On Sunday night’s nearly one-full hour episode of Dexter: New Blood, fans got a treat from series star Michael C. Hall during the end credits of the show’s fifth offering of the season, “Runaway.” After the chock-full of surprises episode, which included an original series cameo from one of the show’s major characters and ended on a major twist teasing more to come, the ending cut to credits featuring the song “Ketamine” written and sung by Hall with his band Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum, an avant-garde supergroup (Peter Yanowitz and Matt Katz-Bohen) drawing on influence from the glam, experimental and ambient music of David Bowie, ’80s new wave dance, and contemporary electronica.
Featured on their self-titled EP, the song “Ketamine” is a nice tie to the episode as Dexter is actually looking for some from Iron Lake’s veterinarian to sedate one of his victims. While he is able to acquire the medication, things go awry for our favorite vigilante serial killer and he has to improvise. But while those events transpire, the end credits help to tie things together with lyrics like, “I want to feel forever changing” or “no matter what I can’t escape.”
In their entirety, the lyrics allude to a relationship struggle, which Hall told Collider was about “the phenomenon of being on your own trip in life, [but] also taking a trip alongside someone else, and the struggle of honoring the times when those trips are very different.” With much of their music leaving you in an ethereal and reflective state of mind, the song is a slow psychedelic ballad with a simple four-note bassline and unusual drum section over Hall’s smooth-toned voice. Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum’s keyboardist Katz-Bohen used a ’60s upright piano, which he then recorded and flipped the audio backward to create a hallucinogenic “ghost choir” sound with delay, distortion and reverb.
Though the song’s title is “Ketamine,” the lyrics are obscure enough to likely refer to any number of hallucinogens. In an interview with Late Show With Stephen Colbert ahead of the Dexter: New Blood premiere, Hall revealed the song was based on a therapeutic ketamine experience he shared with his wife, Morgan Hall. “While I was going through my trip, I actually said, in spite of myself, ‘I feel forever changing!’ and I felt her say, ‘Oh, please,” he laughed.
While Hall is best known for his work on TV with shows like Six Feet Under or Dexter, he has showcased his singing talents on stage and Broadway for years, telling Collider he has been singing since before his voice changed. The band first met when Hall led the 2014 Broadway production of Hedwig and the Angry Itch. Fast becoming friends and sharing a common love for genre-bending music, the three have merged their talents for Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum.
Ready to head out on the road with their 14-track record beaming with a blinding existential vision of immaculately expressive songwriting against moody, spacious backdrops of subtle drums and low bass, Hall, Yanowitz and Katz-Bohen, told PopCulture.com exclusively last month that with their album being avant-garde and ideal for every mood, they enjoy the challenge of testing themselves genre-wise.
“On our [2020 self-titled] EP we had six songs and they were all different from each other and we like that sort of mash-up,” Yanowitz told PopCulture from the band’s studio in New York. “And then for the full link, we just continued that, and then we have another record that we just finished that I think also plays into that same feel where we like to jump around. It’s funny, we just wrote a set for our tour that’s coming up this week in Europe and this set’s a little bit of mash-up and challenging to try to figure out how to lay it out, but it’s fun for us. I mean, we like all kinds of music, maybe one day we will make a record that all sounds like one thing.”
Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum’s debut album, Thanks for Coming is out now. Since its release this past February to before the time it took producing the record, Hall told PopCulture the album has no doubt taken on another tonal shift in perspective and meaning almost a year later. “I think everybody’s hearing things through the filter of the past 18 months or more, with everything that’s gone as crazy as it has. It’s hard for people not to keep that kind of thing in mind when they hear stuff, consume stuff, think about stuff,” he said. “We weren’t necessarily thinking about the pandemic when we were writing a lot of these songs, but yeah, I think it’s inevitable that it reframes things.”
For more information and how you can see Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum live, click here for tickets and dates. For more on the band, head to their official site for music, merchandise, and lots more! Thanks for Coming is now out at all digital retailers and available to stream.