We’re pleased to premiere the official video for “Heartbeat is Heaven,” the crunchy, melodic new track from The Slants. It’s the second single from their new career-retrospective album Something Slanted This Way Comes.
The band’s years-long fight with the U.S. Trademark Office over its name hasn’t sapped the creativity of the Portland, Oregon-based Asian dance-rock group, though it did delay the release of the album. The Slants made news when the trademark office rejected the band’s application to trademark the name “The Slants” on grounds that it was a pejorative term.
Band founder and bassist Simon Tam (stage name: Simon Young) explains: “While the legal fight was extremely important for our band, it was also a distraction. We often had to put the recording on hiatus so that we could focus on pressing legal matters. In all reality, this record probably should have been released much earlier, but we were busy in Washington, D.C. taking on the Department of Justice.”
“At the same time,” he adds, “it really allowed us to reflect on our priorities and what we wanted to accomplish with our music. It redoubled our focus and drive to tour Asia, something that we’ve been planning to do since 2008 – and now we’re finally doing it.”
The video footage is taken from The Slants’ 2016 Taiwan tour. It was made, says guitarist and video director Jiang,
from footage of the larger tour documentary that I directed/edited for the band, and it was a nice capper to the entire experience [showing] my point of view of what it’s like to be touring in The Slants, and I wanted to show as many sights as I could. The video will hopefully feel authentic and welcoming to anyone who wants a glimpse into being in a touring band. It’s hard work but there is a lot of fun to be had. You can see how exhausted everyone is by the end of the video, and that was only day four on the road! But no one is going to turn down taking on another trip like this… This video/movie is a memento for the folks on the trip and a giant “Thank You” to everyone who supported us along the way!
“Heartbeat is Heaven” has always been one of my favorite songs so I was excited to finally include it on one of our albums. The song was originally birthed and used for tour – it was an unreleased track that was reserved for a special collaboration between us and a sake company – so it was really appropriate that the music video be made up of scenes from touring in Asia…For us, the video is incredibly personal because it shows the intimate details of our tour life. Furthermore, it captures some incredible memories of our final tour with Tyler Chen, a member of The Slants who has been a part of the band longer than anyone else in its history except for me. Finally, the video is a great reminder for those who only know us by our trademark battle with the U.S government: we’re a band first and foremost. Touring is what we do, not just making noise in courts.
As for the album (now available at iTunes): With new vocalist Ken Shima, and with Jiang on guitar for the first time, The Slants wanted to offer a retrospective on their career dating back to their 2007 debut, Slanted Eyes, Slanted Hearts. So they worked with producer Stephan Hawkes to re-record many of there best songs. Hawkes, Tam says, “helped make our music sound bigger than ever.”
That comes through without a doubt in “Heartbeat is Heaven.” Here’s the video.