September 26, 2023

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

Where did the initial inspiration for Inside The Well come from?

The initial process was very similar to how I started with my last album Surrogate, where I would just sit down a few times every week and create super raw loops and rough drafts to see what stuck. I was going in more aware of the album process and what my strengths were this time around though, so I was able to more quickly discern what could potentially work for the next album and what wouldn't. 

After a few months of these rough sessions I started to have a clearer view of what I wanted the album to be. I don't remember exactly when in the process it was, but pretty early on I had the thought of making an "aquatic pop" album and things started to fall into place nicely from there.

Lyrically and thematically I started pulling from this internal struggle I was having with nostalgia. I had been dwelling in a nostalgic creative place for so long making the first album and as a means of escapism in general during the pandemic, that I felt like it was actually becoming detrimental to making forward progress as a human being. A lot of the themes are about returning to the present even if it comes with a painful shock to the system. A break-up album with nostalgia.

Was there a song that represented a crucial part of the formulation process?

After making the rough draft for Graveyard Shift about halfway through writing the album, things started to really solidify for what I wanted the final product to be. Before making that song I had maybe half instrumental ideas and half vocal ideas aimlessly lying around, but after getting the vocal hooks down for Graveyard Shift I knew that I wanted to lean into making this a more pop-centric album and not always hiding my voice behind the music like I had done for the most part in the past.

Inside the Well is described as a ‘seamlessly-sequenced genre tour’, how do you find you're able to naturally work with a range of genres?

In every music project I've ever done I've always had the habit of trying to incorporate as many genre switch-ups as possible, sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much. The key to pulling it off and still making the collection of songs feel consistent, for me, is to find little layers and textures that remain consistent throughout the album, even while the genre influences are bouncing all over the place from song to song.

On this album I was really drawn to the sound of pitched harp samples and trickling water textures. You can hear these harp arpeggio echo layers all over the place in each song that almost serve as like the Greek chorus of the album, constantly checking in and providing a consistent backdrop to experiment within. 

Is there a track you were able to get sounding exactly how you imagined it?

Pearl is the song that, while making it, taught me the most, in terms of the production side of things. The initial demo of that song didn't pack much of a punch even though I really liked the general melody and feel of it, so I bunkered down on and off for a week or so and dissected each individual layer until I got it right. It was a lot of researching stuff online and listening intently over and over to producers I love like Lone or The Field, and I finally was able to figure out a few tricks that made the mix really pop.

I'm used to just winging everything when it comes to mixing, so doing my homework like that was tedious and frustrating at times, but super beneficial in the long run for that song and the rest of the album as a whole.

What music/films/books/media did you find inspired or helped you to create the album? 

This album process was way more organic and had way less moments of “I want to make a song that sounds like this artist” like I did on the first album. But there are definitely spots where I can pinpoint the exact influence whether it was subconscious or not. Some of those influences are Casino Versus Japan, SZA, Cloud 9/Nookie, System Olympia, DJ Swisha and Colleen.

And the influences of Pinback, Teebs, and Nobuo Uematsu are baked into my DNA at this point so I can always hear those three in everything I make. 

I also binge watched Mushi-Shi multiple times during the making of this album and found myself thinking about it a lot when deep in the Ableton grid.

The beautiful album artwork was made by Ishaq Fahim, how did it come about and what does it say to you?

I had been a fan of Ishaq’s work for a minute, so I just reached out to him as I was starting to put the final touches on the album and we hit it off. We initially put together a version of the artwork that was very on the nose with the album title and themes, but we scrapped it in favour of a more abstract direction. We talked on the phone about a few buzzwords and he just ran with it. 

I hope everyone gets something different and unique from the artwork, but to me the portal/well represents a moment of distinct personal transformation. 

What is the perfect setting to listen to Inside The Well?

Alone at night by a peaceful body of water.


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