Last month, electronic-pop producer Louis Weeks released “Fire,” the promising first single from his forthcoming album, haha. Bandwidth liked it so much we put it on our list of our favorite D.C. songs of 2015 thus far.
Today I can add another Weeks composition to that list: the second single from haha, called “Antelope.” (Listen to an exclusive stream below.)
The slightly eerie “Antelope” is a big shift from the upbeat “Fire.” It starts off as a hushed guitar-and-voice piece that grows dramatic with creeping woodwinds and percussion. The lyrics are complex, leaping between scenes of an avalanche, a lion hunting an antelope and a romantic relationship. Those images — like the rich harmonies — end on an unresolved note, like a Pynchon novel set to music.
“There’s a tinge of darkness and also a kind of sweet hopefulness to it,” says Weeks, who made his full-length debut with the stirring shift/away in 2014. “It’s easy for me — sometimes too easy — to assign myself the role of the lion, or the antelope, or the avalanche or the pine trees… What I aspire to, is the mental discipline and courage to live in the song’s other images: the hazy and muted interactions that acknowledge the subtle ways that we change our world and each other.”
Based in D.C., Weeks recorded “Antelope” and the rest of haha last June in Baltimore, Maryland. He worked with guitarist Noah Berman, drummer Matt Honor and woodwind player Ethan Helm, describing their sessions as “a particularly group effort.”
“Originally the song was a kind of quiet solo guitar idea, but Matt and Ethan and Noah had great ideas of how to explode the song at about the two-thirds mark. The woodwind part, particularly, made us all sit up and say, ‘Wow.'”
Haha officially drops June 2. “It’s an album in two halves,” says Weeks. “‘Antelope’ is a good example of the themes and aesthetic of the second half of the album.”
Weeks says that the enigmatic title is meant to evoke “the challenges and joys of connecting with another person… The word ‘haha,’ to me, is a great example of that. It’s an attempt to communicate an incommunicable expression.”
Louis Weeks plays Howard Theatre May 28.