MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Warren Dunes’ “Inspiration Blues” Video

Anyone who’s experienced writer’s block can tell you it’s no fun. And Warren Dunes’ Julia Massey has seen her share of creative dry spells.

“I wrote ‘Inspiration Blues’ because I was stuck in one of the inevitable storms of the artist’s journey,” says the leader of the exceedingly eclectic (and philanthropic) Seattle-based indie-pop trio. “I couldn’t figure out what to write about, so I wrote about that. I really enjoyed fleshing out that simple idea and trying to capture the feeling of losing your muse—not just with words but also with music.”

But while frustration may have inspired “Inspiration Blues,” it’s really a song about getting past the speed bumps—and avoiding the brick wall. “It’s a happy-sad song,” says Massey. “The solos are meant to represent the big, beautiful skies after difficult weather.”

Appropriately, Massey’s husband, Warren Dunes guitarist Jared Cortese, uses a Strymon BigSky effects pedal in the tune. “I often laugh at the double meaning when I introduce his ‘big sky’ solos live,” she says.

By the time Massey had relocated to Brooklyn from Colorado at age 21, she’d already recorded her first solo LP. She released her second effort, Moons And Stars Convene, in 2007, touring the South in an RV that ran on vegetable oil. After taking up residence in a Colorado forest for two years, she found her way to Seattle and the hip, arty waterfront neighborhood of Ballard.

Warren Dunes began life in the 2010s as Julia Massey & The Five Finger Discount, a band that included Cortese and his drummer sibling, Dominic. When that project came to an end in 2017, the three opted to keep it in the family, taking their new name from a state park in Southwest Michigan that the brothers used to frequent as kids. Theoretically, the shifting sands of Warren Dunes are the perfect setting for the band’s self-described “post-modern beach music.”

“Inspiration Blues” is the latest single from Warren Dunes’ new LP, Aquamarine, which is available May 17 on Jenny Invert Records. “The video for ‘Inspiration Blues’ was the first cyber collaboration we’ve ever done, which was really exciting,” says Massey. “We worked with a Sri Lankan animator named Mudith, and we love the way he captured the vibe in an elegant, hand-drawn animation style that reflects the message of the song: Keep going.”

We’re proud to premiere the video for Warren Dunes’ “Inspiration Blues.”

—Hobart Rowland