Tyson Meade Talks New Music Video Flying Through Our Skins: Former Chainsaw Kittens frontman discusses new video which makes its world première below.
Last year marked the release of Tomorrow In Progress, the comeback album by Tyson Todd Meade, former frontman of Defenestration and criminally underrated 90’s alternative act the Chainsaw Kittens.
This week, we’re world premiering the surreal video for the album’s second single, Flying Through Our Skins, which you can watch below.
Last week I had a chance to conduct an email interview with Meade, who discussed the concept behind the video, as well as the inspiration behind Tomorrow In Progress, why he briefly left music to teach in China, the legacy of Chainsaw Kittens and much more. Enjoy the Q&A below:
SLIS: So tell me about the video for Flying Through Our Skins. This is the second video you’ve done with the Play Babies correct (the first being Nihilists Need Love Too)? Did you have the story concept already in mind, or did they come up with that on their own?
TM: With the Play Babies, I give them the song and then they have the idea and I let them go. I love what they do so much that I give them complete artistic control because I know that their vision is going to be cool and is going to add something to my vision. And, the combined visions are going to arrive at a new place that I would not have come to on my own. I think they are some of the best filmmakers out there.
SLIS: How did you first get involved with them? Did they reach out to you, or vice versa?
TM: Andy from the Play Babies and I met on Instagram. We had both posted pics of Holly Woodlawn and had liked each other’s pics. I then got interested in what they were doing from their photos and vice versa. We connected on Facebook after that. After that, Andy suggested we collaborate.
I told him I had a new record coming out and that the Play Babies should do a video. They did. It was magnificent. I was immediately a uber fan after that. That was for Nihilists Need Love Too. I told them it was about Nietzsche and gave them some notes and the next thing I know they delivered the perfect video.
SLIS: Can you give some background on how the song and lyrics for Flying Through Our Skins evolved? What does it signify to you?
TM: I wrote that song after I had this really strange encounter with this Australian woman who had become obsessed with me while I was in China. Sadly, she was my boss and when I sided with a Chinese teacher who she had been bullying she had my visa pulled. I had 24 hours to leave the country. I flew into NY and stayed with friends that are always on the ready for me.
I was so relieved that I had got out of the mess with the Australian woman that the words came flying out of my mouth. I sang the whole thing in one go. I see it as a very positive song, extricating yourself from a bad situation.
SLIS: One thing I’ve noticed on this song and much of your recent album Tomorrow In Progress is the amount of electronic instrumentation, which is in contrast to the more heavy rock stylings of your past endeavors. Had you been looking to explore that sound for awhile? How did that evolve?
TM: I think I subconsciously set a challenge for myself since I had made guitar albums since I started recording in the mid-80’s I wanted to try something new. I had these electronics at my disposal. I thought it would be interesting to make a record involving soundscapes that I made into pop songs (IE Flying Through Our Skins). For the most part with the exception of a few songs, I put down the guitar and buried myself in the blips and beeps of electronica.
SLIS: You left music for awhile to teach in China. What prompted that decision, and what brought you back to America and to making music again?
TM: I honestly thought that I had got to the point where I was not inspired anymore to make music. I was happy running the boarding school in China. I thought that was the new chapter of my life. I loved my life. I had a great life there but then I met the violin prodigy Haffijy and he inspired me to write. His playing is so moving that I knew that I had to write songs for him. Sign after sign convinced me that I should be doing my art and so that is what I decided to do. Now I am returning to China to make my next record.
SLIS: Will you also be going back to teach, or did the idea of making music over there hold a special appeal for you? And what can you tell us about your vision for the new material?
TM: I’m just going to be recording. Haffijy will be on board again. Ola from Ola’s Kool Kitchen who plays my music on her really cool podcast out of London is into Chinese indie. Through her I met the guys in PK 14 who I have liked for some years now and they will guest on my album. I love how the bassist and guitarist play especially.
SLIS: Being a fan of the Chainsaw Kittens I just wanted to touch on a bit of your past. I think I, like much of your fanbase, have always found it confounding that you never found a wider audience. You’ve been name-checked by both Kurt Cobain and Billy Corgan for your influence on 90’s alternative rock. Do you ever wonder why Chainsaw Kittens didn’t reach that level of success given the strength of the material and your powerful live shows?
TM: As Billy Corgan once said, “it’s a mystery to me.” Nevertheless, we have been remembered fondly, which is great.
SLIS: Jimmy Chamberlain played on several songs on your last album. Have you both stayed in touch over the years and do you still feel a kinship for the Smashing Pumpkins given you were on their Scratchie label imprint and with Corgan citing you as an influence?
TM: The Pumpkins always championed us. When I decided to make the record, I called Jimmy and he said of course he would play on my record, which was really flattering. He is one of my favorite drummers. Steven Drozd from the Flaming Lips is my other favorite drummer and he and I co-wrote a few songs on the new record that I am about to record, which of course is exciting.
SLIS: Well I think that wraps up all my questions. Is there anything else you’d like to mention regarding the Flying Through Our Skins video?
TM: Hahahahaha! It might not be safe for work!
Thanks to Tyson Meade for taking the time out for this interview. You can order ‘Tomorrow In Progress’ via Amazon and iTunes below.
[amazon_image id=”B00JZATH7I” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Tomorrow In Progress[/amazon_image]