Hey, Ily Explore Life in the Internet Age on New EP “Internet Breath”
Artists like Hey, Ily are signaling a shift in our consciousness and perception surrounding how we create music. He was able to craft this entire EP using Garageband for iPhone. A record about life in the internet age was made on the same device we are all using to access the internet. Internet Breath is truly an EP where “art imitates life,” and it’s very exciting to see a new generation of songwriters grappling with life in the modern age.
It’s rare to find a record that truly defies categorization. But, I have no clue where to place Hey, Ily’s new EP Internet Breath. And maybe that’s the whole point. It’s just a beautiful, collection of songs about what it means to be human in the internet age.
Internet Breath is the creation of Caleb Haynes. Using a guitar, a bass, and Garageband for iPhone, Haynes was able to craft songs that feel intensely modern. While some have heralded this release a part of the growing “5th wave emo,” Haynes’s work defies categorization. There’s really nothing that sounds like the songs on this new EP. For an album about life in the internet age, the music mimics the gentle chaos of internet existence. The songs are short, flipping between genres as we would flip through videos on our algorithmic feeds.
It may be a short journey at just over 17 minutes, but the EP truly feels like a sonic adventure. Chock full of eight bit synthesizers, bit-crushed drums, giant guitar tones, and sugary-sweet melodies, Internet Breath at times feels almost like a fever dream. Individual songs move through genres so quickly, but still feel cohesive and sincere. Opener “DigitalLung.EXE” immediately kicks into high gear with a huge snare roll and big synth leads that feel as if The Killers set out to make a pop punk record. Haynes sings, “Always tapping, always clicking / Is this really what has become of me? / Keep emotions on my screen / Now this keyboard is my therapy.” Hooks pour out of every corner of this song, while Haynes sincerely articulates the difficulties and intricacies of identity on the internet.
“Don’t Talk About It (Your Weird Complex)” repeats a chorus of “don’t talk about it / we don’t want to talk about it” in three different and equally amazing iterations. In the first, the beat drops out and the refrain takes an almost 90s club turn; pitching up the vocals with percussive keyboard chords as the only backdrop. By the next iteration, the Grandaddy-esque synth groove remains while Haynes sings over at normal pitch. After a lively punk bridge, Haynes slams back into a more driving version of the chorus. Even within a single song, Haynes is able to explore a myriad different musical interpretations of a single melody.
“Behave Like Tundra” and “Slumped” serve as a reset from the melodic onslaught of the first two songs. Behind the thick synth pads on “Behave Like Tundra,” Haynes’ screams are buried in the mix at an unintelligible level. It creates a really nice juxtaposition – the calm of the synth pads with the frenzy of Haynes’ howls in the background. After that song ends, “Slumped” takes the EP into almost smooth jazz territory. It’s carefree groove and smooth synth leads will have you forgetting all your troubles. These songs together expand the EP’s sonic range, and are still full of amazing melodic content.
As if the record couldn’t get any catchier, the penultimate “Projection Joins the Battle” offers up the most earwormy hooks on this record. Over chorused-out guitars and programmed blast beats, Haynes puts his all into the vocal performance. It has all the elements of a classic emo song, but with chip-tuned synthesizers floating above the guitar heavy mix. And finally, “Pretty Boi!” is the true climax of the record. The rhythm changes in this song will have you emoting in ways you thought no longer possible. Haynes excels at creating music that is bound to illicit an emotional reaction, as evidenced by the last two minutes of this song. Just as you think the song is fading out, Haynes launches into a truly massive breakdown. It’s a fitting way to end this EP
Music has an effervescent and ever-present power. No matter the delivery method, it will always be around. Artists like Hey, Ily are signaling a shift in our consciousness and perception surrounding how we create music. He was able to craft this entire EP using Garageband for iPhone. A record about life in the internet age was made on the same device we are all using to access the internet. Internet Breath is truly an EP where “art imitates life,” and it’s very exciting to see a new generation of songwriters grappling with life in the modern age. After this adventure of an EP, I think we can all expect great things from Hey, Ily in the future!
Watch our video interview with Caleb Haynes below!