Chicago’s shadowy songwriter and detached, distorted dream-pop lyricist, Claude, announces her debut EP, Enactor, due out February 12, 2020, via Side Hustle Records / The Orchard. Today, the first single, “Screen,” is shared along with a music video that takes the metaphor into the meta realm. A song about being detached in a digital era and social media’s existential impact, “Screen” is all-too-relatable in 2020.
American Songwriter, who premiered the song and video, says the song “shows Chicago musician Claudia Ferme delivering an eerie, evocative meditation on our collective social media anxiety,” adding, “You’d think social media would make us less lonely—particularly during a time when it’s literally illegal to hang out with other people IRL. Think again.”
On the single, Claude says:
“‘Screen” is about the feeling of desperation I get when I use technology and social media to get attention from or to feel connected to others, especially when I feel lonely or isolated. I’m getting attention from and connecting with other people but only through a very small and curated part of myself. I waste a lot of time and energy for that part of me to feel satisfied temporarily through a medium that isn’t truly authentic or tactile in the first place. No matter how long I think about something I’m posting or how good I think something I’m posting is, it’s never enough and usually leaves me feeling more isolated and lonely than I did before.”
The music video, directed by Bitchcraft / Aliya Haq, “is a pixelated Zoom performance piece, another disturbing mirror-image of 2020,” according to American Songwriter. Claude explains further, saying:
“While I wrote the song before the pandemic, having to stay at home created an opportunity for me to explore the feeling of desperation when using technology and social media to get attention or create the illusion of connecting with others. A lot of the experiences we used to have in person are now being lived through our screens, online, and I think they make our reality seem even more distorted than it currently is.
Loneliness and isolation were also forced onto us this year, even though it was and still is essential for our safety and the safety of others. It’s a situation that’s pretty much universal and it’s been interesting to see how everyone has been dealing with it, or at least how they’ve been portraying the way they’ve been dealing with it. During this time so many things have been amplified and exposed through our screens, and there are more important and pressing things vying for the attention of the people around us — like the pandemic, protests surrounding police brutality and systemic injustice, and the election, to name a few —  how do we strike a balance between staying active and informed while also preserving our mental health during this time when we have no other inlet or outlet for the most part but our screens?”
With artists like Soccer Mommy deleting their social media altogether and too many artists to name conceptualizing the repercussions of gaining self-worth from a like button, Claude offers her voice into the discussion of the social dilemma without telling people what to think or do. With more of an omniscient lens, listeners can decide for themselves whether they relate or not. This grace in it’s disengaged and disconnected surreal view is exactly what Claude is about, and this essence floats through the entire EP.
On Enactor as a whole, Claude says:
“This EP is about the world outside of me and the world inside of me, about change and disassociation, about the different faces we put on, and about trying to be honest. In it are my ideas about the effects of technology, the state of the world, and the state of ourselves when we’re dealing with uncertainty and changes in our lives.
I originally recorded all of the songs for this EP myself the winter of 2017 into the spring of 2018 but then with the help of my dad, who works at a high school with a recording studio, and the school’s engineer added bass and drums and basically made an EP of songs the opposite way you’re “supposed” to make them. As I spent more time in Chicago and met more people who also played music I formed a band. The original members are no longer a part of this project but through one of them I met engineer, and bassist, Michael Mac and he helped me re-record the EP now that we had been playing them live for a while and I had a better idea of what I wanted the songs to sound like.”
Stay tuned for more on Claude’s new EP, Enactor, with more singles on the horizon, and don’t forget to follow her on socials. “Screen” is out now on Side Hustle Records and the EP arrives February 12, 2020.
Photo credit: Kait O’Keefe
Songwriter Claudia Ferme writes existential-dream pop as Claude. She began crafting the songs that make up this project in Bloomington, IN during her last year of college to deal with the dread and fear she felt with finally being done with school and deciding what she wanted to do with her life. The project became fully realized when she moved back to Chicago, during the spring of 2018. After slowly meeting other people in Chicago who also played music she decided to form a band for the project and started playing shows in the city. She draws inspiration from powerful songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Amy Winehouse, Angel Olsen, and Weyes Blood, as she puts lyrics at the forefront of her music. Claude’s music has caught traction on playlists both on Spotify and YouTube — including Spotify’s official “Fresh Finds” playlist, TheLazyLazyMe, BIRP, My Old Kentucky Blog, and Hypemachine.
About Side Hustle Records:
Founded in 2019, Side Hustle Records is a digital label comprised of the music industry veterans at Big Hassle Media. Not tied to any one genre or style, but rather to musical artistry in all its forms, everyone at Side Hustle has set their sights on advancing artists’ careers in any way they can. Side Hustle Records is distributed exclusively by The Orchard. Look out for more exciting releases from Side Hustle in the coming months.
01. Screen
02. Everything’s Great
03. In Limbo
04. Reality
05. Fantasy
06. Enactor
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