Meet JIM ALXNDR, who makes an entrance with Slave, feat. Angie McMahon
The shimmering moment of twinkling electronica introduces the LA-via-Melbourne musician as a bright new light.
Header image: JIM ALXNDR by Lauren Sibree (L), Angie McMahon by Chelsea King (R)
If you're yet to be acquainted, JIM ALXNDR is the production project of LA's James Vincent, who after spending quite a bit of time engrossed in the Melbourne music scene and working with some of its best musicians - Woodes, Close Counters, Citizen Kay - is now focusing on bringing his own solo work to light, something he's been succeeding at pretty strongly across the last few years. His latest release, the ten-track Retro Future Love Sound Machine, encapsulates why exactly he's an artist on the forefront of something special, taking his music into many directions to showcase his versatility and how it shapes his work.
Now, however, a few months on from releasing his sound-exploring debut album, he's returning with a track that opens things up and presents how much he's grown production-wise in even just a small amount of time. Slave is a stripped-back moment of intimate electronica, with glistening melodies and intricate percussive pace keeping everything in line as Melbourne's Angie McMahon swirls over the top; her voice - quickly becoming recognised as one of the country's most brilliant - taking an almost-R&B-esque tone as it flutters amongst the wails of synth and the playfulness that it brings.
"Slave was a song I wrote when I felt very out of control of the remnants of an incredibly toxic relationship," he says on the single. "I’d been with someone on and off for some time and loved them deeply but felt as if my feelings for them enabled me to be taken advantage of - I realised I was more in love with the idea of being in love than the person themselves. I wasn’t in a place mentally to say it to them so I put in a song how I felt (what a cliche), what I would say if I could overcome my huge fear of confrontation and my huge fear of them."
"James and I met in a music class a few years ago, and each of us had to write an orchestral arrangement of a pop song," Angie continues, this time talking about the track's creation and how the two met. "His arrangement of Beyoncé’s Love On Top was beautifully nerdy, and I knew I really loved the way he heard and wrote music, so later when he asked me to sing on a song of his I was so happy to say yes. James wrote this whole song, I just went into his house one day and laid down a vocal take for it, then forgot we ever did it! I’m so excited that he’s putting out music because I’m just a fan of his music brain."
It's a brilliant track that really introduces JIM ALXNDR's work if you're yet to be acquainted (while showcasing, yet again, the brilliance of Angie McMahon regardless of what sound she's layering her vocals alongside), so dive into it below ahead of its full release tomorrow, and introduce yourself to the rising Australian ex-pat in the process:
Tell us about yourself?
Right now I’ve just started reading a book about how speakers work (I’m a nerd) and all my pants have holes in them so I might need to buy a new pair soon. I really like falafel and have started really liking spicy food a lot – so spicy falafel is among my favourite foods right now. I do a lot of my work in a café that now knows my order and brings me a long black shortly after I sit down; the coffee isn’t the best, but I’m comforted by the fact that they remember me so I keep going back there. I’ve been searching for a non-creative hobby for a while and have settled on exercising for now, but I think there’s room for that to change at some point.
What’s the vibe music-wise?
The vibe is pretty varied, as are my influences – but I think you could classify it as ‘Alternative RnB Rhythms with Pop Sensibilities in front of an Ambient Textured Backdrop’. It took me a long time to think of that.
I often find I make music that reflects what I’ve been listening to in some way, shape or form. Right now I’m listening to a lot of Bibio, Tourist, Jap Wallpaper, Jai Paul, Things that Blake Mills has produced etc, so I’m definitely leaning towards more of the Ambient Textures than the RnB Rhythms at the moment, but I’m sure that’ll change at some point. I think the main thing that’s a constant is that I try and capture emotion as much as I can – I think it’s fascinating that we can do such a thing with a laptop and a pair of speakers.
What are your production and writing processes like?
Again, they’re pretty varied. With production, I try and listen to the computer as much as I can rather than dictating my musical ideas to it. Basically I think that every piece of software has such cool idiosyncrasies that we often brush over when we go into something with a really strong musical idea in our heads already, and rather than brushing over them I try and let them dictate my musical decision making. I’ve found that I’ve often made way cooler music out of a weird computer glitch than when I’ve gone in chasing an idea in my head. Recently I’ve been trying to distance myself from any instruments I can actually play, so I use my ears to come up with cool ideas rather than the things I’ve learnt how to do and am comfortable with on the instrument.
With songwriting, it’s a pretty different process. I’m usually sitting at a piano writing and writing until I finish a song (or leaving the piano with half a song to finish another day). I don’t often write songs (with lyrics) at the computer, cause I like to have songs that are strong enough to stand their ground as just a song, without production saving it.
Can you tell us about your new single, Slave?
Slave is a song about someone liberating themselves from a toxic relationship, after having a realisation that they are being walked all over. More broadly, it’s about feeling empowered when you’re in a seemingly powerless situation.
I think when we fall in love and let our guard down we’re often in a position to be taken advantage of. That’s a pretty grim way to look at love, but a pretty real situation. I found myself more in love with the idea of a relationship than the relationship I was in at the time and wrote this to express where I was at in that moment.
Any tour dates coming up?
Nothing right now for me in the way of live shows, I’m really enjoying making music in the studio so until something comes along to bring me out of there I’ll probably keep doing that for the time being.
What does the rest of 2019 – and beyond - have in store for you?
The rest of 2019 looks pretty quiet in terms of music – I’m travelling around a little bit, which is exciting. Beyond that, there’s a lot of exciting things coming – some more collabs with some amazing artists and another album next year if all goes to plan
Where can we find more of your music?
You can find my music on all streaming platforms, you can stay updated with my releases on Instagram and if you’re really interested feel free to DM me and ask, I’ll probably send you demos or something if you really want. I like making music and sharing it around. And maybe in the future you can catch me playing a show in LA, we shall see.
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