[PREMIERE] Axons – Twenty More Years

Based out of Chicago, Illinois, Axons are a musical vehicle for the songwriting of musician and civil rights lawyer, Adele Nicholas. Joined by bassist Princess Ojiaku and drummer, Sarah Sterling, the trio’s upcoming album, I Object To Everything, is a concept album telling the tale of how, “two bank robbers escaped from a high-rise federal prison in downtown Chicago by scraping through a concrete wall and rappelling 17 stories down the side of the building on a rope made of bed sheets and dental floss”. Ahead of the album’s release in April, today the band share the latest single from it, Twenty More Years.

Photo by Ben Arguelles // Header photo by Jazmyne Fountain

The closing track on I Object To Everything, Twenty More Years is something of a “what happened next” following the escapee duo’s act of daring-do. Adele has spoken of the track as a reflection on, “the boundary between justice and vengeance; the ways that the criminal justice system defines complex, whole people by the worst moments of their lives”. Set to a soundtrack of propulsive bass, clattering drums and increasingly urgent, anxious guitars, the track explores the pair’s current life post escape, serving long sentences in one of the US’s most high-security prisons. As Adele further explains, “the conditions of that kind of imprisonment are harrowing — the prolonged solitary confinement is particularly inhumane. Yes, we have to have laws and foster respect for them, but there’s a difference between accountability and revenge. As a society, we’re not good at drawing the line between the two”.

The track is accompanied by a video made by Princess Oijaku, read her comments on the accompanying video and then check it out below.

I’d never directed a music video before but they’ve always been my favorite pieces of cinema. I got the idea of doing a video for this song after we got the mastered recordings back and I loved how it turned out. I wanted to build on the themes of isolation, longing, vast expanse, and alternate between warmth and light and cold and dark. I had images of the desolation and beauty of vast wilderness and the concrete as the stately flip side. To ground those themes for the video, we gathered some drone footage of the Rockies and filmed from a parking deck across from the prison located in the middle of downtown Chicago. We shot all the downtown scenes on my phone.

I think I wanted to convey the isolation of being imprisoned, feeling cut off from the world, being in that moment, but not accepting it. In 2020 (like many people), I started to take the abolition movement more seriously than before and I think confronting how our prison system affects humans and speaks to our society’s values influenced the themes of the video.

Princess Oijaku

I Object To Everything is out April 8th. For more information on Axons visit http://axonsband.com/.

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