“Santa Claus is Coming,” so you better beware. Don’t put out the cheap cookies and hang your stockings with care.
In what’s becoming a holiday tradition, Swarm of Eyes has released a dark, minor chord-laden cover of the classic Christmas carol, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” — the perfect, ominous accompaniment to power-elbowing your way through crowds this Black Friday. (Go ahead. You deserve that $20 toaster oven!)
The song, available on Bandcamp is a taste of things to come on the band’s upcoming EP, We Go to War with the Weapons We Have, which is scheduled for an early 2017 release. The band also put together a video for the single, featuring the work of 18 different artists — spanning the gamut from seasoned veterans to up-and-comers, each serving up a creepy Kris Kringle of their own demented imaginings.
Recording the song came together quickly. “A massive amount of credit goes to Derrik [Albertelli] for making a one-off comment I said into a reality,” said George O’Connor of his fellow Swarm of Eyes guitarist. “I floated the idea of doing a dark, minor-key version of ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ to him. He took the idea and came back with the chord structures and progressions. We got together and started messing around with the parts and arranging them together.”
The musical arrangement took the duo roughly a week to complete an record before Randy came in to record vocals. “I think Randy’s vocal attack, along with Derrik’s arrangement, highlight the darker aspects of the song. It’s actually pretty foreboding when you slow it down and really listen to the lyrics,” explained George.
The concept for the video matches the ominous tone of Swarm of Eyes’ rendition of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” Strapped for time and rather than throwing together a humdrum “video” with just the band’s logo and lyrics, the band enlisted the aid of 18 talented artists to offer their own renderings of sinister Santas. A mix of working professional comic and industrial artists alongside talented up-and-comers, the diverse range of contributors complement Swarm of Eyes’ creepy Christmas card to the metal world.
“After years of creating comics and going to conventions, I now know several talented artists. So, I threw it out to them and my other friends to draw their version of what a creepy Santa would look like,” said O’Connor, the author of several indie comic titles himself. “There were no rules, so they were all free to put their spin on the idea. What we got back was incredible. When someone watches the video, they’ll be able to see some fantastic art that fits the vibe of the song. And I’m thrilled to introduce these artists to everyone.”
Watch the video for yourself on YouTube