It’s been over a decade since Columbia, SC-based rock band Stagbriar released their debut album. At the time, the band was a two-piece formed by siblings Alex and Emily McCollum, but it wasn’t long before they transformed Stagbriar into the five-piece rock band that we know today.
Fast forward to 2023, and Stagbriar is set to release their third full-length album, Telepathy, on September 15th via Garbage Partner and Caveman Tapes.
They have the same producer from their first two albums, Kenny McWilliams of Archer Avenue, but an evolved sound that leans more heavily into the guitar than ever before — an evolution that is fully welcome in the eyes of Extra Chill.
Today we’re excited to debut the music video for “Call Back in the Morning”, the second single from Telepathy. The video was crafted by Dylan Dawkins, known to the creative world as Persona La Ave. In addition to the video for this new single, Dylan also made the rest of the artwork for the album.
“Call Back in the Morning” is more of a moody exploration than a guitar-heavy rock song, as you’ll hear elsewhere on the Telepathy. It follows the previous single “Tall Socks” in sequence on the album, and describes the avoidance of a phone call, perhaps a stressful one or just someone trying to connect, in a state of perpetually putting it off until tomorrow.
Dylan’s video is a visually-appealing, psychedelic animation that presents the kind of blissed-out, or falsely blissed-out fantasy depicted by the lyrics.
Watch the video below, and read on for a full Q&A with Alex McCollum of Stagbriar, revealing more details about both Telepathy and this collaboration.
Catch Stagbriar’s album release shows in their hometown of Columbia (New Brookland Tavern) on September 29th and Charleston (The Royal American) on September 30th, both shows with 2 Slices.
Q&A With Stagbriar on Telepathy
It’s been over 10 years since your full-length debut album. Since then there has been a hiatus, and a reformation as a full band. It’s now been a few years since reforming and going pretty much full force since then (minus Covid). This is all to gain context for asking, how has Stagbriar evolved as a creative unit over the years? How has your approach to songwriting evolved, in your eyes?
Stagbriar’s transition from duo to a fully-formed 5-piece rock band happened pretty quickly after the release of our first record. A big part in developing the sound we have today was a result of falling in love with a high-energy live show. We’ve taken some steps away from our acoustic guitars and leaned into the band’s electric strengths on this new record. Our lyrics and vocals still keep focus, but are accompanied by a lot of gnarled guitar tones and angular crunchiness. Having 3 electric guitars onstage at all times breeds this sound pretty naturally, and being able to move around and play for a bit definitely appeals to everyone in the group—vocalists included.
Along those same lines, despite any creative changes, each of your three albums has been done with Kenny McWilliams at Archer Avenue. I’d love to hear about the studio vibe, y’all must know each other quite well by now. Recording live is always cool as well.
We love Kenny a lot. After making 3 records together we feel like we speak a lot of the same language. He’s a guitar guy, and this is certainly a “guitar record”. Taking the time to find the right tones and dial them in really makes a difference. We believe in Archer Avenue Studio and Kenny has always been demonstrative of his belief in us.
Recording live was a revelation we had when recording our second record, Suppose You Grow (2020). That revelation carried over to LP3. After our first record (2013) we heard a lot of, “we love the album but you guys sound so much better live”, so we said “fuck it, we’ll do it live”. And they were right. There’s a cohesive momentum and drive in laying it all down together, in looking across the room and actually crashing into moments as a group. You make eye contact when things are good, you jump around when they’re exciting, you get to just…play. Not to mention it’s about 1000x faster than recording track by track.
Tell me about “Call Back in the Morning”, how it fits within the context of the album, and anything else you want to say about it.
Call Back is an interlude in the record; a little mini-acid-trip of communication-anxiety within the greater, mostly fuzzed out rock album. It’ll be a bit of a curveball if listeners expect a whole album of down-tempo grooves after they hear it, but we really dig the repetitive and droned-out nature of it. Just call back later. Not today. The apathy is present. The person on the other line isn’t.
How about working with Dylan? He has a very distinct visual style, what can you say about that process?
Dylan was the perfect choice for designing the album artwork for the new album as well as the video/art for “Call Back in the Morning”. First and foremost, he’s a REALLY hard worker. The dude bear-hugs every project he’s hired to do and doesn’t let go until it’s great. His playful designs and illustrations really help deliver the more energetic sound on this record. It’s the first record we’ve given an artist complete creative control and we couldn’t be more pleased. He spent time with the album, and I think that when we finally saw his ideas we really felt heard. You can’t ask for much more in this sort of collaboration.
Anything else you want to mention?
You can pre-order the new album, Telepathy (out 9/15) on Vinyl (limited red or black), CD, and limited red Cassette at Stagbriar.com. Album release shows on 9/29 in Columbia (New Brookland Tavern) and 9/30 in Charleston (Royal American) — both shows with the homies, 2 Slices.