Having recently released the 4-track Act 1 (The Pilgrim), marking their Heavenly debut, London-based 6-piece Tapir! have today shared the video for ‘Gymnopédie, the first track to be taken from the 4-track Act 2 (Their God), which is available digitally today. The EP also features a narrated interlude from Little Wings.
The elegant ‘Gymnopédie’ references both Erik Satie and Woody Guthrie as well as the ancient Greek Gymnopaedia festival of naked dancing by the sea. Creating a lush waltz time backing track to house lyrical visions of a dysfunctional heaven, at the climax of the track, the whole thing opens out into a glorious lo-fi symphony that sounds like it’s performed teetering on the edge of a cliff before sliding into a soaring, surrealistic chorus of: ‘Because I’ve been told in Heaven/The rooms are filled with mice/There’s breadcrumbs in the bed sheets/And Jesus had head lice.’
The band explain about the video:
“The music video takes the fictional narrative of the pilgrim and places it in the real world. From traversing grassy knolls and ploughing through the nether, the protagonist stumbles into a working film set on the beach. Here, they become part of a reenactment of Act Two’s story, undergoing a symbolic baptism surrounded by Pyrrhic dancers and receiving the sacrament from a femme Jesus. The video will be part of the album’s companion film, which will capture the full journey of the pilgrim.”
Core to maintaining their DIY ethos and playful nature, the band plan to release works in a range of mediums in their multidisciplinary approach, with paintings, set design, soundscapes, costumes, short films, masks, animation, puppetry and theatrical plays all set to come alongside. As with Act 1, this approach continues with the ‘Gymnopédie’, video which has been self-shot, self-directed and self-produced by the band via their art collective ‘My Life is Big’ and again vocalist Ike Gray has provided the hand-painted artwork for the EP.
Set in a fictional universe of green hills, choppy seas and red creatures, Act 2 (Their God) continues where Act 1 (The Pilgrim) left off charting the adventure into this mysterious land, as Tapir! tell the story of the Pilgrim, a creature embarking to unearth the land’s history, meeting all sorts of strange characters along the way.
Recorded and produced by Joe Futák and featuring backing vocals and violin from Christie Gardner and Helen Dixon of London-based duo Lilo, ‘Gymnopédie’ is from the Act 2 (Their God) EP, the second part of their forthcoming debut multidisciplinary narrative album which will be released over time as 3 episodic EPs, which they’ll then compile into the complete album in early 2024.
• ‘ACT 1 (THEIR GOD)’ • TRACK LIST•
Act 2 (Their God)
Talking about Act 2 (Their God) and ‘Gymnopédie’, Ike from Tapir! said:
“I feel like this EP is the most melodramatic and theatrical – I think you can find humour in taking a feeling or emotion and pushing the boat out as far as you can with it (literally in our case). Something like Gymnopédie became so grandiose and camp, it’s definitely one of the songs on the album that resonates with me the most emotionally, but this EP is probably my favourite as it pulls the most inspiration from biblical and mythical sources – Eidolon being stolen from a Walt Whitman poem, Gymnopedie being stolen from Erik Satie and Broken Ark being stolen from the bible. I wrote most of the songs a long time ago but I love how they have all found a way of working together and fitting into the narrative of the project.”
Will from the band added:
“It’s a nice change from the last EP, as The Pilgrim goes on a journey in a completely new setting. Water and the ocean take centre stage this time, which you hear straight away from the field recordings of seagulls and docklands in the first track. There are two waltzes; Broken Ark and Gymnopédie, in the middle of the EP, which adds to that feeling of endlessly riding the waves on the sea- these two waltzes mirror each other too. Broken Ark feels like a decaying shipwreck eroding on the beach, while Gymnopédie lifts you up from being washed ashore and propels you towards some sort of higher power. The final track, Eidolon becomes this relief moment, where all the instrumentation is gently stripped away. It’s like shutting the door on a raging storm and stepping into a cosy house with a cup of cocoa and a warm fire crackling.”
Having appeared at the Sea Change, Visions, Dot to Dot and Kite festivals and played alongside Black Country New Road over summer, Tapir! have a run of Autumn festival shows and special headline London show at Avalon Cafe to mark the release of Act 2.