Drown This City Take Us Through Their Explosive EP 'Colours We Won't Know'

25 June 2021 | 11:02 am | Drown This City

Melbourne post-hardcore juggernauts Drown This City have hit the ground running with their newest release, 'Colours We Won't Know.' Here, vocalist Alex Reade and bassist Toby Thomas take you through the massive EP and the behind-the-scenes tales on how it came to be.

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CONTENT WARNING: This article contains discussion of mental health. If you are suffering from any of the issues that have been discussed or need assistance, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.

Gemini (Alex)

The story: Gemini tells the tale of two lonely souls lost in the universe. They have no home, but soon they find a body to inhibit. As they both take over one body, a chimera is created by their split souls joining and they are trapped together in chaos and despair unable to be free. As they travel through stars and black holes and galaxies they battle polarity and sadness for eternity.

The meaning: ‘A child universe is considered a universe within a black hole’ – Gemini reflects that we all have depth and darkness within us that we are suppressing. I have struggled to feel whole many times in my life, disassociating and rejecting parts of myself, hearing two voices within me battling and being unable to escape my own relentless pain. I have felt like two people, unable to recognise parts of myself and created this story to reflect that eternal feeling of a longing to find peace and to find a home. 

I have battled deep depression I have compared to living within a black hole I couldn’t escape - the lyrics speak: "Two parts don’t make a whole: floating through polar I wish someone could save me, can you save me? Without you I can’t grow, give me a body of my own, can you save me?"

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We carry ourselves where we go and I have never really felt comfortable in my own vessel - sometimes feeling like I don’t even exist at all. 

Time Won’t Remember Us (Toby)

The story: This track is an observation of our times at hand. A perception of the disconnect of the human species and its impact on the world. The storyteller makes note of the lack of consideration we have for our world and its habitants for our own superficial desires for validation. The story emphasises the catastrophic impact we have made to the earth for sake of so called “progression” of a society that has just led us to this polluted world full of humans living in a simulation of a society that was previously built. 

Despite the perception of the catastrophic nature of our presence on this earth, the song goes further to remind the listener that we are in reality insignificant to the grand scheme of the universe and that the Earth was here long before man and will be here long after we have destroyed the planet’s ability to sustain life as we know it.

The meaning: This song is an accumulation of frustrations with the human race, its varying mental vulnerabilities and the way we destroy the world and its inhabitants to appease our self-important desires and cravings for unhealthy and secular escape mechanisms. Prior to writing this song I had undergone a lot of self-reflection and began growing angry at what effect my own choice in coping mechanisms had and how even the smallest luxury in our world could mean the complete an utter destruction of someone's world.

Beyond The Glare (Alex)

The story: Beyond the Glare is told from the position of life after death. A young girl contemplates her life beside the Grim Reaper who has come to take her to the afterlife – they both watch her life retold and revisit her feelings of never really having lived a happy life at all, always living in the shadows. The Reaper comforts her that she never belonged on Earth but was in fact a creature of hell and before she could travel home to the afterlife, she would need to embrace her misery and her mourning. She suffers a journey of contemplating before reaching acceptance and slowly drowning. 

The meaning: “When I was a little child, I broke my head inside and it broke my heart” - my childhood was a particularly traumatic part of my life and I don’t have much memory of it. I just remember being terrified and unbearably lonely. I wanted to die. This song is the darkest for me, to confront a part of myself that feels fundamentally broken and rejected by the world. There is so much shame in the lyrics and I found it hard to accept I still held deep trauma in my body and heart that needed my self-love and awareness. Sometimes we grow by simply sitting with our faults and our shame, nothing more, just acceptance and eventual release.  

Carbon14 (Toby)

The story: Carbon14 is a story told from the perspective of a man who has spent years working at his mental health only to feel a sense of failure and constant short comings. It goes into the mental turmoil the character is experiencing whilst trying to stay on track to better himself instead of just giving in to his demons and settling in the comfort of a darker state of mind, this is likened to light and dark along with how physical light and darkness effects the physical environment around it. 

