By: Amanda Epstein
Let’s talk about Accidental President. This alternative rock trio based in Sydney, Australia has just released their track Letting Go. The band has gone through multiple variations, as far as their sound and members. Currently, the group is made up of David Ben Lee (guitar), Bethany Neville (vocals) and Leon Cadden (drums).
This is a song about having to experience something so painful that you just want to let it go. A mental health theme is present, too. As Beth sings, she is asking that she be allowed to feel the way she does. Asking for some validity to her feelings, telling people to “Let me get angry”. The guitar riffs throughout the song are something incredible, too. Powerful and electric.
Frontwoman, Beth, was the visionary behind the animated video. She even created the video for the song.
I had the opportunity to briefly chat with the group about their music and this new release.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with me.
The first thing I have to ask is where did the Name Accidental President come from? It’s such an unusual name.
Dave: Thanks for chatting with us. The name is actually a bit misconstrued by some but when we formed in 2015 we decided that a key part of our identity should be to reflect social awareness. There seems to be a long standing disillusionment around the world about the possibility of genuine, respectful, accountable leadership & the name Accidental President just seemed to resonate with that idea when we were throwing names in the hat.
How did you guys all get together to form the band?
Dave: The current lineup isn’t the original lineup. We originally formed back in 2015 over a period of a year or so as a 4 piece, but along the way for various reasons of outlook, ambition, other commitments etc. we ended up with Beth taking on the focal vocal side of things & eventually Leon taking on the drums.
You just released the video for the single “Letting Go”. Where did the inspiration for the track come from? Is it written about a certain person or group of people?
Beth: I’ve always used music as a kind of therapy to process my emotions and get to the goal I wanted. The thing I’ve always struggled the most with was just not understanding why people did the things they did. Things that I morally would never do to another person. It took me a long time to process that some people just don’t think like I do, that some people want to do bad things no matter what it does to others, I want to let it go for my well-being. I wanted to have anger be a main theme of the song, as it’s an emotion I couldn’t really feel without consequences as a kid, and that translated into me being a bit afraid of feeling it myself as an adult. Being afraid to feel anger, especially showing it in the outside world, makes it lot harder to allow yourself to feel all the emotions needed to properly grieve and let go of the wrongs done to you.
How about the artwork in the video? Where did the inspiration come from?
Beth: I wanted to focus in on a girl and show her process of going through these emotions and way of thinking. My original concept involved more characters in it but I wanted to strip it down to show the core of what the song really meant. Walking forward and past the things that have hurt you but sometimes needing to look back and allow yourself to feel what’s actually happened to you. I wanted to make the style simple enough so I could recreate it quickly for the animated scenes but also make sure I was able to convey emotion in the style.
What was the story you were trying to get across through the visual in the video?
Beth: Letting go has always been something I’ve had a lot of difficulty with as a kid and as I’ve grown into an adult. I wanted to convey how confusing, painful and lost it can make you feel when the things you’re trying to overcome were the things that defined your entire life for a long time. The glitching between different emotional states is meant to come across as someone fighting with what they’re feeling inside.
I wanted to tell a visual story of this character fighting with her own demons of self doubt, lack of identity, and other pains that are caused by trauma and being let down by the people who were meant to to never do that to her.
I know tours aren’t really happening now, but let’s look back for a minute. What is one memory from a live show that sticks out for you?
Dave: Getting completely absorbed by the collective moment and forgetting everything else in your life just for that time on stage or in the crowd.
Do you do anything else creative that influences your music?
Dave: It’s difficult to say. I think everything is an influence be it creative output of one form or another or the monotonous drudgery of day to day life. yawn. Our emotions & reactions ultimately all become expressed one way or another & for Leon, though I hasten to add he does it very well, it’s primarily in the banging of tubs!
I’m sure you’ve done quite a few interviews. What is one of the strangest questions you’ve been asked?
Dave: Well it wasn’t so much an interview as a review by an Austrian gentleman who asked himself the question - Of all occupations, why had we chosen to be Musicians rather than Brain surgeons? I can only assume given modern history that he took offence at our open mindedness & progressive thinking? And I took it as a compliment that he thought us capable of wielding the scalpel in such an intricate way as I can only take it that it's reflected in our music & our playing.
If you could have the band known for one thing, what would it be?
Dave: That we were at least known for one thing & we enjoyed doing it.
How do you think being a female-fronted band has affected your music and career?
Dave: It’s probably made our music less machismo & has hopefully opened us up to a wide, open minded audience of beautiful girls who all aspire to be as creative & productive as Beth. That said there’s plenty in there for the Guys, Dudes, Bros, Boys, Metalheads etc. too.
This year has been a bit unexpected. Aside from touring, is there something that you had planned this year that has been put on hold?
Dave: It’s peculiar how life before Covid seems like a lifetime ago - the things you took for granted like going to a concert, a bar, a restaurant without washing your hands every 5 minutes and keeping to a safe personal space of approx 1.5 metres. But musically we’ve just kept at it & are now working on a follow up album for 2021 & it’s sounding AWESOME!!!!!!!