Toward the end of last year, around the release of his debut EP for the dance music institution Mad Decent, Dylan Brady proclaimed that his favorite instrument was the human voice. It came up in the context of a discussion of the surreal way he transforms and warps vocal takes into colorful prismatic melodies, but his point was clear—there’s something special about music made by hand and present unadorned. That kernel of an idea is just about the only thing that could have predicted the tripped-out jams that fill Brady’s new collaborative release with Josh Pan, This Car Needs Some Wheels, out March 14 on OWSLA.
Over the last few years, both Pan and Brady have made it clear that they're not easily pinned down stylistically. Between the two of them they’ve made colorful deconstructions of mainstage dance music, blistered pop punk, delirious club flips, grayscale sound art, and a nigh-uncountable amount of straight up uncharacterizeable tracks. Pan is uber-prolific on Soundcloud and basically never does the same thing twice. So in some ways the two of them working together has you primed to expect the unexpected, but that doesn't make "Wheels," their record's lead single any less head-spinning. Casting aside the colorful electronics that each tend to favor on their own, it's a moody, expansive song, built around a dusty drum break, a minimal electric bass line and some watery vocal effects. Title aside, it feels tailor-made for the long open road, blaring loudly from the radio of a late 60s Dodge Dart as it's occupants try to just get away. Brady says via email that the song came together at the end of a long night of hard work—you can almost sense the bleary hopefulness of the early morning hours in the gasps and moans of the vocal.
“When me and Josh wrote 'Wheels' we were at the tail end of an all night session," Brady says. "It was about 5 am I think. It felt like we were wrapping up, collecting ourselves. But somehow we started writing one more song. Me and Josh were really in sync that night. Never really had an experience like that before.”
"Writing with Dylan feels like a structured stream of consciousness," Pan continues. "I felt abnormally poetic that night—probably more poetic than I actually was. It’s my personal belief that you gotta be in a crazy headspace to write something memorable sometimes—at least that’s how it works for me.”
This morning, Brady and Pan are sharing a video that adds layer to this image. In it, a man hits the road, compelled by some unknown force, before he takes out a shovel and starts to dig, seemingly for the rest of his life. I feel like it can be read as a statement on the crushing futility of labor under platform capitalism, but the video's director Grant Curatola talks about it in more abstract terms.
“The character is in search of something but they don’t know what," he says. "When he finds the shovel it’s like a divine calling. He sets out into the desert to dig for the rest of his life. I wanted the act of digging to become an obsession. Something the character can’t walk away from and slowly it causes him to go insane."
You'll want to watch it up above. This Car Needs Some Wheels is available for pre-order now.