This was one of the fist songs I made for the record and was really a discovery in figuring out the palette I wanted the whole album to exist in. The drums were done with toy drum machines and a mini korg monotron delay, which I ended up using all over the album, as well as the synth sounds from Teenage Engineering's Pocket Operators that look like little calculators. I used a Jupiter 6 for the bass on this one (a mainstay synth of mine) and then just a lot of guitar through a ton of distortion and reverb pedals. I wanted every sound to feel raw and close to breaking apart, as if the song is barely keeping itself together -- like a big anxious mess.
The title track uses a lot of the same instruments and process from "Rock Music." The songs are both from the same world of crumbling, warping shit. The predominant melodic sound is an old Fisher Price toy xylophone that I recorded on a handheld cassette player. Then, when recording the cassette to my laptop, I would shake the tape player to get those bends (and) warps in the notes.
"Hopeless" is basically an ode to synth goth and new wave. There’s remnants of my voice in there. I was sort of humming through this kids'-toy cassette players with the built-in mic. It gets this insane feedback that I ended up using throughout the track.
I was trying to make "Eating Away" sound like it was rotting and decaying; being pulled apart and showing its insides. It’s kind of like a dumpster fire filled with guts.
"Headache of the Year"
This one’s really special to me. It’s an ode to the doom metal and hardcore I grew up on. Sometimes I’ll start a song and finish it two years later, and this was one of those. I mixed it and remixed it like eight different times trying to get it to sound as heavy as possible. I probably ended up recording 20 layers of guitar, maybe more.
"Ungrateful" is basically the second half of “Headache of the Year." I made them both within the same session. It felt like one continuous song with two distinct parts or movements. I try not to think about any sort of obvious narrative or theme when making songs, I just let my mind go and the song starts to take shape. Then, it’s more like following it where it’s asking to go and letting it do its thing.
"Staring at a Wall"
This one really feels most like its title, when all you can do is stare at the wall. Sometimes, trying to not think about anything is when the best thinking happens.
"We Sat In the Car"
This might be my secret favorite song on the album. I recorded myself playing my dad’s upright piano on cassette and then chopped up the chords on my computer. The very end of the song I think are my favorite 30 seconds on the whole record.
The song is just that; anxiety creeping in and taking over, saturating your brain with bad thoughts. An ode to the dark side of acid and footwork.
"Watching a Video"
Another secret favorite of mine. The “synth” is a tape recording of my voice converted to a midi synth and played as an instrument. This one feels like scrolling thru a YouTube black hole under a warm blanket while everything outside is burning.
"Best of Me"
All the vocals are samples of myself. With this one, I felt like I was visiting my old brain from 2012 and making a song with him. It feels reminiscent of my music from that time (songs like “The Way U do” or “Later”) but with new sensibilities.
This is basically the theme song to doing ecstasy alone in the dark. I found these old, free sample packs from '90s rave kits, and that’s where a bunch of the vocal samples in the song came from.
I was recording a lot of guitar for the film score I was working on at the time. It’s an A24 film called Share that comes out later this year. After I had finished a few guitar pieces for the film, I made this. It was just one take through a delay (and) loop pedal and it felt like a good way to end the album. It’s kind of like the sister song to an old one called “Empty Pools."
Share, the movie Shlohmo just finished scoring, was just accepted into Sundance, so look for more info about that to come. The End is out now on Friends of Friends and WEDIDIT. Shlohmo will tour the LP in select cities throughout the Europe and United States. Check the full list of Shlohmo tour dates and listen to The End below.