All things end. Some things must end.
Steve Bronstein of Toronto indie rock band The Alter Kakers wrote the group’s latest single, “When You’re Gone”, years ago near the close of a relationship. But unlike the more common musical theme in breakup songs, the singer isn’t sad about the conclusion – he relishes it.
“Instead of having a remorseful feeling about it, it takes a self-aware approach,” Bronstein explained. “Looking forward to the freedoms ahead.”
Incorporating clever wordplay and poignant truths, Bronstein brays over an upbeat but dirty instrumental, which includes drums, guitar, and even violin.
“When You’re Gone” has been a long time in the making. Bronstein originally wrote its lyrics about 30 years ago, then stashed them away. A decade ago, the bed tracks were recorded at Metalworks with the band’s original singer, Matt Dratva. Fast-forward to modern day, and The Alter Kakers decided to revisit the song and turn it into something complete.
As part of the transformation, the band realized it would be better suited to be played in a more acoustic manner. That led to more of a strumming approach, with drummer Dan Barsi playing a snappy snare beat to anchor it. The Alter Kakers recorded it in one take with everything live off the floor with no click.
“The vocal, especially in the beginning of the song, feels intimate, almost conversational,” the band said.
The violin solo – played by friend of the band Colin Maier of Quartetto Gelato – was overdubbed later.
“When You’re Gone” is the second song The Alter Kakers have published in the last eight weeks, following up the July release of “Stopped Being In Love.” Like their previous songs, “When You’re Gone” has an accompanying video, which the band shot and edited itself.
Listen on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/track/5qtHpuWtwt84VL762r3kZs?si=4c96244e6a5244a1&nd=1
Scenes of the band performing “When You’re Gone” were captured at Underpass Park in Toronto’s Corktown district, fully immersed in the urban fabric of the city. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJ_kihVaKAM
“(We went to Corktown) to take advantage of the graffiti as a backdrop and give the video a gritty vibe,” the band said. “We got lucky with some of the graffiti, especially the large spray painted word, ‘DENIAL,’ which seemed to fit perfectly with the subject of the song, and Steve sang a few verses in front of it to highlight it.”
As excited as The Alter Kakers are about their recorded music, they especially pride themselves on their live performances. Bronstein, Barsi, and bassist/vocalist Cary Corvair can be found around Toronto, entrancing crowds with original music and covers of greatest hits. Forever showmen, The Alter Kakers have taken venues like The Dakota Tavern by storm.
The band’s name is a testament to their stature and nature – alter kaker is a Yiddish term for an old person, or as the band likes to call it, “an old fart.” That level of self-awareness helps when creating a song like “When You’re Gone.”
Be sure to check out The Alter Kakers’ newest single, “When You’re Gone,” and stay tuned for more from this indie, Toronto-based rock band.