“Bring on the chills ’cause I need them to keep feeding,” sings Brandon Hafetz alongside a rolling beat down the trail to introspection’s doorstep in “Feed.” Apart from feeling cold to the ear, the song’s essence is just as captured in video format: bare feet fading in and out of focus. They wander around an empty, circular room, and “feeling blue” is the only audio-visual option.
It’s the opening track off Oh, Malô’s Blue EP, released in October as the first in a trio of video-released EPs from the group. Now, with the saddest hue covered, the local indie rockers are wandering into warmer territory: the Red EP.
Without further adieu, check out the video premiere of Oh, Malô’s single “Hey Mr. Paul,” below as well as our colorful conversation about it with the band.
Allston Pudding: If you guys could just introduce yourselves (name, instrument, hometown, favorite romantic comedy) that’d be great.
Brandon Hafetz: I’m Brandon. I sing and play guitar in the band. I’m from Manhattan Beach, California. My favorite Rom Com is “Just Friends.”
Jack McLaughlin: I’m Jack. I play guitar. I’m from Baltimore, and my favorite Rom Com is “Crazy Stupid Love,” featuring Steve Carell.
Jordan Lagana: I’m Jordan. I play bass in the band. I’m from Clarksville, Maryland, and I guess my favorite Rom Com is “Sixteen Candles.”
AP: Nice. Good choices. So, about the single you’re releasing this week, who IS Mr. Paul?
BH: We’ve chosen to keep the identity of Mr. Paul anonymous. We kinda want people to pursue it however which way they may. There actually have been a couple people who have guessed it exactly, which is pretty cool. I can say that Mr. Paul is not a real person. It’s a concept, if that’s helpful.
AP: No problem there. In the video I heard a lot of clean guitar blasting through. Did you guys do anything special while recording this new EP?
BH: It’s Brandon. So, this EP is going to be part of our album that comes out later this spring. It was all recorded in a basement over the summer. We’re part of Fitz Ross Productions. I’m actually the owner of Fitz Ross Records, but yeah. We were very DIY with the recording process.
AP: What differences can we look for going from the Blue EP to the Red EP?
JM: Well the whole-
Somebody: Tell her who you are!
JM: Jack [laughs]. Well the whole concept is different because each color’s supposed to represent a different emotion. So the blue is more sad and moody. Red’s more about aggression and anger. It’s just a different emotion.
AP: And how did you go about expressing that. Was it more with the music or the lyrics?
BH: This is Brandon again. I think one element of it is obviously that the visual effects to accompany the music are gonna help portray what we were going for. But also, there’s this kinda ominous vibe that goes through the two songs. Would you agree with that?
Somebody: The question’s about music and lyrics.
BH: Music and lyrics. I’m sorry this happens to me a lot [laughs]. I would say it’s definitely more through the music. We used a lot over these two songs and over this record so you can really hear the aggression.
At least, as a singer, I’m not too aggressive. I’m pretty soft-spoken, you could say. I tried to push my self a little bit while recording this, trying to bring it out.
AP: As for the strategy of video releases, how did that concept come about?
BH: I think, in developing it, the goal is to get as many people listening to as many songs off of this album as they can. We’ve seen a ton of bands that have great music, release it and there’s twelve songs just sitting there. People listen to one song on a Friday afternoon on their Facebook, and 30 seconds later they’re done with it.
So we wanted to find a creative and new way to reach people and have multiple opportunities to reach people over a long period of time. We’re kinda resetting. Each time we release a new EP, maybe you were kinda intrigued by the last one, and maybe this one will get you. Or maybe you loved the last one, but this one is kinda not your thing. Maybe you’re interested because they’re so drastically different, and you’re looking forward to the next one. It’s just kind of a journey and an opportunity each time.
AP: If you had to pick a title sequence for this video to replace, what TV show would you pick?
Everyone: Whoa [faded out discussion].
BH: Yeah. It’s kind of like “Dexter” but a little less murder-y, I guess?
Somebody: or “Slenderman.”
BH: What’s “Slenderman?” Do you know what “Slenderman” is?
AP: Sadly I don’t.
BH: Should we just stick with “Dexter” but not murder-y? Not “Dexter’s Lab”?
AP: That too.
BH: Yeah that’s it.
AP: Awesome. So, what other colors can we expect before the full album drops? Or are you keeping that a secret?
BH: No. I mean, yeah [laughs]. We’re gonna keep it a secret. We can say that there will only be one more.
Somebody: And it’s not… primary.
BH: I like that! It’s not a primary color.
AP: Good clue. Along those lines, last question: favorite color?
JM: Purple!…I’m Jack.
BH: Seafoam? Really? Okay. Jack says purple, Jordan says seafoam, and I’ll say wine. It’s kinda like red, but not.