Folk-Rocker Kele Fleming Serves Up Futuristic Film Noir in Remastered Single “Carrier Hotel”

BC-based folk-rocker Kele Fleming connects two separate concepts with the same name to examine humans’ relationships to technology in her newly remastered, cyberpunk-tinged single “Carrier Hotel” – 

Check it out on YouTube here:

 But first: a ‘carrier hotel’ is a facility where servers and other computing equipment owned by multiple enterprises share space (although each company’s equipment is physically secured in its own space). The concept, obviously, takes its name from the long-established model of a hotel. And, of course, hotels are often places of secrets and intrigue, a break from the humdrum of everyday – a place for one-night stands, affairs, being on the lam, or simply cloaking oneself in a shroud of incognito and anonymity.

In “Carrier Hotel,” which blends traditional folk-pop with synthwave, darkwave, and cyberpunk all in the same song, Fleming imagines the carrier hotel as a setting in a hard-boiled detective story.  “It’s about shifting identity in the ‘cloud’ and becoming someone else for convenience and fantasy,” she explains. In other words, the sort of stuff people do on the Internet every day, but Fleming makes it sexy and futuristic film-noir:

from streetlight to streetlight

wind your way down Front Street

you dodge the net sweepers

squeeze through a choke point

you carry a message close to your heart

you carry a message close to your heart

The juxtaposition of the folk elements with the electronic elements allows for a further marrying of the two concepts, and Fleming serves up dark, swirling atmosphere overlaid by a cleverly deceptive sunniness. “At the carrier hotel/ You can kiss but we won’t tell,” she sings. “At the carrier hotel/ We’re all a little closer to hell/ At the carrier hotel.”

Cowritten with longtime collaborator Ron Yamauchi, “Carrier Hotel” initially appeared on Fleming’s 2016 album No Static, and this version is the 2023 remaster. A corresponding music video with John Flatman as videographer depicts a lone, anonymous female backpacker getting into an Uber and wandering a city, finally settling on a hotel for the night.

Listen on Spotify here:

The song is meant to explore the realities of reality itself, as well as anonymity and image management on the Internet. “We have no secrets in the networked world,” Fleming observes. “There is a data echo for every move you make. A digital artifact for every facet of your identity, every crumb, that you leave in the fibre optic pathways.”

She provides further food for thought: “Identity and how the Internet and social media give people the ability to become shapeshifters and become someone else – if you’re shaping your identity through a make-believe world, are you really connected to, and present in, your real world?”

Since the pandemic, Victoria’s folk-rock artist Kele Fleming has been collaborating with DJs and, as a result, her music has taken an unexpected change in direction. Her original songs are intelligent, conscious, and often challenging, documenting her thoughts on the environment, society, and politics. With Neko Case’s tenacity and Lucinda Williams’ grit, Kele Fleming’s songs are now fused with electronic beats for an extremely unique sound. A proud member of the LGBTQ2A community as well as an older woman in the music industry, Fleming’s presence in today’s music scene is an important one in making it a more diverse and inclusive space.