“So, it’d be Tabula Rasa: ‘To begin as if you’ve never begun.’” Gabe Simon, horn player, singer, and guitarist for Nashville’s Kopecky, looks pensive as he finalizes his carefully thought hypothetical cult name and mission statement, appropriate for the day’s activities. The endearingly heartfelt alt-pop six-piece is filming the new video for the single “Talk To Me” off of their most recent full-length, Drug for the Modern Age, at an abandoned church in Greenpoint. Written and directed by Alex Karpovsky (who plays the wisecracking Ray on HBO’s Girls), the clip also stars Wet Hot American Summer’s Michael Ian Black, who ventures on a mission to save singer Kelsey Kopecky from a cult she has recently been inducted to, led by — who else? — Simon.
The True Detective-style visual premise matches the Ra Ra Riot-reminiscent, synth-heavy jam in its quirky narrative and winsome imagery, while tackling a more serious subtext. “The whole song ‘Talk To Me’ is about escaping the mundane life to find something better than to actually live your real life,” Simon tells SPIN. “When we wrote it, it was more about talking about how everybody works their day-to-day jobs and doesn’t think about the fact that they could be doing something different.”
With no cult experience, Karpovsky was nonetheless inspired to key the “Talk to Me” visual around one. “After hearing the track, the first three words of the chorus, ‘Talk to me,’ kept reverberating in my head,” he says. “It felt like an unhinged refrain from a mysterious authority, demanding the listener to open their soul. The idea of a weird closed community with a charismatic leader went from there.”
Cults may get a bad rap, but in fact, Kopecky kinda could be considered one; at least, if we’re going by the definition of a group being brought together by a commonly held belief, having faith in each other. Simon and Co. were inspired to write their second album about some troubled times they’ve had these past years, in the process becoming much closer as a collective. Guitarist Steven Holmes says, “I do think that staring down some ugly issues while writing and recording these songs brought about a sort of healing and strengthening within the band. We were able to address some things that we had never discussed openly, sort of like finally recognizing an elephant that has been sleeping in the corner of the room for years.”
Adds Kesley, “Our experience making the record showed each of us what we are made of. We are definitely not a cult, but a group of people who have fought for each other and for this band to keep working together”
Keep an eye out for the release of “Talk To Me” and take a peek what it was like on set (minus the 100 degree weather) above.