In this installment of BackStory, Princess Pangolin's Julie Carpenter tells us the story behind her song "Heatwave." If Mark Frauenfelder of BoingBoing says it's good, you know it is. You can catch Princess Pangolin at LA's Echoplex on April 1.
This song started with the pizzicato violin riff...I started playing that and humming the melody. It was one of those things that just falls complete out of the aether, without a lot of "What next?" Sometimes the chords tell you exactly what to do. I also knew immediately that it needed sparkly Omnichord strums.
At first the opening verses were surreal dream imagery, chosen for the sound of the words themselves. I had just been out to Joshua Tree, and the mountains and the July heat were very much on my mind. As it progressed, a more complex theme of survival under harsh conditions emerged. I tried to play with the ideas of failure and success, and what those categories mean to humans and to animals. Survival is of course everyone's immediate goal, but we all need so much more than that. But when our survival is threatened, suddenly the values go all askew again. I think that's interesting.