“I was sitting at Bunk Bar, looking out the window at a huge logo that’s painted on a brick building across the street,” Rare Diagram's Justin Chase describes. It read: “‘EMPIRE RUBBER & SUPPLY.’ It was dusk, and the logo was looming over a small empty lot below. I got to thinking about what could take place in that lot after hours and started writing something.”
The spirit of the dramatic, howling “Empire Rubber Co.” and its clashing highs and timid lows began to emerge—later to become the second to last track on the Portland four-piece’s debut LP, Secret Shot, and one that “exemplifies two major aspects of our sound in a straightforward way,” Chase explains, as it moves from a “hushed, airy and synth-driven” opening to a climax of “loud, shoegaze guitar textures.”
Rare Diagram (formerly Tigerface) features the songwriting and production of the multi-instrumental Chase (guitar, keys, vocals) alongside Emma Browne (guitar, keys, vocals), Chris Marshall (bass) and Cory West (drums), and the new album was recorded in their friend’s home studio overlooking Lake Okanagan in British Columbia as well as around Portland “during my free time in various homes and sonically unwieldy spaces,” Chase says.
Lyrically, “Empire Rubber Co.,” as well as many of the record’s other tracks, “take place in unpopulated spaces—parking lots, empty houses at night, outer space,” Chase explains. But as he was working on the below track, “I was concurrently working as an accompanist in a church and reading some later period Philip K. Dick. Both Dick and the church are concerned with belief, albeit from different angles. Belief, the ability to know what we believe and whether or not we can truly know anything, became the main concerns of the song, and ultimately these themes worked themselves into a vast majority of the tunes on the record.”