Photo by Ashley Cordoba
A haze hangs heavy over “Vines,” the dynamic new track from Philadelphia fuzz-rockers Buddie. It’s the third single from their upcoming full-length, Diving, and every part of its arrangement–from a sluggish bass intro that pulls itself up over and over only to collapse again, to layers of far off, foggy synth–evokes a struggle against the “dark thoughts” of its lyrics. Singer/guitarist Dan Forrest says he started writing it in the fall of 2019, using vines to represent the creeping tension of life with mental illness.
“Many of my closest friends were, and are, struggling with depression,” he says. “The weight of those emotions, fighting serotonin levels, can be visceral and felt physically. It hurt to watch them feel this way, knowing that it takes time to bring someone to that place, and maybe more to work through it and get out of it.”
In the background, the specter of climate change looms large over Diving. It directly inspired the first single, “Heartbeat,” which punches up at the destructive capitalist powers that be. But Forrest–who’s also an environmental researcher–takes things a few steps further, following the thread of humanity vs. nature through trickle-down conflicts into more and more personal spaces. The album’s second single, “In Aquamarine” (with its you-against-the-world hook) is a case of the individual vs. society. “Vines” turns to the individual vs. self. Forrest says the single is addressed to “anyone struggling with depression, or feeling stuck in a rut.”
“It was inspired by those closest to me, and I really hope it speaks to them, but also anyone out there struggling. The metaphor is simple and straightforward, but I think I’m more moved by the music in this song.”
The slow-burning buildup tells the story, and it came together in a collaborative process that shows just how much the band has grown. When Forrest founded Buddie in 2015, it was a solo project, but it now boasts a permanent four-person lineup featuring vocalist/guitarist Danielle Farley, bassist Brian Thomas, and drummer David Dean. All contributed to the writing of “Vines,” starting from Forrest’s opening guitar riff and verse lyrics.
“David and I worked out the arrangement, and he came up with a bunch of cool ideas, like adding a bar or two between the verses,” says Forrest. “Danielle and I decided to double up the guitars to give it that chorus-y sound, and Brian’s bass part gave it a really cool pulse, especially when he threw in those rests during the instrumental parts of the verse. The last touch was adding synth lines to open the verses and fill out the builds.”
The finished product stands out in the wider scope of the album. Forrest says assembling it felt like more of an experiment than the rest of the track list.
“It’s not structured typically, it doesn’t have a traditional chorus, there’s nothing I’d truly call a hook,” he says. “It feels like a mantra as the lyrics repeat and the dynamics take you through to this cathartic build and release. It’s the end of the first side of the tape, and I think it helps bisect the sides. [It] helps set the tone and start the second side anew.”
The final section swells with encouragement as the band narrates the end of the story: “You free your mind.” And as they build out of the haze in an ecstatic wall of guitars and rolling drums, that sense of delirious freedom comes through with all the satisfaction of the sudden breaking of a fever. You can stream “Vines” below, and look for Diving August 4 via Crafted Sounds.