Photo credit: Mike Dunn for Rust + Rebel
Band’s Matthew Schwartz explains Elliott Smith-evoking tune is “about someone losing their sight later in life and coming to terms with that change.”
Matthew Schwartz of Pacifico says, “‘Afterglow’ is about someone losing their sight later in life, coming to terms with that change, and realizing that they have everything they need. We were lucky to have Peter Randall — bassist with The Kooks, Seal, and Adele — join us on this one.”
“The ‘Afterglow’ video is my first true venture into the world of animation,” Graham says. “It’s a bit of motion collage that makes use of cut paper and video footage. I am a fan of Terry Gilliam, and his style was what I wanted to attempt.
“Matt had a series of fantastic photographs and having access to these enabled me to create a cut paper puppet of him. It is rare for me to get to make a movie by myself, and in this case, my two pets, Soot The Cat and Banjo The Dog, were my only true actors.
Pacifico has such a flavorful look to their albums that I decided to let this video be visually bright and fun. When in doubt, I choose interesting visuals over logic. Getting to wade through oceans of brightly coloured images was a treat.”
“‘Don’t Play Dead’ was written as a letter of encouragement to my wife,” says Matthew Schwartz of Pacifico. “Sometimes she suffers from near-crippling depression, which I suffer from sometimes, too. She retreats to the couch and ‘plays dead.’
“In this song, I’m letting her know that she isn’t alone, that I’m always by her side, and that she has got this! So many people deal with anxiety and sometimes it can become so big that even the most simple tasks seem difficult.
“So, ‘Don’t Play Dead’ is also for anyone who becomes stuck or can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I want them to know that this won’t last forever, and as I sing in the song, ‘none of this matters anyway.”
Director Dustin Jacobs picks up on this theme, while still managing to keep the mood light.
“At the center is this couple. She’s depressed, but he’s an eternal optimist, so he finds the joy and tries to share it with her. That’s what is at the core of the song, as well.”
When we last heard from Matthew Schwartz of Pacifico on his early 2022 EP release “‘05/‘22,” we were hearing the Matthew Schwartz of Pacifico from 17 years earlier.
True to the title, much of that explosive batch of songs was recorded in 2005, misplaced via hard drive in the pre-cloud era, then eventually found, completed, and released.
On the upcoming full-length Self Care (Pacifirecords, Feb. 10, 2023), now sounds like NOW.
Schwartz’s first full-length in five years comes with all of the pent-up emotion one would expect from meticulously composing a statement under the veil of cleaning out a desk drawer of old material (literally, in this case.)
Hold my beer
There’s so many things I’d love to say if I don’t just walk away from here”
The lyrics, from one of the album’s upcoming singles “Comatose,” shares an energy with early-2000s skate punk, but from the wise perspective of a now mature voice who would naturally follow-up the above lyric with:
“You used to be such a good friend
So I’ve taken it upon myself to grab things and call this the end”
That’s what self-care is about.
“The lyrics on this album all center on self-care,” Schwartz confirms. “This is the most diverse and most vulnerable group of songs I have ever created.”
The album isn’t called Self Help for a reason. It’s Self Care, and there’s a difference.
From songs about not giving up, to going for your goals, to being a present listener and creating healthy boundaries, Self Care reflects a willingness to enjoy the journey, come what may.
“It’s also about encouraging and loving others,” Schwartz says.
None of this matters anyway
We all make mistakes
Hell I just made more than three today”
A song written for his wife, these lyrics come from the so-catchy-it’s-criminal “Don’t Play Dead,” the lead single from Self Care.
“It’s my letter of encouragement to her,” Schwartz explains. “I also want this song to encourage anyone who becomes stuck.”
That’s what self-care is about.
Self Care, the album, however, isn’t all about straight up the middle earworms.
The various styles that Schwartz and his world-class collaborators stitch seamlessly include genres from 1950s to tomorrow.
“Hearts on Fire” is a soulful detour near the end of the album’s first half that shows off the nimble dexterity of the writing and playing here. Calling Jeff Buckley, Lenny Kravitz, and Janelle Monae’s sounds as influences on the song, it fades with the glory of a choir.
“Complicated, Confiscated,” the album’s penultimate song, is clearly a nod to Elliott Smith. A plaintive acoustic number, it is rendered with as much respect as the legendary songwriter commands (and with as much beauty.) Schwartz’s empathetic connection to Smith runs deep.
This picture’s faded
I’m all but gone from here right now”
“‘Complicated, Confiscated’ expresses exactly how I feel when I am overcome with depression,” Schwartz confides. I have used this song by singing it like a mantra to help me work through tough times.”
Some of the artists and musicians who worked on Self Care include Peter Randall (bassist with Seal, Adele, and The Kooks) and Shane Tutmarc of Dolour (featured on the track “Haunt You,” in addition to providing backing vocals, keys, and percussion.) Self Care was mixed by Aaron Sprinkle, best known as a platinum record-earning and chart-topping producer, with artwork is by Adult Swim’s Trey Wadsworth.
“There are fast punk songs, slow acoustic ballads, strings, piano, horns, and everything in-between,” Schwartz says.
And that’s what Self Care is about.
Self Care, the fourth full-length album by Atlanta-based Pacifico arrives Feb. 10, 2023 preceded by the singles “Don’t Play Dead” (Out Now), “Afterglow” (Out Now), “Comatose” (Jan. 6), and “Complicated, Confiscated” (Jan. 27).