Editors’ Notes “In a way, I don’t always feel good about myself, and admonish myself, but I do feel it’s been a helpful tool for me,” Nap Eyes vocalist and songwriter Nigel Chapman tells Apple Music. Whether he’s exposing his overactive mind or contemplating the vast reaches of space, Chapman isn’t afraid to go wherever his thoughts take him on their fourth album—always weaving the scientific and the personal with his dry wit. With Snapshot of a Beginner, Chapman feels that he and his bandmates are in a good place as they close in on their first decade together. “We’re getting more stable on our feet,” says Chapman, who’s committed to the band full-time after working as a molecular biology research technician at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Chapman is also proud to add a number of other firsts to their project, including working at The National’s Long Pond Studio with producers Jonathan Low and James Elkington. ”A huge part of the way the record sounds comes from their vision, especially Jon, the way he organized the sessions and was so conscientious and had such a methodical ear. And they just increased what we were able to achieve.” Here, Chapman tells us the stories behind every song on the album.

So Tired
“That song came out from an improvised session. It literally speaks to me, as it’s in the style of conversation that I’ve found having with myself over the years. I can hear what I’m saying and externalizing the type of way that I talk to myself sometimes, and try to look at the validity of what I’m saying so I don’t always trust that the things that my mind wants to say are necessarily correct or fully accurate. So it’s nice to listen to them and evaluate them.”

Primordial Soup
“I’m excited about how that one came together, especially the dynamics and what everybody brought out of it at the end of the song. I really like the arc of that. I like the song, too, because I get to explore some contemplation of the ancient past of life on Earth; I like to spend a little bit of time in my mind in that kind of contemplation. It doesn’t have to be that long, but like a minute or two here and there every week. It makes me feel connected in a way to the flow of the universe, just to remember the vastness of thinking about how all the molecules here, and stardust, create all the carbon and oxygen.”

Even Though I Can’t Read Your Mind
“I’m socially shy. I have some anxiety and sometimes I have to externalize the fears, or if I’m going to think about an issue which I have some trepidation over, it helps me to externalize it in words or in a song to land on the side of the issue that makes sense, like if I have a positive interpretation to honor all the people in a social situation. It’s classic mind-reading fears. Sometimes if you’re anxious, you feel like, ‘Oh, everyone knows exactly what’s going on in your dumb mind,’ so it’s a helpful reminder for me to tackle that complication.”

Mark Zuckerberg
“My friend Caleb Glasser wrote the lyrics to that song. He’s an old friend and a great songwriter who I really admire and am grateful to be friends with. I rewrote the lyrics, which were adapted to music. I like their non-literalness, like they’re saying things that may not be true in a literal level, yet they still seem to have some meaning. It gives your mind an idea to ask that kind of question, about someone being this world-famous person. He’s real, of course, and Mark, like anybody, is someone that deserves care as a human. Is the person complicated? Sure, but it’s nice to think about.”

Mystery Calling
“That song for me is about allocating time in your life, but the things that are most meaningful and important to you. Whether it has to do with your interpersonal relationships or creative work, or if it’s your obligations like doing your accounting or your taxes, some of the most mundane things. I’m just trying to relate to them in a healthy way. The song has helped me in a way to relax and deal with all things, but also make time for songwriting. People think of procrastination as something that’s always bad, but sometimes you’re procrastinating one thing in order to prioritize another. So there’s a balance there. It’s always a balance, so I try to remember that.”

Fool Thinking Ways
“This is the oldest song on the record. Josh [bassist Josh Salter] actually found old demo tapes that we had done back in maybe 2013 and forgotten about. There is a certain slowness to growth, like humans are kind of like plants. It takes time, so you have to be patient and let yourself slowly change in the direction that you’re trying to change, but all along the way, as you practice your art or your self-development, you’ll question yourself and think like, ‘Have I really learned nothing after all?’ So sometimes when I sing that song I’m just trying to make room for those feelings so that I don’t feel bad to have them.”

If You Were in Prison
“Sometimes I’ll share my really shitty-quality demos with the band; sometimes there’s a song in there. I remember liking this one, but I was really shy about it. Brad [guitarist Brad Loughead] likes shoegaze sounds and playing louder guitars and a lot of reverb, so I’m happy that we got that in the record. Lyrically, that’s another reminder of how we should not take for granted all the good that we have in our life in terms of personal freedom. It’s such a fundamental good thing to have, and in case anyone ever felt inclined to not really respect people that have to experience incarceration, there’s the respect that it’s all there. I feel shy saying all these things, but it urges me to contemplate these questions. It helps my mind a lot.”

Real Thoughts
“I think we’re all really happy with that one. It was fun to record. That’s one of the things that, if we can get a groove going—even if there’s some kind of repetition—that gives a lot of room for the band to express itself and create these cool soundscapes. And Brad’s guitar playing is so amazing on there. Me and Josh’s big thing is changing the strumming. It’s a fun song to sing. I think that one’s a little bit more conversational in a way that can be good, just kind of speaking in a plainspoken way. It’s important for me that whenever I’m asking people to make a change or whatever I’m telling them, that there’s no power moral ground for me. I’m the same way when I’m having a hard time expressing the way I really feel. It’s a song about communication.”

Dark Link
“I think those games [the Legend of Zelda series] are such an amazing vehicle for a person to relate to. Like the way that Link is and all the characters, they’re so nice and understated in a way. Link never says anything, or he says so little, that anyone can see how they would feel in that situation without feeling like they’re being told how they feel, so that’s something I really love about playing those games. I read a quote from Shigeru Miyamoto, who created Link and Mario and so many classic Nintendo characters, and he said, ‘Oh, Link is not me. It’s not like I am Link, but I know him.’ It was fun to get to create a song that honors that game and take it in an imagined psychological scenario with the characters.”

When I Struck Out on My Own
“That one to me is connected to ‘Primordial Soup,’ and I feel it helps me to remember that we’re standing in such a vast amount of past time and how much time has changed when sometimes, in the modern world, we see ourselves in a little bleep. But it’s so amazing and miraculous to feel connected to the past, and you don’t always remember since you gotta, like, pay expenses or get on the highway or do different things, or answering messages. You get pulled down into the more practical tasks, and this kind of helps me make sense of it—and just to remember this great cosmic and amazing miracle.”

Though I Wish I Could
“I like this song because I can get out my more belligerent sort of like combative energy that I also have—not only to the world and the system, but also against myself. I have this opposite pole within myself. I just feel like there is also a need to wish I was better, but also standing up for what I believe in—even if what I believe in is that I’m being an idiot or something. So it’s owning up to my feelings.”

1
4:12
 
2
3:37
 
3
3:28
 
4
2:45
 
5
5:03
 
6
4:11
 
7
2:17
 
8
7:44
 
9
3:30
 
10
3:57
 
11
4:51
 

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