Special Interest's "Street Pulse Beat" is the sort of song that grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go. Immediate and intoxicating (and one of The FADER's songs of 2020) it works both as a richly layered introduction to the New Orleans punk band's techno-punk sound and a cathartic moment of release for their more long-term followers. Today the band has announced its new home, Rough Trade Records, and shared a video for "Street Pulse Beat" that acts as a guide to the world the band has created.
The video begins with a spoken word poem by frontperson Alli Logout before the action cuts to a shrine to a number of sadly deceased icons , including SOPHIE, MF Doom, and Selena. Located in a punk house, the decor is low-key but the sense of community is striking as the numerous members of the home share food and good times. Special Interest's industrial edge and DIY spirit is reflected literally with scenes featuring power drills, electric saws, and the spark of metal on metal.
Things take a dramatic turn, however, when the inevitable occurs and the band's idyllic existence comes under threat from the powers that be. This is presented in a very real sense, with people inside grabbing guns to defend themselves and a hasty exit is made. It's a dramatic set-up and one that makes you want to follow the getaway car wherever it is going.
Speaking about the video and the meaning behind it, director Logout (who co-founded Studio LaLaLa, a Black and trans-operated production studio) sent The FADER the following message:
What you see N this place is possibility. This possibility is grounded in rejection. The rejection of the recuperation of Black culture, the rejection of the homogenizing force of all institutions, the rejection of individualism and most importantly the rejection of peace. Here in this realm, The conspiracy lies in the halls and the sheets and in the stomach of a laugh you feel deep in your bones. We have found that grief never gets easier; it just is. We are holding it all. All at once.
What you see N this place is love. A love that is gentle and jarring sprouting from the tears that nourish the ground where one’s heart has been laid to rest. A love coming from a place where one never thought love would happen again. Somehow in that way only WE can, we find it over again here in this place. Sometimes it is messy and sometimes it is selfish and sometimes it is even horrid. But even so in this place we believe in a love that delves deeper into our fears and desires, remembering we are soft, beautiful and young as night. A love that bears witness to our wonder, our truths, and our capacity to change. We go forward, not alone but Together, with love.
What you see N this place is a metaphor, what you see N this place is a legacy, what you see N this place is our lives. We are not fated to wither in the margins we are pushed into. We will see the earth before the world ends. We are thriving, joyously, loud in both our triumph and our lamentation. We celebrate through this urgent form of cinema, turning away from what is seen towards what is felt. This conspiracy was made possible only through the collaboration of the artists seen on screen. No role was bigger nor smaller than the other; this conspiracy is collectively all of ours. It was shot in historic punk house, Nowe Miasto. Nowe was around for over a decade and housed many Black artists and accomplices until a fire marshal shut it down in 2014. We gutted it, cleaned it and built every set from scratch. We made this together, we talked it out, this need for rupture, our unfaltering desire to escape. So join us and bask in the mundanity of the day for we know all too well yesterday's crisis is always just tomorrow's carry…
"Street Pulse Beat" appears on Special Interest's The Pasion Of. The band tour in September:
9/12 Chicago @ Pitchfork Fest
9/13 Detroit @ Outer Limits
9/14 Cleveland @ Now That’s Class
9/15 Pittsburgh @ Spirit
9/16 Baltimore @ Metro Gallery
9/17 Philadelphia @ First Unitarian Church
9/18 Brooklyn @ Market Hotel