WPGM Commentary: Arliston Find Their Place In A Dystopian Future On ‘451’

Hey, Jack and George here from Arliston. We’re an Indie duo based in Brixton, and we’ve just released a song called “451”, one of the tracks from our 5-track EP How In Heaven which is due for release on July 14th.

“451” is a song based on the 1953 Ray Bradbury novel about a dystopian future, where books are burnt and huge rooms with walls made of TVs are coveted. It all feels a bit close to the bone with the new Apple Vision and other VR headgear in the headlines recently.

We’re always hoping to take the listener by surprise with our releases and this one is no exception. George started the idea in 7/8, which means there are seven beats in each bar rather than the conventional four.

It can be an uncomfortable experience when trying to play pieces with this timing, but George managed to chop and sample his way to a rhythmic illusion, the beat skipping lightly over the bar lines so that the casual listener may (hopefully) not even realise what is happening.

That being said, it was no easy feat for Jack to write the lyrics for, and the track lay on a hard drive for weeks until we brought the bones of the idea to Brett Shaw at 123 studios in Peckham. 123 is an Aladdin’s cave of dream gear driven by the genie himself (Brett) we cannot recommend it highly enough!

After swapping the chords out and adding a few layers, Jack was locked in the vocal booth for about 45 minutes with the track on loop slowly sinking into a sort of meditative-like state and throwing out vocal ideas as and when they came.

As is always the way with songwriting, your current interests and situations spill into the song and Jack had just that morning finished reading 451 on the bus ride to Peckham. So, from this strange haze of vocal fragments and phrases, the themes of Bradbury’s novella started to jump out at him.

Over the course of the following week, Jack described the book to George (who still hasn’t read it) and the song’s Lyrics slowly took their final form.

We always set off with the intention not to write “just another love song” but often the temptation to tell that most relatable story wins out, so when we got to the end of this lyric and discovered we’d managed to swim against that current (with the help of Bradbury), we were thrilled!

We called in the big guns to help add the polish to this record, Dan Berry Sax brought his lush sax lines and Sam Catchpole with some impressive skill flawlessly added a layer of Live drums. The nicest guys with daunting talent that make us question whether we can call ourselves musicians.

When it was finished, we knew it had to be on the EP and a single as well, and a single means a video. We’d recently worked with Debbie Scanlan (@WolfJames on IG) on press shots and we’d loved her sense of aesthetics and fun, so we roped her in to film and guide us.

There’s always something captivating about videos with a simple journey/narrative like someone making something, breaking something almost like an art installation.

We definitely let the inner child win with this video. It involves us building the numbers 451 before covering them with pages from the book and then in the style of the ‘Firemen’ from the novel, we burn them with a flame thrower before running them over in a ginormous dump truck.

The dump truck is not in the book, that was just for us. Debbie, or Big D as she likes to be referred to, had the idea to shoot the whole thing on VHS which lends the video a strange timeless texture and really plays into the cathode ray tube TV world that Bradbury describes, it all sort of accidentally got a bit meta.

So, if you want to see two boys dressed like futuristic spacemen having a little too much fun, check it out!

Watch the video for “451” below and stream it everywhere else here

Words by Arliston // Follow them on Instagram + Twitter

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