On May 15 Perfume Genius (Mike Hadreas) will release his 5th studio album, Set My Heart On Fire Immediately, via Matador Records. Today, he shares the first single, ‘Describe’, a track that captures a sense living in the moment through a heavy fog of grisly distortion and tumbling slide guitars. Hadreas notes, “it started as a really somber ballad. It was very minimal and very slow. And then it turned into this beast of a song. I started writing about when you are in such a dark place that you don’t even remember what goodness is or what anything feels like. And so, the idea was having someone describe that to you, because you forgot or can’t get to it.” Its accompanying video, self-directed by Hadreas, envisions “an end of the world where there are no boundaries, there are no edges, no rules, or the rules are completely new with how you interact with each other and the space around you.”
The music video for ‘Describe’ was directed by Hadreas and features Seattle-based choreographer Kate Wallich’s dance company The YC. Wallich and Hadreas worked together on 2019’s The Sun Still Burns Here, a collaborative dance performance in which Hadreas wrote the music and performed.
Perfume Genius will join Tame Impala on a North American arena tour throughout the Spring and Summer. All dates are listed below.
Set My Heart On Fire Immediately sees Hadreas re-teaming with GRAMMY-nominated producer Blake Mills and features contributions from musicians Jim Keltner, Pino Palladino, Matt Chamberlin and Rob Moose. It was recorded in Los Angeles, where Perfume Genius settled in 2017 with longtime partner and musical collaborator Alan Wyffels.
The album explores and subverts concepts of masculinity and traditional roles, and introduces decidedly American musical influences. Throughout the album Hadreas plays with themes of love, sex, memory and the body, channeling popular music mythologies while irreverently authoring its own. “I wanted to feel more open, more free and spiritually wild,” says Hadreas, “and I’m in a place now where those feelings are very close– but it can border on being unhinged. I wrote these songs as a way to be more patient, more considered — to pull at all these chaotic threads hovering around me and weave them in to something warm, thoughtful and comforting”
The sense of communion and physicality was borne in part from Hadreas’ work on The Sun Still Burns Here. Already a formidable stage presence, it had elevated him to a rigorous multi-disciplinary performer. “I had been working with them for a year and a half. With lots of rehearsals, lots of performances, lots of relationships and energies, and I was feeling connected to my body. I was feeling connected to all their bodies. And having boundaries be blurred and having rules be gone and having all this play within nonsense and absurdity — in tandem with a real connection and truly valuable work.” In 2019, the show travelled to Boston, New York and Minneapolis after its Seattle debut.
Set My Heart On Fire Immediately will be available on May 15th at all retailers. Fans can pre-order the limited edition double LP in translucent blue with a 24×48’ poster via the Matador webstore or in regular black at this link. The Matador webstore limited edition record can also be bundled with an exclusive t-shirt.
