Life is wild — just look around. That statement doesn’t even have to get slapped onto the news cycle to be true; it also describes the basics of human existence, in a sense. We’ve ended up here on this planet and are supposed to fend for ourselves — or are we? What about those who can’t fend for themselves? How can we help them? What if we find ourselves unable to do much anything at all — then what? Do we lose our meaning?
Actor|Observer’s Broader Consciousness
Actor|Observer — a personable but heavy band from the northeastern United States — proves conscious of these questions in their music. In a sense, it’s hard for any of us to escape the questions’ collective weight, but this band took their concerns to the metaphorical drawing board.
Vocalist Greg Marquis explains that throughout the writing process, they remained conscious of the implications of their work. Instead of getting lost inside the music — which certainly works for some artists sometimes — they’ve tied their 2018 full length Pareidolia to the human condition.
“Music has so many different purposes and contexts but what is so powerful about it is its ability to capture or evoke feelings that might otherwise be difficult to put into words or to process,” Marquis observes. “Deeply emotional, intense music has just as much a place in this world as fun, light-hearted entertainment.”
“We just focus more on the former because we value the therapeutic relief of confronting the most difficult emotions and turning them into something beautiful and fun,” the singer adds. “We hope listeners can take away a feeling of catharsis and understanding, a realization that your suffering is valid, you are not alone, and there is a way through it all.”
The band rests these aims on some solid musical footing. They’ve textured their music outside of most traditional, mainstream concerns, weaving in and out of emotional intensity and softer, more delicate segments.
The texture of the band’s music remains important to their overall aims, Marquis explains.
“We don’t want to write the same song over and over again, and we think the musical style should support the lyrical content,” he says. “I scream when it feels right to scream and I sing when it feels right to sing. We like to keep the listener on their toes by creating lush inviting moments that might be a little more ‘accessible’ along with jarring and punishing moments because we feel like it’s a more accurate depiction of the human condition, which is what we want to capture in our sound.”
Through those aims, the band has carved out a unique place for themselves on the side of the heavy music spectrum dealing with intensely personal issues. They’ve almost worked magic in marrying musical fury with a deeply introspective dive, you might say.
The Creation Of Pareidolia
They’re supported in their efforts by Marquis’s own experiences. They’ve invested in the music creation process they’re a part of — it’s the farthest thing from just putting on a show for Actor|Observer.
“All of our songs come from a very introspective place, usually a therapeutic reflection on something I often can’t get off my mind or have no answer for,” Marquis explains. “The hope is that at the very least, getting it off my chest and finding anyone else who can relate might breed some sort of validation, connection, or catharsis. And maybe hearing where I’ve ended up might help someone else work through their problem(s). This record thematically came from a very restless place between my existential/nihilistic depression and my unrelenting anxiety about making the ‘right’ decisions in life. It’s a back and forth between the empowering freedom and daunting responsibility of realizing that life is what you make it.”
Marquis and his bandmates have “made it” via their new record, available now via No Sleep Records. They maintain their interest in touching on something deeper and drawing in others throughout the process in the presentation of the very music itself.
“We wanted to connect,” Marquis explains of the band’s newest offering. “We’re well aware that our genre is not for everybody, but we don’t think that has to be the case. On our last record The Longer Now we had many melodic and atmospheric elements as well as heavy and thrashy elements. The lyrical content is something I think most people can relate to. So on this record we wanted to expand even further in all of those areas, not pigeonholing ourselves because the human condition isn’t one-dimensional. Our favorite albums and bands are ones that consistently and fearlessly pushed the boundaries of their sound and weren’t afraid to try something new, so our goal with this record was to be as dynamic and eclectic as we could while keeping the whole album cohesive.”
Practically speaking, lyrical ideas were among the first to come together, Marquis says, and the band built their new album concurrently. The frontman cites inspirations as wide ranging as Every Time I Die and Circa Survive — fitting for an album that explores such a striking range of the human condition.
Check it out below via Spotify.