Moments of clarity come more frequently as you age. Markers of growth can be anything, from realizing you no longer can handle your liquor to cutting toxicity out of your life. Alt-pop duo The Habits undergo their own transformation, as they transport back to Pedro, California, circa 1994. With their new video “After Party,” a groovy tune on its own, band members Wolf Bradley and Andrew Macatrao drum up a gloriously vintage time warp.
The inception for “After Party” came under personal growth that begged to be etched in song. “[The song] is about talking yourself up and seizing the moment in a way you’ve never felt capable of before,” the band tells American Songwriter. “It’s about finding yourself and acting the person you know you can be. “
“It’s obvious that I could miss my chance at happiness,” Bradley sighs into the microphone. “But the consequence of not trying it is staying who I’ve always been / I can’t fall asleep at night / ‘Cause in my mind / Maybe at the after party, I won’t be the one who’s sorry…”
Admittedly, the lyrics may not quite correlate directly to the visual, but the charm dazzles in that juxtaposition. “We’re not entirely sure that it does make sense, but it just felt right,” says Bradley, then confessing he “had frosted tips my entire second grade year.”
“We wanted to make something fun, and we are 90’s babies ourselves so, the aesthetic just worked,” he adds of the clip. Dynamite pink and purple hues soak the screen, opening on a line out the door and down the street of the latest midnight hot-spot. The duo mixes such a classic scene with footage of them decked out in ‘90s-style windbreakers (you know the kind) and LFO-worthy attire.
The video, shot on a Sunday, was directed by Joe Laporte and Dave Liehn. “It had been so hot and sunny the whole week. It happened to rain multiple times throughout the day, but we made it work,” notes Bradley. “The whole video shoot felt more professional than anything we’ve made before, but the silliness of the video bled through into everyone’s mood. Our goal was to make something that is just as fun to watch as it was to make.”
The Habits released their debut offering last year, a four-track self-titled EP. In many ways, it set in motion their continued creative drive. 12 months later, they expectedly have grown in tangible ways. “I think we can say with complete honesty that the year since our last EP has held the most growth for us as a band and as individuals. We’ve written new songs that feel more authentic and unique to us and really found our creative lane,” the band states. “Personally, we’ve really started to become the best versions of ourselves, and that’s what this song is really about.”
Like many, Bradley and Macatrao are grappling with the world, from COVID-19 to Black Lives Matter initiatives. Their platform may still be growing, but they have already begun using it for good. “For now, keep fighting injustice, listen to all the amazing black artists and voices, throw in the ep every once in a while, and for fuck sake ARREST THE OFFICERS WHO KILLED BREONNA TAYLOR,” the band tweeted two weeks ago.
While they continue writing, recording, and releasing music, they couldn’t pretend or ignore that what was going on around them. They needed to speak out. “We believe, as artists, it’s our duty to stay true to ourselves and what we believe. Our music tends to predominately be about love or heartbreak,” they explain, “but as people, we pay attention and are active members of society. We will always speak out about injustices no matter how big or small our platform is at the time. The two aren’t separate. Music and activism are just different facets that make us as people.”
The lockdown has been difficult to manage, as well. “Right before the lockdown, we were really hitting a creative stride, but during the majority of the lock down, we were feeling a little uninspired and lethargic,” Macatrao admits. “Mentally, the whole thing really took a toll on us. A few weeks ago, though, we started feeling the need to express ourselves again and have been writing ever since.”
“After Party” certainly teases what is coming next, both in musical style and lyrical tone. “[The song] is the perfect introduction to all the new music that we have coming in the near future. If this new era of the habits was a book, [it] would be the prologue.”
Watch “After Party” below.