Post Punk Depression: Welcome Center – “Is This All There Is?”

photograph by Brice Baum

Welcome Center

“Is This All There Is?”

The answer to the question is a definite yes!  Welcome Center, from Dallas later Philadelphia, is comprised of Jesse Smith and Aaron Sternick, who, fifteen years ago, bonded outside a dorm room by a love of Turkish Golds and early-aught’s indie rock.  I love the brightness of the sound while the lyrics are definitely gloom enhanced.  They remind me of a even more depressing New Order, as if Ian Curtis was still around and writing the dance hits.  I have to share what Welcome Center said about their song, because it describes the song so well:

Regarding “Is This All There Is?” Jesse Smith stated “In my early 30s, this thought kept going through my head whenever I was in the midst of experiencing anything, even if it was a new experience: ‘Is this all there is?’ Travel, time, love, religion, pain, and materialism, I couldn’t get the phrase out of my head, so I started working on a new demo for Welcome Center, which had been a lo-fi pop project up until this point.

“When I sent the demo over to Aaron, he had this idea to craft it as a pop song with the structure of a dance song, in which the intensity of the music matched the existential dread of the lyrics: Deep basses, live drums, overdubbed analog synths, noisy guitars. We started to sound like a real band for the first time. When we saw how people reacted to the song on tour, we knew we were doing something special. In a lot of ways, this song was a defining moment for the sound of Welcome Center. We started telling people that we were writing music for the party in the afterlife after we wrote this song.”

Maybe that is exactly what Welcome Center is doing:  writing for the party in the afterlife.  I love this band.  They have such a great future.

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