Grammy and Emmy award-winning composer Danny Elfman dropped his new song “Insects,” accompanied by a creative and outside-the-box music video. The new song is a reworking of an Oingo Boingo track and the last to be released prior to Elfman’s new album, Big Mess—which drops on June 11.
“In the beginning of 2020 I was preparing a live show for Coachella. I’d been looking for old Boingo songs that connected to the dystopian nightmare I found myself immersed in at that moment in time living in America,” Elfman explains in a statement. “As I played around with different songs it occurred to me that ‘Insects’ made sense. Who were the ‘Insects,’ the blood suckers of today? It was obvious to me—they all hived together in Washington and seemed to thrive on sucking the rational sense of reality out of our brains.”
Elfman’s name is recognizable as the composer for many iconic films, such as: The Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands, Batman, and Beetlejuice. Yet, Elfman is also a Tim Burton collaborator, the lead singer of Oingo Boingo, and the voice of Jack Skellington in the aforementioned Nightmare.
The new music video was directed by Sam and Andy Rolfes, who created over 80 virtual reality puppets which appear as contorted insects with some human-like qualities. Viewers watch as Elfman, whose face appears on a VR praying mantis creature, works his way through the virtual world.
“Every microsecond of waking life, a relentless digital swarm of information and virtual noise slowly consumes our minds, rendering us like insects being driven by manic buzzing stimuli,” Director Sam Rolfes shares about his inspiration for the video. “That said, more legs means better dancing. The video for ‘Insects’ starts off very ordinarily, following Danny Elfman as he gets ready for the day, meets some friends for lunch, but then is slowly consumed by a ravenous swarm of online static.
Elfman’s upcoming album, Big Mess, draws on similar themes as “Insects.” The eighteen tracks find inspiration from dystopian elements and ideas of societal disarray. As both a writer and performer, Elfman utilizes distorted electric guitars, industrial synthesizers and orchestras to portray the chaotic nature of civil disarray in song form.
“2020 was an intense year, to say the very least,” Elfman says, turning to music in order to capture its intensity, and as a form of catharsis. Elfman came into his own on this album as he found a voice different from anything he’d produced before. Big Mess is a work of art that chooses not to shy away from anger, frustration, and chaos—instead embracing it to create a realistic reflection on the messiness of modern society.
You can pre-order Big Mess here.
Photo by Jacob Boll