What is eternalism? What about the Observable Universe? And what the heck does that have to do with music?? Well, Observe The 93rd, the brilliant alt-rock band you need on your radar, is here to answer all those questions and more! They just announced their upcoming album Eternalism, which drops on December 15th and, if you can’t wait that long, you can check out their new track ‘We Are Already Dead’ right now!
CW: Some of the lyrics/themes featured may be heavy/triggering for some readers
We got a chance to talk with Derek from Observe The 93rd and we were super stoked to ask him about the themes and ideas that created ‘We Are Already Dead’ and Eternalism. Keep on reading to find out what he had to say!
Hi and welcome to The Honey POP! Could you introduce yourself to our readers? How would you describe yourself to new fans?
My name’s Derek and I sing and play guitar in Observe the 93rd. Our songs are very diverse, but I’d classify us as alternative rock.
We’re really loving ‘We Are Already Dead,’ can you talk about how this song came to be? What inspired a track about eternalism?
When I was around 12/13 (oh god, always indicative of a long response lol but I’ll try to be concise) I was on the swings at the park in my neighborhood. I’ve always been a pretty weird, existentially minded person haha..and I started thinking about time and certain things being inevitable. I was thinking about how if something is inevitable then it’s almost as if it has always been, and we just haven’t experienced it yet. This led me to having an overwhelming feeling that everything has already happened. That moment on the swings is something that stuck with me and I’d revisit often in my mind. Many years pass and I start trying to research this idea and find that it’s already an entire field of study in philosophy. Going down that rabbit hole then led to this song and album.
Speaking of, we can’t wait to see what you have in store for us with your upcoming album, Eternalism. Can you share a little bit about what fans can expect from this album? Will it be diving into more of the themes explored in We Are Already Dead?’
Yes, the lyrical themes found in ‘We Are Already Dead’ are prevalent throughout the entire album. On the production side of things, as a whole we went for a looser and more raw approach than our previous release, with reference points like In Utero and Unknown Pleasures, though ‘We Are Already Dead’ is one of the few songs on the album with a more modern approach (heavy keyboard elements that are quantized to the grid).
How would you explain eternalism as a concept to your fanbase and what made you choose it as this central theme for the upcoming album?
Eternalism is the philosophy that the past, present, and future all exist simultaneously and are equally real. It’s a concept that has been on my mind for much of my life, though I was oblivious that it had a name and field of study until relatively recently.
Your music is unapologetically visceral, exploring very vulnerable and personal themes like in ‘Go Ahead,’ which explores Derek’s own mental health challenges. What is it like putting that vulnerability out in front of fans and sharing that part of your story?
The catharsis that results from funneling those thoughts into a creative outlet is one of the main reasons I create in the first place. Then, in regards to sharing something like that, it just comes down to the hope that someone might hear it, relate, and feel less alone. Even if it’s one person. That’s what art and music and films have always done for me.
When it comes to songwriting and creating an album, what is your process like? Do you start with a theme and center songs around that or do you create an album, say like Eternalism, by including songs you’ve written that fit that theme?
Our songs always start with the ‘feeling’ or idea that needs to be expressed. Eternalism is the most theme-heavy album we’ve made. The reason for that is I was really diving into what’s been published on the philosophy, as well as branching out with some of my own related theories and thought experiments. I ended up with all these different ideas I was exploring and wanted to write about that ultimately fell under the Eternalism umbrella.
What are you most excited for fans to experience with this album?
I don’t feel like I’ve heard many people discuss the possibility of all points in time existing simultaneously, so I’m excited to share that broad premise as well as my related ponderings and see what other people think as well. Also, very excited and happy about the more raw production style utilized on most of the album.
Who are some of your biggest musical inspirations or artists you’d like to collaborate with one day?
Been listening to a lot of Joy Division, The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen. Post-punk. But long-standing influences are MCR, System of a Down, The Beatles. I would love to collaborate with Meg Myers though. She’s really amazing and authentic.
Your band name comes from the Observable Universe and the Da Vinci quote, “Observation is the key to understanding.” How do you hope to help your fans open up their understanding through your music?
Well, it’s somewhat of a cliche, but inspiration in this territory should always be about how to think, not what to think. Our music explores a lot of existential topics and curiosities, so, if anything, I’d say the songs are an invitation to discover your thoughts on certain ideas while also being exposed to someone else’s.
Last but not least, can you leave us with your favorite lyric (or lyrics) from your discography?
A lyric that stands out right now for me is from a song called ‘Glimpse’, which will be on Eternalism. “Melodies on a vinyl all exist, but you only hear the music where the needle hits. This is our window, our glimpse.”
A massive shoutout to Derek for taking the time to chat with us! It was such a pleasure to get to learn about Eternalism (the album and the concept) and we’re really looking forward to hearing the rest of it! It’s always a good day when we can bring you new artists and new knowledge so we hope you learned something cool from this interview too. Be sure to stream ‘We Are Already Dead’ while you’re waiting for Eternalism to drop.
Be sure to check out more of our awesome interviews too!