PREMIERE: Generationals Find Themselves Transformed on “Gatekeeper”

With Sigourney Weaver and Richard Swift in mind, the synthy New Orleans duo’s latest single underwent plenty of change.

As with most recorded tracks, the final form of Generationals’ new single “Gatekeeper” doesn’t quite resemble its original version. Known for their lush, layered synths and SoundCloud-era percussion, the duo of Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer craft meticulous pop arrangements bridging the gap between Oracular Spectacular electronic psych and the corresponding guitar pop of that album’s period. With a less than subtle nod to the conversational synths of Talking Heads, “Gatekeeper” is no different.

“The title was originally a placeholder, I think because when I made the initial demo, I had just watched Ghostbusters where Sigourney Weaver morphs into this demon who calls herself the Gatekeeper,” Joyner explains of the track’s progression. “I’ve always loved the third act of that movie where everything really goes shit-house. But as the song evolved—and it underwent many rewrites and changes since that first demo—it did somehow circle back to having a tone that does somewhat resonate with that title.”

Although the track isn’t quite shit-house, “Gatekeeper” does mirror the quintessentially ’80s appeal of the bizarro blockbuster, as well as its inherent message of individualism (honestly, what other movies are there that in any way resemble Ghostbusters?). “I think it’s about getting to that point in your career when you wake up to the fact that you don’t need permission or approval from someone else to do what you want,” he continues. “And those are important moments in your growth when you realize that these vague outside voices that you’re seeking approval from…they might not even exist. The gatekeepers in life might just be an illusion or an excuse, preventing you from just letting loose, doing what you actually want and taking ownership of it.” 

Of the track’s production, Joyner calls out friend and producer Dan Black, who also assisted the group on most of their previous releases (“Dan has always outwardly projected that attitude too: Never let outside voices crowd your head when you’re pushing to make what you want to make. Aim to please yourself—full stop”). Coming off a collaboration with the late Richard Swift on 2014’s Alix, though, there was some residual influence from the songwriting giant. “The process [of recording Reader as Detective] had some of the familiarity of our first few records” Widmer chimes in, “but we brought all the new techniques and approaches that we got from Richard and from our own self-produced singles series, so we had a lot more experience under our belt for this one. We were able to try some new ideas and ways of building the textures of these songs that we would not have ever thought to do if not for those six years between Heza and Reader.”

Reader as Detective is out July 19 on Polyvinyl. You can pre-order it here.

TOUR DATES

8/16 – Dallas, TX – Club Dada *
8/17 – Austin, TX – Antone’s Nightclub *
8/19 – Phoenix, AZ – Valley Bar *
8/20 – San Diego, CA – Casbah *
8/22 – Los Angeles, CA – Lodge Room *
8/23 – Santa Barbara, CA – SOhO Music Club *
8/24 – San Francisco, CA – The Independent*
8/26 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge *
8/27 – Vancouver, BC – Fox Cabaret *
8/28 – Seattle, WA – The Crocodile *
8/30 – Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater
9/18 – Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon ^
9/19 – St. Paul, MN – Turf Club ^
9/20 – Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall ^
9/21 – Columbus, OH – The A&R Music Bar ^
9/22 – Toronto, ON – Horseshoe Tavern ^
9/24 – Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair ^
9/26 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg ^
9/27 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s ^
9/28 – Washington, DC – The Black Cat ^
9/30 – Durham, NC – Motorco Music Hall #
10/2 – Nashville, TN – The Basement East #
10/3 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade #
10/4 – Birmingham, AL – Saturn #
10/5 – New Orleans, LA – Tipitina’s #

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* with Pure Bathing Culture
^ with Gemma
# with Neighbor Lady

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