Song Premiere | Sub Lights, “Strange New Breed”

With the formation of Sub Lights the duo of Meredith and Stephen Duncan looked to create music that not only was fun but also challenged people to look within themselves.  The purpose of their music also offers the opportunity to explore social consciousness.  Today, Sub Lights announce their sophomore EP Half-Life will be released on October 28, 2022.  In support of the news, the duo has shared the first single from their upcoming EP, “Strange New Breed” along with a video.

“‘Strange New Breed’ started out being a summer song about those transformational moments when you’re young, where you experience something so unfamiliar yet captivating and you want to hold onto that feeling long after the moment’s over,” Meredith explains. “Once you know what’s out there it makes your current life look 2D and dull or at least incomplete. Half-life is a key line in the chorus—it’s a physics term to describe exponential decay. For me, that’s what being raised in a socially-sanctioned religious cult felt like— Everything that makes you, you is slowly worn away. I was lucky enough to deprogram myself before being sucked in forever, and it was like slowly waking up into a world of dimension and color that never ceases to blow my mind. We didn’t want the video to be literally about summer fun and partying using the typical beach imagery, so I tried to create this ‘What Lies Beneath Everything’ feeling. Atoms and energy are behind everything we experience and it just seemed like a cool way to put a spin (get it, electron spin?) on the summer song. At heart, I am a science nerd and I just decided not to fight it. There’s also a bit of a commentary on mystical thinking vs enlightenment which again goes back to my early experiences. The video reflects all of this in a simple way: for example, I am the one that was born into superstition, the ‘visitor’ taught me how to see.”

“The production on ‘Strange New Breed’ was extensive: I thought it was a great pop song and we wanted to be sure to get it right so we tried multiple versions before Meredith was able to conceptualize the kind of psychedelic beach theme we ended up with,” states Stephen. “We built up from the drums, trying to always capture some sense of rolling waves, ocean birds, the bonfire party end-of-summer vibe, adding distorted backing vocals, guitars, and synths to compliment Meredith’s sweet-but-tough delivery.”

Half-Life started out as a songwriting experiment. During the first wave of COVID-19 lockdowns, the duo challenged themselves to write at least one song per week for a year, beginning in October of 2020 and wrapping up a year later. Half-Life is the first of what will be a three-part project to be released from Sub Lights taken from that batch of over fifty songs.

“The idea was to transform traditionally-written songs, mostly played on piano or acoustic guitar, into our indie-electronic style,” says Stephen. “Lyrically, we wanted to try to capture the kind of social melancholy coming out of the pandemic and the Trump years, but then express that in a hopeful way. Like, life is tough and can be really sad, but even then people are amazing and able to find joy by connecting with each other. We also wanted to take our music seriously without taking ourselves too seriously—it’s a fine line, but I admire artists who can pull that off. But also I’m a college history professor and fairly politically active, so there’s always an element of the big picture mixed in there too, grand themes of what it means to be human and all that.”

Photo Courtesy: ONEiPhotography