Isaac Puerile is reimagining what it means to be a Western Sydney artist on ‘i hate you too’
May 13th marked the release of Blacktown artist Isaac Puerile’s follow-up to his refreshingly raw and candid 2018 album ‘I Hate You, I Hate You, I Fucking Hate You.’ The EP, entitled ‘i hate you too’, blurs genre lines in the pursuit of reflecting something much greater – that Isaac Puerile is doing everything he can to haul the self-hate out of his heart, one step at a time. Release day also represented Isaac’s return to the stage supporting Huskii on his mammoth ‘Antihero’ tour. We’d been given the opportunity to document Isaac in preparation for the opening show of the tour at Sydney’s Metro Theatre a few hours prior.
Navigating the seemingly confusing alleyway alongside the Metro appeared daunting until we heard Isaac’s distinct tone of voice. Compared to the Isaac we chatted with a few weeks earlier for a separate project, this Isaac admitted about his EP and upcoming tour that: “I’m actually feeling really good about it”. The nerves and uncertainty that he had spoken to us about a few weeks prior regarding these next big steps in his artist journey had seemingly dissipated and been replaced by a contentment in the body of work he’d just put out that same day.
Upon listening to it, the cathartic ‘i hate you too’ will reaffirm to listeners that Isaac Puerile is simply focused on making the music he wants to make. Intentionally designed to be in direct contrast with the themes of ‘I Hate You, I Hate You, I Fucking Hate You’, ‘i hate you too’ gives Isaac the chance to reclaim a self-love for the part of himself he scathingly dissected on the 2018 album. Moreover, it showcases an individual who is attempting to come to terms with an uncertain future.
‘HA HA’ can be interpreted in a few ways. The equally glum and playful EP opener features a seemingly off-the-cuff ukulele riff and Isaac laughing sardonically whilst throwing out line after line of entertaining schoolyard-tier insults; “hope you choke on your food, scuff all your shoes, hope your farts follow through”. Arguably it is Isaac laughing away at that rotten part of himself that would so often initiate those depressive thoughts, or it could be aimed at someone whose indifference in his life is on account of their shitty behaviour. Either way, it sets up a varied mood for the EP.
‘doors’ sees Isaac reassuring both himself and others that their best times are yet to come, in spite of one’s anxiety around thinking that your best chances at life are long gone. Isaac’s alluringly modified vocals open the track as he states: “Relax, don’t stress, you’ve been at your best, before the doors are closed” to illustrate the need to approach life by giving little thought to your supposed ‘mistakes’ and ‘failures’. Here, Isaac is reaffirming that you are the best version of yourself even when you believe otherwise. Furthermore, the pertinence of the lyrics “Wrote a message in the rhyme and broke the fingers off death’s grip” acts as a self-reminder for Isaac to knowingly understand the impact of his music on himself first and foremost. As for Isaac, realising that what he thought he wanted was a figment of his imagination and pre-conceived ideas has allowed him to stay true to a greater energy keeping him on his path. By implementing a wholesome flute alongside his daughter’s singalong to the chorus, Isaac is able to convey what he’s truly come to value after the liberating, crushing guitar in the outro ends to signal his shifting mental space.
white flag vhs city
It’s hard not to immediately resonate with the sheer honesty of Isaac’s opening line, “Wake up, cringe at everything I did in the last 6 months and like 20-something years” every time I hear it. ‘white flag vhs city’ is Isaac’s ode to the feeling of looking at yourself from the outside and undergoing that same exhaustive self-hate talk you’re still working through. The song presents a dichotomy between the Isaac of ‘White Wine Vhs City’ (off of ‘I Hate You, I Hate You, I Fucking Hate You’) and the Isaac of 2022’s similarly named ‘white flag vhs city’. Sonically, the tracks are completely separate, however the 2022 sequel sees Isaac trying to come to terms with the fallout from love that was perhaps coming to be on ‘White Wine Vhs City’. The rock influence on ‘white flag vhs city’ shines through as Isaac brandishes the electric guitar with a gloomy edge that plays to the morose, in-your-own-head thoughts the young artist expresses with angst. It speaks volumes when he touches on the relationships that have fallen apart due to his realisation that “this white flag I’m waving must be red” – in spite of how innocuously he attempts to wear his flaws on his sleeve.
i fell out of love
‘i fell out of love’ has an infectious energy to it that makes it a certified self-aware pop-infused banger. The track is about remaining cheerful and steadfast in the face of one’s obstacles and lost loves, “And this lockdown fucking sucks but who am I to judge?”. Evidently written during Sydney’s COVID-enforced lockdowns, ‘i fell out of love’ is a guaranteed head-bopper that allows Isaac to speak truthfully to moving past heartbreak and those desires to have what you once lost. The way the track closes out with some airy, ephemeral and echoey vocals and production work adds especially well to the light and breezy tone of the whole thing.
Following on from the contagious dance-endorsing energy of ‘i fell out of love’ is the UK garage-esque stylings of the EP’s final track ‘overthinking’. The instantly catchy lyrics (“Overthinking, wasting my time, overdrinking… again”) lend effectively to the liquid nature of the beat. Furthermore, the words contain a significant depth as Isaac testifies to falling into the trap of ruminating, pondering and over wondering on the thoughts that leave him in a state of anxiety, “I’ve been thinking, maybe more thoughts will clear my mind, I fell a victim again”. The final beat breakdown features Isaac’s fleeting vocals and the repetition of “again” which not only acts as a microcosm of the cycle of overthinking Isaac consistently finds himself, but as a perfect way to cap off the EP.
Self-produced, written and performed by Isaac Puerile – with additional production from Tanssi who Isaac cites with taking the EP to an even greater echelon – ‘i hate you too’ is distinctly borne from Isaac overcoming the weight of hate in his heart he held solely for himself. Listening to the EP reassures that this is someone who is finding a lot to love in the world around them and more importantly themselves. However, whilst Isaac eloquently articulates the realisations that have allowed him to overcome that self-hate, he himself uses the EP to admit the reality that those thoughts creep back in and get him down from time to time. For me, the relatability of such a feeling cannot be testified to much better than on the emotions explored on ‘doors’ and ‘white flag vhs city’ in particular.
Having asked Isaac who his dream collaborations in the Australian scene would be a few weeks ago, his answer of Brisbane’s similarly versatile and unpredictable Mallrat makes even greater sense with his EP now out. To construct and release a project so unwittingly evolutionary speaks to the nonchalance in which Isaac associates his freethinking artistry. He represents the immense talent forging its own laneway through Western Sydney and Australia as a whole, who are continually evoking the authenticity of their work by embracing self-healing and disposing of musical boundaries. ‘i hate you too’ is everything I needed these past few weeks. It's a fitting reminder to be unapologetically yourself and to not hate yourself for doing as such, arguably as strong a notion as any.
Photos by @loveandfiendship
Words by Matthew Badrov