Premiere: The Britanys’ Raw & Lonely Helpline, “I Don’t Know How to Be Alone”

The Britanys’ raw “I Don’t Know How to Be Alone” is a stark wake-up call about technological addiction and dependence.
for fans of The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys

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Not to sound like every concerned parent ever, but… maybe being on our phones 24/7 really isn’t all that good for us! Something feels lost in our generation; it’s like a good portion of us never fully developed our social skills because we were too busy developing relationships with our computers and later, our smartphones. For a technology that’s been touted as a connector with the ability to bring the whole wide world together, computers and smartphones seem to do equally as much separating and dividing.

This is not meant to belittle younger generations, of which I am a member (and a pretty addicted technology user, might I add); rather, consider this a harsh, but accurate look in the mirror – a troubling observation of younger folks’ increasing dependence on technology, and inability to function at quite the same level as our predecessors. The Britanys’ raw “I Don’t Know How to Be Alone” is a stark wake-up call about technological addiction and dependence – a vibing and feelgood indie rock song with deep, dark truths.

I Don't Know How To Be Alone - The Britanys

I Don’t Know How To Be Alone – The Britanys

I try to speak but you don’t listen
No matter how hard I try
To get through to you today
Seeing life through a screen
Split between reality
Always in touch so far away
I wish I could but don’t think I’ll change

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the music video for “I Don’t Know How To Be Alone,” The Britanys’ second single of 2018 (released in June). Shot and directed by Jimmy Giannopoulos, “I Don’t Know How to Be Alone” – stylized “1(833)IDK-HTBA” for the video – is as much an anthem for Millenials and members of Generation Z, as it is a message to them: One of solidarity, vulnerability, and understanding.

Can you hear me I’m calling
Already twice before
And all my worries flood back to me
We’re all treading water
I was never good at charades
Always in touch so far away
I wish I could but don’t think I’ll change
I don’t know how to be alone
That’s why I’m always on my phone
I don’t know how to be alone
That’s why I’m always on my phone

“I Don’t Know How to Be Alone” is exactly what it sounds like: An admission; a cry into a dark void – or perhaps a friendly ear. The Brooklyn band – consisting of Lucas Long, Lucas Carpenter, Jake Williams, and Steele Kratt – are highly reminiscent of early The Strokes as they lament the damage technology has seemingly done to them, or put better, the damage they’ve done to themselves by overusing technology. Lucas Long bemoans his inability to communicate effectively anywhere but over the phone. Texting is no longer the alternative; it’s the preferred method of communication, easier than speaking to someone over the phone or directly.

Worst of all is the overwhelming sense of loneliness that washes over when one isn’t attached to their device. “I don’t know how to be alone,” Long wails in the chorus, “That’s why I’m always on my phone.” Taken from The Britanys’ upcoming mixtape Can’t Stop Checking My Phone, “I Don’t Know How to Be Alone” epitomizes the young person experience – especially in urban metropolises, where folks live in such close proximity, yet are still greatly separated from one another.

The Britanys © Sophia Ragomo

The Britanys © Sophia Ragomo

The band’s vertical music video goes so far as to make us feel like we’re watching them through a smartphone screen: We see the Brooklyn four-piece, who all live together in Bushwick, New York, hanging out and being young: One by one, each member makes an appearance on the thin strip of visible space, popping in for a glare or smile. You feel like you’re in on the bit – like they’re looking not at the camera, but at the person on the other side. They bring us into the fold, turning an otherwise faraway audience into a “fifth Britany,” so-to-speak.

For this release, The Britanys created a working hotline number: “In [the spirit of this song], we set up 1-833-IDK-HTBA, where you can currently call and listen to the lyrics, listen to demos of the song, leave a voicemail, and hear a message from the band. The Britanys are encouraging everyone to drop out: If they need help call 1-833-IDK-HTBA, to end the endless scroll of open halls and empty corridors. In the words of Timothy Leary, drop out, turn on… there’s a whole wide world to be saved.”

The band have also launched a ‘Britany’ “helpline” chat bot on their homepage that fans can interact with through text. “The goal is to help foster a community in an age of isolation,” the band explains.

If you can’t tear everyone away from their phones, then you might as well set up services that can be there for them in times of need. The Britanys are doing their part in trying to bring everyone a little closer together. If you’re feeling lonely, consider calling 1-833-IDK-HTBA. Stream “I Don’t Know How to Be Alone” exclusively on Atwood Magazine!

I don’t know how to be alone
Don’t know if I’m right
I hope that I’m wrong
Listen: “1-833-IDK-HTBA” – The Britanys

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I Don't Know How To Be Alone - The Britanys

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📸 © Sophia Ragomo
video © Jimmy Giannopoulos

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05/10/18 UK Birmingham – The Dark Horse
06/10/18 UK Edinburgh – Mash House
08/10/18 UK Manchester – Jimmy’s
09/10/18 UK Leeds – Oporto
10/10/18 UK Liverpool – Sound Basement
11/10/18 UK London – Shacklewell Arms
Mitch Mosk

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com