Vundabar’s Brandon Hagen on Reframing Reality in ‘Devil for the Fire’

Drawing from a variety of lonely old school noir and horror films during 2020, Fundabarnew album Devil for fire Full of confusing and horrific images. “And the days eat up / On a hurricane of blood,” Brandon Hagen sings on “Ringing Bell” while guitar sounds sparkle around him like floating embers, his voice hovers in a fake voice somewhere between longing and prediction. But Devil for fire It is an exercise in reframing one’s mentality rather than taking a pessimistic stance on objective reality.

Heat waves, vampires, looming darkness, and demons billow through the album’s bumpy and chaotic tracks. But Hagen, Drew McDonald, and Zachery Abramo have perfected a fun, playful tone that sets them apart as thought-provoking rockers. Despite the influence of noir and dark images, the majority of these trails are as exciting as an amusement park ride. One of the album’s highlights, “Nosferatu,” pairs pulsating drums with jagged guitars as Hagen’s vocal gymnastics embodies a bouncy ball fired high up.

It is important that the saddest song does not include legendary horrors or Hollywood thrills. Editorial “Aphasia” is named for a disorder in which the comprehension and expression of language is impaired. This is what Hagan’s father was diagnosed with after suffering a stroke while Vundabar was making the album. Hagen explains that he found hope while reading about neuroplasticity and the brain’s ability to reconfigure itself to reshape one’s reality. By chatting with Hagen via Zoom, he hopes listeners will capture the hope of the project. “I hope the treatment will be curative,” he says. “Hopefully it’s more like a ride, a little bit of a twist,” he adds with a smile.

What is your relationship to this collection of songs now, since they were recorded in 2020?

This record is very special to me. It is not necessarily the amount of time that has elapsed; When we were making the record, all these different things were happening that kind of made it what it is. If we scored it any other time, the record wouldn’t be the same. But I never get tired of it. I honestly feel I would be more tired if she were brought up sooner, because I would be spending more time with her. We recorded it and got some rest.

It’s interesting because you recently had the viral moment with “Alien Blues” and seeing that song take on a whole new life after so many years via TikTok.

Nobody knows about this record [2015’s GAWK] when he came out. Some people discovered it and circulated it. Until the TikTok event, I was still seeing new kids finding that record and forming a connection with it. Then this was kind of the latest iteration. TikTok made the post even more explosive. It makes sense to me too, because I was 19 when we scored it. It doesn’t surprise me that so many guys around this age sympathize with her.

“I love horror because characters or monsters are created and are a reflection of people’s darkness. They walk in allegories.”

How do you feel when I revisit the new edition with Indigo De Souza?

Before that, in this new record, we made some alternative versions of songs. It’s kind of good to just pop in your mind, like, “Okay, we’ve got changes to the chords, the lyrics, the melody, and then a musical interpretation of that.” The realization that you can take these parts and go with them anywhere was really nice. It’s a fun challenge. I learned more about my own songwriting, and had to revisit something I wrote.

When we set this record in 2015, I was like, “I think that’s a great record.” [Laughs.] So it’s okay for people to say “I agree with you”. Before any of this happened, we were very happy with the way things were going. I don’t think there was any part of us that was like “woe to me” with not getting what it’s worth. With this album, people have found for the past five or six years. Setting records and realizing that they can grow over years is comforting.

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What other songs do you have alternate versions for?

We made a replacement for “The Gloam” which Indigo also helped us with. We have performed an alternative to both Al Habsa and Fater Bleu.

How about a song that makes you want to revisit it in a new way?

Well, “The Gloam,” for example, I just heard it as kind of a song that’s really fast, obnoxious, tight, and then, I don’t know — it’s a melodic song. If you slow it down or pull it off again, the melody lights up in a new way. If you feel there is another way to explore, it is worth exploring.

Speaking of “The Gloam”, this is a song that has stuck with me. Throughout the album there are a lot of lyrical images with dark and dark atmospheres.

Horror had a huge impact on the album. Use different symbols to create a mini world. Something that refers to reality, but not quite reality. Which sounded like the time we were writing. I think that for everyone, the reality has become a little blurred.

I think that’s why music or art is associated – the record defines the traits and patterns of your life. Such decorations are present in the life of any person. I think it puts the structure into something that would otherwise be a meaningless chain of disparate events.

I feel it is still not clear.

Sure, every day is a truly psychedelic, drug-free experience [laughs]. I don’t think he was conscious – a lot of those things I noticed after the event. But if you’re writing it all at the same time, there will be lines. I realized this malleable reality, this reality that increased up close but not completely. I like horror because characters or monsters create reflections of people’s darkness. They walk in allegories.

Is this the way albums are usually made – that you’re constantly trying to put them together after the fact?

I’m always writing, but the lines are there because I’ll go and fit in any time period. The bottom line will be whatever I think about or whatever I receive. While writing this album I was watching a lot of horror and reading a bunch of books on neuroplasticity, neuroscience and film noir. Then my dad had a stroke and I put these things together and found that there was a lot of overlap. I think that’s why music or art is associated – the record defines the traits and patterns of your life. Such decorations are present in the life of any person. I think it puts the structure into something that would otherwise be a meaningless chain of disparate events.

It’s interesting that you read about neuroplasticity. Did you learn new things about how your brain works?

definitely. This record is a house of mirrors, constantly distorting reality. This is related to neuroscience in the sense that these books basically say your sense of being, your sense of reality, your experience of life, and a lot of those things are habits of the mind. This was the realization that the mind is flexible, and therefore reality is flexible, and thus you can change your reality. Which, for me, is the hope of the record.

So I think about these things from these books, and then my dad had a stroke and aphasia. All of this research on neuroplasticity has been done on stroke patients because they’re people who have partial brain death, and who then have to remapping their brains through habit and repetition. So I read about these things and then I see them happen in real time as we finish and record this log. I see this person recreating their reality, basically. But I found this to be very optimistic, especially at a time when there seems to be such a lack of control. You can literally change how you experience the world.

I feel this was also a string of humor equal with some of the darker elements and feel of Vundabar’s gameplay. I think the recording is fun, even if some of it is a bit grim.

This album begins with the song “Al Habsa”, which is the most serious song, and then becomes more optimistic and tense.

It’s strange times, and people of our time feel conflict [about wanting] To enjoy life no matter how uncertain it may be. But there are also very horrifying things in the game. That push and pull of wanting to get your kicks while you can then actively engage in terror [laughs]. I feel this was also a string of humor equal with some of the darker elements and feel of Vundabar’s gameplay. I think the recording is fun, even if some of it is a bit grim.

Another aspect of the album is the inability to see the entire image. with the address Devil for fire I thought of the saying “a forest of trees”.

Yes, that is exactly it. That’s kind of where this surreal, house of mirrors thing comes in – the loss of a reference point. Then once that reference point is gone, things are all about impression. Is this a small house or is this house far away? Florida

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