If we were voting on a phrase to sum up our year as it comes to a close in a few weeks, “Not A Soul In Sight” would definitely be a candidate to go all the way. What a lonely, lost year it has been for so many, and alternative rockers Emperors Night have summed it up nicely with their brand new music video for “Not A Soul In Sight,” which comes from their debut EP, Driving At Pace, released November 16th via Pacify Records.
As you may have guessed, the song was inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic and the emptiness that emanated through the streets of downtown Toronto, a place which is otherwise perhaps the busiest area in the entire country of Canada. Featuring Bud on lead vocals, one of the three Chalmers brothers who compose the band, there’s a certain moodiness that’s apparent throughout “Not A Soul In Sight.” The accompanying video really emphasizes this void, showing the brothers wearing their hearts on their sleeves through an impassioned, socially distanced performance, all taking place in the middle of a very empty field in the countryside.
For some commentary on the song and its inspiration, the band said, “In times of uncertainty, where do we turn for stability, to anchor ourselves against the tide? ‘Not A Soul In Sight’ was sparked by an eerie moment looking down from a top floor apartment in Toronto during lockdown and seeing an empty city lying still beneath us. Expressed in the song are the thoughts and feelings it provoked within us at the time. The video, which features the three of us brothers in lonely empty scenes, is a reflection of something we felt fortunate to have during these times, each other to rely on, contrasting moments of personal isolation with the strength found in bonds of family and friendship.”
While the band is currently based in Toronto, that wasn’t necessarily all be design. The Chalmers brothers are originally from New Zealand and only moved to North America towards the end of 2019. With high hopes, they found themselves in Toronto, and then the pandemic started which prevented them from even thinking of going anywhere. Feeling a little out of place and very uncertain, the guys decided to make the best out of it and recorded as much as they could this year, hoping to and from various Airbnbs which doubled as recording studios and rehearsal rooms. Fortunately, they landed in Toronto already armed with 21 songs that they had already previously written so it was just a matter of recording and finetuning them.
Driving At Pace is best defined by its even-keel approach where each brother, Anand, Bud, and Dhyan all get their chance to shine in the spotlight. The instruments are all equally represented throughout the EP, a commitment of the band that no one gets overshadowed. Bud and Dhyan also share lead vocal duties, with thoughtful lyrics, fuzzed-out guitars, and soaring choruses really helping to make this a complete effort. Driving At Pace is an intriguing and mature musical outing for this emerging trio who have really captured the essence of our collective feelings as we turn the page on the year 2020.