As the planet finds itself in the midst of a terrible pandemic, all the while teetering on the edge of climate catastrophe, it’s difficult not to be gripped by utter hopelessness.
That’s where Toronto-based indie pop band shy kids come in, with their timely new single: I don’t want the world to end.
The track acknowledges an all too familiar feeling of existential dread, but emphasises the importance of not giving up on future generations – no matter what the naysayers would have you believe.
As guest artist Malory sings in the final chorus: “If you don’t want the world to end, then tune them out because they can’t tell you to give it up or that you can’t help it.”
It’s a crucial message that we should all take note of, as well as another superb track added to shy kids’ growing portfolio.
Last year, the band released Backward in Love, an effortlessly catchy tune exploring an ailing relationship that made our Top 40 Songs of 2019.
shy kids’ very own Walter Woodman was kind enough to talk to Movies & Cool Stuff about the group’s creative process.
Your new single, “Backward in Love”, is accompanied by an engrossing video that plays in reverse. How much planning went into that prior to shooting and how challenging was the overall experience?
We had already committed to creating the so-called Karaoke video for a live show, initially we just wanted the video to be a “lyric video” but we then decided to create a video that made you feel that limbo that Backward in Love makes you feel.
Neither here nor there, neither backwards or forwards. To make that feeling even more present we made Pat learn the lyrics backwards at 2.5x the speed. So we recorded the video with the song playing in reverse at 2.5 speed.
Once we had a take we liked with lovers and friends, we reversed the footage so it made everything feel like it was moving neither backwards or forward, neither here nor there.
Alongside the reverse effect, other factors – like the contrast between the singer and the crowd, the ambiguous setting and looping footage of romantic cinema – work to make the video feel very surreal. Was this your intention and, if so, what inspired this decision?
There are several factors that played into the choices. The idea of karaoke was crucial to the end of certain relationships; the idea of it being smokey and hazy and dreamlike.
There is also this idea that we wanted to make something that was quick. So many of our videos took months to make; from pre-production to finished product, it was a matter of weeks.
Something immediate and mature.
The song describes a romance that is deteriorating for no particular reason, but rather just seems to have lost its spark and passion. A lot of love songs opt for more dramatic stories, so why did you want to explore this (arguably) more grounded take on break-ups?
This isn’t even a break up song. It is a song between break-up and make-up. Between here and there. This isn’t a “you broke my heart, I’m broken” kind of song. Rather it is a song about the teeter-totter between those emotions. It’s a song about being in flux, not sure which direction the relationship is headed.
Your previous release, in a state, was a visual album with each track having its own video. What typically comes first for you in the creative process: the concept for the video or the song itself?
Always the song.
You broke out with the short film Noah, set entirely on a computer screen, which brought similar projects your way; what was it that initially appealed to you about this distinctive style of filmmaking?
We were always told to write what you know; for us who use and live in the digital world, it felt only appropriate. We have more stories to tell on digital platforms, including CONTENT which just premiered on ABC and some shows that are coming out on Quibi very soon..
A lot of your work has looked at the dangers posed by the internet age. Is it a subject matter you would like to explore further?
We have so many more stories to tell. Sometimes they are in music, sometimes they are in film. The ones we are really excited about have a little bit of both. We hope you enjoy as much as we enjoy making them.
shy kids’ latest single I don’t want the world to end. is streaming now