Leeds band China Steps have released their debut single ‘American Life’, produced by Chris Mulligan of W.H. Lung. Formed in early 2021, China Steps bring together five musicians of Leeds’ bustling music scene, with shared members in Eades, Drahla, Genie Genie and Van Houten. The group came together over their shared love of nineties and early noughties American bands like Heatmiser, Red House Painters, Duster, Deerhunter and Women, and channelling this musical inspiration helped the five-piece beat back against the uncontrollable monotony and uncertainty of lockdown life.
‘American Life‘ features a driving bassline and layered guitars. The observational lyrics dig into the darker sides of human nature. The band say of the track:
“The theme behind ‘American Life’ is ‘Schadenfreude,’ the experience of pleasure, joy, or self-satisfaction that comes from learning of or witnessing the troubles, failures, or humiliation of another. This felt very apt for the time we wrote it correlating to the time we were living in at that point with Covid ongoing and Trump in power in the States.”
Fascinating to learn that other influences on the lyrics come from American humorist David Sedaris’s When you Are Engulfed in Flames, which touches on the absurdity just below the surface of everyday life, John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, as well as the black and white photography guitarist/vocalist Thomas Barr was taking at the time:
“picture the film / a person, black and white / a path, a doorway to light / perspective of the mind”.