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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos


Frontman Dylan Davidson and guitarist Tynan Reibelt are offering some insight into each track.

Image: Supplied.

To celebrate the release of their sophomore album The Uncanny Valley, Brisbane-based post-hardcore quartet Deadlights frontman Dylan Davidson and guitarist Tynan Reibelt are taking us through the record, offering some insight into each track.

Laced with distorted guitar riffs, discordant harmonics and frontman Dylan Davidson's commanding vocals, the album brings frenetic drums, with captivating lyricism.

The Uncanny Valley is out now!


Dylan: For the introduction to the album, I wanted it to be a thematic summary of the feelings throughout. 'The Uncanny Valley' is a term in science that represents the dip in affection that we experience when viewing technology that gets too close to looking human. It is the uneasy feeling you get when you can tell something is slightly off. The song explores the landscape of ‘The Uncanny Valley’ as a sort of purgatory we are all wandering through. We are in a crux point in the world, with technological, environmental and social problems rampant; it is from now that the entire world will change, either for better or worse. This purgatory represents this time we are living in. A sort of limbo between ages where all our decisions will have impact on the future ahead. Nothing is quite right yet. “Tell the kids to hold on tight, the future will be a hell of a ride.”

Tynan: The Uncanny Valley was written with the intent of creating an opening track. We wanted to capture the sounds of the album on the darker side. A cinematic title sequence in a way.


Dylan: A more personal song, this track dives into my own personal future. Throughout this song I am talking directly to myself. Trying to convince myself to break out of old habits and addictions in hopes of finding a fresh outlook into the life I lead. I become “The King of Nowhere” in this song, usurping the throne of my mind from the strong-willed, happy person that I once was. I was in a dark place writing this, and it really shows how mad at myself I was when I re-read the lyrics now. It is me telling myself to stop self-medicating, that it is okay to feel how I do about the world, and that positivity can stem from a place of darkness. Hopefully people who resonate with this can take something from it.

Tynan: This was written to be a fast, heavy song, initially to be darker and safer, but we’re stoked with the finished product. After the first two songs are played, we wanted listeners to have a good idea of what might be coming next.


Dylan: Furthering the themes of Schedule One, this song is also a personal song about sedation. Nowhere depicts a barren wasteland that I am metaphorically stuck in. I am now the King of this land, the sole occupant, wandering around desperate for inspiration. It exists within my imagination and this song really is about me recognising my faults, seeing it for what it is, and searching for a way out. The title is actually taken from the parenthesis of the Radiohead song ‘There, There (The Boney King of Nowhere)’.

Tynan: The main riff was written first for this song. The structure next, based around the idea that the verse comes back later as a kind of second chorus.


Dylan: This song is about the similarities between technology and religion. For a lot of people in our generation, technology is the new god that we worship. We feed it, we sacrifice ourselves to it, and we pray that it does our bidding. It is a lonely world for one that is so connected. Existential dread is a something a lot of us feel. Everyone wants to have purpose and meaning. Whereas a lot of people used to fulfil this need with religion, a lot of us are now turning to social media and technology instead.

Tynan: Probably the song that has the least number of aspects in every way. Really like how there are only a handful of ideas here, but they all count.


Dylan: After writing Born Of A Lie, I wanted to write a song that gave an alternate answer to the problem. “Don’t look up, look inside” is basically me saying you don’t need religion or social media or technology to fill the void. Everything we need to give ourselves meaning exists within. Personal introspection and the exploration of your mind will give you just as much fulfilment as any external stimuli. We can find the answers, we already have them. They just need to be decoded and accepted.

Tynan: Proudest part of this song would be the sneaky synth that you hear in the background of the chorus. Closest song to our more Mesma side with plenty of singalong parts.


Dylan: Electrodrome is a direct look into the possibility of a bleak future that will happen if we continue down the same path of environmental destruction that we have been. The lines at the end “I can see the future and I choose to ignore it” is what it feels like corporations and politicians are saying between the lines every time a decision is made to further invest in things that will obviously damage the Earth that we live on. The title Electrodrome actually comes from a Mario Kart level where the whole scenery is just buildings, lights and billboards. A future I can see and am trying not to ignore.

Tynan: Fun fact about this song is that Josh (Drummer) wrote the first breakdown with his mouth on a phone, and I wrote a riff to the rhythms. This was probably the first song on the album where I started diving deep into designing sounds.


Dylan: Something new for us as a band. I wrote [I See The Future] as a sort of stream of consciousness writing exercise when trying to come up with lines and titles for songs on The Uncanny Valley. The idea to have speech to text read it like it was a computer talking came from my love of science fiction. We wanted to have a sort of cinematic interlude for the album and this “poem” blossomed into that.

Tynan: This was made to fit around the lyrics. We made the robot voices with an online text to speech app and time aligned it with Dylan’s voice to sound more natural.


Dylan: Moving back to a more personal touch, Echo Chamber is a song about someone in my life who pulled me out of the dark place I was in and showed me the future isn’t all bleak. Good things can come, seeds can grow, life moves on.

Tynan: Echo Chamber started with a guitar riff and bass synth sound on an iPad. Maybe the oldest song on the album and had quite a few structural changes before the finished product. Original riff got chucked in the bin and replaced with the synth sounds.


Dylan: A song about facing your mortality. I wrote this song on my birthday during COVID. I was really thinking about how much time I’ve taken for granted and how our lives are dictated by time. So many hours wasted on nothing. It’s an extremely scary thing to think about, hence the line “Take me back to nowhere, put me back on to my throne” referencing ‘The King of Nowhere’ again. It’s tempting to slip back into a life of blissful ignorance. But all in all, facing your demons is the better way to go.

Tynan: Maybe the last song written for the album. Most of the time was spent on the chorus, I think it changed 3 times.


Dylan: Pythia is the name given to the Oracle of Delphi in Ancient Greece. I wanted to play with mythology references as I’ve never really done it before. Continuing on the mortality theme, this song is about me desperately trying to find the Pythia so she can tell me my future. I want to know how I die. I want to be prepared. I want to know my friends will still be around and that I’m happy. They say the Pythia’s visions come from her being in a trance caused by the volcanic fumes seeping up from a crack beneath where her throne sat. A lot of cool imagery in this story, I had to make a song of it.

Tynan: Fun fact is the background synth in the chorus got made out of mine and Dylan’s voices. The song in general was made to capture our darker more experimental side.


Dylan: Lamenting back on the future of the world around us. Frozen Over tackles themes of climate change, climate change deniers and giving up on the world. A sad song about people who would rather fill their pockets than benefit future generations. It’s a bleak outlook, but one that unfortunately may come to pass if we don’t change our lifestyles. At its heart, this is really the soul of the album thematically.

Tynan: Also written quite early in the process and almost chucked out before being properly developed. Once the main synth hook was created, we knew we had caught onto something epic. It’s actually chopped and modulated out of my voice.

The Uncanny Valley is out now!


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