It dives further into him trying to understand how some can succeed at what he continues to fail and he questions that though he is similar to people around him is made from something wrong, that his atomic structure at its core is off, an unstable form of carbon. The song concludes by drawing similarities in the half life and decay process of an isotope and the decent into a negative state of mind. We lived in a world full of carbon-based forms of life. All sharing a similar common base of our atomic structure.

The meaning: Carbon14 is an exploration of post personal growth, where an increase in self-awareness only brings more challenges and frustrations with the way the world is. The song explores the idea of being fundamentally made of a form of carbon isotope (carbon 14) that is in a constant state of decay rather than a stable carbon atom and likens the inner struggle of positive and negative, light and darkness to the fundamentals of what makes up those very concepts. 

The lyrics are a personal expression of the inner turmoil between the fight for positivity and the content in not believing it is something my atomic structure would allow me to experience. The concept evolved from a reoccurring dream I was experiencing on a regular basis where the person who sparked my catalyst of growth haunts me as I am forever out of reach… the closer I get the more my vision dissipates seeing only the fragments of colour and my body begins to feel as if I am falling and beginning to burn up as if I am falling though atmospheres from space.

Borderline Existence (Alex)

The story: Borderline Existence is a story that again reflects the feeling of deep disconnect told from an onlooker trapped in an 'insane asylum'. The protagonist watches themselves being fed numbing medication in an outer body vision and fights with the urge to escape or slip and give in to the inevitable fate of a lifetime of mindless insanity.

The meaning: “You didn’t choose to enter into this cold-blooded world, but now you’re here / It’s too fucking late, you don’t know whether to lead or obey / Borderline existence, unrelenting resistance” - we battle to forge our own path or to be moulded by relentless conditioning and societal pressure. It is a brutal tipping scale from one to the other and I have felt myself wearing thin, wondering what I was fighting against and how long could I keep going for. This song reflects the battle I feel to succeed against all odds fuelled by sheer terror that my life will be for nothing. 

There’s just a theme of agitation, frustration and aggression in the song that just won’t let up. ‘I really thought, that I’d amount to something / I should have known you’d get me in the end’ - this song really reflects the exhaustion I feel wondering if I can keep going with this fight to be heard and understood – I’m exhausted. Always pushing against, pushing against, trying to win, trying to get ‘there’ and I just don’t know where that is anymore. 

New Burn Order (Toby/Alex)

The story: New Burn Order takes place in a cult and explores the perspective of a young woman’s detachment of her family and abandonment – led by their rejection of her beliefs, she joins a cult. The sense of abandonment pushes the woman deeper into the cult's beliefs and operations to feel a sense of belonging. Eventually driving the cult's end goal of cleansing the earth in fire but each member of the cult initiating mass community burnings but burning themselves alive in large, populated areas. This song follows the journey of a woman’s mental state and its effects on her perceptions ultimately fulfilling a delusion that wreaks havoc upon society and the environment.

The meaning: For me (Alex) personally, my part of New Burn Order came from a place of deep despair at the rejection I felt from those who were meant to love and protect me. In the song I am singing to my betrayer “Oh you watched me burn / but a fire will burn faster uphill”, I’m telling them they couldn’t survive what I have survived, and if you drag me down you’re coming with me. 

“You said you were ashamed to share my DNA / I’m sorry to tell you we are counterparts – mirror image, blurred view” - I want to tell them we are cut from the same cloth, my destruction is your destruction, my shame is your shame – and you don’t have what it takes to survive this and I’m going to show you. I’ve finally reached a place here on Colours We Won’t Know where all my darkness and pain has been explored, and I am ready to face forward again. 

You are not responsible for what happens to you but how you react. True freedom is acceptance that all our feelings, hurts, pains, vices, they belong to us now and we must battle them alone – carry them with pride – I’m not burning to be annihilated but to be cleansed and set free - “Set fire, set me ablaze, and let me heal the empty space in my heart”.

Colours We Won't Know is out now. To stream the EP in full, check it out below.