Beliefs recently announced their new full-length Habitat. The band recently released the Christopher Mills directed video for “1994”.
Christopher Mills on the video:
“BELIEFS write music that transports me to inter-dimensional worlds awash with waterfalls of sounds that stir up ghosts, memories, and really weird dreams. ‘1994’ is the apex of a triptych of dream-state videos that feature magick battles, flying ghosts, and impressionistic German Cabaret inspired dance performances, dipped in Yves Klein blues, and broadcast to a broken TV set.”
For Toronto’s Beliefs, Habitat is that record. Seven years and two well-regarded LPs on from the band’s initial formation during a fit of shared affection between co-founders Jesse Crowe and Josh Korody for the swirling overdrive of ’80s-into-’90s noise-pop, Beliefs is poised to explode most of the … well … beliefs you might already harbour about Beliefs with a third album that completely deconstructs, remakes and remodels its self-conscious “shoegazer” beginnings in pursuit of an unforgiving, uncompromising and now thoroughly unknowable Next Phase.
“I hope that’s the case,” says Crowe. “That’s always how I feel about bands, too – when you listen to something and it seems like it’s leading to a whole other element of a band, when you feel like you’re in the hallway about to open the door to a whole other space that this band is creating. And I hope that that’s what happens with us. We have no real plans at this point. We don’t want to be a ‘shoegaze’ band anymore.”
It was the first time in Beliefs’ existence that the two had actually written an album together, “and we wrote 80% of it in a room in four days with no previous material,” says Crowe, who also records from time to time with Praises and YI. “It’s as spontaneous as it can possibly be.”
Habitat was subsequently finished in a grand total of 16 days, with Korody – who’s lately worked behind the boards on smashing records by such fellow Torontonians of note as Dilly Dally and Weaves, as well as playing in Wish, Vallens, Breeze and a heroic number of other acts on the side – serving as producer and engineer, studio multi-tasker Leon Taheny (Austra, Death From Above 1979, Owen Pallett) sitting in as drummer and Holy Fuck’s Graham Walsh giving the whole affair the same sort of bristlingly immediate final mixdown he’s brought to recent albums by Preoccupations, Alvvays and METZ. Crowe didn’t even know the primal vocal takes she’d casually demoed at home on her own were good to go until Korody asked to use them as the “scratch” vocals for the final recorded versions.
“It’s a dark record, for sure,” affirms Crowe. “I feel like we were drawing a lot more from, like, me being a Goth teenager and Josh only wanting to listen to Aphex Twin and me only wanting to listen to Portishead’s Third for the last year and stuff like that. But also it was time to embody the elements of being a ‘wall-of-sound’ band with some space and the idea of being able to be quiet when you should be quiet, and you can’t do that with three guitars. There’s no space. It just becomes all push and no pull.”
None of it adheres remotely to any sort of formula Beliefs might have observed in the past. So, yeah, Beliefs has made that album. Maybe they haven’t made their Kid A or their London Calling or their Achtung Baby yet, but Habitat is a teardown that takes decisive steps towards the definitive statement that awaits. Some fans might be mystified, but that’s all part of the process.
“It really feels like that type of record. When we were finished it, we were definitely, like, ‘I don’t even know if anyone’s gonna like it,’” says Crowe. “Who fucking knows? But we really liked it. It was a lot of work to let go of the idea of things being ‘polished’ or ‘finished’ and just being, like, ‘This feels like how we want it to feel so it must be done.’ Instead of labouring over it and tinkering with it and that kind of thing, we really did just allow it to be finished very, very quickly and sit where it’s at.
“We realized we don’t have to be ‘this’ kind of band. You just always hope that that lands well, right? Not that you’re making music for other people or making music specifically for your fans or for publications or whatever, but you still hope that your record where everything changes is not the record where everyone goes ‘Meh, I wish they were still doing what they were doing before.’ It’s such a gamble but you have to take it or otherwise you’re boring.”
So what comes next?
“Oh, it’s gonna get weird,” promises Crowe.
Out 9/22/2017 via Outside Music/Hand Drawn Dracula
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