Rachael Margaret Kime, vocalist for L.A.-based band Glaare, hadn’t seen Hellraiser until recently. But, she had been watching and re-watching a lot of ’80s movies when her husband and bandmate, Brandon Pierce, suggested naming Glaare’s second album after The Hellbound Heart, Clive Barker’s book upon which the now-classic horror film is based.
“It’s so fitting,” says Kime on a recent phone call, since she was writing songs based on movies that she was either watching for the first time, or for the first time in years; when she finally saw Hellraiser, she connected with it and wrote another song.
Your Hellbound Heart is a journey into the dark, twisted cinema of the late 20th century. There are nods to Terminator 2, Total Recall, Prince of Darkness and They Live, as well as cult classic Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me on the album. However, the film references are there to make a bigger point.
Take “Divine Excess” for example. It’s inspired by They Live, specifically, the Bearded Man, who breaks through television broadcasts to speak of the ills of the capitalist world. “I think a lot of what we’re experiencing in this society is a collective madness based on what capitalism has done to us and we’re all after that divine excess,” says Kime, “as though it’s going to make us closer to God in some way, to achieve this excess.”
She adds, “Essentially, I was in the exact opposite position, where I just wanted to destroy everything. I don’t want to build anything. I don’t want to acquire anything. I want to destroy everything and burn it all down. That’s how I wrote the words to that song.”
Glaare began working on what would become The Hellbound Heart in in late 2018. At around the same time, Kime’s father had died. She was drawn the “heady, strange, existential scenes about mankind and the ego and the relationship between it all and how the polarities are working together at the same time in this very harmonious, catastrophic way” that’s often so characteristic of the horror genre. As she watched those movies, she found a similarity amongst the characters that resonated with her. They were often trying to tell a truth to people who simply didn’t believe them. “That’s what I felt like at the time,” she says.
It was a crucial point of inspiration for Glaare. Since their 2017 debut album, To Deaf and Day, the group has established a reputation for their darkwave sound, but Kime also refers to Glaare as a “cinematic band.”
“We always seen ourselves as scoring a movie that doesn’t exist,” she says, “like we’ve written this non sequitur Lynchian movie that we’re scoring.”
Your Hellbound Heart would prove to be a difficult album to make. The band would spend a few months at work on it and then have to put it aside. They upgraded equipment after finishing the demos, which created some challenges while re-recording vocals. “The vocal takes that we got in the demos were just so raw and they sounded awesome,” she says. However, they weren’t of a high enough quality to mix with the new equipment. Kime adds that her preference is to use the vocals recorded in a first take. “You can’t try to repeat a performance because it will just sound contrived,” she says. “It’ll sound like walking in the uncanny valley.” For the songs on Your Hellbound Heart, they found a solution. “We were able to kind of tuck some of the initial demo vocals in with the new vocals to beef it up and keep it raw sounding.”
In the midst of working on the album, Glaare’s lineup changed as well. When their original guitarist left the fold, bassist Rex Elle stepped in to the spot. Then the band snagged Marisa Prietto as their new bassist.
“We saw her play years ago with Wax Idols and we just fell in love with her,” says Kime of Prietto. “She’s such a spitfire on stage. I’ve never seen someone move on stage in heels while singing and playing guitar like that. It was un-fucking-real. We were afraid to talk to her because she was so cool.”
In the end, they made a passionate and energetic sophomore album, one that’s dance floor-friendly, while retaining the dark aural aesthetic of their debut. Your Hellbound Heart is as much about the images it might conjure in listener’s heads as it is about the beats and hooks.
Released on April 30 via Weyrd Son Records, Your Hellbound Heart has been garnering a good response, which makes Kime happy. “I just want truly for people to connect with this,” she says. “I don’t care how many it is, and I don’t care who they are, just as long as somebody is able to feel like there’s someone out there that understands them.”
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