(Photo: Piero F. Giunti)
On the Tom Morello-produced EP Future Rock, indie rock activists Outernational blend revolutionary styles, bridging Clash-like anthems with world music and hip hop. Take a listen to the band’s single “Empty Lives,” a song with some pretty interesting origins, below.
“We wrote this song in a cozy Phoenicia cabin one winter upon receiving an assignment from Morello,” vocalist Miles Solay tells American Songwriter.
“In the beginning of our working relationship Tom was fond of giving ‘assignments’. In essence, these were creative devices intended to jumpstart the process of writing a song or a way of focusing on a musical element to lay the foundation for the jam to come. With this song we were instructed to take the bass-line from Metallica’s ‘Seek & Destroy’ and make it the bass-line of our song with the exception being that it would be played backwards. That’s right, the same bass-line note-for-note but with the notes in opposite order. The song was also to be fast tempo and needed a gang vocal saying ‘BO!’ in the chorus.
“The song’s lyrics speak for themselves, I believe, laying bare the degrading and putrid nature of American society,” Solay continues. “This song is for those reared on that parasitic and illusory American Dream. How many youngsters think they’re so hip in aspiring to be like Tony Montana? How many are trained to think that being inside the Master’s house is the place to be instead of getting rid of the whole slave plantation itself? No more. We declared ‘Empty Lives’ as the first single off of Future Rock because we thought certain things needed to be said right off the bat. And, well, because it goes to 11.”