Words: James Frostick
Artist image: Katherine Rose
Make-up Artist: Grace Hudson

Alt-RnB duo Pillow Pro digs deep into the unsettling murk of anxiety on their new track ‘Hurricane’. The single and its associated visuals do a remarkable job at providing insight into the mental chaos synonymous with the wide-spread affliction, while also emphasising on the importance of self care and genuine support from friends and family.

I remember when my anxiety disorder manifested – it threw my entire life out of balance. I can clearly pinpoint in my mind the delineation between my anxiety-free self and my life since. This is a seminal moment that I’ve internally examined and analysed for reason and cause to no avail. The upheaval brought on by the emergence of my anxiety and the cavalcade of emotional aftershocks during the following year was a humbling and edifying experience, in addition to being straight-up terrifying. An onset of severe hypochondria over anxiety’s fluid and illusory physical manifestations, and the ensuing depressive mood swings and social recoil was a large proverbial spanner in the working of my life – a storm that I was wholly unprepared for. This kind of storm forms the conceptual basis of Pillow Pro’s new single ‘Hurricane’, the first cut from the Naarm/Melbourne-based alternative-RnB duo’s forthcoming self-titled album.

Although the name ‘Hurricane’ suggests your ears are in for a clattering maelstrom as befits a full-blown anxiety attack, Pillow Pro takes a restrained-yet-unsettling approach to the track sonically. A low synthetic hum, robotic percussive patter, breathy vocals and echoed singing create unease and tension – like an anxiety attack is building on the fringes of the psyche. The lyrics themselves touch on the various manifestations of the affliction, emotional and physical. Emotional withdrawals, sweaty palms, malaise, confusion – it all builds and builds. Listen:

These accompanying visuals – filmed and edited by George Johnson and Louis Oliver Roach, and styled by Bianca Cornale – complements the track with similarly off-kilter and metaphorically linked visuals. Both members of Pillow Pro barely interact with each other throughout – Christobel moves about the house, lethargically ticking off the days while seemingly lost in her own head. On the other hand, Jude is on the outside looking in, watching her friend lose the plot. Flowers are cut, days pass and boiled eggs crack until Christobel finds herself submerged under it all. As the track and clip climax simultaneously, Jude intervenes to extract Christobel from the pool, reaching out to save her friend from the funk in a gesture of support and solidarity.

This last part is crucially important. Beyond the building tension evident in ‘Hurricane’, Pillow Pro endeavour to allude to the comforting role friendships have in supporting and empowering those afflicted by anxiety. Speaking from experience, opening up to empathetic ears and allowing one’s self to show vulnerability is a vital therapeutic activity, a necessary part of any care regimen. Pillow Pro artfully convey the taxing nuance of anxiety, but also the benefits of connection and the role others have in making us feel right when at times everything feels wrong.

You can next catch Pillow Pro live when they perform at the Burrow in Fitzroy on Friday March 22 with support from Flowerboy (DJ set),  Simo SooBlackheart and Thraxxy.