WE DIED IN 2012: THIS IS HELL
The world is over. Frankly, it ended back in 2012, just as the Mayans predicted. This space we occupy now is a hell masquerading as normality, obscured by a digital purgatory of our own design. Under a deluge of old Vine videos and Tim and Eric, we tweet out into the vast macrocosm of 0s and 1s, trying to make a sound in an echoing expanse. A voice alone in the darkness is only so loud, however. But as a collective, unified in the desire to make the most out of this Internet-based absurdity, Bid Adieu is ready to be heard.
It's hard to say who Bid Adieu really is, what with its constantly shifting 40 to 45 member roster of creatives, though it definitely started with the music of Jordan Clark and Gray Hall. The pair had played together in college bands before taking their own paths, with Clark's leading to darker recordings influenced by depression and loss. Realizing he needed to find a way to laugh at this wildly intractable world again, he moved to New York for the companionship of Hall and other artsy allies.
That's when work on Bid Adieu's debut album, We Died in 2012: This is Hell, began. The objective was to make a genreless, funky concept record for the Nintendo generation, a fusion of 21st century electronic sounds that felt good for the sake of feeling good. They explore maxilism on tracks like "Weird Place", a technicolor fantasyscape of Earth, Wind and Fire soul put through Daft Punk vocalizers and hip-hop production. Elsewhere, they take minimalist routes towards the twinkling, core R&B of "Calours". In between are tracks like "Cool Online", a dreamy panorama of smooth synths littered with deconstructed bits of video game soundtracks.
"Listeners that enjoy electronic music and 808s and 707s will enjoy it," Clark says of the album, "but then I showed it to my friends who went to the New School and studied jazz and they hear these complex progressions and changes." The work is as challenging as it is engaging, the oeuvre of musicians willing to be equally fearless and fun.
When Clark and Hall started bringing in more and more collaborators to assemble this progressive sonic whimsy, the true magic of Bid Adieu revealed itself. "As we built the songs and got more people on it, I saw all these different people's eyes begin to brighten like bulbs," recalls Clark. "It clicked that the real goal of this all is what will come, what it will produce for the people who experience it."
Swiftly, Bid Adieu grew into a project not just about music, but furnishing an environment where interdisciplinary talents aren't afraid to contribute to a greater ideal -- and succeed. This is, after all, the generation of DIY, where we're used to sending our humble works out into the ether in a quest for likes. What if you cast a net around all that artistic energy to bring it together as a creative powerhouse with a singular message? What if the limitless potential of everyone's abilities was used to find respite in the hell on Earth that is 2018?
The first figure to take a seat at Bid Adieu's extended table was Jeff O'Neil, a videographer whom Clark had worked with extensively. O'Neil took control of the creative direction, conceiving of the color palette and vibe that would paint all aspects of the collective. That range is broad, with members including dancers, meme makers, voice actors, video game creators, painters, activists -- even barbers. It all merges in live shows that are more like plays, a "weird theater of music" with narrators and sets and performers. We Died in 2012 is just the launching pad for the group as they head towards a future of endless possible endeavors.
The very ethos of the group ensures that. Regardless of training, age, or any identifying shackles, all are embraced into Bid Adieu, so long as they're willing to try. "I don't like how there's this weird mentality now with art where you either have it or you don't," says Clark, a firm believer in the inclusive tenets of Kenny Werner's Effortless Mastery. "I don't think there's anything that limits me from the next person. I think that ultimately this project will inspire and bring a platform to people who have an interest but just never had the confidence. Hopefully, this provides the confidence to people who want to give it a shot or who have something to say."
Jointly mobilized, the collective shows that there doesn't have to be a great divide between the artist and the experiencer. We, too, can be the creators, finding tranquility in this buzzing, mixed up life by seeking it together. "I wanted to bring in all these people who have these rough edges and allow those rough edges to show to paint the new, young picture that we're being ourselves and using the talents that we have to make something beautiful," Clark explains. "Bid Adieu is the kids on the Internet who finally feel like they have a home. All the bedroom actors and musicians and whatever else coming out and finally having a home."
Even though we've been here all along, welcome home. Welcome to Bid Adieu.