Today Jackson released some new music and I’m so excited for everyone to be able to hear it. He is releasing this as a collaborative project with his close friend Pat McRight. Jackson and Pat will be recording and releasing music under the name “The Band Hiraeth” and you can find them on your favorite streaming platforms: Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music, Amazon Music. Just search for “The Band Hiraeth” and you can listen to their first two singles: “Once by the Pacific” and “Magnolia.”
I interviewed Jackson (as I do for each of his musical releases) and asked him about the new music. My interview with him is below, along with a Spotify preview of the singles:
Jason: First of all, tell everyone why you decided to release this music under a new “band” name rather than as a continuation of your solo music?
Jackson: After working with Pat for so long, I felt our music was it’s own project. It didn’t need to be under my name alone because it’s OUR work. My solo work will continue to stray into lyrical and fuller productions. But this music continues to be primarily instrumental.
The songs for The Band Hiraeth are inspired by many classic works of art, especially mediums such as poetry and paintings. Pat and I are heavily influenced by these things and that was the inspiration behind starting this new band.
Tell everyone what it’s like to compose and record with Pat. How do the two of you compliment one another as artists?
Working with Pat is really interesting because he comes from a classic piano background, playing at weddings, these very regal sort of performances. But I come from a very “electronic” background and a “house” inspired background, listening to Aphex Twin and Bon Iver. Working with Pat is great because I can usually come up with ideas and concepts for everything and Pat adds an element of elegance and depth to our music that I could not do alone. So we both bring different puzzle pieces to the table and combining them together is such a wonderful experience creatively.
Okay, explain the band name. What is the meaning behind “Hiraeth?”
The word “hiraeth” is a Welsh-derived word which means “being homesick for a place that may or may not exist.” Typically this is the kind of thing that is formed in your imagination, which ties in with so many of our inspirations for this music. Some of my early ancestors on the Bybee side are from Wales, so I’ve always wanted to somehow incorporate some Welsh influence into my music. Thankfully, Pat was kind enough to let me use that as our band name. (Also I am learning to speak Welsh, hahaha!)
These two songs are very different: “Once by the Pacific” is a quieter piano ballad while “Magnolia” incorporates a wider variety of sounds. Should we think of The Band Hiraeth as operating between these two styles?
With the first two singles for the band, Pat and I really wanted to display the two main elements of our music and the backgrounds that we come from creatively. “Once by the Pacific” was written solely by Pat and it beautifully demonstrates his capability as a writer and as a pianist. “Magnolia” was written solely by me and I feel as if it fully encompasses my capabilities as a producer and as an instrumental artist. However, both of us played a part in the production and editing of these songs, which is very similar to how most of our songs are formulated.
Talk a bit more about “Once by the Pacific:”
This is the name of a poem by Robert Frost, which is yet another introduction to our band because we are very heavily inspired by poetry: Frost, Dickinson, Poe. In fact, we were writing this song and we needed a title, so we just picked up a book of Robert Frost’s poetry and flipped through until we found a title that fit the theme. With many of the ballads Pat has written in the past, we have tried incorporating a new age sound. However, with this song, we were aiming more for Beethoven: a mathematical and harmonious composition. This is one of my favorites that Pat has written.
Talk about “Magnolia:”
I’ve actually always wanted to have a song called “Magnolia,” because for those who don’t know my music very well, I’ve always liked using trees as song titles and as metaphorical concepts in my music. This song was actually recorded in a single day after I created a drum beat and simply improvised everything else. Like most songs Pat and I have recorded, this one was very spur of the moment, out of the blue, and just me having fun in the studio. To me, this song has a very fresh and new sound compared to the darker themes of my “evergreen” album. Recently, with our new projects, Pat and I have experimented with more upbeat sounds and happier compositions, which I feel is strongly displayed in this song. I hope that everyone who hears it can dance to it!
When will we get to hear a full LP from The Band Hiraeth?
We’ve been working on an album recently. Actually, we’ve been working on three albums, but all in due time…everything will be released. Sadly, this summer is a bittersweet time for me because I really want to finish our LP and release it, but I will be out of town so much I don’t think I will be able to have it done within the next few months. However, I think that listeners can expect another single or two by the end of the summer.