AN NCS VIDEO PREMIERE: CHALK HANDS — “LES JOURS PASSENT ET NE ME RESSEMBLENT PAS”
To help introduce their new album Don’t Think About Death the UK band Chalk Hands have put a big spotlight on the album’s first single, a song named “Les Jours Passent Et Ne Me Ressemblent Pas”. Five days ago they revealed the song through a fascinating animated video made by one of the band’s members (Tommy). And today we’re premiering another video for the same song, but this time it’s a film of a live performance.
The song is in French because that’s the native tongue of lyricist, vocalist, and guitarist Antoine. He tells us that he chose to write this one in French because it allowed him to express himself “in a more honest and unaltered fashion”, which was important because the inspiration was such a personal one for him.
The inspiration is signified by the song’s title. He explains: “The title comes from a French idiom which means something like ‘the days go by and aren’t alike’ (somewhat equivalent to the saying ‘tomorrow is another day’) but I’ve twisted a word to say ‘days go by and I don’t recognise myself’”.
We have more to share about the meaning of the song, but we should get to the music first. Chalk Hands describe their style as a mix of post-rock, screamo, math-rock and post-hardcore. In ““Les Jours Passent…” the discordant slashing riffs seem to channel coiling tension and increasing distress as the bass rumbles and the drums batter. When the rhythm shifts into an interesting bass-and-drum interplay and the music becomes more wondering and self-reflective, Antoine‘s screamo vocals become the principal driver of the song’s emotional intensity.
The intensity of the music surges again, and a feeling of resilience begins to come through in the fiery tremolo’d riffing and the hurtling drums. And more changes lie ahead, both vibrant and musing in their moods. It’s a gripping and memorable song, and one that connects strongly to what inspired it:
And now here are the more detailed thoughts from Antoine about the song:
Thematically, it’s a song about how depression changes the way we behave and think, to the point where you feel like you lose your sense of self. At the time of writing the lyrics, I was in a pretty dark place, it seemed to me like everything that used to feel important in my life – whether it was things that usually bring me happiness or the people I love – lost all value and I had this strong impression that everything could just be replaced.
“Everything could have been anything else and it would have just as much meaning” was a quote I remember thinking about a lot back then. I felt it was a rather depressing way of looking at your life choices, the paths you’ve taken and the people you’ve chosen to be part of your life. If everything could’ve been different and have as much meaning, how do you attach value to anything? Am I just holding on to the things that make my life what it is in fear of losing who I am or are they really meaningful to me?
Things have changed for me now thankfully, I think I’ve somehow learned to deal with these negative thoughts a lot better and I feel like I grew from it. It’s pushed me to take more control over my life and question why I do the things I do.
We also want to share with you the animated video mentioned above. In a recent interview band-member Tommy explained what he was striving for when he made it:
The scenes show depictions of comfort, peace, happiness, friendship, excitement, but also scenes of loss, chaos, and confusion. To me the video displays the journey of trying to find yourself again, after experiencing some sort of trauma, loss, or anything that causes you to feel like you may have lost your sense of self.
The ending of the video could be misconstrued as the classic, “it was all just a dream” scenario. But I’d rather think of it as the moment the character finds some sort of peace. His eyes open to a window that was drawn based on the window in my bedroom, a window just above my drawing desk, the window I stand at when I need a breather or a break, or just to take in the outdoors for a moment.
It can be one of the hardest things, to pull yourself out of a hole, or dig yourself out of a cave, but there’s so much more space to move once you’re out of there. Sometimes you just need to let a friend guide you.
Don’t Think About Death will be released on March 18th via Dog Knights Productions, and it’s available for pre-order now.
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