Today, we at the Weekly are proud to present "Alright," the first video off Strange Famous Records' B. Dolan's Kill the Wolf. Whether you know Dolan from his years touring with Sage Francis, his time as a champion slam poet, his activism or his traveling multi-discipline rap/burlesque/brass band/performance art battalion The Church of Love and Ruin, Dolan's made his unmistakable mark in quite a few ways. Promising his new album Kill The Wolf is his most ambitious project thus far, we spoke to Dolan about the new video, the upcoming album as well as his work as a screenwriter with a new indie horror film out this year as well.
Where the concept for the "Alright" video come from?
The video came out of nowhere. We weren't intending on doing a video for that song. I shot some greenscreen footage with this dude for another video that's coming later, and happened to do some random poses and moving around for him. He's a fan, and shot a few Church of Love and Ruin shows. From that, he developed a weird variety of performers, and showed up in my inbox with this video. This one just dropped in our lap. [The song's] one of my favorites from the record. A bunch of people pointed it out when we sent it out early and decided it's one of the ones to put out and representative of what's going on with the album.
The upcoming album is called Kill the Wolf and there's a motif in the video of the wolf eyes. What's the significance of wolves to you?
It comes from an Italian expression which means "in the mouth of the wolf," which is a way to wish good luck. The response is "kill the wolf." It's like "break a leg." It's something people say to performers that they used to say to hunters. I came across that expression and had previous seen the album cover art, and those ideas came together and became the title of the album midway through the writing.
A lot of your early work from the slam poetry scene created vivid images from solely an audio medium. Do you find now when writing lyrics, you have ideas for the visual accompaniment in mind?
Yeah, and while I was working on this album, I wrote a movie that's now on video-on-demand and is going to be on Netflix in July. I've been writing screenplays for years, which is a weird side thing people don't really know about me.
What's the movie?
It's called Almost Mercy. It's an indie horror movie these dudes asked me to write for them. These dudes actually made the movie and it's gotten a widescale release and they hired me to write them another one. I've been doing that all along, which is for me a cool exercise because I don't have to always write in just one mode. I can do this other shit and all good writing is kind of the same. It makes you a better writer. Having visual ideas for the movie is something I've definitely gotten better at over time. Yeah, there's a couple songs of the album that when the idea hatched, it was a cool song concept and I could see the video clearly.
Will there be another Epic Beard Men, your duo with Sage Francis, track on the new album?
(laughs) No, there's no Epic Beard Men material. Sage and I are putting that stuff together now. I have a lot of song concepts for that. At the end of July I'm going to spend some time in Minneapolis with Ant, we really hit it off on a personal level these past couple of tours we've been on. We'll see where that goes. The hope is, one way or another, Francis and I, the next thing we're going to work on is the Epic Beard Man album, so I held those ideas aside from this record.
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What can we expect from Kill the Wolf?
It's the most ambitious thing I've ever done production-wise. The songwriting has matured a lot. We spent five years really crafting this album with a lot of breakbeats and really hard drums and live instrumentation. It's the best of everything up to this point, basically.