The Alter Kakers look before they leap in their twangy new single and video Stopped Being In Love — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
Hitting the bittersweet spot between rock and country, singer-guitarist Steve Bronstein serenades the listener with a classic sound that captures the emotion and turbulence of a relationship falling apart. He starts from the beginning, explaining how he and the nameless woman met at a truck stop some time ago. The relationship unfolded from there, but it fell apart down the line, and now Bronstein confesses that he might have stopped being in love — but it’s not the end of the world.
The track intertwines with the Toronto indie outfit’s motif — alter kaker is a Yiddish term for an old person, or as the band likes to put it, “an old fart.”
“Is this band a group of alter kakers?” they ask rhetorically. “Probably, but think of it this way: To become an alter kaker, you need to have the will to never give up or stop trying, and that’s what we have done.”
While Stopped Being In Love mostly touches on the sadness and loneliness that a love gone wrong can deliver, it maintains a balancing act, acknowledging that for as bad as things feel right now, there will be a tomorrow. While writing the song, Bronstein said he wanted contrasting ideas in the chorus. It all came to him while sitting at a red light in his car on his way home from the dog park. All it took was about 15 seconds, he said.
“Then I think I need a counterpoint like Lennon and McCartney, as in ‘you say yes, I say no,’ ” he recounted. “So then I sing, ‘but it’s not,’ then another triplet, ‘the end of the world,’ and hold the word, ‘world.’ ”
He repeated it in his head until he got back, then figured out how to play it on the guitar. His bandmates, bassist and background vocalist Cary Corvair and drummer Dan Barsi, co-signed his creation, and they went from there. Fast forward a week and The Alter Kakers had what they consider to be their best single yet.
The accompanying video was an organic idea that came from Bronstein and Corvair meeting up at the Bloor Viaduct. Shooting the video themselves, it turned into a story of a man and woman who can’t quite get on the same page. The man is always too many steps ahead of the woman, played by Bronstein’s dog walker Julie Logie, who finds clues along the way to hint that she’s onto him but just a bit too late. The video implies that the man may have jumped off a bridge in the aftermath of their breakup, but it leaves that open to the viewer to decide.
“I took a chance filming on the first night by jumping up onto the concrete ledge of the bridge, standing close to the edge,” Bronstein said. “Even though there is suicide netting, it still made my stomach turn. I am afraid of heights.”
All three bandmembers are seasoned professional musicians, individually and as a collective. The Alter Kakers have recorded three EPs and an array of singles, including a cover of Duran Duran’s Hungry Like the Wolf that helped put the band on the map.
The Alter Kakers especially pride themselves on their live shows. They’ll play original music and covers — they’re entertainers and don’t mind playing to a crowd. Their work has received such notice that the band achieved their dream of playing at The Dakota Tavern in Toronto. In fact, The Alter Kakers have featured at the venue now a half-dozen times with great success.