics of ‘Fortress’ can be interpreted in many ways. In my opinion, it is a cry for help,” Böbe Szécsi says in press notes. “It is enough if you look around: climate change, COVID-19, and political tension are the things that we are faced with and also the burden of uncertainty that it suggests. In the middle of this chaos, I would just want to shout at the top of my lungs to make it stop and to seek meaningful changes otherwise, the consequences will be fatal.” Norbert Biró adds that the song described a feeling of drifting and helplessness which comes around when you are so lost and so little in a massive crowd. You have no other option but to follow because they allow no say in the directions. Böbe, the young woman in the music video, embodies just that.
Directed by Márton István Szabó, who also collaborated on the song’s lyrics, the recently released video features his own technique of reversed digital projection. “We took pictures with a black backdrop, and we made them half-transparent,” Szabó explains. “In this state, we layered them digitally with colors to enhance the character’s body and clothing. My technical approach tied in with the meaning of this song: we mixed drone and studio footages just as we mixed fiction with reality in the story while also portraying the exhaustion that comes from escapism.”