As an introduction to their electronic pop project E-Prime, Trevor and Jaclyn Blumas decided to add an obscure cover to their repertoire. The Canadian siblings first heard “August is an Angel” midway through Leon Vynehall’s 2019 DJ Kicks compilation, before learning that the song sits closer to home than they realized. Written and recorded by Montreal new wave group Degrees of Freedom in the late 1980s, the sultry summer jam has earned new fans worldwide thanks to a series of reissues distributed by Toronto label Séance Centre.
Inspired by the independent films of Gregg Araki, a leading figure in the New Queer Cinema movement of the early 1990s, Trevor Blumas handled filming, editing, and directing for the duo’s debut video. Following a group of friends in Montreal as they wake up, bob down the river on inner tubes, and casually cruise on skateboards, he attempted to conjure “the kind of summer day that exists almost as a warm and fuzzy cliche in our collective memories.” However, with the addition of flashy visual motifs from Instagram and Tik Tok, the project pushes beyond a simple exercise in nostalgia.
“We were largely inspired by the ‘aimless youth in abandon’ narratives that seemed to characterize many classic ’90s music videos,” explains Trevor Blumas in an emailed statement to Ears to Feed. “You know, just young folks doing things, and nothing in particular. The video postures itself with one foot planted in the backwards-looking pools of yesterday, while the other foot is firmly planted in the now.”
E-Prime’s “August is an Angel” is now available on Bandcamp.