There are so many amazing songs on Great Grandpa’s new album Four Of Arrows. One of them, “Mono No Aware,” came out last month — perhaps you saw our interview enthusiastically endorsing the record — and another is out today.
This one is called “Digger.” It’s one of many epics on Four Of Arrows, tracks that verge on chamber-pop in their orchestration and post-rock in their ambitious scope yet never cease feeling like salt-of-the-earth indie rock. Once again Alex Menne’s vocals are out front, at first gracefully gliding with support from their bandmates and eventually exploding atop the churn. In the song’s most bombastic moments, they almost seem to be yodeling. Sometimes the refrain is, “That’s why I love you!” Sometimes it’s, “That’s why I hate you!”
Some context from Great Grandpa’s Pat Goodwin, who wrote the song:
I used to have a dog who would get into this intense and almost manic trance when he would dig a hole in the yard. We called him Digger because he just became obsessed with these seemingly pointless pits. Something about his eyes in this state has lingered with and haunted me for years. It felt familiar, human even. Over the years Carrie and I began to liken it, even using the name, to describe ourselves when our mental health was spiraling or/and we were diving into the dangerous game of obsessive existential inquiry/patterns. Written in the wake of a fateful Wildwood Tarot reading following months of creative drought, this song is, like the spaces it explores, messy and without much resolution — simultaneously a meditation on the process of creation, determinism vs agency and an ode to Philip K Dick’s “The Transmigration of Timothy Archer”, mental illness, and those in our lives who dug too far. It’s safest to never go out in the darkness, but perhaps we’ll miss something in the dark.
Pat and Carrie Goodwin also directed the “Digger” video. Pat shared a statement about that as well:
Carrie and I love to toss around ideas for potential short films, and have always fantasized about writing/directing a feature length as a team. Over the years we’ve stockpiled quite a few half baked ideas. When the opportunity arose for videos on this album cycle, we thought — why don’t we finally tackle one of these concepts and shoot a video that stands alone as a short and is relatively unrelated to the actual song.
We found a contender in this idea of a character who is seemingly in mourning and has this deep emotional nostalgia but proves to just be a neighbor who’s secretly in love with the person next door. I think we’d been watching a lot of Black Mirror, Westworld and bingeing classic sci fi at the time. There’s something deeply human and tragic about our inability to connect and the dark places people will go that’s present in the best works of that genre.
Originally we envisioned this piece to be more futuristic, with the protagonist living essentially a second life in a simulated reality, obsessively watching these high quality volumetric videos of the neighbor and slowly slipping further and further away from their actual life — seemingly most alive and lucid in this fantasy. Of course, none of this was possible on our shoestring budget so we opted instead for the next best thing, filming a contemporary adaptation, staring our family members on a single DSLR in two days.
An enormous amount of work was done in the edit by Mike Vernon Davis (also produced Four of Arrows) and Hannah Shmidt, who took a crazy jigsaw puzzle of shots and made it cohesive and elegant. They deserve a ton of credit for making this video the best it could be and their feedback and contributions were invaluable.
Four Of Arrows is out 10/25 on Double Double Whammy. Pre-order it!