It may have taken power-pop band Hellogoodbye four years to release their sophomore album, "Would It Kill You?" in 2010 (largely due to a lawsuit with now ex-label Drive-Thru Records), but it took the band only two days to record their latest single.
The song, ironically titled "Killing Time," is the result of a project called "One For The Road," commissioned by Buick, its digital ad agency Digitas and car-stereo system Harman Kardon The four-minute short film, released today on YouTube and the band's Facebook page, begins with the band driving around in a Buick Turbo in the Nevada desert to gain inspiration for a new song conceived, written and recorded in a Las Vegas studio over the next two days.
Beyond the Buick connection, the experience was atypical for Hellogoodbye singer/songwriter Forrest Kline. Not only had the band never recorded in a professional studio like the one featured in the documentary, Kline had never written a song in such a short time period. "I tend to just let it simmer forever. I really take my time," he says. "It was a nice challenge even though it's not how I usually do things. There are pros and cons to both techniques."
For Buick, partnering with a band like Hellogoodbye meant being able to reach a younger demo of prospective car buyers who might be looking for the benefits of a luxury car but at a more affordable price. "Hellogoodbye kept coming back into the top few considerations we had because of Forrest and his approach to creativity, his creativity and his risk-taking," says Chris Ayotte, Buick's national promotions manager. "When you listen to their music, there's a fresh sound, there's a rhythm, a visceral sort of approach that we thought would be best captured through this experience."
Although the film was ultimately designed to invoke the experience of a state-of-the-art car stereo (the Buick Regal features a 5.1 surround-sound system from Harman Kardon), Kline says that never directly influenced his creative process. "I sort of knew that was part of it, but mostly you're always thinking about every little detail when you're recording the very specific sound of one little thing. We wanted to portray as accurately as possible what goes into someone's listening experience. They may not think about all the things, like just the kickdrum, the one single part of that song and all you do to work on it."
"Killing Time" also helped get the band back into writing mode, as Hellogoodbye preps a third album for 2012. "It may be a song that ends up on a record again in a couple months," Kline says. "We're definitely working on it now, demoing new songs. This was in many ways part of that progression, part of the big whole."
This is not the first time a major brand has tapped a well-known band to compose an original song under unique conditions. Coca-Cola and Maroon 5 teamed up earlier this year for a live-streamed songwriting session in which fans from across the globe could watch the band write an original song in 24 hours.