Today we’re Making Meaning with Brian Howe! Brian – or Sikes – is the lead vocalist for the melodic death metal band Greywalker, a hip hop producer and emcee (check him out with his excellent backing band The New Violence), and host of Start the Beat with Sikes, a weekly podcast covering the DIY music and art scene. Check out his website therealsikes.com for more info on these – and all of his other creative projects!
Greywalker drops their video for the song “Without Control” today! Read on to watch the video and to learn more about the song and the making of the video!
Let’s make some meaning…
Making Meaning: The Background
Greywalker is a 5-piece melodic death metal band from Pittsburgh, PA. They’ve garnered a strong following of fans who appreciate their special blend of musical aggression and intelligent songwriting. In 2017 Greywalker was nominated for “Best Metal Band” in the Pittsburgh City Paper’s annual Reader’s Poll.
The group released it’s debut album Beyond All Mortal in 2015 and releases their follow-up Without Control on 7/15/18.
Greywalker is: Colt Dalmaso (bass), Brian Howe (vocals), Joey Solak (drums), Evan Thorsen (guitar), and Ricky Zimmerman (guitar).
You can catch Greywalker at their Without Control Album Release Party on July 7, 2018 at The Rex Theater with special guests Blackmarket Bodyparts, The Breathing Process, and Victims of Contagion. To learn more about Greywalker, hear music, see videos, get tickets, and find out about more shows go to www.greywalker.net. You can also find them on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Spotify (and more).
Making Meaning: The Song
Listen to (and watch!) the song “Without Control” from Greywalker’s new album Without Control and learn what meaning Brian makes:
Here’s some interesting stuff about the video for “Without Control.” This music video was directed by Nathan King (he also composed all of the dark ambient soundscapes that weave the entire album together including the pieces on the beginning and end of this track). Brian knew even before they started planning out the video that “Without Control” was going to be the title track for the album. You’ll notice a lot of references through the video that intentionally tie into lyrics from multiple songs on the album. They really wanted the video to not only represent the song but the album as a whole. Interestingly, all of the photography that became the artwork for the album was shot simultaneously during the video shoot by Nick Prezioso.
One more fun (or…spooky?) fact from Brian: “The majority of the ‘Without Control’ video was shot inside Nick Prezioso’s actual spooky ass house that he actually lives in so we had to do some tricky stuff to be able to smear blood on his walls and light things on fire but maybe that’s another story for another time… I don’t wanna give away all of the secrets!”
“Without Control” is a song written from the perspective of my most introspective thoughts. An internal battle of “good vs. evil” and the uncomfortable uncertainty of deciding which side is actually which. It’s a finer line than a lot of people are willing to accept and a subject that I like to explore in a lot of my writings. The concept of learning that things aren’t always what they seem and sometimes the things we don’t want (or that other people tell us we don’t want) are actually the best things for us.
“The only downside was that the words were dark as hell and I knew that in order to finish the rest of this track I was going to have to have one hell of a conversation with myself.” – Brian Howe on “Without Control”
Vocal melodies aren’t a huge focus when writing a Greywalker song so I usually try to approach lyrics from a more rhythmic and percussive angle. I prefer to let the guitars handle most of the melodic stuff. When I first sat down with this song the lyrics “I am no one without my soul but I’m the one whose lost control” came to me very quickly because of how the syllable patterns lined up with the hits in that post-chorus section of the song. It felt good, sounded good and became pretty much the skeletal theme for the song instantly. The only downside was that the words were dark as hell and I knew that in order to finish the rest of this track I was going to have to have one hell of a conversation with myself. Luckily, it ended up being a pretty productive conversation.
“This track however seemed to be the key that cracked the overall code of why I think and act the way I do and it explained why all of the other tracks had been written in the first place.” – Brian Howe on “Without Control”
Once the song was finished and I was able to take a step back from it for a bit I started to understand what this track really was and why it was written. All of the other tracks on the album that I was writing lyrics for dealt with similar themes of internal debate, struggle, fear, anxiety, etc. but on a much more focused, situational scale. This track however seemed to be the key that cracked the overall code of why I think and act the way I do and it explained why all of the other tracks had been written in the first place. It was a real “light bulb” moment for me and once it hit me I knew that “Without Control” was going to be the title track for this album. Not only was it the perfect title for the track but it fit super well with everything else on the album. The concept of good and evil within ourselves and not knowing which side is “right” or which side we should let “win.”
“The video for ‘Without Control’ is a visual metaphor for the endless cycles of anxiety and self-destruction.” – Brian Howe on “Without Control”
The final task in bringing everything to life was finding the right visuals to connect to the narrative. Me and my friend Nathan King had already been talking about collaborating on a video for some time and based on his portfolio of work I knew he would be perfect for this project. The video for “Without Control” is a visual metaphor for the endless cycles of anxiety and self-destruction. Running away from the light to enter the darkness of the mind and roam through our thoughts like an old abandoned house filled with bad memories that we just can’t let go of. – Brian Howe of Greywalker
Thanks to Brian for sharing the meaning he makes from their song! That was an interesting, telling tale that can only make one appreciate the song and video more. And, thank you for making meaning with us.
If you like what we’re doing, please support us by subscribing to Of Music and Mind, following us on social media, and telling others about us! Are you an artist who would like to share the meaning you make about a song? Contact us! Be well!