It’s about time you open that “Iron Heart” of yours and start listening to some new music. If you’re still with us, then let us share with you the latest music video from Pravin Thompson, for his new single “Iron Heart.” The song comes as part of his full-length debut album, A Thoughtful Collapse, due for release on March 27th. Describing “Iron Heart,” Thompson eloquently stated, “‘Iron Heart’ is a song about pursuing self-nurturing and challenging things. Finding the beauty in the struggle of something difficult. Each section contains a fleeting melody, glued together by a driving groove. To me, that embodies persistence and the excitement with being challenged.”
“Iron Heart” is but one taste of the wide-ranging musical tastes you’ll discover on A Thoughtful Collapse, an album laden with a depth that runs beyond the years of such a young artist. Ambient soundscapes, jazz-influenced improvisation, vast sound textures, and an avant-garde approach is what makes Thompson different from your typical music artist. The record is certainly unique, but it’s also a defining moment in his career and one that Thompson will be sure to look back on fondly later in his life.
Thompson may be just getting his hands dirty as a solo artist, but he’s been as active as can be for over six years in and around his home base of Brooklyn, New York, working as part of several bands and a contributor with other solo artists. To name a few, Thompson has played with Sonem Topden, Sivan Arbel, Lorena Del Mar, Kat Lee, Sana Nagano, Todd Isler, May Cheung, Da$Hhtone and many more. While Thompson was the driving force behind A Thoughtful Collapse’s nine tracks, he also received assistance from his very worthy band made up of Yuma Uesaka on tenor saxophone, Yuka Tadano on upright/electric bass, and Paolo Cantarella on drums, all individuals with whom he has developed deep friendships.
With more to say on “Iron Heart” and the new album, we recently spoke with Thompson about the making of the song’s music video, what he’d like viewers to take away from it, and some insight into A Thoughtful Collapse.
You decided to go the animated route for the accompanying music video to “Iron Heart.” Tell us about who you worked with for the video and the creative process behind making it.
Pravin Thompson: “This video was animated by Megan Roe who had done some animation work for me before for an Instagram contest. It was a minute-long claymation animation for ‘Iron Heart’ (see here) I loved the quirkiness and how fun the end result was so I decided to ask her to animate the whole song. Later after exploring more of her work, I felt that the illustration animation style was the best fit for the song and its meaning. Megan began storyboarding and that was that!”
What would you like your viewers to take away from this video? What do you see as its meaning or interpretation?
“‘Iron Heart’ originally was an anthem for challenging oneself and doing things that are nurturing for you and your soul. As Megan started piecing together the video I started seeing a different vision for the song. The video follows a girl who seems exhausted and somewhat apathetic but drudges through her day. That is a super-important stage of creativity and artistry that no one talks about. When you’re in the trenches and things seem bleak, but you keep moving because you simply have too. And it connects you to other events and emotions that are also a part of this process; the couple dancing, the person practicing, the baby being cradled, and the lazy cat.
This video is showing us that we are all connected through our joys, our creative spark, our apathy, and our art. New York can feel like a very isolated and lonely city, but everyone who is here is here trying to pursue something unique and challenging. I love that.”
“Iron Heart” is off of your upcoming debut album A Thoughtful Collapse. With this being a debut, how long have you had some of these songs written? Are these recent creations or a collection of several songs you’ve been collecting over the years?
“A bulk of the writing process was done in late 2016 early 2017. The first draft of ‘Iron Heart’ was written at that time. Then I had another compositional push at the end of 2017. All these compositions to me are connected by a certain chapter of my life that I feel wrapped up by 2018.”
A Thoughtful Collapse is something of a look inside your own personal struggles with identity and morality. Enlighten us more about where you were coming from with this record. Has this been a difficult period for you?
“When I moved to the city in 2014, I had a specific idea about what kind of guitarist I was going to be, what kind of career I was going to have, and what things that will make me happy. As the years went by those preconceived notions began to slowly (or ‘thoughtfully’) collapse. I was playing a lot of gigs I hated, I was socializing/networking in a way that wasn’t really natural, I wasn’t building a proper support system, and that left me feeling lonely and bitter. I began to really evaluate the things I want in my life and the harsh reality of what my strengths and weaknesses are. Though this process was difficult and a huge jolt to my system. I began to have a clearer vision about what I wanted to do, the people who really love and support me, and I began shaping my decisions to continue this growth.”
You cross me as a do-it-yourself type of musician who prefers to oversee the entire process of writing and recording. Was A Thoughtful Collapse mostly your entire creation or did you write and/or record with anyone?
“I wrote all the music, but my band members definitely helped me with editing and adjusting parts. Not to mention their incredible musicality and ability to really shape my music throughout the years.”
Lastly, you’ve mostly been a session musician prior to this album as well as playing in large jazz ensembles. What brought you to this point of recording your own music under your own name?
“I have always been interested in creating and pushing my own music. Yes, I was primarily a session musician prior to this album’s conception, but I was always trying to hustle gigs with my band and writing music on the side. I decided to finally put all my effort into my band and my sound in 2017. If I was going to release my own music I wanted to do it right, and put as much care and work into it as possible.”
03/29 – Arlene’s Grocery, New York, NY (purchase tickets)