Vancouver’s Hotel Mira tap into the visceral and heartfelt in their video for “Speaking Off the Record,” a raw confessional outpouring that is as vulnerable as it is intense.
Music allows us to be as honest as we want to be: It lets songwriters put on masks, or take them off and be truer to themselves than they’ve ever been in person. Music is a vessel of the truest self-expression, and this holds especially true for Vancouver alternative band Hotel Mira, whose feverish new album Perfectionism (February 14, 2020 via Light Organ Records) finds songwriter Charlie Kerr baring his soul in exquisite, stirring fashion. Nowhere is this better felt that on the visceral, heartfelt single “Speaking Off the Record,” a raw confessional outpouring that is as vulnerable as it is intense.
Fifteen of my closest Friends
Walked me right up to the ledge
“Everyone loves you” they said
So why do they leave me for dead?
Speaking off the record babe
I can’t believe you hurt yourself again
And even for a second babe
I can’t believe you’d risk it all for them
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the music video for “Speaking Off the Record,” directed by Zachary Vague and Sterling Larose. The second single off Hotel Mira’s third album, “Speaking Off the Record” highlights just how far the Canadian band have come since debuting as JPNSGRLS with 2013’s throttling, punk-heavy he Sharkweek EP and 2014’s subsequent album Circulation. Perfectionism is Hotel Mira’s first album following their name change, featuring the current five-piece lineup of Charlie Kerr, guitarist Colton Lauro, bassist Mike Noble, keyboardist Clark Grieve, and drummer Cole George.
Perfectionism still traces its roots back to JPNSGRLS’ louder, raucous heyday, but as a band Hotel Mira present themselves as cleaner, polished, and put together: It’s as if this album proves the band’s ability to capture their fiery energy in as finessed and cohesive a means as possible. Produced with Grammy-award winning Eric Ratz (Billy Talent, Arkells), Hotel Mira hit harder and louder, with more tact and grace, than ever before.
While songs like lead single “This Could Be It For Me” or the percussive “Jungle” and “Ladies and Gentlemen” exhibit the band’s edgier side, Kerr’s heart can be felt up-close and personal in songs like “Arcade Heart,” the utterly breathtaking “A Song for Daisy,” and the moving “Speaking Off the Record.” To Hotel Mira’s credit, these songs are all as tight as they are evocative – making their album a noteworthy and memorable experience.
“‘Speaking Off the Record’ is a song that explores several things that I never thought I would sing about or address publicly,” Kerr tells Atwood Magazine. “It explores some of my lowest lows and the confessional, blunt lyrics and paired-down production elements of the song lent itself to an equally simple, bold video.”
Alternating between his seldom-utilized high voice and the heartier lows of his tenor, Kerr creates a hushed, intimate ambience that compels listeners to stop in their tracks and lend him their undivided attention. His lyrics are stark and direct, his voice emotionally potent as he sings:
I spent the bulk of my youth
Fucking my hand in my room
Singing a song out of tune
And Wishing my brown eyes were blue
And speaking of your record baby
Don’t include the early years at all
They’re just a bit depressing baby
Just give them all the rock star that they want
The music video is as direct and vulnerable as its lyrics demand, finding Kerr singing alone against variously colored backgrounds. His solitary state speaks to the solitude he evokes in the music: This is a song born out of late-night reflections and contemplations – those quiet moments all alone, where we can safely explore all our insecurities and shortcomings, our fears and self-doubts.
“Zac and I had a conversation early on, even before we did the “This Could Be It For Me” video, where he mentioned that “Speaking Off The Record” was his favorite song on the album because of the confessional nature of the lyrics and he expressed interest in making a video for it,” Kerr says. “But after we did the admittedly garish and elaborate “TCBIFM” video, there actually wasn’t much left in the video budget and when the weekend we were supposed to film came around, half of the band was out of town, so then we discussed the idea of doing a performance video in one location starring just me, and how that would really make sense for “Speaking Off The Record.” And Zac assured me that because the song was visceral and dynamic, if I really just performed honestly and told the story simply, that would make for a cool piece. So Kiri styled me and did my super-cool make-up. And Sterling and Zac lit it and shot it (creatively and beautifully) and the rest is kind of history!”
Arriving a month after Perfectionism‘s release, the “Speaking Off the Record” music video is yet another reminder of Hotel Mira’s strengths as a band – and their undeniable status as a 2020 artist-to-watch. A triggering listen to all who have dealt with depression and dark thoughts, Hotel Mira’s song is complex and nuanced – an emotional outpouring packed into three and a half fervent, thrilling minutes.
You do not want to sleep on this band! Watch “Speaking Off the Record” exclusively on Atwood Magazine, and be sure to check out Perfectionism in full: A compelling, impassioned album rife with majestic ups and turbulent downs, Hotel Mira’s third record is simply exceptional.
Stream: “Speaking Off the Record” – Hotel Mira
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