"You grow up with some idea of what your life is supposed to be, but when you finally cross the bridge of disbelief and you're committed to disbelief, it's liberating, but it also just feels pretty weird. You no longer have access to a part of your life that you don't want in a certain way -- you're left with some ideas that are nihilistic," Adam Klopp told me over the phone late last month.
Klopp is the beating heart of Choir Boy, "a tongue-in-cheek referential thing to a couple of things," including the formative years he spent singing hymns in Mormon temples.
From Cleveland, Ohio, to Salt Lake City, Utah, melancholy followed Klopp, driven, in part, by his gradual loss of faith.
"A lot of my music has discussed the fallout from a faith crisis and things like that.... Religion can make people happy, and it can also make people unhappy. For me, it's complicated," Klopp said.
"I read at one point in time that people in countries that are raised without religion are happier than non-religious people in America. This mysterious source [which Klopp couldn't recall, and I couldn't corroborate] attributed the dip in mental health among atheists to having a transition away from religious belief," he said.
"It's hard to sort out the reason you're feeling the way that you're feeling. I attributed it in some part to feeling a little bit jaded about that experience -- that was the driving force of my melancholy. Some of the lyrics in the song ["Passive With Desire"] question if I'm making a scapegoat out of strawmen.... There's some mourning going on in that batch of songs," he added.
Since the 2016 release of Choir Boy's melancholic debut, the band has put out a couple of singles and a live EP, cloaking themselves thus far in the internet rafters. But with a rigorous touring, writing and recording schedule, Klopp's quavering Gregorian Moz croon can't hide for long -- especially as loss and nihilism give way to levity, reflection and acceptance.
"I feel like I don't think about that stuff anymore. I have a lot better relationship with Mormonism as a whole now. I like to go show friends the Mormon temple and stuff without an attitude of anger and more of a perspective that this is the local history and part of my cultural history. I'm trying to write with a more fun perspective -- it's a little bit funnier of a perspective and less self-serious," Klopp added.
Rutger Ansley Rosenborg has been with NBC SoundDiego since 2016. Find out more here.