Originally appeared as ‘The 405 meets A Fragile Tomorrow’ on the 405.
For the Kelly brothers, the title of their band’s new record, Generation Loss, works twofold: as a commentary on how contemporary politics are eroding our nation’s youth and also as a reference to the loss of their mother. Sean, Dom, and Brendan Kelly are joined by Shaun Rhoades and Josh Kean to form A Fragile Tomorrow, whose earliest releases date back to 2012. Their new album is a complex krautrock concept, beginning with a political dystopia and ending with a homage to their matriarch. I spoke with Sean and Dom about a few songs on Generation Loss, including their new single, “How Do You Dance To It?,” which the band reveals today.
Read an excerpt from the interview below and find more here.
In terms of “How Do You Dance to It,” why write a song in a vague narrative style with a changing structure to prove a political point? Is there a benefit to doing that artistically?
Sean: When I write, it has to sing well to me first and then I figure out what I’m trying to say. Some melody or phrase kinda jumped out first and then I started to pull the thread a little bit. I tend to be abstract lyrically, I don’t fancy myself much of a lyricist—I’m definitely a composer first. The first half of the record is pretty political, so that was what I was exploring at the time. In ‘How Do You Dance To It,’ I didn’t name Trump specifically, and I think that was important because I wanted to write about fascism and this dictator mentality. It was more about the poetic aspect of it and then with the musical structure, it lent itself very well to this krautrock-y, six-four time signature, kind of weird arrangement. I can picture the narrator in that song in my head, and I mean, it is Trump, but it’s really just a person who could be a cult leader too. It explores this idea of being told not to believe what you’re seeing on the news and what you’re reading online and they are the only one that you should trust.I was picturing Nazi Germany, with all these people just blindly supporting their dear leader. So the song felt almost march-y, with that pre-chorus line with the vocoder just felt slightly call-and-response and a little hypnotic.
How does a nation deprived of a free press feed into the idea of ‘generation loss’? Can you also talk about the album title as it applies to the rest of the record?
Sean: The weird thing is that I don’t think we really realized how it was all tying in together ‘til a good ways into the project but the title was there from the beginning.
Dom: To me it’s like a loss of what we know to be true and a loss of the way things have been. When I listen to it and I reflect back on the songwriting, it’s like an acceptance of change. There are lots of people who have thought the media and news is the enemy of the people, and now we have a president who represents that. The thread on the record also includes watching our mother die and accepting these changes of everything we knew to be true. You can hear this progression on the record. The last song, “Valhalla,” is like an understanding that what we have known to be true is no longer.