Back in September, L.A-based multi-instrumentalist Rich Aucoin capped off over a decade making music with his United States album, a 12-track love letter to the patchwork of sounds and genres the country has exported to the world in the 20th century. The album received rave reviews, praising Aucoin for joining the dots between seemingly disparate genres like surf rock, pop, indie, soul and hip-hop.
Now he’s back to revisit the album’s opener, “Kayfabe” — a track that blends Beach Boys-style vocal harmonies, hip-hop drums and ’70s soul — with some darkly playful visuals. Like everything else this year, the visuals (directed by the man himself) were shaped by COVID and the restrictions that have altered every facet of our daily life. The video, he says, started life as a “buddy wrestler video about a Face and a Heel travelling around post-apocalyptic United States putting on vaudevillian shows for the survivors with the twist being it set in actual locations of the current United States that I cycled across,” says Aucoin, referring to the cross-country charity bikeride he embarked on for Mental Health America and the Canadian Mental Health Association. “But, then the pandemic happened. So here is what I shot on my phone with action figures instead.”
Speaking on the track’s lyrics — which, like most of the album, were inspired by his coast-to-coast journey — Aucoin told us, “Lyrically, the song is loosely based on [Louis-Ferdinand] Céline’s ‘Journey To The End Of The Night’ and earlier drafts had more lyrics about working in a Ford plant, etc., like the protagonist of that American epic as told through the lens of a French author. It talks about the loss of the American Way and it being sold in the auction of capitalism’s excess greed. It also takes its name from the world of professional wrestling with the term meaning the portrayal of staged events within the industry as ‘real’ or ‘true’.”