"A simp [is] somebody that would stoop to subterfuge for you, break rules for you — pretty much do anything for you, I guess," Moe Alvarez says at the start of The Simps' new music video. They've been asked to explain the meaning of a word that's developed a negative connotation online but has been proudly reclaimed by the psych-punk duo of Eyedress and zzzahara. The short film is the visual companion to "Tesla," the lead single from their recently reased collaborative debut LP, Siblings.
The new record, which dropped on Valentines Day, is a trippy, lo-fi set of songs that reinterprets the hypnagogic pop sounds of the early millennium for a new generation of listeners. It's a postmodernist punk project with a prankster soul, and the "Tesla" video shares this tongue-in-cheek approach, drawing on '90s and early-aughts staples — The Simpsons, grainy skate videos, Guitar Hero — to create an aesthetic that feels thoroughly of the moment.
Watch it above, and read zzzahara's Q&A with The FADER below.
Your songs and videos are full of cultural references, but you're not just making meme music. When you were making this album and its accompanying visuals, did you have conversations about striking a balance between hyper-referentiality and original substance?
zzzahara: I think our videos are very '90s-esque and a blend of material we grew up with that influenced our styles. When we talked about certain aspects of the project, we just worked on mixing our worlds together. I think about all the albums and visuals that I enjoy from bands I grew up listening to and what stuck out for me. On the album, we have tracks that feel timeless and even the visuals sort of feel timeless, but are still relevant today; timeless in a sense that people from all generations can relate. The album references an umbrella of indie and shoegaze styles, but we also put in our individual edges, which gave it that extra swag.
The most recurring of these references is to The Simpsons. Which Simpsons character do you identify with most?
Haha, we do reference The Simpsons quite a bit. I would say I’m a mixture of Lisa and Bart. There are times where I like to be mischievous, funny, and edgy like Bart, but also keep an open mind and be self aware, like Lisa. The best of both worlds.
The new video juxtaposes nostalgic imagery with more glossy shots and, of course, a joy ride in a Tesla. Where did the concept come from?
[It's] a mashup of bits of my reality at different time periods. While growing up in Highland Park and attending Franklin High School, there were a lot of times where me and some friends would skip school to head to Garvanza Skatepark and play Guitar Hero all day. It’s like busting a mission with your friends and letting the day unfold into fun stuff you would rather be doing over anything else. It’s a celebration of youth.
You and Eyedress both play solo and have other non-musical projects going on, from what I understand. Will The Simps be your main artistic focus in the near future, or is the band just one part of a larger world you're building?
No, it will not be the main focus. Siblings is the first full album I’ve been a part of, so in a sense it is part of a larger world being built. Moving forward, my main focus will be zzzahara and U.S. Velvet. Lots of different styles of music are to be expected, and I can’t wait to show the world my vision.