First Watch: Humble Fire, 'Builder'
Much of the magic of making art, whether it's painting, poetry or music, is the discovery process. And that was true for Humble Fire, a D.C. band with a new album coming soon called Builder.Nefra Faltas, the band's singer and keyboardist, wrote to tell me that it was after finishing the album and this title track that she began to understand all the songs as a larger piece about family and relationships. "I didn't set out to write lyrics and melody to tell that story. And I'm generally not comfortable expressing anger. But standing at the other end of the writing process, I think the song gave me a way to work through being angry with myself for devoting myself to someone so fully during a time when I had such limited resources to give. The song's title, 'Builder', speaks to that acknowledgement, and to finding the resolve to walk away and rebuild.
"My dad had passed away, then my mom less than a year later. I wish I could say in the aftermath of it all that I was living with intention, but really I just kept busy and swept the grieving process under the rug. I guess it was the only way I knew how to keep the train on the tracks. My already strained relationship with my partner suffered too: The more he insisted that I be more attentive, the harder I tried to convince him that I could be. But that wasn't realistic, since I wasn't even taking care of myself."
The video for this song, directed by Kate Warren, Maggie Famiglietti, and edited by Raul Zahir de Leon, is about the ties that bind and also the ties that confine. The dreamy pop of Humble Fire climactically ends with Nefra repeating the phrase, "for the life of me" as her bandmates sever those restrictive ties.
Humble Fire's album Builderself-released album is out July 28.
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.