Gregory Pepper’s music runs a pretty wide gamut, ranging from abstract hip-hop to amateur black metal. It typically lands somewhere in the middle, in a twee-drained orchestral pop territory—as is the case with his sixth album, which compiles a series of recordings Pepper did back in 2017 when he challenged himself to pen a new song every week for a year.
Whittled down from fifty-two tracks to fourteen, I Know Now Why You Cry documents a period of high highs and low lows in Pepper’s life, weaving pop culture references in and out of somber personal recollections. On “Sublime Tattoo,” he contemplates nostalgia and the passing of time through the iconography of common body ink. “[It’s about] looking at frivolous, faded tattoos that seemed so meaningful at some point—a stern demonstration that time makes fools of us all,” he shares.
He also draws on the memory of loved ones: “The second verse draws on a childhood memory my wife shared about hearing Enya for the first time while browsing in one of those shops that sells incense and crystals. Then the whole thing shifts in tempo and production as I tried to emulate that early ’90s Enya production while serenading the reclusive singer—who I adore, by the way. I saw this click bait article a few years ago about how she lives alone in a castle with her cats. It just sounded so perfect.”
He concludes, “And just for the record, yes, I have a ‘40oz. to Freedom’ tattoo.”
The video, predictably, takes place in a tattoo parlor, where an animated Sublime sun tattoo recites the song’s lyrics. Director Dustin Seabrook shot the clip at Grand River Tattoo in Elora, Ontario, and it features additional animation by Pepper.
I Know Now Why You Cry is out February 14 via Fake Four—pre-order it here.