City Rain | photo by Doug Seymour | courtesy of the artist

It’s been two years since City Rain‘s Songs from a High School Dance LP, and the band’s transition from electro-pop dancefloor-project to ambitious anthemic rock. That evolution continues on the new EP, Take Me To the Void, out this Friday.

Programmer / vocalist Ben Runyan recorded the album with Scott Cumpstone on guitar and Ross Robey on drums, but has scaled back down to a lone wolf performer that we’ll see in action at MilkBoy on June 17th.

With the EP dropping on Friday, Runyan was kind enough to let us premiere it for y’all, and shared some thoughts about the inspiration behind it.

These were sent to me via Facebook messenger around 1 a.m. one night, and cover a lot of heady ground, so I just present them to you in full:

I’ve long been a follower of Allan Watts the famous British born Buddhist philosopher that was part of the counterculture movement in the 1970s America. I have always been inspired by his worlds. As someone who grew up religious, lost the faith but remained curious, and then finally have just given up searching for answers, he as always spoken to a need for a meaning, but no subscription. There is one lecture that he gave on the concept of nothingness and he mentions the word ‘void’. A void is something that has the connotation of being bad. Without something. Empty. Dark. Desolate. And yes, it can be used that way. But it’s etymology is the latin word ‘vacate’ which means ‘unoccupied”. Alan asks us to think about what it would mean to think about all our accomplishments vanishing in the face of death, of the void, of darkness. But he challenges us further to the root of the word. Void, meaning unoccupied, can be a place devoid of meaning. It needs to be ascribed. And that all ties into Ego. The void is a clear place where you can challenge your own definition of the self. We hold on to egos so tightly in life that they can be become toxic. As it happened, and at the core of what the record is a breakup. Theres no navigating around that. Every song on this record is about one girl that changed my life. In fact, I basically wrote it in the one month following the affair. But thats a simple deduction of a bigger theme. The record is a self reflection and a yearning to always being open to the void. Never holding on too much to one self, and being open to change. It honors the darkest places, and the lightest. the void is a place to re-think everything.

Take Me To the Void is available this Friday via City Rain’s website – listen to the music below, and get more information on the June 17th record release party with Minka at the XPN Concert Calendar.