Photo Courtesy of Slow Dress
By Lily Doolin, WERS Blog Editor
Although live mixes here at 88.9 are indefinitely cancelled due to the outbreak of COVID-19, we're not stopping Wicked Local Wednesday (WLW), our weekly program dedicated to bringing you music and interviews with artists in the Boston/New England area. Tune in at 9 pm every Wednesday night to hear two songs each by two local artists!
To learn more about the artists you hear on WLW, check here weekly on our WERS Music Blog for interviews with them! In this interview, Slow Dress, aka Katie Solomon and Bredon Jones, (formerly of Jakals), spoke to WERS Blog Editor Lily Doolin about the genesis of this duo, their first single of the project, "Stew," and what the future of Slow Dress will look like.
What inspired you two to create Slow Dress? You two were in Jakals previously, but beyond that, what inspired this project specifically?
Katie Solomon: We had been writing a lot together in Jakals. Jakals had sort of been together for a long time, and we were moving in different directions in certain ways with other members of the band, and we had been writing a lot together. When we decided that Jakals was gonna take a break or end, we were like, "Well we have a lot of momentum," and we were really excited about what we were writing. It initially felt worth it to give it a try, and then it was so easy to write together, to get a lot of momentum really quickly, in a way we hadn't felt in a little while in the other project. It was just very natural.
Bredon Jones: I think we wanted to pull things back and start off in a duo songwriting situation. What ended up happening in Jakals is we were songwriting as a trio, and then bringing the band in and making a lot of creative decisions, and we just wanted to peel it back and be a little leaner and see just how quickly we could pull a project together with some existing material we had and we started writing. We wrote a lot, and it was very clear that we should pursue this project.
With this new project, you guys are just starting to release some new music. How would you describe this new project's music and mission to people who are interested in learning more?
KS: Jakals ended up being pretty heavy sonically, and I think we wanted to start off in a more intimate way, keeping it a little softer, and just being a bit more intentional about when we were getting louder. We recorded this one song, which we released, and then after that, we recorded six songs in a group, which we're not sure when we're gonna release those. They definitely do have - I wouldn't say softer, because they do get loud, but… Bredon, how would you describe them? (laughs)
BJ: Katie writes the words. There's a lot of heavy stuff in the words - just some of the themes are around personal exploration and emotions, and this world and culture that we live in. I'm generally the one who brings the music to it, at the least the initial seed of the music. That's a gross simplification of it: Katie has words, I have music, and we bring them together. I think I tend to write a little bit lighter stuff, and we sort of are drawn and are pulling together this darker and lighter stuff, and that works in a bunch of different ways, lyrically and sonically. I think we're really just trying to explore that juxtaposition. We do have some songs that are kind of danceable rock songs, and we have some that are softer, pretty songs. I think we're just trying to explore that balance through matching the music to the themes. This is also probably not a great explanation of what we're doing (laughs).
No way! I think that's a really great explanation, it's giving voice to what you're trying to do with this project. As much as it is an oversimplification in some way, sometimes it just is that someone has the words, and the other has the music (laughs). Speaking about the songs you're releasing, you just released "Stew," and that's the first single released for this project. Why this song? What was the process of creating "Stew?"
KS: "Stew" was one we'd written during the Jakals era, and it was written just by us. I think "why 'Stew'?" is mainly just because that was the first one we recorded (laughs).
BJ: We wanted to move quickly and get something released, and that was the one that was most mature at the time. We needed to do something, and we also really liked it. It wasn't like, "Oh, I guess we'll do this one" (laughs).
KS: I felt very excited releasing it, but after we recorded "Stew," we separately recorded these six other songs and I feel like those six other songs have such a different feel from Jakals. It would've been cool to maybe release one of those first as a "This is a totally different project." I do think "Stew" still has a pretty different vibe, but maybe slightly less. I feel like it fits within this new vibe, but it's a little less, "Woah, that's so different!" I feel really excited about it though.
Speaking about those six other songs, are you guys planning on releasing an EP or album? What would that look and sound like?
BJ: With this Coronavirus stuff, we're really just regrouping here and figuring out what makes sense for us as far as releasing those is concerned. I also have a health issue that is gonna need to be dealt with, which is just like that, a pandemic, Katie and I aren't in the same place right now (laughs). We're just trying to figure it out, but I imagine we'll release these songs for-sure, we're not gonna wait longer than that.
KS: Yeah, especially given the circumstances, I've noticed more people are talking about releasing things earlier. I think we just wanna be thoughtful about how we release and when. If people aren't gonna be able to play shows for quite a while, that kind of changes the landscape.
On that note, one of the questions I've been asking artists is about how they're making the best of current events. What are you guys doing to keep things going, even when apart?
BJ: I think it's forcing us to do some things that we've known for a long time we've needed to do. Now, because we can't play shows - We were really focusing on the recording process and getting shows together for a couple of tours, and now all those performances are on hold, so now we're looking at the other stuff like videos and things like that that we can share online. We have demos of a couple of our songs that we could put out there, and just different ways of communicating with our audience. And it's kind of good, because I think we're hoping it'll force us to create some habits that will help us get the music out there.
KS: That's a very positive outlook! (laughs)
BJ: I'm Mr. Positivity! (laughs)
KS: To be totally honest, it takes a second for this to set in and for people to actually accept it in a variety of ways. I think Bredon and I have a lot of different things going on in our personal lives even separate from this pandemic that we're trying to work through. At least I'm personally working on letting myself sit with something for a second. Especially with music, I feel like you can get in this mindset of "go, go, go," everyone's doing so much, and there's a lot of pressure to be moving really quickly and be producing all the time, so just accepting that we can't do that right now and it's kind of important to accept what's happening and slow down for a second. But, I think also what Bredon said (laughs).