Just before the United Kingdom shut down, Gloucestershire alt-rock band Mirages were busy rehearsing with their newest band members. They were due to play their first gig as a unit, which was unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, cancelled. So what are they planning next? How are they entertaining their audience during this period of rare downtime that many of us are experiencing? We spoke (remotely) to guitarist/singer Jake Chown to find out.
Chown explained that Mirages have “generally been focusing on releasing new music” since lockdown. They’ve scoured their archives to find and release ‘Step Behind’, a song they recorded two years ago. They’ll also be treating your eyes and ears to a new single and music video, called ‘Rabbit Hole’, on 22 June.
The song explores ideas of “mental health and being stuck in a rut”. Its narrator is someone who feels that society has shunned them, and Chown revealed that the story follows their journey as they become “comfortable living inside their own head, despite their isolation and loneliness clearly having created more problems emotionally.”
It’s a clever reflection of the “push and pull between needing the comfort of others but stubbornly keeping the world at arm’s length for fear of being rejected,” and the music video, directed by Mirages’ own guitarist Robin Jones, explores this idea further. Inspired by black comedy, Mirages believe that the film genre – and their new video – “can make you think hard about serious issues you might otherwise choose to ignore by combining them with something more endearing.”
In under four minutes, ‘Rabbit Hole’ follows a bearded man in a pink rabbit costume as he goes about his day-to-day activities. He deals with issues including alcoholism and loneliness alongside a blow-up doll that is his only friend. Movies including Donnie Darko and The Shining contributed to the foundations of the video concept, as Chown believes that they “explore isolation in different ways and [feature] hallucinations that ultimately end in violence.”
The song itself is an impressive fusion of grunge, blues, and indie rock, complete with anthemic choruses and huge guitar riffs. The lyrics, while written long before the UK’s lockdown, are “appropriate for everyone’s mental health at the moment; many of us are feeling isolated and cut off from our old lives in some way,” Chown told us. He hopes that “‘Rabbit Hole’ is kind of a warning against allowing that negativity to overcome you.”
To ensure that they are kept busy during this unprecedented downtime, Mirages are writing new music. This time is “a great opportunity to write new material.” While they don’t currently have the means to record their new stuff or play together as a band, they’ve got plenty of new songs to play when they can and even more ideas being worked on until then.
As they’re discovering, video calls are a useful asset when collaborating on songs, but of course “it isn’t the same as working on a project together, as a unit in the same environment.” Chown went on to say that the band have “generally been focusing on releasing new music, visuals and merchandise to remind people that we’re still here doing our thing; like all artists, we’re just biding our time until we’re able to play shows.”
And as we’re all immersed in the world’s unusual circumstances, we’re looking to the internet and technology to help us through. Chown noted that this is a good way for bands to connect with their audiences: “In a lot of ways it’s a great time to reach out to fans because everyone is spending so much time online at the moment.”
Mirages will be keeping us entertained for a while yet, as they’ve got “more music to release over the coming months.” As soon as they can, they’ll be playing shows and recording new tunes, and we must say, we can’t wait. Check out Mirages on Facebook, Instagram and Spotify.