Chastity's 2018 full-length Death Lust was one of the striking debut albums of that year, a seething, soaring suburban fever dream of bedroom indie rock, shimmery shoegaze and raging post-hardcore. Released today, September 13th, the project's follow-up, Home Made Satan — the second piece in a building trilogy — continues frontman and songwriter Brandon Williams' compelling vision via its 10 pop-inflected songs and vivid accompanying music videos, one for each track, which, when viewed together, form a single film. The latest of those visuals is "Anxiety," premiering below. The moody clip finds the young protagonist from the band's previous videos ("Flames," "Sun Poisoning" and "The Girls I Know Don't Think So") haunted by the ghosts.
Along with the album release and the video premiere, Chastity have also announced today a headlining North American tour. (See the itinerary below; tickets are available here.) Ahead of all this, Williams took some time to tell us about Home Made Satan, the music that inspired him during its making, the album's cinematic accompaniment, and how he hopes his art "helps to ease some political anxiety."
THE ALBUM TITLE HOME MADE SATAN IS VERY EVOCATIVE. HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH IT AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU?
BRANDON WILLIAMS I WAS READING Lapham's Quarterly. They take one theme and pull shit from historic thinkers and fill a magazine up with it. I was reading the one they did on fear, these passages about how we're all so afraid of each other, and why.
YOU'VE SAID THAT YOU WROTE THESE SONGS AS THE SOUNDTRACK TO A MOVIE IN YOUR HEAD. TELL US ABOUT THAT MOVIE. IS IT CONNECTED TO THE VIDEOS FOR THE ALBUM SO FAR?
I'm not totally sure. I just feel like I see something and head toward it. I write lyrics for songs first, and they all belong to each other and I feel responsible to make myself present, and then to bring 'em to some sort of listenable recording. I don't know how to explain it that well. The videos and the full film we've shot came afterward and, I think, were a whole other inspiration, but I wanted to tie them to the songs in a way that provoked and heightened the message.
IS THE BOY IN THE VIDEOS YOU? HOW AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL ARE THE SONGS AND VIDEOS?
I hope that he's us? Or like represents some common emotional feeling we all share a bit. I hope that I always accidentally bleed into my own songs or videos, really. I think these records are nonfiction concept records in a way.
TELL US ABOUT THE "ANXIETY" VIDEO. HOW DOES IT FIT INTO THE OVERALL VISION FOR YOU?
We shot a film for all 10 songs that run side by side, and in a song before this, the devil character and his friend kill a group of Klansmen. They go to a party — seen in the "Sun Poisoning" video that's been released — and then the boy is kept up all night by these ghosts in his head, in "Anxiety." It was meant to walk the line of the ghosts appearing slightly to be Klansmen, the boy's mortality battle with killing that keeps him up at night, even if it may net good — killing the KKK before they kill.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST SONG ON HOME MADE SATAN TO WRITE AND WHY?
Oh wow, good question. Maybe "Spirit Meet Up" because I kept on trying to improve my lyrics in the outro. I wanted them to be simultaneously scary and truthful, for them to punch as hard as they could.
WHAT WERE YOU LISTENING TO AND/OR WATCHING WHEN YOU MADE THIS ALBUM?
Ah, lots. I don't feel like an artist should rip off two or three other artists for a project. I feel like they should rip off closer to 10. Like a careful 10, a mix that makes sense. I'm careful to limit which contemporaries I listen to, honestly, especially when I'm writing. I felt like My Chemical Romance had vintaged by now — and also stood the test of time great — and they were able to be revisited for blatant inspiration in a similar way that I was maybe picking from the Pumpkins on the last record. Fiona Apple has always been my enabler for strong fuck-you type lyrics.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE THE LISTENER GETS OUT OF HOME MADE SATAN?
I feel unsettled politically, and feel more at ease when people who care are visible. I hope it just brings those people who care out a bit, maybe helps to ease some political anxiety? I'm not sure. I hope it helps give voice volume to those most vulnerable in my community and community's that may hear themselves in this.