Mar 02, 2023
By Caleb Campbell
Heavy Feelings is the new collaborative project from Bristol-based guitarist and songwriter Ben Shillabeer and Nadia Garofalo, co-founder of the Chicago post punk outfit Ganser. After playing with a variety of bands in the local Bristol scene, Shillabeer stepped away from music following the dissolution of his band Empty Pools in 2016. He returned to music-making during the lockdown, bringing Heavy Feelings together as a solo project with his 2022 record, Power Reflection.
Shillabeer’s creative resurgence was directly inspired by Ganser’s sophomore record, Just Look At That Sky, so he reached out to Garofalo and invited her to collaborate on the record. He co-wrote three of the album’s tracks with Garofalo, and the pair have since continued to work together on new music. The first taste of these new releases comes out tomorrow with the band’s new single “The Prize,” and today they’re sharing an early listen to the track, premiering with Under the Radar.
“The Prize” is the most focused and potent example of Shillabeer and Garofalo’s creative chemistry yet, layering Garofalo’s haunting vocals above bleary synth textures and ripping post punk guitars. The synths have a drifting abstract feel, especially on the dreamy outro, but the looping rhythms and searing guitars also bring out a visceral immediacy, lacing the track with propulsive hooks and dark allure. Meanwhile, Garofalo’s lyrics explore some deeply cathartic territory for both band members, wrestling with pursuing a dream you no longer believe in: “It’s not as good as you remember / But we all know memory is rough / What’s the use in winning / When the prize comes at a loss / And the wheels will just keep spinning / And no one cares that you want off.”
Garofalo says of the track, “Working on this song [The Prize] and developing the music video has been really cathartic. Over the last few years, I’ve had to reevaluate my relationship to music making and what it meant to me, what success meant to me. I found myself in a place where I wasn’t happy and needed to be brutally honest about what that meant. The Prize is a song I’m really proud of having worked on and I’m honored that Ben trusted my input enough to let me put myself into it. I’m excited for what comes next for this project.”
Check out the single below, and pre-order the single release track here. You can also watch the accompanying music video directed by Kirsten Miccoli.