MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Daniel Ellsworth + The Great Lakes’ “Headfirst (It’s All Happening)”

Back at the end of April, we brought you a totally awesome mix tape by Daniel Ellsworth + The Great Lakes, coinciding with the release of their three-track Chapter Two EP. As we told you then, Chapter Two followed Chapter One (a three-song EP released January 19), and the two would eventually be compiled and expanded upon to result in the Nashville band’s third album. Well, folks, said LP—the dozen-track Fashion (Color Party)—now has an official release date: August 24. (You can pre-order the album at the band’s website.)

And we have even more good news for you today regarding Daniel Ellsworth + The Great Lakes: We’re premiering the video for Fashion standout “Headfirst (It’s All Happening).” Directed by bassist Marshall Skinner, the clip was inspired by a photo shoot​ he did​ recently at an old motorcycle repair shop. “I wanted the concept of the video to be about people who are exploring and discovering their true selves but doing it in an environment that is not very inspiring,” says Skinner. “In a lot of ways, the run-down warehouse represents a society in which we do not value the creative people we need. For a lot of people, being a young creative person can be a struggle, and a lot of times, we are on our own in the quest to create something meaningful. In my own experience, you have to fight through the times when life is not inspiring in order to do something creative or imaginative, and I wanted to convey that feeling through ​the video.​“​​

Ellsworth feels the same way, with the concept for “Headfirst (It’s All Happening)” also working on very personal and musical levels as well. “It feels like a metaphor of sorts for our band—an amalgamation of everything that represents Daniel Ellsworth + The Great Lakes,” he says. “We’ve been a proudly independent band since we started in 2010. No label means no budgets, though, and with no budget, sometimes you have to be your own music video directors. Marshall is a monstrously talented photographer and used his eye for photography to film this narrative that follows three different characters all striving to do something meaningful and creative—and progressively losing their minds in the process. It’s a sentiment we’re familiar with.”

As a song, “Headfirst (It’s All Happening)” is a bit of a rallying cry for Daniel Ellsworth + The Great Lakes, three guys who understand the struggles that go along with their life pursuit of making music not only for themselves but others as well. “This year has been a year of big change for the band, and ‘Headfirst (It’s All Happening)’ is a song literally about the experience of being in a band and going through some shit and questioning what you’re doing with your life,” says Ellsworth. “The self-doubt, the sleeping on strange floors, the relentless tour schedule, the no money, the unending work that goes along with being an indie band … The repeated ‘It’s all happening’ lines are simultaneously tongue-in-cheek and hopeful reminders to ourselves to keep going. Because the truth is that as soon as you get onstage and you see your music affect someone, even if it’s just one person, you forget about all the bad shit. You forget the self-doubt and the no money and, in that moment, remember why you started doing this in the first place: the music and the people. Those are the things that matter.”

We couldn’t agree more. It’s all happening, indeed, for Daniel Ellsworth + The Great Lakes. Sit back and see for yourself. Tour dates below.

Tour Dates
7/28 — Bethlehem, PA, Levitt Pavilion Summer Concert Series
8/2 — Chicago, F$#kapalooza At Tonic Room
8/3 and 8/4 — Appleton, WI, Mile Of Music Festival
8/24 — New York, Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 2)