John Carroll Kirby’s new album Blowout was written on a recent stay in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. Between 5am wake-up calls from oropendola birds and psychedelic sunsets, he wrote Blowout, inspired by the local people, music and nature. Though its songs are joyful, that joyfulness is tinged with melancholy. Kirby says, “Blowout is about enjoying yourself even though life is tough, before the candle blows out.”
In 2021, Kirby visited Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica to film an episode of his Kirby’s Gold travelogue series with the Kawe Calypso Band. Here, Kirby wrote the majority of Blowout between the early-morning wake-up calls from the local oropendola birds and psychedelic sunsets. Kirby says, “The oropendola is a very cool bird that lives in a sac-like hanging nest. There was a tree full of them outside where I stayed that woke me up every morning at 5 am, so I had to write a song about them.” The album was finished upon Kirby’s return to Los Angeles with a stripped-down band at 64 Sound Studios.
Blowout sways between the title’s two definitions – a moment of destruction and one big party. While writing the album, Kirby thought of episodes of collective madness or delusion, like Fyre Festival and the Heaven’s Gate cult. The album imagines “a festival where everyone gets beamed up to utopia or heaven instead of starving or dying unfulfilled.” Kirby says, “I’m trying to use imagination in music to create my own myths, and keep things playful and funny and not too sanctimonious.”