Reb Fountain - IRIS (2021)
The perfect extension of her 2020 self-titled record, IRIS elevates Reb Fountain’s music to new heights. Reb effortlessly combines pop elements with her trademark noir folk-punk sound; weaving authentic and anthemic tunes that create an instant and indelible impression. Written during lockdown in 202, Reb has said on the album “Writing a song a day to keep myself grounded and productive during lockdown, IRIS provided me an opportunity to speak my unspoken, to reflect what I have seen and experienced from within and to bear witness.”
Diving into the deeper meaning of the album’s namesake, Reb says “Iris is in many ways an unsung hero, known as the goddess of the rainbow, sea and sky, she acts as bridge between the gods to humanity with little of her own story known. So many stories go unheard, so many aspects of our humanity are unsung; visibility is a contested and inequitable space where what is essential and of beauty is often ‘invisible’. I wanted and needed to give voice to this essential human spirit; to conjure and hold and commune with the very real, valid and invaluable voices within and around me.”
The above single ‘Beastie’ is about choosing who you want to be, but also taking responsibility for who you are; the many faces and facets, the tales and tethers, the imbalance and inhumanity, the privilege and the power — and becoming awake to it all.
On writing Beastie, Reb Fountain says “Botham Jean had just been murdered in his own apartment, mass incarceration and systemic racism in the criminal justice system had me grief-stricken, the massacre of worshippers in Christchurch broke my heart, the All Blacks would win, the All Blacks would lose and male violence against women would hit an all time high — and amidst all this I heard this phrase “Is That Us?”. It was less a question more reaching for belonging; would we buy that? Can we call it ours? Do we like it? Is this who we want to be? Can we collectively agree this is us?”
Reb continues “Dehumanizing one another is a horribly human behaviour, and one we all have the potential to entertain or interrupt. It’s easy to relegate evils to the ‘shameful past’; harder to confront our own current inhumanity, especially if one's identity comes with benefits or losses. In Beastie, I wanted my eyes open and to speak in solidarity with resistance. In the absence of resistance we are complicit. If you say nothing, nothing at all, nothing comes to light.”
‘Beastie’ explores varying voices, and offers the listener an opportunity to inhabit and witness their many selves, their roles and their choices. In the video for ‘Beastie’, Reb wanted to play with those themes; knowing all acts are political, and subversion, resistance and truth “can and should be consciously embedded as meaning in our art and our daily lives.”.
Reb and her band (Dave Khan, Karin Canzek and Earl Robertson) were offered a beautiful space to film in called Everybody’s in Auckland’s inner city. They wanted to make a one-shot band video that traversed the multi-level space, so enlisted long-time collaborator Lola Fountain-Best to direct the scene, with Jono Drew on DOP duties.
In May 2020, Reb Fountain released her self-titled album via New Zealand label Flying Nun Records to much critical acclaim. Reb Fountain won the 2021 Taite Music Prize, was shortlisted for the Silver Scroll Award for her song ‘Don’t You Know Who I Am’, and the album Reb Fountain was nominated for five New Zealand Music Awards; Album of the Year, Best Alternative, Best Solo Artist, Best Album Artwork and Best Engineer.
The award-winning songwriter, Reb Fountain, is a consummate recording artist and performer; spell-bounding audiences with her music and artistry alike. Throughout 2020, Reb and her all-star band (Dave Khan, Karin Canzek and Earl Robertson) astounded audiences around the country on her sold out album release tour, joined Crowded House on their 13 date ‘To The Island Tour’, performed at Splore, and honoured the great Nick Cave at the sold out Auckland Town Hall shows ‘The Boy Next Door’.
Reb was born in San Francisco and immigrated with her family from North America to Lyttelton — the quiet port town out of Christchurch that’s been fundamental to New Zealand’s alt-folk scene, raising artists like Marlon Williams, Aldous Harding, and Delaney Davidson.
IRIS is out via Flying Nun Records on the 1st of October, 2021 on vinyl, CD and digitally.