AN IMPRESSION OF PERFUME GENIUS’ SET MY HEART ON FIRE IMMEDIATELY
By Ocean Vuong
Can disruption be beautiful? Can it, through new ways of embodying joy and power, become a way of thinking and living in a world burning at the edges? Hearing Perfume Genius, one realizes that the answer is not only yes—but that it arrived years ago, when Mike Hadreas, at age 26, decided to take his life and art in to his own hands, his own mouth. In doing so, he recast what we understand as music into a weather of feeling and thinking, one where the body (queer, healing, troubled, wounded, possible and gorgeous) sings itself into its future. When listening to Perfume Genius, a powerful joy courses through me because I know the context of its arrival—the costs are right there in the lyrics, in the velvet and smoky bass and synth that verge on synesthesia, the scores at times a violet and tender heat in the ear. That the songs are made resonant through the body’s triumph is a truth this album makes palpable. As a queer artist, this truth nourishes me, inspires me anew. This is music to both fight and make love to. To be shattered and whole with. If sound is, after all, a negotiation/disruption of time, then in the soft storm of Set My Heart On Fire Immediately, the future is here. Because it was always here. Welcome home.—Ocean Vuong, author of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
Perfume Genius tour dates05/29/20 – Chicago, IL @ United Center# – Tickets
05/30/20 – Milwaukee, WI @ Fiserv Forum# – Tickets
05/31/20 – Detroit, MI @ Little Caesars Arena# – Tickets
06/02/20 – Toronto, ON @ Scotiabank Arena# – Tickets
06/03/20 – Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre# – Tickets
06/05/20 – Randall’s Island, NY @ Governors Ball – Tickets
06/06/20 – Washington, DC @ Capital One Arena# – Tickets
06/08/20 – Charlotte, NC @ Spectrum Center# – Tickets
06/09/20 – Atlanta, GA @ State Farm Arena# – Tickets
06/11/20 – Miami, FL @ AmericanAirlines Arena# – Tickets
06/12/20 – Orlando, FL @ Amway Center# – Tickets
06/14/20 – Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo – Tickets
07/17/20 – Minneapolis, MN @ Xcel Energy Center# – Tickets
07/19/20 – St. Louis, MO @ Enterprise Center# – Tickets
07/20/20 – Kansas City, MO @ Sprint Center# – Tickets
07/21/20 – Tulsa, OK @ BOK Center# – Tickets – Tickets
07/23/20 – Austin, TX @ Frank Erwin Center# – Tickets
07/24/20 – Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center# – Tickets
07/25/20 – Houston, TX @ Toyota Center# – Tickets
07/28/20 – Glendale, AZ @ Gila River Arena# – Tickets
07/30/20 – Denver, CO @ Pepsi Center# – Tickets
08/01/20 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Vivint Smart Home Arena# – Tickets
08/03/20 – Portland, OR @ MODA Center# – Tickets
08/05/20 – Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena# – Tickets
08/07/20 – George, WA @ The Gorge Amphitheatre# – Tickets # = support for Tame Impala
More About Perfume Genius
Hadreas grew up in Seattle, WA and started his music career in 2008. He released his debut album Learning in 2010 via long-time label home Matador, and it instantly caught the attention of critics. “The songs on Hadreas’ full-length debut are eviscerating and naked,” said Pitchfork, “with heartbreaking sentiments and bruised characterizations delivered in a voice that ranges from an ethereal croon to a slightly cracked warble.” These descriptors became the hallmarks of Perfume Genius – Hadreas’ unique ability to convey emotional vulnerability not only lyrically, but with his impressively nuanced vocals.
His following album, Put Your Back N 2 It was released in 2012 and continued to build both his audience and critical acclaim. 2014’s Too Bright, exhibited a massive leap forward in both production and confidence. Co-produced by Adrian Utley of Portishead the album featured the stand-out single, ‘Queen’. The track quickly became a queer anthem and a powerful statement of being. Hadreas performed the song on Late Night with David Letterman.
In 2017, Perfume Genius released the GRAMMY-nominated No Shape, an album that would crystalize his fanbase world-wide and bring mainstream awareness to his art. The record was produced by Blake Mills (Fiona Apple, Alabama Shakes). “If you listen to the four Perfume Genius albums in chronological order, you can hear Hadreas healing himself in real time, moving toward an emancipation that seems, suddenly, to have come to pass,” said The New Yorker. “The center of his music has always been a defiant delicacy- a ragged, affirmative understanding of despair. No Shape finds him unexpectedly victorious, his body exalted.” Over the course of the campaign he appeared on multiple late-night television shows and graced the cover of The Fader.
Perfume Genius’ music has played a central role in a number of films and television including The Goldfinch, The Society, 13 Reasons Why, Booksmart and Eighth Grade. He has collaborated with artists including Christine And The Queens, Sharon Van Etten, Weyes Blood, Cate Le Bon, Anna Calvi, King Princess and more. Hadreas has also collaborated with brands like Prada and W Hotels on special projects. His albums have been nominated for a GRAMMY Award and a GLAAD Media Award and have topped numerous Decade-end lists including Billboard’s, Pitchfork’s, Crack’s, Paste’s and more.