Arkells are back with their fifth studio album Rally Cry and kicking things off with an uplifting anthemic lead single called “Relentless.”
Working once again with director Mark Myers (“Knocking at the Door,” “Drake’s Dad”), the new video puts the booming beat of “Relentless” at the forefront, with a red hue and dark lights accentuating the single’s inspiring message.
“Most songs illicit some immediate visual cues. For a song like ‘Relentless,’ we knew a few things: we wanted it to be night time. We wanted it to be somewhat mysterious. And we wanted it to be a little strange,” says frontman Max Kerman. “Musically, the song itself is somewhat of a departure for us so we wanted the video to look and feel different from our other videos. Those were the general conversations we had with Mark. He took those ideas and cooked up something we wouldn’t have been able to articulate on paper. He said, ‘In the darkness, you’re chasing for the light.’ ‘Relentless’ is about that.”
Speaking about the new song, the members of Canadian band say they were inspired to write “Relentless” after the passing of one of the country’s most iconic musicians. During a night out in Kingston, Ontario with The Tragically Hip’s Paul Langlois, Arkells band members Kerman and Mike DeAngelis revealed that the topic of conversation eventually landed on the late Gord Downie.
“We talked a lot about being in a band that day. We talked a lot about Gord, and how much Paul adored him. There was one anecdote that we all got a chuckle from,” said Kerman. “He said that even when Gord was sick and was going through treatment, he’d say to Paul ‘we made a record, right, and we’re gonna tour it, right?’ Mike D. laughed and added ‘lead singers man, they never want to stop, eh?’ to which Paul responded, ‘Ever since I knew him, he was relentless. Like a dog on a bone.’ And that old expression hit me—there was our chorus.”
Inspired by The Hip and by his own band, Kerman says the song came to him as a celebration of support. “I was thinking about the idea of being a part of something bigger than myself. I was thinking about the band, and how we lean on each other, and how each guy brings something different but contributes to a larger idea. We find strength in each other. In being relentless.”
Lead singer Max Kerman will have a busy fall—in addition to touring with the Arkells and releasing his band’s latest album, Rally Cry, on October 19, Kerman has just been announced as one of the guest mentors on Season 2 of CTV’s The Launch, which is filming now and is slated to premiere on CTV in early 2019.
Before that, Kerman will appear on the Mike on Much podcast alongside host Mike Veerman and co-host Shane Cunningham. The three are shooting a live episode of Mike on Much as part of JFL42, with the taping taking place on Saturday, September 29 at Second City. The trio will also be interviewing musician and comedian Reggie Watts for JFL42, with Watts recently propelling his eclectic brand of offbeat comedy to the mainstream as the band leader on The Late Late Show with James Corden.
Click here to check out past episodes of Mike on Much.