© 2022 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

First Watch: Alexander F, 'Swimmers'

Imagine waking up in someone else's life. One day, you're a singer in a punky band, the next a tutu-wearing ballerina. This quick video featuring Alex Toth — aka Alexander F, the trumpeter and Energizer Bunny behind the band Rubblebucket — explores exactly this sort of humorous, Kafkaesque switcheroo.

Julia Barrett Mitchell, the video's director, is credited with its inspired treatment and told me that "it's most important to me that the video's narrative reflects the song's meaning and the musician's grander philosophy." Alex Toth described a bit of that philosophy, saying this "song itself is a poetic expression of the idea that our bodies have taken on many forms before this one, whether that body is of another gender, of an animal or a single-celled existence."

Alex is a practicing Buddhist in daily life "and is very passionate about people of all identities, backgrounds, genders and sexualities to have a platform to speak their mind, be heard and make their art," Julia Barrett Mitchell said. "His empathetic nature inspired us to imagine what it would be like if Alex just woke up one morning in someone else's body, as if he were a character in a Kafka novel."

He says he was immediately in love with the punk/ballerina concept. "I'm no stranger to tutus and nail polish and loved how the concept played on the song's reincarnation themes in a present-life rebirth, à la Kafka's Metamorphosis. One day a ballerina awoke and they were a punk singer — or vice-versa."

Much of the music from Alexander F's eponymous 2017 album came to him, somewhat surprisingly, while at a silent meditation retreat in Quebec. He worked with guitarist Steve Marion (Delicate Steve) to produce this bundle of sometimes chaotic, always high-energy songs.

(And one last thing: Rubblebucket is a talent gold mine. Earlier last week we also featured that band's Kalmia Traver, who released a somewhat opposite-toned video and song, also very much worth a watch.)

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.