“You,” by the Chain Gang of 1974 (a.k.a. Kamtin Mohager), was written after he had just seen a horrendous highway accident. The bloody scene’s effect on him was compounded by the fact that before the recording of the upcoming Daydream Forever album, he had been living a carefree and reckless life. From 2007 through 2010, Mohager was the touring bassist for party rockers 3OH!3, before venturing off on his own with the Chain Gang of 1974 project. After a few chance encounters with mortality, he decided to clean up his act and live a healthier lifestyle.
“When I was living in Malibu, a cyclist was struck by a vehicle and killed,” Mohager tells Rolling Stone. “I drove past and saw his body on the road. It was a very surreal scene to witness. I started to imagine him having a wife and young daughter, and how they were now left behind without that important figure in their lives. I started thinking about my own parents, and how everyone will eventually move onto the next world. The song ended up being about this man, who in my eyes was this hero to his family.”
Musically “You” exists at the intersection between modern EDM and classic Eighties synth-pop. A flickering, almost abrasive ringing opens the track before Mohager enters, supported by broad synth-beds and singing in a breathy voice reminiscent of A Flock of Seagulls and Talk Talk. Just when it seems the track will be pure Eighties worship, it splits into a strain of fractured beats. Mohager spends the rest of the tune intertwining the two techniques, examining the contrast between the past and what’s yet to come.
Daydream Forever is out February 4th.