DUBAI: Beirut-based indie act Interbellum will release a new video next week for “Ready to Dissolve,” a track from the 2018 album “Dead Pets, Old Griefs.”
Interbellum began as a full-fledged band, but is now essentially singer-songwriter Karl Mattar with various collaborators, including — on this track — Julia Sabra, the frontperson of Mattar’s Ruptured label mates Postcards.
Like much of “Dead Pets, Old Griefs,” the dreamy, pop-y instrumental side of the track lays the ground for some introspective, sometimes sinister lyrics (“Everything tastes like ashes/The very sky could crash”).
The video was shot by Lebanese filmmaker Camille Cabbabé, and is set in the ruins of Beirut’s Grand Theater, situated on the Green Line during the Lebanese Civil War. Mattar and Lynn Sheikh Moussa can be seen flitting among the ruins. “There’s an emptiness and an eeriness permeating everything,” Mattar said in a press release. “Nature slowly taking over and poking through the cracks.”
As the title suggests, much of “Dead Pets, Old Griefs” is about loss. But Mattar told Arab News that he doesn’t feel the record is necessarily pessimistic, and that he thinks of it as “lighter” than Interbellum’s more musically upbeat debut album, “Now Try Coughing.”
“It’s definitely dark, but I feel there’s also a lot of tenderness and empathy. And a definite pull towards the light, even if it’s somehow in vain,” Mattar said of “Dead Pets, Old Griefs.” “The first album feels more aimless and angry.”
He added that while the debut LP was “looking outwards and trying to make sense of the mess of things,” this one “is about memory and looking for the truth in its folds, and trying to both retrieve and escape it.”
“The album became about the process of remembering itself,” he explained. “It is hopeless — in that the past is irretrievable and irreconcilable and is distorted by emotion and deformed by each revisitation — but I feel there’s still light and warmth seeping through everything, maybe from the comfort of nostalgia or the purity of childhood.”
Mattar stressed that “Ready to Dissolve” and the album in general are “a real attempt to communicate, to connect, with myself, with others, with the listener.” And while the lyrics may occasionally be bleak, he said he hoped that the record’s creative energy “prevails over that hopelessness and acts as a sort of balm to the whole experience.”