With the release of their self-titled, full-length debut the Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock act Warbly Jets, comprised of Samuel Shea, Julien O’neill, and Dan Gerbang quickly emerged into the national and international scene; in fact, their critically applauded effort eventually resulted in the band opening for Liam Gallagher and making three separate world tours to support it.
After a whirlwind year, the members of the Los Angeles-based indie rock trio returned to the studio to write and record the material that would eventually comprised their self-recorded, self-produced EP Propaganda. Thematically speaking, the material explores our modern, globalized, algorithm-ruled, data-based society, where the lines between what’s public and private are frequently blurred beyond recognition and where the hive mind masquerades as marketable individualism with Big Brother being welcomed with open arms in the name of convenience. If we’re truly thinking and feeling humans, we should constantly ask ourselves a few questions: What’s real human connection? How easily are we (and our lives, ideas and souls) bought and sold? Can we cut through the fluff, noise and bullshit we’re relentlessly fed? Does anyone care anymore? Does music fit into it at all? Does music mean anything anymore?
As the band’s multi-instrumentalist Julien O’neill says in press notes. “‘Propaganda’ is a term as much as it’s a cultural ethos that’s been widely accepted. Anything from advertisement to self-aggrandizement qualifies.From social media, push notifications, targeted ads—we’ve openly elected to carry around miniature billboards, playing our part under the promising guise of a sense of ‘connection.’ We feel empty without it.” The band’s Samuel Shea adds, “On this new collection of songs, we made an effort to set no particular stylistic boundaries. I believe it’s extremely important to make drastic differences as you transition through phases. That was something that Julien [O’neill] and I talked about from the conception of this band. I hope you always hear what you’re not expecting when you listen to a new release from us.”
Earlier this year, I wrote about EP single “Alive,” and as you may recall. the single, which was featured in the opening scene of Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4 found the band drawing from classic rock, psych rock, and Brit Pop as it was full of enormous power chords fed through distortion pedals, rousingly anthemic hooks and pummeling drums — and the whole affair was delivered with the swaggering self-assuredness of road-tested old pros. Interestingly, EP title track “Propaganda” is a bit more of a straightforward Brit Pop-influenced affair, sounding as though it were influenced by early Kasabian with the song being centered by thundering and thumping beats, angular and propulsive bass lines, layers upon layers of synths and distorted electronics and guitars, found sounds and other samples, delivered with an arena rock swagger.
Directed by Samuel Richard, the recently released video for “Propaganda” consists of wood and quickly edited found footage centered around pain, over-saturation, confusion and chaos, as well as propaganda footage. It’s trippy but yet feels as bizarre and as fucked up as our current sociopolitical moment. As the band’s Samuel Shea says in press nots about the video, “The era of real life human interaction is heading for a swift end. We experience life through likes, comments, and products ignoring the chaos and suffering around us. Our culture at large has been weaponized by propaganda. We exist like robots inside of a program we ourselves created.” Adds the video’s director, Samuel Richard “The idea behind the visual direction of this song is to show a side of feeling overwhelmed. There’s lots of fast changes showing pain and over-saturation. The Propaganda EP is primarily sample based, so the idea was to match the visuals to what the music is also doing. There’s lots of sample footage of propaganda and pain. I also shot super 8 footage of people on the streets of Los Angeles, showing different sides of life. My goal was to shine a light on the extreme suffering and overindulgence.”