Private Life is the collaborative project of Christopher Royal King (This Will Destroy You) and drummer/multi-instrumentalist Sam Chown (Shmu). King wanted to work with a high BPM, futuristic cyber-synth project featuring him on modular synthesizers accompanied by drums. Going through a few quick rehearsals the pair discovered ways in Chown’s drums could trigger additional synths, adding to King’s dominant melodies. Cutting basic tracks at Austin’s 5th Street Studios, then overdubbing in both Austin and Los Angeles, the pair soon had their debut album wrapped.
King and Chown worked with director Anthony Ferrara aka Bokeh Monster on the clip. Ferrara says, “Somewhere out there is a feedback loop with your name on it: I sincerely hope all of you get to experience the same immersive, chrono-sensory breakdown I had trying to deconstruct Private Life’s ‘Hesitation’. It defies the nesting boxes I put it in, and this struggle became the appeal. Endless love and gratitude for Gnat’s exquisite character work as the Scarlet Cardinal running through those hallways, forever and ever. The only way out is to stop and change.”
The video features Natalie Wetzel (G’NAT). “Weirdly enough,” Chown offers, “I met her through Wayne Coyne, in Miley Cyrus’ Winnebago in Oklahoma City, of all places. Fast forward a couple of years later and a friend of mine had recommended I reach out to Anthony to do a music video. I was supposed to fly out to LA to be in the video with Chris but for whatever reason, those plans got thwarted. Anthony suggested that he hire actors to be in the video instead. He ended up just using footage of Natalie. When I saw the video for the first time, I was like, how do you know Natalie? Apparently she was his roommate and longtime good friend.”
The absence of the band in the clip adds to Private Life’s overall enigmatic presence, the tune imagining the Lemmy-led Hawkwind covering Pink Floyd in a chill backstage lounge somewhere in Middle America. Private Life sounds like the American landscape today: Odd noises, thunderous layers and time that passes with almost hallucinatory rapidity. How do you take a journey to the center of the mind when the mind is rapidly eroding? Private Life seeks to answer that question and, maybe, in its own way, remind us that the best we can do is enjoy the ride.
The pair’s new LP, Silent Partner, brings together strands of cyberpunk, dream pop, progressive rock, and elements that will remind listeners of both Bloc Party and Talking Heads. The record is released digitally on August 17 via Dark Operative Digital with a physical release to arrive in the future.