Drowse is not only apt for the hazy ambience that Kyle Bates makes with creative partner Maya Stoner, but the medicated state from which it was inspired. Following a mental breakdown, Bates was originally prescribed antipsychotic drugs, and several unmedicated years later, his anxiety returned in heavy doses. His relief came in the namesake of this song, he tells NPR:
"Klonopin" is an epistle to benzodiazepines. In the song I wake up from drug-induced sleep and imagine myself as the empty part of a shape imprinted in mud: a strange vision of shame. With this image in mind, I ruminate on how I'm ashamed of the way I force a wall between myself and others — on the inside I'm passionate, but I keep a cold, calculated distance from those I love. This fixation makes me anxiously waste my day, stumbling wistfully through my waking life until night comes and I can take Klonopin to forget myself again.
Roots gnarl themselves into and around the music of Drowse, rotting as they break the surface. Steeped in detuned guitars and iridescent noise, Drowse's new album Cold Air sounds like an intimate Mount Eerie home recording overdubbed with a worn-out cassette of The Cure's Disintegration. The self-directed video for "Klonopin" creates a similar feeling, says Bates:
I shot sections of the video in Squamish, British Columbia. Later, Maya and I finished shooting and editing together in one extremely long day. As the video progresses, the footage is increasingly layered. This blanketing of images is meant to reflect the brain fog that slowly rolls in and envelopes the user on heavy doses of Klonopin; symbols of disconnection abound.
Cold Air comes out March 9 via The Flenser.