Ten years ago, the members of Run River North got together in Los Angeles and formed what would ultimately become Run River North, albeit originally going by the name of Monsters Calling Home. Their origin story was one of resiliency and hard work, which eventually lead to an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

But in 2012, the band changed their name to Run River North and continued to grind and impress audiences around the world. They’ve since made appearances at many festivals all over, toured essentially non-stop, and received proper acclaim for their work. Somewhere along the way, though, the band toyed with the attention of changing their name back to Monsters Calling Home.

They wanted to get back to operating as DIY band: recording everything themselves, selling their music on blank CD’s with homemade covers.  Ultimately, they kept their name as Run River North but still decided to go back to some of those DIY-ethos that they started with. Over the last two years, they have paid homage to where they came from with the releases of Monsters Calling Home: Vol. 1, 2, & 3 — and as of 2020, they have returned to being an independent band.

Being independent gives them the freedom to do things the way that they best see fit, and that includes who they work with. They’ve collaborated with a lot of people who’ve helped them to this point, including producers Joe Chiccarelli (Morrissey, Broken Social Scene) and Miro Mackie (Mallrat, Cold War Kids, St. Vincent), Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio, Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi of Grouplove, Derek Furhmann, Sir Sly, Nick Anderson of The Wrecks, and Chris Chu of Pop Etc, Vinyl Pinups.

Today, Run River North released their newest stellar album, Creatures In Your Head, and Substream is thrilled to be teaming up with the band to bring you an exclusive track-by-track breakdown of each song across the 10-track release. Below you will find their breakdown of each song, as well as a stream of the album to listen along as you read. Pick up your own copy of the album from Run River North here.

Creatures_In_Your_Head run river north

“Creatures In Your Head” – Our title track works as a home for the rest of our creature songs. Imagine every song of this album as a creature teacher or monster student running around the hallways of your head and heart – each of them having their own aspirations, dreams and fears, some with hopeful hearts, but mostly mending with broken ones. This song is the teacher’s lounge, the lunch tables, the gathering areas where time stops for a moment and you’re wondering when futures become presents. (Alex)

“Spiders” – This is truly our COVID-19 song as it was written just a week before the shut down in Los Angeles and finished over zoom calls and remote recording and production. The music video is a snapshot of a city quarantined and the song is a simple tune about how no one’s happy and it’s never enough but that’s just the way it is for now. (Alex)

This song is about fighting the indifferences we sometimes face in our everyday life. Sometimes in acknowledging what’s mundane, there’s room for change! (Sally)

“Lonely Weather” – Seasonal depression is mostly about the physical weather. But in our current climate, our song about seasonal depression includes the mental, political and social storms that we’re surrounded by personally and globally. This song is about finding that favorite sweater in the midst of it all and learning to weather those storms. (Alex)

“Pretty Lies” – Co-written with the boys of Sir Sly, this song is the dark alleyway in a love story where you feel safe with the lies and self-preservation, but ultimately leaves you feeling terribly alone if you don’t let go and leave that alleyway. Get back to your love and not your lies. Also, Sally spits fire bars. (Alex)

“Hummingbird” – We love “808s and Heartbreak” as a band. (Daniel)

The most freeing session we had, singing and rapping whatever was on our minds without judgment. (Sally)

“Funhouse” – “You’ve got ugly eyes / can’t see nothing beautiful” is both the opening line of the track and a double entendre: one, a common implied insult growing up a child of Korean immigrants in this country and two, a statement on modern politics that actually harshly reflect our collective personal insecurities. TLDR: it’s about me, you, our former president, and everyone. (Daniel)

“One For Me” – If “Cemetery” is the romantic date before marriage, One For Me is the “I love you” after one of those late night, heart breaking fights that come from fuzzy miscommunication and insecurities given a little too much time in our heads. Relationships, love, kindness – it’s always a choice that must be fought for every morning and every night. One For Me is a statement that I make to my wife on really great days and really terrible days. One for Me is the marriage vow I make after the ceremony and reception are done, when everyone has gone home with their slice of cake, and it’s just the two of us – seeing each other with all our love, our doubt, our flaws and our vulnerabilities. You’re the one for me. (Alex)

“Cemetery” – There’s a fascination with death found throughout our songs – “In the Water”, “Funeral Parade (Intro + Outro)”, “Monsters”, etc. With cemeteries, there’s a quiet calm that draws me in. I’m able to sit with death and not be overcome with fear. Back when I was dating my now wife Susan, I suggested going to a cemetery that I had always wanted to go to – as if it was like going to the beach or on a hike. She later told me she was obviously a little weirded out. We went and I felt I got to tell her a secret about myself without having to say anything. Cemetery takes me back to that day. (Alex)

“Goodnight Moon” – This song is 13-years old, but feels closer to 13 dog years. This is a lullaby, the first song of a monster calling home, the first time I wrote a song that wasn’t about trying to impress a girl or impress anyone actually. This song had a puppet music video and a life of its own prior to the band, and now re-recorded and released during our tenth year as a band – this song is one that I hope any of our future kids can sing along to. (Alex)