The Bishop Boys are a musical duo from Windsor, Ontario, armed with a soulful and warm vibe that fans around Southwestern Ontario are dying for.
Mostly upbeat and positive, the duo took a sharp turn with their latest single Dark Days, diving into a deeper, more serious lyric, based on the news and the changing world around them.
The Boys got together for a Zoom interview to chat about the new single.
Tell me about your new song.
Austin Di Pietro – So our new single is called “Dark Days”. As you can guess, it’s about the events of the past year and kind of a collective consciousness of feeling like we’re in dark days, but coming out of those dark days hopefully soon. It’s also meant to be a hopeful song as well.
It’s pretty obvious why you chose to write about it. It was the environment at the time and still is. Do you normally write about what happens to you? Or was this really striking?
Andrew Adoranti – I think a lot of our songs up until this point have been based on past experiences, but maybe loosely, like we created a story with the lyrics, and it’s almost like we’re telling the story of a character. But I think this is the first time that we’ve really written something that’s completely based on current events.
Austin – Even in our bio, it says most of our songs do with love, heartbreak and carefree summer vibes. So this is definitely out of the norm for us.
What were some of the events that created this?
Andrew – Well, I think, first and foremost, the pandemic and being in quarantine, and kind of feeling isolated. Some of our lyrics, for instance, like live streamed and lonely, just show we’ve all had to adapt to a more digital world and our inability to communicate with each other. Also, the events with the Black Lives Matter protest, George Floyd, we talked about riots in the streets and in the song, so that was another inspiration.
How scary was that being in Windsor and seeing the stuff going on in Detroit, the two cities are so intertwined?
Austin – I think it drew some really stark parallels to the riots of 1967 – we saw a lot of it unfold on the screen. And obviously, we weren’t around back in 1967, but we still hear stories about that; we see the pictures. So it drew some really scary parallels to that and seeing it come across the computer screen and seeing all the police brutality and whatnot. It was definitely scary.
Back in 1967, Windsor residents didn’t need a television to see the craziness that was going on – all you had to do was look over the water. Do you think maybe the Dark Days theme is about some of that direct pain?
Austin – I think it is. For us, when we wrote it, it deals a lot with our own personal pain and our struggle in the pandemic, like live streamed and lonely, it deals with, the loneliness of being online and not being able to be with your friends. But we would see musicians live streaming themselves and connecting with an audience. But we weren’t even allowed to be together in a room. So that’s where that lyric came from as we saw everybody else live streaming, but we weren’t really allowed to do that. So it deals with personal struggle, but I think everybody can relate to it. Because we’re all kind of in the same boat this year.
Andrew – I think that the quarantine situation created an environment where we’re all collectively, probably for one of the first times in the world, going through the same horrible thing. I guess, in that sense, although it’s a personal song, our personal feelings are similar to almost everyone in this situation, because we’re all going through the same thing.
Windsor-Essex is the star of your music video. Tell me about the video.
Austin – During the pandemic, we became inspired a little bit by Wes Anderson’s cinematography style. In Wes Anderson’s movies, he deals a lot with colors and really aesthetically pleasing backdrops. So we wanted to show that Windsor-Essex also has a lot of beautiful backdrops to offer. We wanted to feature those, but also show the meaning of the song which is why in the video, we’re standing six feet apart, the way the social distancing orders are. But, I think we wanted to show a lot of that and showcase Windsor-Essex while doing so.
Andrew – I think that’s the point that we were trying to get across in the music videos that you know, now we can’t travel anymore, right? We’re locked down in Windsor at home. So it’s nice to see that there are beautiful places even within the place that we’re currently locked down in.
When you guys made the video, did you actually space yourselves exactly six feet apart?
Andrew – Yes, we did. We had a tape measure.
Austin – At one point, actually, we forgot the tape measure and we had to go home and get it and bring it out to the shoot. So we were very exact about it.
I was hoping you’d say that. Tell me about the locations you chose.
Austin – Half the locations like in the verses of the song, we wanted to showcase the meaning of the song. So I mean, “live streamed and lonely”, or “front lines and fences”, and “God bless the superhero medicine man”, we put ourselves in front of the big healthcare workers mural on Tecumseh Road and Walker Road, because we felt that that was the scene that best showcased that and it was also colorful. But throughout the video, there are also just colorful shots that we wanted to do to brighten it up a bit. And that showed the contrast between dark to light, the hopeful meaning of the song, so we went up to the Kingsville Dock because we heard that there were quite a few colorful buildings out there too. I think we got a teal building, a red building and quite a few different colors. So it shows those contrasts from dark to light.
Tell me about your EP Pelee Island.
Andrew – The Pelee Island EP is separate from Dark Days. That’s something that we released earlier. We had been previously going out to Pelee Island quite a few times. We performed at the Island Unplugged Festival. It was just a great experience for all of us having a bonding experience. So we wanted to devote an album to that. So we wrote some songs, loosely inspired, I think, by Pelee Island, but we recorded the album in really just a couple of hours, over the course of two days.
Austin – Yeah, two days. I think our recording engineer Derek said it was 12 or 13 hours, the one day that we spent just recording all the different instruments. And it came together, just like that, because there’s that magic of Pelee Island, I think is what brought it together too.
We released it just before the pandemic hit. Actually, we did a release show on February 15 and then the pandemic hit the next month, and we didn’t even get a chance to really promote it with any more live shows. And then this song “Dark Days” was written actually a couple months after the release show.
You guys are a duo, and here you were separated. Could you talk about the isolation part of it.
Andrew – That was hard being separated from each other because it made writing songs difficult getting together to practice, any kind of movement that we wanted to go forward with the band was really hindered because we couldn’t be in the same room at any time. And I think just the personal sense of it became really draining. Like, in terms of writing music, or even having creative ideas at some point when you’re just stuck into in your house for so long. It gets depressing, I guess. It’s a big block.
Austin – The way we write music together is we write sections of the song by ourselves, or one of us will write part of a song, and then we’ll bring it together to the other person, and then we’ll bounce ideas off each other. So, because that couldn’t happen, I think our writing output kind of diminished, because we go to each other for that sense of constructive feedback, or reassurance even to, when we think this idea is no good, we bring it to the other person, then they say, No, we really got something here, and then it turns into a song. I think Andrew had written the chord progression for “Dark Days”. Then the first time we were able to get together for a few beers, like when the last lockdown started loosening up, is when we actually wrote the whole song. We wrote it in one night. It was really tough those first few months and really depressing
Tell me about Windsor-Essex and what that means to you?
Austin – We both grew up in Riverside, and we both met in high school, at F.J. Brennan Catholic High School. So a lot of our songs are based on experiences had here. We hold this area really close to our hearts and I think our songs really reflect that. So whenever we do a music video, like “Dark Days”, or our first music video that we put out “Might Be Alright”. We try to feature the Windsor-Essex region because we feel almost like underdogs here. I feel like, everybody kind of talks down on Windsor-Essex. Or not everybody, but a lot of people do, and they want to get out of here first chance to get.
But I feel we try to fight that notion in our music, writing and videos. So we hold this region really close and dear to us.
Keep an eye on their website (www.soulcitymusiccoop.com/tbbmusic) for more music from The Bishop Boys