Emo rap and punk meet in SeeYouSpaceCowboy and If I Die First EP

11 mins read

Large-scale musical collaborations have long been the domain of rappers and DJs – but SeeYouSpaceCowboy and If I Die First are about to change that.

The self-described ‘sasscore’ band have teamed up with emo-rap influenced If I Die First to release a collaborative EP, titled A Sure Disaster, set for release on May 14.

Despite If I Die First’s relatively short time as an established band – they formed in 2020 – their lineup is far from unknown. Their members include GothBoiClique contributor Lil Lotus, and renowned producer Nedarb.

While this collaboration may seem unusual, the groups have been associated for a long time. SeeYouSpaceCowboy vocalist, Connie Sgarbossa, says, “I was friends with the members of that band before they’d even started the band.

“[Nedarb] had been talking to me on my couch at the beginning of quarantine about starting that band. When they did, I loved it from the get-go. I said we should do a collaborative song – everybody was super down for it, then we planned and made it happen,” she says.

To make the record was a different story. With two separate bands, with two separate styles, there were a lot of artistic decisions to be made about the record.

“We took the driving, sometimes pop side of If I Die First and merged it with the heavier, weirder side of Space Cowboy,” says Connie. “We took the elements that stand out from each band, like If I Die First’s great choruses and energy, and merged it with our breakdowns and gnarly vocals. I don’t know how we made it work, but it worked,” she says.

The two bands have already released their first collaborative single and music video from the record, titled bloodstainedeyes.

“The process of making bloodstainedeyes was really laid back, but slightly chaotic,” says Connie. “It really was just See You Space Cowboy and If I Die First crammed into my apartment for a few days, writing the song together.

“It was this organic, weird process. It was all of us hanging out, and then a song came out of the process,” she says. The process resulted in a unique track that would be difficult to replicate in a studio, she thinks.

“It was this few-day process of people yelling out ideas. The song was born out of our connection to each other,” she says. “Since it was from sun-up to sundown, hanging out and writing a song together at the same time. I think that free-flowing process really helped form what it was.”

With so many people involved in the project, it might seem like a difficult process, but Connie says, “In terms of writing a song together, it was good, because there were so many ideas that we could really pinpoint the ones that worked.

“Of course, the process of organising it and shit like that – that’s a little bit more complicated with so many people, but it wasn’t dreadful in any way. It wasn’t as chaotic a process as it could be with that many people involved. There were little arguments over little details, but the main vision was decided from the get-go.”

Connie explains that the writing process was a collaborative effort from both bands, saying, “I need to give our guitarist, Ethan [Sgarbossa], credit. He definitely spent the most time sitting in front of a computer. It was a whole group effort of different people sitting down with him and writing sh*t.”

When asked if she thinks that large-scale collaborations like this will become more popular in coming years, she said, “I don’t know. I think it would be cool.

“You see it a lot in the Soundcloud world, the hip-hop world and the electronic world and I think it’s pretty sick,” she says. “You just don’t really see heavy bands doing it. It could go either way – other bands could start doing this shit, and that’s cool, or it could be a one-off thing. It’s a little too early to tell.”

The heavy vocals and growling riffs on the collaborative track released so far have resulted in many comparisons to the MySpace emo/punk scene of the late 2000s – but that was never these bands’ goal.

“I definitely understand why people are saying that,” Connie says. “It was just that we like these sounds, and nobody’s really doing it anymore. We’ve been around for about four years, and we’ve been put as the ‘leaders of the MySpace revival’ since around 2019 or some shit.

“To us, and If I Die First, that’s not really the goal. We really enjoy those bands, and we want to do it currently, with a fresh, new take on it.”

The EP itself will feature bloodstainedeyes, alongside four other new tracks.

“We each have two solo songs,” says Connie.

“If I Die First have a song that’s like their previous EP, but way improved. They also have a song that’s experimental and really, really cool.”

Both bands have varied and expanded their styles on this EP in different ways. Connie goes on to explain the risks taken by SeeYouSpaceCowboy on the upcoming record.

“We’re having prominent, clean singing for the first time ever. Our songs are back to sassy metalcore with breakdowns, now with clean singing.

“I’m really curious to see how people respond to that,” she says. “It’s definitely a very experimental thing for us. We’re out of our comfort zone in that sense.”

The enthusiasm Connie has to see the reaction of fans is infectious, as she wonders aloud what the feedback will be like. “I’m excited to for people to hear all the tracks on this split,” she says. “We’re bringing back some things that I was sorely missing, but we’re also trying new things.

“It’s this conglomerate that we made, that I might want to be the sound Space Cowboy goes for moving forward. I’m really curious to see if it resonates with people!”

The change in style was motivated by a shift in the band’s lineup. “Band members left, and we got new band members,” Connie says. “One of the big things that pushed us to do clean singing choruses was that we got Taylor [Allen] back, one of the founding members of Space Cowboy. He has a beautiful singing voice. The driving thing was a change of members, and what we want to do as a band now.”

The EP will feature some heavy themes, drawn from Connie’s own life experiences.

“One of the songs is about addiction,” she says. “I went through a really rough period of my life, during when Correlations was recorded and after that, where I dealt a lot with addiction.

“One of the themes I wrote about is what it means to date somebody who is an addict, because I had a wonderful partner who has helped me through my entire addiction and mental health crisis,” Connie says.

“I write about what it means to be an addict, but also to have this person who’s trying to help you, but you’re letting them down at the same time. The song is about trauma and how trauma affects us and makes us treat the people around us as well. It’s never just a struggle internally,” she says thoughtfully, “It impacts those around us as well.”

In addition to the split EP, See You Space Cowboy are also recording their third studio album and waiting eagerly to be able to perform live again.

“There’s a good chance [a tour] will happen, but it all depends how COVID vaccines are being dealt out, and how we can tour again on safe terms,” she says. “It was very weird to go from touring for a year and a half to no more.

“It was very strange, but I’m really excited, with the whispers through the trees that I’m hearing about touring coming back. I’m eagerly waiting to see what happens.”

As for the band’s plans – “We have an LP we’re in the process of recording – we’re in the studio right now,” says Connie. “When touring comes back, hopefully we’ll tour a shit-ton again.

“That’s the plan right now – finish the LP and we’ll tour when we can.”

Featured image credit: Thompson Lengerke

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Music Editor of Brig Newspaper

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