Happy Hour EP

Back in 2019, The Infinite Noise made a soundtrack for a play called Happy Hour, written by Terri Aihoshi and performed at the Edmonton Fringe Fest. Happy Hour follows the idealistic Jessie Niemi from a childhood of fascination with the natural world to becoming a high powered business executive who sees the world as increasingly abstract. Throughout the play, she gradually realizes that in her desire to help and live up to others' expectations, she's lost important parts of herself. She's aided in this discovery by a mysterious bar tender at a strange little place called the Tempo Lounge.

The inspiration of each of these tracks came from each of the six scenes of the play. The Wish captures Jessie as a child with her grandmother, looking up at the night sky. The In Between is a riff on one of the Tempo Lounge's drinks, called a Betwixt-n-Between ("for when we don't know where we're at"). High Rise catapults up to Jessie's present day life above it all. Last Call is a slightly ominous proclamation at the end of the fourth scene, when it's getting obvious that Jessie has some choices to make. Everything You Wanted is Jessie's moment of crisis in the fifth scene, where she tallies her material gains and wonders why they don't give her comfort. And Happy Hour finds Jessie back at the Tempo Lounge about to make a final, bittersweet choice.

Only the instrumentals were needed for the play (though, much to my delight, I was able to see The In Between, to which I'd thrown down some quick lyrics, performed in full), so when it came to turning them into full songs, I let the titles inspire new ideas. The Wish, High Rise, and Everything You Wanted follow an arc of childhood wonder, to a wealthy elite living it up while they watch riots in the streets below, to looking back on a life that doesn't quite fit together right. The In Between, Last Call, and Happy Hour explore escape, initially as mysterious and full of promise (I made my best stab here at capturing the vibe of Hermann Hesse's description of the Magic Theatre in Steppenwolf, which the Tempo Lounge instantly reminded me of), then as a community lost in memories of the past, seeking refuge from their everyday lives, and finally as the brief flashes of beauty we can still find in the depths.

As these things often seem to go, the journey from instrumentals that worked in the play to a finished EP of full songs was longer than I'd hoped, but it feels good to finally get these out in finished form. Hope you enjoy!

Here's a link to a few places you can find Happy Hour right now.