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Danny Elfman Big Mess

Danny Elfman - Big Mess
  • Release date: June 11, 2021
  • Label: ANTI-/Epitaph
  • Recording year: 2021
  • UPC/EAN Code: 45778781164
  • ©2021 Danny Elfman, under exclusive license to ANTI-
  • ℗2021 Danny Elfman, under exclusive license to ANTI-

About Danny Elfman's Big Mess

Renowned Composer Danny Elfman Announces New Album ‘Big Mess’ Via Anti- / Epitaph

His First Solo Album In Thirty-seven Years Coming Out June 11

After releasing a series of singles over the past few months, Danny Elfman is announcing his first solo album in thirty-seven years today, titled Big Mess.

Multimedia artist Sarah Sitkin created the video for Elfman’s new single release “True.”

A slow burning track, “True” faces down hopelessness and despair head on. Elfman’s vocals are gritty and growling here, and his raw unfiltered delivery only adds to the emotionally charged atmosphere. “The video is an exploration of fractured identity, muffled through the lens of memory,” Sitkin revealed. “Danny is a central figure within the video, yet only in his reproduced likeness via prosthetics, masks and 3d printed body parts. I wanted to make a video that was gritty, unpolished and uncomfortable.”

Clocking in at 18 tracks, the sprawling, ambitious double album finds the Grammy and Emmy Award-winning composer breaking bold new ground as both a writer and a performer, drawing on a dystopian palette of distorted electric guitars, industrial synthesizers and orchestra in an effort to exorcise the demons brought about by four years of creeping fascism and civil rot. He is joined on the album by drummer Josh Freese (Devo, Wheezer, The Vandals), bassist Stu Brooks (Dub Trio, Lady Gaga, Lauryn Hill), and guitarists Robin Finck (Nine Inch Nails, Guns N’ Roses) and Nili Brosh (Tony MacAlpine, Paul Gilbert).

Big Mess was almost entirely created spontaneously during quarantine in 2020. It began as an experiment Elfman had been considering which combined aggressive rock band and orchestral strings in a way that had not been heavily explored. “Once I began writing,” he explained, “It was like opening a Pandora’s box and I found I couldn’t stop. None of it was planned. I had no idea how many songs I would write but from the start it quickly became a 2-sided project with heavily contrasting and even conflicting tones.”

The songs on Big Mess combine both harmonically complex arrangements and simple high energy driving music with biting, acerbic wit as they reckon with the chaos and confusion of the modern world. “2020 was an intense year, to say the very least,” Elfman says. And while the anger, frustration, and isolation of it all is palpable in his delivery, Big Mess is about more than simply blowing off steam. In making the space to truly sit with his emotions and write without limitations, Elfman achieved a kind of artistic liberation on the record that had been eluding him for decades, rediscovering his voice and reinventing himself all at once in the process.

Elfman isn’t shy about using that voice to share his mind, either. Big Mess is an often explicitly political record— “Choose Your Side”, “Serious Ground” and “Sorry” all anchor themselves in the political intensity of our times. Even a reworked Oingo Boingo song, “Insects”, transforms itself into a meditation on the greed and sickness of the American ruling class—but Big Mess is also a deeply personal work, with songs like the droning “In Time”, the haunting “We Belong”,  and feverish “Everybody Loves You” revealing more of Danny Elfman than we’ve heard at any stage of his remarkably eclectic career.

“I knew from the start that this wasn’t going to be a neat, easy-to-categorize record,” says Elfman. “It was always destined to be this crazy cacophony, because that’s who I am. The Big Mess is me.”

The album artwork was also created by Sarah Sitkin from a series of 3-D body scans and designed and art directed by Berit Gwendolyn Gilma.

Elfman is also releasing a stunning, limited edition Big Mess box set this fall. This collector’s edition contains the full album along with unreleased remixes and alternate versions of songs. Additionally, the package will include collectable artwork, a unique USB with video content and bonus material, and an exclusive artbook featuring Sarah Sitkin’s original creations and never before seen photos and ephemera.  More details and information to come.

1. Sorry
2. True
3. In Time
4. Everybody Loves You
5. Dance With The Lemurs
6. Serious Ground
7. Choose Your Side
8. We Belong
9. Happy
10. Just A Human
11. Devil Take Away
12. Love In The Time Of Covid
13. Native Intelligence
14. Better Times
15. Cruel Compensation
16. Kick Me
17. Get Over It
18. Insects


Music & Lyrics by Danny Elfman
Produced by Danny Elfman
Recorded by Noah Snyder
Mixed by: Noah Snyder, Zakk Cervini, Joel Hamilton, Pete Rutcho, Randall Dunn
Mix Assistants: Nik Trekov, Francisco Botero, Ben Greenberg & Garrett de Block
Additional Engineering: Nick Rives & Matt Tuggle
Mastered by Joe LaPorta at Sterling Sound

String Orchestration by Steve Bartek
Orchestration Assistant: Marc Mann
Midi Prep: Orlando Perez Rosso
Additonal Audio Editing: Christopher Bartek
Technical Assisstant: Giacomo Lamparelli

Female Vocal Soloist: Petra Haden
Female Choir: Holly Sedillos, Anna Schubert,
Danielle Withers

Vocals, Guitars & Synths – Danny Elfman
Drums – Josh Freese
Bass – Stu Brooks
Guitar – Robin Finck, Nili Brosh, Warren Fitzgerald
Percussion – Sidney Hopson, Joe Martone

Strings - Featuring the Lyris Quartet

Orchestra: Budapest Art Orchestra
Conductor: Peter Pejtsik
ProTools Engineer: David Lukacs
Recording Engineer: Gabor Buczko
Contractor/Session Producer: Miklos Lukacs

Orchestra (“Happy” & “Sorry”): Budapest Scoring Orchestra
Conductor: Zoltán Pad
Orchestra producer: Bálint Sapszon
Orchestra coordinator: Bertalan Veér
Recording Engineer: Dénes Rédly

Recorded at: Studio Della Morte (LA), East Connection Music Recording / Studio 22 (Budapest), Capitol Studios (LA)

Executive Producer: Laura Engel
Project Producer: Melisa McGregor

Danny Elfman’s Representation – Kraft-Engel Management

Creative Direction, Album Art Direction & Graphic Design: Berit Gwendolyn Gilma
Album Artwork: Sarah Sitkin
Additional 3D: Hirad Sab

Special Thanks:
Brett Gurewitz, Andy Kaulkin, Doug Mark, Richard Kraft, Laura Engel, Melissa Karaban, George Doering, Josef Zimmermann, Scott McRae, Zoey Taylor


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