There’s a certain feeling you get when a band is able to craft an exquisite link between their music and the visuals that accompany it. When you know a music video wasn’t just made because they needed content, but because they had an idea for how to get you into the exact right headspace for the music you’re about to dive headfirst into. It’s a feeling I know all too well, and I feel it every time Skeleton Club serves us up something new.
Maybe their superhuman ability to create such perfect audio-visual balance comes from their ability to find a semblance of work-life balance as well. When I ask artists what they’ve done to keep busy during the pandemic, I’m almost always told they’ve been writing and recording 24/7. Guitarist Chris Anglin has been learning to make leather wallets and speak Mandarin (“I can count to ten and a few other things.”) Vocalist Andrew Matthews tells me he’s been working with a different kind of hooks. “I’ve just been fishing a lot. I’ve gotten super obsessed with fishing. There’s not much else to do.”
It seems almost prophetic after the release of their latest EP, ONLY HUMANS, that they should return to the open waters. One of my favourite tracks, “Wormz,” tells a terrifying account of the future uprising of our squiggly friends, tired of being impaled and used as fish bait. “The song is about the fishing hook, and the worms that you use. As much as I love fishing, I still hate putting the worms on the hook. They fucking feel that, you can tell. They’re going to make an army and they’re going to come back and kill us all one day. I’m pretty sure that’s what’s going to happen.”
Hearing this backstory just further reinforces the “controlled chaos” image I have of the band in my mind. Everything they do intersects at a pinpoint location between random happenstance and critical precision. The off-the-wall decisions they make appear chaotic, but you can feel that there is intention behind every action. The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it editing style of their videos and the additional illustrations and effects have your neurons firing faster than you ever thought possible.
“The two sides of it are shooting it and then whatever you do with it in the edit,” Chris explains, “The part of the style that gets a bit chaotic comes more from the editing. You make an initial structure for it, but then keep tinkering more until it has a little bit more detail or “eye candy” that makes it stand out that way.” The band usually creates everything themselves, but brought on friend Elias Nelson to help shoot and edit this one.
Coincidentally, Elias was also the friend who convinced Chris & Andrew to move from BC to Montreal nearly six years ago (drummer Morgan Zwicker lives in Nova Scotia). A trip that was meant to just be a chance to see a new city turned into a long term move, according to Andrew. “Elias was already out here and he thought it was cool for music. Initially I was planning on just visiting, but I ended up staying.” Was it a good decision? “I don’t think anyone likes us here, but we like it here.”
I think they’re wrong. The band has been steadily growing since I discovered “Garbonzo” back in 2019 (funnily enough through their video that was themed around… wait for it… fishing.) It’s hard to believe anyone would not like them with the way their music constantly keeps you guessing. You never get the same song twice, and it’s always a thrilling listen. From the warped indie rock of “Brad Pitt” to the horn-filled “Punch Lines”, their catalogue promises socially unique choices and fun vocal harmonies. After checking out Morgan’s jazz project — aptly titled Morgan Zwicker Jazz Project — you can see how the band’s varied skills and influences come together for a supremely interesting sound on each Skeleton Club release.
And it’s hard to feel too unloved when you’re getting spins on Fortnite‘s in-game radio. Andrew jumped out of the battle bus to hear the song for himself but perhaps the band’s skills don’t extend to gaming. “I kept getting fucked up by a bunch of nine-year-old kids,” he muses, “I just played it long enough to hear the song. Every time you get killed you have to start again, and the radio is on a playlist of 20 songs or whatever. I spent like an hour and a half, man — I suck at video games and I have not played Fortnite since. Thank you for putting us in your game, we love you for it, but I can’t.”
From their start as a cover band at Bogey’s Pub in BC to becoming playlist darlings, Skeleton Club seems to be hitting their stride. In a perfect world, they’d be making a new EP or album every six months — both Andrew & Chris agree that recording is more exciting than performing for them. No matter how often they offer their sacrifices (new singles) to the streaming gods or go on tour, I’m just excited to be front row to watch the chaos play out when the worms take over and they get to say “I told you so”.