FILM SCHOOL DROPS VIDEO FOR “SAID YOUR NAME” FROM LATEST ALBUM “WE WEREN’T HERE”
LOS ANGELES—Indie shoegaze stalwarts Film School has signed with Sonic Ritual, a division of Eternal Music Group, to release the band’s sixth full-length, We Weren’t Here, in fall 2021. The upstart record label, founded by two veteran music supervisors in 2019, adds Film School to its growing roster of artists including Joe Cardamone (formerly of The Icarus Line), Steven Dayvid McKellar, and the reunited power-pop punks Ultimate Fakebook.
Having put out previous releases on their own, through boutique labels like Amazing Grease (run by Scott Kannberg aka Spiral Stairs of Pavement), and on indie juggernaut Beggars Banquet, Film School were drawn to Sonic Ritual’s equity-minded, almost “punk” approach to business and its respect for and supportiveness of the band members’ personal aspirations, says frontman Greg Bertens: “A lot of labels try to make a band ‘fit’ with the label. These guys want to make sure the label works for the band. It’s really unusual and special.”
We Weren’t Here will be distributed via Symphonic (digital/streaming) and Fat Beats (physical).
ABOUT WE WEREN’T HERE
Indie shoegaze stalwarts Film School return with their sixth full-length release and first for Sonic Ritual, We Weren’t Here, the follow-up to 2018’s Bright to Death. Whereas the band recorded the previous album while holed up together in the isolated Southern California desert enclave of Joshua Tree, the Covid pandemic forced a different kind of isolation this time around. Already divided between the SF Bay Area and Los Angeles, bassist Justin LaBo, guitarist Nyles Lannon, frontman Greg Bertens, and keyboardist Jason Ruck—each from his own quarantine home studio—had to collaborate on the songs remotely. Except for when newest member Adam Wade met up with Greg to record drums at LA’s Headwest Studio with mixer Dan Long (all wearing masks, of course), the bandmates never saw each other in person during the entire making of the album.
But the title We Weren’t Here isn’t merely a reference to its socially distanced recording method. During life in quarantine, Greg says, he became acutely aware of all the ways human beings try to avoid being truly present. Though lockdowns gave us the opportunity to spend “quality time” with whomever we live with—whether that’s a romantic partner, a roommate, a parent, or our kids—the pandemic also forced us to become more conscious of our own, uninterrupted, day-to-day reality—a disquieting sensation many countered with drinking more, streaming television nonstop, obsessively scrolling social media, or otherwise checking out. For the members of Film School, the making of We Weren’t Here reflects how music—whether you’re creating it or immersing yourself in hearing it—can be a transformative way to feel spiritually and psychically anchored again.
What emerges from beneath the waves of the album’s psychedelic dream pop are bittersweet themes of a year lived in suspended animation: anticipation, separation, regret, revelation. From the moody sonic crush of “Superperfection” driven by an icy yet ethereal harmony featuring guest vocalist Noël Brydebell of Wild Signals (who appears throughout the album), to the standout track “Isla” with its intertwining guitars and swooning synths, and culminating in the buoyant, nostalgic closer “Take What You Need,” We Weren’t Here bathes the listener in a soundscape of atmosphere and emotion. With their sixth full-length release since the band’s formation over 20 years ago, Film School crystallize their position in the shoegaze pantheon.
ABOUT FILM SCHOOL
Film School were formed in San Francisco in 1997 by Greg Bertens with his roommate at the time on drums. The duo’s spare, introspective bedroom pop was a soothing antidote to the rave scene then dominant in the Bay Area and elsewhere. Over the years, through various lineups, Film School would continue to buck trends and expand their sound into the richly textured, dreamy psychedelic rock they are known for, well ahead of the recent shoegaze renaissance and drawing frequent comparisons to bands like Slowdive and Beach House. Recordings have featured guest appearances by members of Pavement, My Bloody Valentine, and Snow Patrol, among others. In addition to Bertens, current band members include Nyles Lannon (guitar), Jason Ruck (synths), Justin LaBo (bass), and Adam Wade (drums).
After releasing an EP on Scott Kannberg’s Amazing Grease label in 2003, Film School signed with the legendary Beggars Banquet, toured abroad with the National, and played shows with Swervedriver before going on hiatus in 2011. Five years later, what was meant to be a one-off gig for a birthday party inspired the band to formally regroup, leading to the release of the EP June (2016), the LP Bright to Death (2018), various singles, and the forthcoming full-length We Weren’t Here.