We are immersed in a culture dominated by mass media and spectacle. Approaching this theme may be difficult due to its complexity and reach. But Swiss singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Timothée Botbol has found an engaging way of exploring it: through music and fiction. Callipolis is both the name of his project and the dream city in which his songs take place. A city that may be as well a mirror of our world.
This song emerged from a poem my friend sent me before moving back to NYC. I found it incredibly touching and couldn’t help noticing similarities with toxic relationships we both had. As I re-arranged some of the lines and played around with words and rhymes to fit in a song, the whole thing took a life of its own: the initial sentimental laments using diverse “fuel” analogies became almost a call to indulgence with regards to substance abuse, which is something I was particularly concerned about at the time. “Kerosene” plays therefore on the ambiguity of fiery love and alcohol/drug dependency, and their occasional link. -Timothée Botbol
“Kerosene” is the debut single of Callipolis. Botbol focuses on “large sounding” bands like Muse and Imagine Dragons to produce a single that deviates from modern indie-pop acts by voluntarily engaging with commercial music and giving it more depth in a lyrical and musical sense. Listening to “Kerosene” is quite an experience. The listener may at first think they are listening to something they already heard before, but, as the song continues, we are introduced to certain deviations that take us to unexpected paths. It may be a certain change of rhythm, the introduction of a new instrument halfway through the song, or a completely unexpected key change. Its poetic images in the lyrics make it stand out from other bands, as it touches on themes from toxic relationships and addiction. “Kerosene” is more than just a single, it is a comment on the current state of affairs of our society and the music it creates.
I make music that helps cope with my struggle between introversion and intensity. Behind the broader narrative of the imaginary city of Callipolis, I’m looking to heal insecurities and shyness with crowdy anthems blended with solitary thoughts. As the upcoming release will come, expect the fictional narrative to gradually take over and we will learn more and more facets of the land of Callipolis through the eyes of its protagonists. -Timothée Botbol
With his debut single, Botbol hands us the key to the city of Callipolis. Which stories will we find in this land so similar to us? Only time will tell. But if “Kerosene” is something to go by, we are excited to get to know each nook and cranny from the city and meet its many inhabitants!
Don’t forget to support this project and to follow on Instagram, Facebook, SoundCloud, YouTube, and Spotify. If you enjoy his music and are able to provide monetary support, you might consider downloading it on Bandcamp.