As the fall struggles to break through an endless, hot, California summer, we are treated to a slow series of track and video releases off Bone Acre’s sophomore album Taciturnity. Today drops Oh Lord, a ballad straight out of the deep dark swamp of desire, directed by cult filmmaker Nathalie Christmas.
Bubblegummers, this is a rare collaboration between a performer that has learned to channel the powers of the great beyond and a young director at the height of spearheading their aesthetic. Caroline Duggan, Bone Acre’s songstress backbone, commits completely to her role, evoking the complicated depths of Lars Von Trier’s rolodex of taciturn talent. And Christmas… well they’re vibing. Their aesthetic calling to mind clear influence of 60s psychedelia and whatever movement just finished crawling out of the California desert, while also being something wholly new. It calls to mind AvocadoIbuprophin’s New Object, in that Nathalie Christmas is on the razor’s edge of their own emerging aesthetic- breeding the acid techniques of Suprisia with Thai arthouse… Nordic arthouse… the editorial avant-garde… Instagram lifestyle branding… infinite synthesis. It is cerebral and affronting in its depth, just like Caroline, and deeply sensory, for those willing to toke up and soak it in fully.
We had the opportunity to sit down and chat (virtually) with Caroline about the album, life in lockdown, and working with Natalie. Here’s how it went:
S.E. : So, according to my sources(*cough* google *cough*) taciturnity is a quality of a person who doesn’t reveal much information. Sounds like good old fashioned cowboy stoicism. Can you talk about the elements of taciturnity in this album?
Caroline: I was drawn to the word because I often feel a sense of isolationism in my life that I’ve come to realize is very intentional. Even as a kid, I would retreat into a small and quiet place after school, shutting the door behind me. I needed that. I find a lot of peace in being alone with myself. I have been, all my life, both my own best friend and my own worst enemy. And of course, the word itself is so alluring, calling so closely to ‘eternity’.
S. E. : What do you think emerges in your art when you reveal less?
Caroline: I think art can be born out of any state, and I have certainly spent most of my artistic career speaking in half-truths, so I feel there’s something freeing in owning contemplation and reticence for this chapter of my work.
S.E. : I know Oll Korrect, your first album, was born out of a very automatic process. How was making this album different?
Caroline: I spent a long time thinking about what this album was going to say. Not really for anyone else. I knew that people would experience it from their own lens and mine wouldn’t be very important, but I feel strongly that knowing exactly where you’re speaking from does a lot for the conviction of the work. With Oll Korrect everything just sort of flowed from my involuntarily, and it was a conscious choice to approach this album differently. I wanted to be intentional. That felt like something vulnerable to do, and I’m always looking for ways to approach art that way.
I feel strongly that knowing exactly where you’re speaking from does a lot for the conviction of the work.”
S.E. : I guess, if anything, these are times of introspection. Can I ask, what’s it like creating and releasing in this brave new world of Coronavirus restrictions?
Caroline: It’s… not great. I won’t lie. Especially for an artist like me, whose subject matter is far from light and fluffy. I’m not writing dream pop or something. And to be frank, even though it’s been hard to experience as the artist, I can’t really blame anyone. I don’t want to watch heavy shows right now, or read heavy books, or listen to heavy music either. I find myself mostly putting on Miles Davis or something pretty and completely mindless for me. Listening to singers tell their grief or hardship or deep truth is hard in this moment. And this album has a lot of emotion on it. I’m setting it free into the world and letting people get to it when they have room for it in their hearts. That’s all I can do.
S.E. : I feel that for sure, but also Genre bending country music is clearly having a moment right now. I have high hopes for Taciturnity. Can you talk a little bit about your relationship with cowboy, the desert, and the darker elements of this sound?
Caroline: Haha, yes, of course. I have had Bone Acre’s music described to me as Macabre Country, and it always makes me laugh. I live a very cowboy-esque life. I live on a ranch in the High Desert of California, with my husband and my Border Collie and our tractors. We’re completely off the grid and it’s hard work. If we want water, we have to pump it from the well. If we have a few cloudy days we may not be able to keep the lights on at night. I think that life and the way it has colored my view seeps into everything I do. Into the way I dress, and the way I carry myself, and certainly it finds its way into my music. I’ve always loved themes of good and evil. You’ll find them in the novels I write, in my music, and in everything I do. Bone Acre has brought the struggle of good and evil internal, in a lot of ways. I’ve realized, more than anything, it’s me I’m fighting most of the time. I think a lot of people can relate to that.
S.E. : You collaborate with a ton with artists who have very distinct points of view. What was it like working with Natalie and expressing yourself within their interpretation of your narrative?
Caroline: Nothing could be more satisfying to me than setting my story free within another artist’s mind and seeing what I get back. You have the opportunity, when you can fully do that, to learn something about yourself. There are parts of you that can hide in plain view in your work sometimes, and when you have a really talented artist like Nathalie Christmas, who is being nothing but 100% honest with themselves, they can shine a light on those things that you may not have even seen. It’s one of my favorite things about music. As reticent and taciturn as I can be, music is so collaborative, from top to bottom. That’s the real beauty in it.
There are parts of you that can hide in plain view in your work sometimes, and when you have a really talented artist like Nathalie Christmas, who is being nothing but 100% honest with themselves, they can shine a light on those things that you may not have even seen.”
S.E. : I know this is a goofy ask, but, since you’ve worked with legend Dave Catching, do you feel like you’re now a part of the High Desert pantheon?
Caroline: I think some people would think of us that way. We certainly have been lucky enough to play shows with some of that crew and hang out, and I’m extremely grateful for that experience. Mostly, I think I do what I do. And life gives me what it gives me to support those efforts. But, Dave is one of the nicest humans anyone would ever be lucky enough to meet, and any grace he has cast on this project is eternally appreciated by us, that is for certain.
interview by S. E. Toulouse.
Photos by Nathalie Christmas
Directed and Edited by Nathalie Christmas
Director of Photography Kalea Calloway
Gaffer Sean Duggan
Glam and Wardrobe by Nathalie Christmas
Production Assistant Natchez Fowler
A Namesake Content production
This production was conducted in accordance with CDC Guidelines regarding the Covid-19 Pandemic.