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Interview with A$$HOLS & New Music Video Carrying Capacity

Interview with A$$HOLS & New Music Video Carrying Capacity

Toronto DIY project A$$HOLS consisting of BingeNinja’s Shane Burrow and Prodigy have recently released their latest music video “Carrying Capacity”. The track was made start to finish by the duo, including writing, producing, recording, mixing and the creation of the video! We had the opportunity to ask them about the new track, you can give it a watch below and keep scrolling for our interview!

Interview with A$$HOLS

You’ve released your latest single Carrying Capacity, do you remember the first time you two started working on the track together?

Shane: When we first started discussing how we would approach this project, we decided that we would start by scrolling through samples Kyle had built and hopefully find something that we wanted to extrapolate on. Funnily enough, the first sample Kyle showed me was what became our first single “IGAA”. After completing that song he showed me another sample that was the basic foundation of what we would use to construct “Carrying Capacity”. It was literally the first and second samples Kyle showed me that ended up becoming the first and second songs we made.

Kyle: I believe we started discussing a new project in late 2021, and started sculpting the sounds out in early 2022. Carrying Capacity is the second single we sunk our teeth into. I had several newer samples I was creating in the months leading up to the first time we got in a room together to start working on the new material. Shane is incredibly talented at lyricism, and vocals in general, and the inception of the A$$HOLS EP materialized rather quickly. It took a LONG time to get the mixes and video editing just right.

The song mixes a variety of genres to make a sonic soundscape, what was the process of writing the music itself?

Kyle: I always try to start with some type of melody or hook, even 4 bars will do. From there we start selectively carving out the drumbeat and chopping the overall sample. Once we have a basic infrastructure in place we can start playing around with arrangements of the main sample, and adding additional synths and instrumentation as needed. Once there is a reasonable structure, Shane starts writing lyrics and usually within an hour or two we can have his vocal takes tracked, and the song really starts to come together. Then it’s the long road to mix it into something that meets both of our sonic visions, and I’m very happy to say the results are worth the time it took.

Shane: Kyle is an extremely talented engineer, so he did an amazing job maneuvering the recording itself. I had a vision for how I wanted the notation to fit the melodies of my vocals into the existing sample, so after adding synths into the intro he created a drum beat that would carry the lyrics of my verse. It was at this point that we were both starting to see the potential for a very dramatic, cinematic film score vibe, so instead of following a conventional pop song structure we slowed the drums down, varied the notation to a grandiose incline and layered many vocal takes which brought the original sample to a completely uplifting crescendo.

Are there any artists that inspired the sound?

Shane: Honestly, no. It was quite the opposite. Our intent was to let things flow naturally, and stay completely oblivious to adhering to a certain sound, genre or artist. The only rule we made for ourselves was that we come together for a session when we are REALLY into it. Never forced. I truly believe that is the reason our creativity together happened so naturally, and why the songs themselves are so different and innovative.

Kyle: There wasn’t a definitive artist that directly inspired us to begin this particular project or pursue this sound. I’m sure there is plenty of underlying inspiration that has been drawn from certain artists for both of us, but we really tried to approach this project without any direct influence. We were hoping to create something unique to us.

Can you tell us about the lyrics?

Shane: Carrying Capacity is the number of people, other living organisms, or crops that a region can support without collapsing. The fate of our world, environment and the organisms that live within it is something that’s constantly on my mind. Because of the cinematic opus the song began to evolve into, I wanted to write lyrics that were larger than life and that used a “less is more” approach by choosing minimal words that had double entendres and double meanings to create an emotional narrative. Aside from the literal definition of carrying capacity, I used that subject matter as a metaphor for a failing relationship so that I could blend the literal science with my own personal experience which I feel we completely achieved and lends itself to Kyle’s masterpiece music video.

Were there any artists that inspired the vocal performance?

