“I’m just a big mess”: NYC’s Closebye Light a Face-Melting Fire on “Pilates,” a Vibey, Emotionally Charged Fever Dream

Closebye © Nicole Miller
Closebye © Nicole Miller
NYC’s Closebye have returned with a face-melting flood of fiery feeling in “Pilates,” a smoldering, seductive indie rock fever dream and the lead single off their forthcoming sophomore album, ‘Hammer of My Own.’
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Stream: “Pilates” – Closebye




The fire inside burns bold and bright on Closebye’s first song of the year.

A smoldering, seductive indie rock fever dream, “Pilates” is a raw rush of intense, unrelenting feeling; a cathartic, emotionally charged release of seismic proportions. The New York City band channel passion and pain, heartache and yearning, and words unspoken into a searing song that enchants the ears and stirs the soul throughout its four-minute run. A workout class may not solve all our interpersonal problems, but just like this song, it’s a great way to sweat out the toxins.

Hammer of My Own - Closebye
Hammer of My Own – Closebye
Hey there, Doug
Looks like you wanna be the big man,
stand your ground and stare at it

I know you like that,
know you’re just a big mess

Force my hand, block a stranger
Or cut my loss, defend a traitor
But you know me like that,
know I’m just a big mess

But you know me like that,
know I’m just a big mess, so
Take me with you, to pilates
I need to work on my mind and my body
Take me with you, to karate
I need to work on my mind and my body

Independently released May 29, 2024, “Pilates” sends shivers down the spine as Closebye turn turbulent feelings into tempestuous, stormy music. The band’s first song in over six months follows last Halloween’s “Hell’s Kitchen” (and before that, their 2022 debut album Lucid News), and arrives as the lead single off their forthcoming sophomore album, Hammer of My Own (set to release August 23).

It’s a powerful return for the quintet, comprised of Jonah Paul Smith, Julian “Paint” Smith, lan “Skinny” Salazar, Margaux Bouchegnies, and Simon Clinton. Described as a reflection of several cycles of creation and destruction (both within and without), Hammer of My Own is a bold beast of intimate songwriting and impassioned musical expression. Its lyrics explore “the struggle to come to grips with self-reliance, with constant shifts of blame, projection, codependency, ending with a new sobering independence, and the realization that only you can be your own savior,” according to singer/songwriter and frontman Jonah Paul Smith.

Closebye © Nicole Miller
Closebye © Nicole Miller



It is within this framework that we first meet “Pilates,” a song already filled to the gills with emotional tension and strain. Smith sings about a desire to fix what’s been broken, and yet throughout, we can’t fully tell if he’s describing himself or his relationship. “You know me like that, know I’m just a big mess,” he declares, his voice hushed and hot on the mic as visceral emotions come pouring out. “So take me with you, to pilates, I need to work on my mind and my body…

Hey there, Doug
Looks like you wanna be the big man,
stand your ground and stare at it

I know you like that,
know you’re just a big mess

Force my hand, block a traitor
Or cut my loss, defend a stranger
But you know me like that,
know I’m just a big mess

But you know me like that,
know I’m just a big mess, so

The first inspiration for “Pilates” came when I overheard someone complaining about being ‘dragged’ to a Pilates class by their friend,” Smith tells Atwood Magazine. “I remember being a little envious, thinking, ‘Why are you complaining? I want a friend who will take me to Pilates.’ This was around the same time one of my closest friendships was falling apart, so the song became about the ways in which I lose myself in other people, projecting my own failures onto them.”

“Throughout the song I’m constantly shifting the blame between myself and this character ‘Doug.’ Doug and I are both privately self-destructing and unable to communicate, stuck in a paralysis, so my suggestion is we get moving with some Pilates, which would be an easy fix. In reality, it is too late to salvage the relationship, and if I really wanted to go to a Pilates class, I would take myself. A lot of the album follows this realization about self-improvement – that I can only change if I want to – and this song is the pre-realization denial phase of that process.”

Take me with you, to pilates
I need to work on my mind and my body
Take me with you, to karate
I need to work on my mind and my body
Take me with you, when you’re cryin’
When you’re tossing them back and it’s ugly
Take me with you, when you’re lonely
When you’re trying to sleep but you’re spinnin’
Closebye © Nicole Miller
Closebye © Nicole Miller



A feverish, soul-stirring eruption from our innermost depths, “Pilates” isn’t so much a slow burn as it is a veritable trailblazer.

With its dramatic, dynamic beat and repeated, hypnotic guitar patterns, the song offers plenty of spaces for cathartic release – moments for artist and listener alike to exorcise their inner demons. As Closebye producer and band member Ian Salazar explains, creating such openings was a big part of their collective vision for this song.

“During peak Omicron, I drove down to Texas for the holidays to meet up with Jonah and Paint for a recording session at The Echo Lab in the woods outside Denton, TX; I was listening to Talking Heads’ Remain in Light on loop for the majority of the two-day drive, kind of going insane. Jonah sent me the demo for ‘Pilates’ the night I arrived, a few nights before we went into the studio to cut the first three tracks for what would become the album. I remember being completely swept off my feet by the demo.”

“The looping, hypnotic rhythms and guitars of Remain in Light really influenced how we approached the recording; especially the outro bit, which was written the night before we tracked it. We wanted to make something that our 14-year-old selves and our current selves would vibe on, and I feel like we did that.”

Closebye © Nicole Miller
Closebye © Nicole Miller
Hey there, Doug…
Whatever you need, need
Hey there, Doug…
Whatever you need
I’ll be, I’ll be, I’ll be, I’ll be, I’ll be…

No amount of Pilates or karate classes can mend a friendship’s broken fences, but the power, passion, and pain in this song are incredibly real. Closebye have returned with a face-melting flood of feeling, inviting all of us to stretch our hearts and souls as our ears get the workout of a lifetime.

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:: stream/purchase Pilates here ::
:: connect with Closebye here ::
Stream: “Pilates” – Closebye



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Hammer of My Own - Closebye

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