Semaphore is proud to announce the forthcoming release of their new album I Need A Reason To Stay, out March 24th. Comprised of singer and guitarist Siddhu Anandalingam, drummer Emmett Ceglia, guitarist Jay Kohler, and bassist Niko Hasapopoulos, the Brooklyn-based quartet has been busy over the past few years navigating the lonesome loudness of modern life. With the announcement of the new album they are also sharing the lead single “Smother” along with its accompanying music video which can be streamed below. “‘Smother’ is a song about trying to fight against anxiety and uncertainty,” shares Anandalingam. “To me, part of the human experience is the fact that so many people never quite figure out their purpose. It’s tough to trust in a future that you feel is accelerating toward the void. It’s hard to be too sure of anything, especially when the forces of technology keep you in this suspended state of angst and complacency. Musically, this song was inspired by Foo Fighters and Balance and Composure, but while drawing from some overt shoegaze harmonic influences that I never heard them touch upon. Most of my experimentation when writing is dictated by the tuning that I choose. After coming up with the chorus in a more standard ‘Drop D’, I changed some of the higher strings to ring out sympathetically, much like a sitar.”
On the surface, Semaphore seems much like any other shoegaze band: they’re loud, atmospheric, and very, very moody. “We know we’re a bunch of sad boys singing for sad boys,” acknowledges Anandalingam, “but there’s a disaffectedness to a lot of shoegaze, an instinct to contribute to a collective droning, that Semaphore resists. We’re not trying to glorify numbness. We want to actually reach our audience.” This longing to connect underpins Semaphore’s work, lending an urgency to the band’s perspective, sound, and approach.
Founded in 2013 by Anandalingam, Semaphore released its first album, All Too Robot, in 2016, establishing the band’s scene-bending fusion of shoegaze, post-hardcore, and impressionist classical music. “It’s somewhere between My Bloody Valentine, Glassjaw, and Debussy, with a top note of angry teenage boy.” Their forthcoming release, I Need a Reason to Stay, develops and complicates that premise: “so much of the music made for young people is very blunt and on-its-face. Our mission is to take the music that was foundational to us as both people and artists and evolve it into something sophisticated and inviting.” Semaphore’s unique sound luxuriates in the shifting tonalities, airy melodies, and lush orchestration of their greatest musical influences, incorporating songcraft and vocals in a decidedly un-shoegazey way. “It’s the music I would have wanted to listen to in high school.”