Shane: Once again I would say no because it was our mission statement from the beginning to be as creatively adventurous and original as possible. That being said, some fan reactions have mentioned comparisons to artists like Bjork, Team Sleep and Silverchair which are all artists that I absolutely adore so it’s a compliment that there is some semblance to singers that are embedded in my DNA.

I love the visuals that go along with the song, can you run us through the process from envisioning to creating them and what they represent for you?

Kyle: Thanks very much. AI has really started to come into the fold over the last couple of years, and the accessibility to enter some prompts and create media has become too easy. I’d been dabbling with the idea of creating something a little more complicated than previous videos I’ve shot and edited the traditional way, and really didn’t want to resort to using AI tools as a crutch. Using the lyrics for the song as direct inspiration, I wanted to create something that captured decay and unsustainability, and what that might look like from a higher being’s perspective. While no AI was used to created the 3D visuals, I chose to ironically use AI pseudo-script generation at the start of the video to give the impression of artistic degradation for media creation in general. All of the 3D visuals I created manually with Mandelbrot fractal generation, using Mandelbulb 3D. Every scene was meticulously explored and intentionally calculated; the raw footage took approximately 200 hours to render across three different machines, plus however long the actual video editing took. It was a labour of love for sure.

Shane: Kyle created the music video from the ground up. What I wanted to say is how perfectly the final results mesh with the entire concept of the song from music to lyrics. I honestly feel it is a result of how intrinsically connected we were for this project. What he created is a complete work of art.

The two of you wrote, produced, recorded, mixed and engineered the song as well as created the video yourself, which is a whole hell of a lot of teamwork. How tolling is it to do it all yourselves, and what is the reward like afterwards knowing you pulled it off?

Shane: It wasn’t tolling at all because as I mentioned earlier, we would only get together if we were both super pumped to do it. Kyle may feel a little different because he was the one engineering the record and had to deal with me over his shoulder barking ideas at him lol. To answer the second part of the question, it has been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done musically and I am both immensely proud and insanely baffled at what we accomplished.

Kyle: I don’t think it was tolling, but I definitely felt some brief moments of stress during the mixing and mastering process, mostly because I didn’t want to fall short on Shane’s vision for the material. It really is a patience game, and the best you can do is just keep chipping away at it until it becomes the vision you started with. I’m very proud of what we’ve created, and it’s been a very rewarding and enjoyable experience.

Now that the song has been released out into the world, have your thoughts changed on it at all since you recorded it?

Shane: It’s really become larger than life. There’s a part of me that can’t believe we did it and that it’s some genius composer’s song. I’m sure that sounds a little conceited, but I’m really just very proud of what we accomplished. However, I hope that our fans read this interview because releasing the video as is creates this very ominous, unexplained piece that has elements most people have overlooked. I’m hoping that after reading some of our answers to your very good questions, listeners can garner a much denser understanding of the concept of the song/video, as well as our process and passion put into the creation of the upcoming EP.

Kyle: Not really. I think we said what we wanted to say with it, and we’re eager to get it out there.

How has A$$HOLS evolved since you first started the project?

Kyle: The mixing and mastering process has grown leaps and bounds over the past couple of years since we started demoing the tracks out. It’s taken me a lot of time and effort, and hundreds of hours mixes across various other projects to finally feel comfortable releasing something I’ve engineered. It’s been a long friendship and lifelong pursuit for both of us to figure out how to put it all together, and we’re growing and evolving along with our process constantly.

Shane: Well, the first song we wrote was the first single “IGGA”. The second song we wrote was the second single “Carrying Capacity”. The third song we wrote is the final single/video, so I guess you’re just gonna have to stay tuned in.

What can fans expect next from you guys?

Shane: The music video for our third and final single. Then a live performance EP release.



About The Author

Jesse Read

Jesse Read is a videographer, writer and editor for Dropout Entertainment. As a musician as well as a videographer, Jesse has travelled the country numerous times, playing alongside and listening to the stories of hundreds of artists. A few of those are documented on this site. For video's, interviews & features follow the contact us tab!

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