KAYE is the musical moniker of Charlene Kaye, former frontwoman of indie darlings San Fermin, who relaunched her solo project last year to several accolades. Each release propelled her singular creative vision while magnifying her electric frontwoman energy.
“What A Time To Be Alive” is a standalone single from KAYE. The song is an electro-punk shock to the system that offers tongue-in-cheek yet unflinching commentary on police brutality and racism in America, the new normal of living in a global pandemic, and even a reference to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s recent experience of being called “a f–ing b—-” by fellow Congressman Ted Yoho. It was co-produced by KAYE and Brooklyn producer GZGZ, whose spicy saxophone lines pepper KAYE’s signature slaying guitar melodies with a bit of funk.
The song is accompanied by a stop-motion music video created by KAYE herself – a Herculean effort that took 2 weeks to make and which consists of 2500 individual still photos taken on a set made in KAYE’s living room. The music video is a DIY jawdropper and a veritable time capsule of 2020, painting a picture of riot police opening fire at Black Lives Matter protests, a Trump made from an orange spewing out dozens of nails, and KAYE zooming over a death spiral, shredding atop a UFO.
“During the first month of the pandemic, there was so much death and despair in the news that I felt my inner emotional state was constantly vacillating between laughing and crying,” explains KAYE. “While catching up with friends by phone, several of them had independently said, “What a fucking time to be alive.” I thought it was funny. Meanwhile, I was reading a novel about this guy who had lost everything he owned in a fire, and at the time he was laughing hysterically. We respond in all sorts of unpredictable ways to tragedy—without being overly flippant, sometimes the best antidote to grief and rage isn’t more heaviness, but humor. Once I got into that frame of mind, this song poured out in under an hour.”
KAYE’s upcoming full-length, Conscious Control, arrives this fall.