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The Toronto-born and New York-based Warren Hildebrand released his last album as Foxes in Fiction, Ontario Gothic, in 2014: a soft, lilting bedroom-pop project inspired in part by the tragic and violent death of his younger brother. His forthcoming effort, Trillium Killer, likewise promises to find tenderness in experiences of trauma, but doesn’t back away from confronting an impulse towards self-destruction. “Whereas most of the music I’ve made in the past has been concerned with themes of hope, healing and moving forward,” said Hildebrand in a statement, “Trillium Killer is about what when people start to lose their footing, slip backwards, and the things you have to do and the decisions you have to make to cope with being in that kind of place.”
The first two tracks off the record slated for release on Oct. 18 are both centered around “the effects of medication.” “Antibody,” a dreamy track with processed vocals nestled deep in the mix, is about Hildebrand contending with the fear of contracting HIV as a queer man, and how taking Truvada, a PrEP drug, freed him from those fears and reframed his perspective on the HIV-positive community. The second track, “Rush to Spark,” features fittingly bright guitar as he describes his experiences with psychiatric medication. Having found the right treatment, he feels a “gentle symmetry inside”—but one that can’t hold off the distorted negative thoughts permanently. Hildebrand calls it a song about “understanding that mental illness is going to be something that you’re going to have to deal with and maintain for the rest of your life,” and “the stress and tension that you unintentionally (or intentionally) can put on your own life and lives of people around you when you’re experiencing episodes caused by your illness.”
Hildebrand is the founder of the small but formidable Brooklyn record label Orchid Tapes, which has released the early work of (Sandy) Alex G and Soccer Mommy, as well as records by Fog Lake, Infinity Crush and Yohuna. For Trillium Killer, he solicited the help of Orchid Tapes alumna Emily Reo on omnichord, as well as drums, synthesizers and mixing consultation from Eric Littmann and Olive Jun; vocals from singer-songwriters Emily Yacina and Dijon Duenas; violin by Jake Falby and Oliver Hill; and cello by Hillary James.
Listen to “Antibody” and “Rush to Spark” below.