While it’s rare for a band to use animation in its debut music video, Bombay Gasoline is a rare kind of group.
Since its 2019 inception, the Asheville-based electro-rock ensemble fronted by vocalist/keyboardist Madison Maxwell has featured a cat with a flaming tail as its logo, inspired by the legendary Parisian nightclub, Le Chat Noir. After hearing the band’s single “Follow Me” during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan-based animator Matt Rasch, with whom Maxwell became friends via a previous musical venture, felt inspired to place the feline in its home country.
“France seemed the perfect vessel for this video as well, as the French have a reputation for being comfortable with protest and lighting things up if need be,” Maxwell says. “Our friend La Chat Bombay Noir finds that she has a particular power which can be used for good, ill or anything in between. In many cases, she decides to use it for self-preservation — something we can see happening in France right now, as well as throughout history.”
Atop a bouncy groove that unites Maxwell’s active synths with Aimee Jacob Oliver’s complementary guitar work and Michael O’Shea’s rollicking drums, she smoothly sings of the the catch-22 of social media and the internet in general. In particular, Maxwell speaks to the need for humans to “buy into a system that actively exploits both our worst fears and tendencies as well as our humanitarian sympathies in order to be visible and legitimized.”
“We thought that hinting at some familiar memes throughout would drive this point home in an interesting way,” she says. “You might notice we gave a nod to Michael Jackson eating popcorn and a certain little girl smirking as a fire rages behind her. Memes are a common language we share and many of these images act as modern hieroglyphics, communicating more than just the words they may contain.”
Though Oliver and O’Shea are currently pursuing other musical projects, Bombay Gasoline has emerged from the pandemic as a quartet, which is how Maxwell envisions it staying for the foreseeable future. That current edition celebrates the release of “Follow Me” tonight at 27 Club on a bill with Father Figures and Ink Swell that kicks off at 9 p.m. And on Saturday, May 6, at 9 p.m., they’ll celebrate the release of the song’s music video at Fleetwood’s with a screening of the work, plus performances by Nashville-based rockers EG Vines, fellow locals Aunt Vicki and the night’s guests of honor.