Track x Track: Hydra Fashion Week - Serpent Season One

Track x Track: Hydra Fashion Week - Serpent Season One

Naarm/Melbourne-based ‘Jazzy-Hyper-Punks’ take us through their upbeat, genre-fusing debut album track by track (alongside some idiosyncratic visual inspirations)

For over a decade now, Charlie Teitelbaum has been crafting some incredibly engaging and unique sounds. First coming to our attention as the founding member of exploratory electronic pop trio Huntly back in 2013, the band would go on to make a name for themselves touring overseas, while also being nominated for the Australian Music Prize and Australian Independent Record Labels Association Award for their 2019 album, Low Grade Buzz.

That same year, Charlie introduced us to their new project, the delightfully named Hydra Fashion Week. Self described as “jazzy-hyper-punk”, the music of Hydra Fashion Week takes cues from no-wave, improvised jazz, punk, pop and a number of dance music genres (any jungle in, guy?), as heard on their debut album, Serpent Season One.

Across twelve tracks, Serpent Season One sees Charlie and co. exploring themes of  identity, authorship, cyberfeminism, data repetition, multiplicity, digital landscapes and extinction, while cleverly juxtaposing these modern concepts with traditional symbolism rooted in serpents, snakes, esoteric mystery, and ancient mythological figures.

To celebrate the release of Serpent Season One, Charlie was kind enough to take us through each track on the album alongside a little visual mood board-style inspiration for each song - have a listen and get to know:

Stunt Double

01 stunt double

The last song written and first on the album, written by my stunt double.

It’s very much inspired by this Oliver Laric piece “Versions”, about the multiplicity of signs and meanings; Identity is multiplied and split infinitely.

As SS01 is all about world-building, we wanted to sonically invite the listener in at the very start. To me it almost sounds like you’re entering a video game, or another world…Most of the sounds in the instrumental sections are made up from hundreds of youtube videos I scoured from the detritus of the internet. Kind of like all the forgotten muck. I then squashed them, resampled them and fed through a random generator to create that high-speed wormhole effect you hear, using all those samples as the base musical element.

Don’t Stop!

02 Dont Stop

We needed a song with a really big sick guitar riff. Et Voila!

I originally started this song in early 2020, reacting to the collective “apocalyptic” or “end of history” feeling that was very much present at the time. You may ask, where are we now? Post-history? Idk

Delete

03 Delete

The original Hydra artifact. Hydra blueprint. Guitar is ripping. Bass is grooving. Drums are hitting. What a vibe.

Story sung by someone trying not to get lost in the machine, wiped out by big daddy-mainframe. Very much inspired by VNS Matrix and 90s cyberfeminist art movement.

Non-Fungible Love Song

04 Non Fungible Love Song

This is our grunge ballad for the 21st century.

The title definitely started out as a joke, something silly I would say on stage…but then my friends kept encouraging me to use it… Now I love it. Seeing as it is the only (official) love song on the album, you gotta let people know!

I love the music video that dampwetbody was able to create for this one. This single also came out with an extended “digital pressing” release through Serenade, which included extra stuff like demos, remixes and esoteric digital moodboard, pretty cool full circle moment in actualising the song’s title…becoming its own non-fungible token.

Birds Arm

05 Birds Arm

Original Title: “Teach My Son Blackbird”

Hydra has always been about collective exploration, and in this one we really got far out. There’s no time signatures or beat holding this together, just the idea. I wanted the choruses to sound like nothing else I’d heard before, so we really went down some freaky modal territory here.

We brung in Asha Trips on bass from our original lineup, who is an incredible musician, to play on the track. This was a piece we would play in that original form, and was very much built around Asha’s playful and exploratory playing.

Snakes Tail

06 Snakes Tail

Originally made as one long continuous piece with Bird’s Arm Pt.1. But we broked it up so you can now digest in bite-size chunks.
⥂The snakes tail is the tail of the birds arm.⥄

Producer Ahm, who mixed the album, lent their hand in production to help get that heavy & squelchy jungle sound complete. I had been listening to a lot of jungle and  drum & bass music, so it was hard not to let that seep in on the album. This might be an extreme end of the Hydra sound spectrum, but maybe this is what Hydra of the future could sound like?….serpent season nine???.....

Crime Scene

07 Crime Scene

Closest you might get to a “protest song” from Hydra, and also one of the very first Hydra songs.

I’m obsessed with that dynamic build and groove that Jasper (on bass) and Em (on drums) are able to get and build up with Matt’s guitar playing. They are able to move in and out different pockets so fluidly, the tension and release of this track is rocking.

Total Freefall

08 Total Freefall

Total Freefall challenges the process of making and authorship in a playful way, baring its influences for all to see. It’s song as citation, as easter egg, as tribute.It’s about being in a band. 'Total Freefall' is a tribute to all the other artists & bands around us who exist past & present to struggle and push just to make something beautiful and inspiring.

Everyone playing on the song is doing their thing so perfectly.

River Bed Image Result

09 River Bed Image Result

Trying to be as quiet as possible here.

This song examines places, in both the physical & allegorical sense. The relationships between the song and the word. The place I’m singing in, and the place I’m singing about.

This one is very much inspired by “The Book of Sand” which is a collection of mind-bending short stories by Jorge Luis Borges. The stories very much inspired the lyrics, but also the cover of my copy itself I’m obsessed with for some reason. It’s an illustration of this tiger on a sand dune, which then becomes a giant book. For some reason I always thought of that cover and tried to channel it in the sound.

LMTC

10 LMTC

This closer is one of my favourites.

It was inspired by a dream I had, in two parts.

The first part plays with space, the band trying to make as much space as possible. It’s like a fist holding tight with tension. I wanted this part of the song to have the sense that the music was wobbling on a tightrope around you, ready to fall apart. Not confined to any grid, even though it technically is played in a time signature, the way the band plays it gives it an illusion of being untethered.

The second half answers all that tension in a cathartic release, with the vocals directly referencing this unknown calamity that happened to me in the dream.

Hydra Fashion Week's new album Serpent Season One is out now

serpent art

Serpent Season One Launch
Sat May 11 - The John Curtin Hotel - Melbourne


Follow Hydra Fashion Week: Instagram / Facebook

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