by Ryan Haughey
A thin layer of darkness encompasses the shining crystal ball that is Chastity’s sophomore album, Home Made Satan. The visions the crystal ball bestows on listeners are those of flickering strobe lights, dirty mirrors, shadow puppets, and people in masks – all of which piece together the music video for “Sun Poisoning,” one of the lead singles on the record.
Home Made Satan is the second album in a trilogy that was started off spectacularly with Chastity’s debut album Death Lust. “The character in Death Lust gets out alive. Home Made Satan is about continuing to fight for your life, and defending other vulnerable lives,” says Brandon Williams, the mastermind behind Chastity.
Williams says he recently realized he has over 6000 notes in his phone – some are grocery lists, but most are ideas and lyrics. “They all come from a visceral spark of something, and are only collected later on to reinforce each other under one song.” He writes almost every day, lyrics or otherwise, and says he has a few ideas for the third record in the trilogy already prepared. “I’ve written three songs for it this summer… they are quite up the middle 2000s clean guitar style emo songs so far. I’m hoping to add a lot of strings.”
As for Home Made Satan, the record sounds slightly lighter than its predecessor. “I get bad migraines, I have since I was a kid, and some of my worst have been after shows. I think yelling rattles anyone’s brain, and doing it for 30 minutes, a bunch of nights in a row, has gotten to mine,” Williams says. “The biggest sonic difference (between the records) is, I think, no yelling? It’s hard for me to hear drastic differences because the two came from the same emotional place for me, yelling my words or not.”
Williams says he was also curious to hear what the hardcore and emotional lyrics of his would sound like over more tender music. Home Made Satan does have its moments under a hardcore spotlight, but some of the most spectacular moments on the record come quietly and hit hard. The song “Dead Relatives” is less than two minutes long and boasts no heavy hitting drums, but rather lyrics that would bang themselves painfully against the walls of any listener’s skull.
Chastity recorded the album within a tight timeframe between touring, yet the album sounds very well composed and highly thought out. “Even though we toured a lot, there was still time at home and I spent my time sensitively,” Williams says. He spent some thirteen days recording, sleeping in the studio until the album was finished. “I was really after this record, it felt urgent or something – to write and complete a somewhat political record, especially after spending so much time in America.”
“The challenges of touring sort of played into the writing of this record. You get cheaper fuel and hotels outside of the city, and so we would almost always end up in the outskirts after shows. It felt like stepping off a closed movie set, going from playing in an American city to sleeping in an American outskirt. It was dismal, especially the trailer parks in the north where it gets cold during the winter. We would talk about feeling sympathetic to a lot of American people.”
Williams give valuable credit to Simon Larochette for mixing Home Made Satan and finding a way for Williams to listen in on the mixing process while still on the road. “Massive credit to simon for caring so much for these songs and seeing these mixes through to being as great as he got them, and for allowing all of that brightness on the songs – I’m sorry.”
Home Made Satan holds a lot of personal and political significance. Williams hopes audiences will have their own unique experience listening to the record. “I think the record to me is about feeling sympathy for the lost, about caring for yourself and others, and about a collective conscience tug of war.”