Courtney LaPlante loves the razzle-dazzle. This much is apparent after her band dropped the video for “Holy Roller” in early July.
‘It’s an annoying song,” she said in her recent interview with Metal Injection, “It’s still in my head just from recording it. Last six months, just a loop …I was like, ‘this is evil and really fun, almost goofy at the exact same time and people will really like it…As long as we can think of an interesting visual that enhances things.”
“I’m inspired by the aesthetic of black metal,” says LaPlante, “But I was more inspired by nu metal for this. Honestly, I look like Wes Borland. Come on!”
Spiritbox are difficult to predict at the best of times. Formed in 2017 with husband-and-wife Michael Stringer and LaPlante serving as guitar and vocals, they have made 11 music videos. Their fanbase was growing steadily. In metal, that can be a curse.
“I feel like we’re in that perfect little sweet spot you’re gaining notoriety but there’s not enough people that know who you are to hate you yet. There’s always that little backlash, y’know? It seems to happen with every new band that’s doing well, so I decided to just savor the moment.”
But that moment came to an end in the face of the global pandemic. While Stringer and LaPlante are based in Victoria, B.C., Spiritbox’s drummer (‘drum consultant’, according to LaPlante) and producer both live in the States. New album wasn’t happening, but ‘Holy Roller’ was already recorded.
“Everyone’s doing DIY right now. We’ve always been DIY, so let’s just lean into that. We’ve made eight of our eleven music videos ourselves, so let’s make another…it was a nice thing to expel energy on.”
The flower crowns were salvaged from a friend’s wedding, as were the stick structures seen at the start. With most of the world in lockdown, people seemed excited to just be out of the house. Wes Borland inspiration aside, LaPlante won’t straight up cite Midsommer as an inspiration, but allows that some of the elements “might not exist” without the film. “Our goal is to be a well-known band 10 years from now,” says LaPlante.
And it’s working. “Holy Roller” shot to 750,000 Spotify plays in two weeks and has become a favourite of YouTube metal reaction channels. It continues to raise Spiritbox’s profile in a year where most bands are struggling to make releases. With the eye-catching visuals and ear-catching riffs, it’s not hard to see why. “It was originally just going to another track on the new album. No video, no nothing.”
Jury is still out on the new album release date. Like so much else in the pandemic, it’s been postponed until further notice.
“We were originally going to record it in April,” says LaPlante, “But obviously that fell apart. We pushed it forward until August, but now it seems that’s not happening either, so it’s undetermined…It’s weird. Where we live (Victoria, B.C.), it’s totally back to normal. Alternate reality. We had very few cases to begin with. But the border lockdown doesn’t seem to be lifting, so each day we just check the news and hope for the best.”
We're hoping for the best too. If the full album is anything like 'Holy Roller', it's going to be a monster.