Amigo the Devil has released his sophomore album, Born Against. The singer-guitarist was recently named Consequence‘s Artist of the Month for April, and is now sharing an exclusive track-by-track breakdown of the new LP.
Born Against finds Amigo the Devil, also known as Danny Kiranos, continuing his exploration of the macabre, but also looking at the world in a broader scale. “The majority of [the album] has to do with … doubting faith itself,” Amigo told us in a recent interview. “I kept asking myself, ‘Are we born a blank slate?’ … or ‘Are we built pre-programmed with things.’ I, obviously, am not smart enough to figure that out. It was more of that exploration of intention versus purpose, of discovery versus instinct.”
The singer cites such artists as Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, and Fiona Apple as his influences, with his music heavily rooted in folk. However, his songs cast a wide net that doesn’t quite fit into any particular genre.
“The more I tried to associate with specific circles, the more I realized it doesn’t work that way,” said Amigo. “To me, the most obvious aspect of the Amigo project is the storytelling.”
In his track-by-track rundown of the album, Amigo offers insight into the album’s 10 songs. Stream Born Against and read his description of each track below, and pick up the new album here.
We always talk about the silver lining to bad situations but rarely bring up the rust beneath the shine. Not necessarily bound to any particular kind of change — it really has more to do with how lonely the first few months of any new situation can be no matter how positive that progress is. Whether it’s fighting through addiction and having to leave every social circle you’ve been immersed in or moving to a new city for better opportunities … it’s entirely new air we breathe and that can be both terrifying and rewarding.
“Quiet as a Rat”:
I’ve always felt like the strongest and most true faith has to be paired with self doubt and criticism. Imagine medical research where someone just goes, ”Yup, this is the answer and I will not question it or test anything else.” We’d all still be drinking urine for headaches and doing cocaine for ghosts in our blood. Faith without questioning is the same exact thing on the spiritual level.
“Murder at the Bingo Hall”:
There aren’t many things I’m good at…BINGO however, is absolutely another thing I’m not great at … mostly because it’s based entirely on luck and quantity of packets you’re playing. With this in mind, hitting a hot streak at the hall is one of the more exciting experiences because you truly feel what it’s like to be hated by everyone else in that room and it feels good to be. They all want you dead and I know this because they often say it.
“Drop for Every Hour”:
One of the most important things to keep in mind when I’m writing “true crime” based songs is to make sure that none of it is glorifying the people committing atrocities. Most of them are written with the intent of finding a “human” reason for what is otherwise a monstrosity whether it’s extreme jealousy or absolute lack of empathy… these are terrible qualities in people but nonetheless human elements. This became a challenge when writing about someone like Albert Fish because there wasn’t an angle that even felt worth exploring in such a tragedy so I flipped the script and figured…let’s torture him instead of giving him a perspective. Who better to do that than the father of someone like Grace Budd?
“Better Ways to Fry a Fish”:
“Drop for Every Hour” is the emotional side of the revenge while “Better Ways” is the detailed brutality on the physical side of that story. It’s also just a fun little ditty. Sonically, there are a few throwback easter eggs hidden in the song too. See if you can catch all of those.
This is where the record turns internal for a bit. It really is straight forward and applies to a lot of different stages of growth and realization through my life. I wouldn’t say it applies to any specific moment or circumstance since it covers a wide range of craving growth and betterment.
“Another Man’s Grave”:
All the lowest points in life always seem to be accompanied with the same questions and doubts, especially when they’re self-inflicted. Why am I like this? Why do I do this? There’s the version of us that the world sees and then there’s the person inside that we believe to genuinely be. Which one is who we truly are? One of my biggest fears is dying as anyone other than the person I believe I can and am supposed to be. “Another Man’s Grave” is about realizing that no matter how strong that fear is, I continue to ignore the changes I have to make to bring my true self bursting out of my guts like the little alien baby’s in…Alien.
Silly and fun song deeply rooted in bluegrass instrumentation. I wouldn’t say it’s a genre purist jam but it’s probably the closest thing I’ve come to writing something that actually belongs somewhere! The second verse about the bird was inspired by a little R W Berries Co. figurine that sits on my desk where I write. It’s of someone sitting on a bench with their arms crossed looking up, annoyed knowing that they’re about to get shit on by the bird sitting above. It says ,“Go ahead, everyone else does” and I’ve always loved it. For some reason it made me think of how as humans we believe that we’re going to destroy the world but in all reality, we’re probably just going to destroy our ability to live on it because earth will probably get rid of us before we get rid of it and then once we’re gone, it can get back to healing and re-generating itself. That’s where the whole “I don’t think this world wants us on it anymore” thing came about.
Personally, this is lyrically my favorite song on the record. It started out with the fable of the Dog and the Shadow as a base but quickly shifted out of that into a different beast altogether while trying to keep the topics of greed and the “grass is greener” style damnation as the center focus. It wraps up all the topics of the other songs into one neat little package and delivers it in a simple question that in the end answers itself.
“Letter From Death Row”:
As someone who collects a bunch of oddity and true crime related pieces, it’s hard to avoid being inspired by some of the history behind the collection. On the last record there was a song that was inspired by suicide notes that had come into my care taking along with some unfortunate personal sentiments. Luckily those were different days. This time around I was sorting through letters I’d received from death row inmates and couldn’t help but wonder what kind of last letter I would write to my love.