Ever had a cassette tape flip your notion of actuality inside out?
“The tape is actual however this cowl is not.” So learn the 15 limited-run, J-card inserts that Richmond-based singer-songwriter Andy Jenkins designed on the final minute when the official inserts did not arrive in time for the June pre-release present he and Oakland-based singer- songwriter-producer James Wallace performed at Black Iris Social Club in celebration of their new collaborative EP, “Nothing No. 1.”
Then once more, Wallace and Jenkins are comfy with the uncanny. Wallace is understood in indie music circles as Skyway Man, and his prior releases have carved out a psychedelic spirituality that sounds prefer it might have shaped from the mud of some distant nebula, or from the murk of an unlimited, underground river untouched by people. Jenkins’ wordboth within the verses he lends to different artists’ songs and the music he releases underneath his personal title, invite you to have a look at acquainted pictures – flowers, daylight, shadow – from surprising angles.
Jenkins sings it this fashion within the title monitor of the EP, out July 29 on Mama Bird Recording Co.: “Somewhere the earth is chilly / Somewhere it’s burning / I’m however a stranger right here.”
Despite the recent views these musicians provide, they are not strangers to 1 one other, nor are they new to the neighborhood they enlisted upon deciding to set a co-release in movement. “It’s simply been progressively constructing,” Jenkins says.
Wallace was born in Richmond on, as he talked about to the viewers at Black Iris, the identical day because the Grateful Dead’s October 1984 cease on the Richmond Coliseum. His dad even had tickets. “There was a second after the whole lot was completed when it was simply him, me, my mother [and] my aunt, simply hanging out within the hospital,” he says. “I feel possibly [my mom] was nonetheless in that post-birth daze and mentioned one thing like, ‘Well, I imply, if you wish to go to the present…’ and my aunt was like, ‘He’s not going to the present.’”
Wallace attended Virginia Commonwealth University for a yr earlier than transferring to Appalachian State University. Back in Richmond for the summer time after graduating in 2006, he noticed Jenkins carry out at Poe’s Pub. Wallace quickly began sharing gigs with The Great White Jenkins, the pivotal collaboration between Jenkins, who had moved to Richmond after attending the University of Virginia, and Spacebomb Records founder Matthew E. White.
In 2010, Wallace recorded his “More Strange News from Another Star” album within the Libby Avenue attic the place Spacebomb took early steps towards changing into a manufacturing powerhouse. Jenkins now lives in that home on Libby, and it is the place rehearsals for the Black Iris present befell.
“Great vitality in that attic,” Wallace reported. “Smells the identical because it did once I recorded ‘More Strange News.’”
Jenkins sang on that album, and he has co-writing credit on the 2 Skyway Man LPs that adopted, 2017’s apocalyptic masterpiece, “Seen Comin’ from a Mighty Eye” and 2020’s colourful imaginative and prescient of the afterlife, “The World Only Ends When You The.” One composition on “Nothing No. 1,” entitled “Moment of Quiet,” really predates each of these releases, having been written in 2015. “This was sitting down and dealing on a music collectively,” Jenkins remembers. “That was sort of the one time that is occurred, in order that one feels particular.”
The music glides placidly atop shimmering synths, flippantly performed piano and restrained upright bass, crystalizing a pause between two folks. It’s among the many most arresting work from both artist, containing a gem of a lyric penned by Jenkins — “Ribbon of smoke so thick you can tie it / A second of quiet” — and visitor vocals from Molly Sarlé, who’s one third of harmonizing folks trio Mountain Man.
While many artists discovered to collaborate remotely in the course of the pandemic, that is lengthy been the modus operandi for Wallace and Jenkins.
“It takes me a very long time to jot down a music,” Wallace says. “I would write 1 / 4 of the lyrics and know what it is about, however then I’ll get too hung up on if sure issues are going to work… I’ve discovered that in these moments, it is good for me to simply ship it to Andy and say, ‘Where would you go along with this?’”
“The kinds of contributions [he’s] given to the songs that I’ve requested for enter on have been very interdisciplinary,” Wallace says of Jenkins, who often shares writing credit with Matthew E. White as properly.
“There is a extra normal strategy to co-writing and songwriting that I do not suppose I’ve an important facility for,” Jenkins says. He describes a extra consultative course of that takes the form of every music’s wants. “Co-writing will be like, ‘Oh, you want a 3rd verse. I can write you a 3rd verse.’ Or it is like, ‘This music is completed, however it does not really feel good.’On one of many songs my contribution was, ‘You ought to repeat this line 3 times.’”
Jenkins appreciated that variability to how a producer’s function adjustments from mission to mission. Cameron Ralston, a longtime contributor to Skyway Man albums and the bassist on Jenkins’ 2018 debut LP, “Sweet Bunch,” stepped as much as co-produce the EP with Wallace. Most monitoring befell at Spacebomb Studios between Christmas and New Year’s on the finish of 2020.
“He actually gave rather a lot to it,” Jenkins says of Ralston. “It was enjoyable to observe James and [Cameron] talk and work on issues collectively, within the second after which post-[production], as a result of I really feel like they each actually care about the way in which it sounds and have a imaginative and prescient for issues, however then are additionally conscious of how issues are flowing. They’ll each go deep.”
Producing in partnership Ralston helped Wallace discover a new frequency on which to vibrate, one which breaks free from an anxiousness about shortage of time and assets that had change into ingrained. “[Ralston] works on a wider, deeper, slower airplane, and getting on that airplane with him was fascinating and enjoyable,” Wallace says.
The tempo could have been completely different, however the mission did not lack for momentum. In reality, Wallace, who was alone on the producing helm on his final two LPs, reveled in his capacity to lean on others.
“Often instances, when I’m engaged on information [in Richmond], which is the place I often begin my information, I construction it in a approach the place I e-book all of my pals in an area, and immediately we’re there, and it is as much as me to push ahead on the report. It could be very collaborative, however it’s 100% me holding the bag till I do know when to delineate the roles and the duties. But this was a possibility to work with these similar people, and learn to actually share.”
The similar goes for these 15 restricted version “Nothing No. 1” cassette. “When I got here down the steps on the eleventh hour after rehearsing somewhat bit and I noticed [Jenkins] engaged on them… I imply, I’m not saying I teared up, however I obtained somewhat bit emotional as a result of it was the very first time that I [could] expertise what it might need felt prefer to be in a band with another person who can also be carrying the bag.”
Their efficiency at Black Iris embodied that spirit. A couple of solo tunes from Jenkins, just a few from Wallace accompanied by a drum machine, then a string of songs collectively, backed by Ralston on bass and Scott Burton on guitar. One they shared vocal duties on was “Tell It All Brother,” second of the EP’s 4 songs. A thematic sibling to “Lean On Me” and “The Weight” that was recorded by an early-career Kenny Rogers, “Tell It All Brother” is an ode to letting others assist shoulder your heaviest emotional burdens.
“Tell all of it brother, earlier than we fall / Tell all of it brothers and sisters,” they sang collectively, encapsulating a collaborative relationship that continues to develop.
“Nothing No. 1” is out July 29 on Mama Bird Recording Co. To pre-order the cassette and discover Skyway Man tour dates, go to skywayman.bandcamp.com. Andy Jenkins is touring with Laura Veirs in July; For tickets, go to andyjenkins.ltd.