With Jesse and the Dandelions’ production values maturing alongside the content, their upcoming album Give Up The Gold (out Sept. 7th) is enriched with classic synth and guitar textures that pays respect to the past, while forging their own path forward. String sections, a cacophonous blend of noise, and heavily layered vocal harmonies push accessible pop hooks into more psychedelically complex and intriguing harmonic territory that rewards repeat listeners by continuing to engage them.
In our new interview, frontman Jesse Northey discusses the making of Give Up The Gold, chasing success, and more!
What did producer Nik Kozub bring to the table during the recording process for Give Up The Gold?
Nik really knows what makes a song click and so he’s a great person to have in the room while recording. He really helps guide the sessions in a natural way and always encourages you to do better. He also has a great ear for textures!
What did you learn from Nik about having a simplified approach in terms of creating the album?
We did a lot of the bedtracks live, which was a bit of a tradeoff of control but ended up being beneficial because all the tracks glued together a little bit better. Nik was good at guiding the process and made sure we captured what we needed. We had less time for overdubs so we needed to be deliberate in our choices.
What was it like working with a hired producer for the first time?
Nik was great at moving the project along and reminding us what is important about the songs. When working alone it’s so easy to get caught in traps because you can tinker forever. Producers keep things on track and keep things in perspective.
What was the creative process like for the album?
I wrote a lot of these songs on the piano which was a nice change for me. It opened me up to some different types of songs and rhythms. Writing on the piano is a way different experience because the piano arrangement basically produces the whole song functionally. Then while recording you can delegate different piano lines and rhythms to different instruments to switch up production. I have a little studio in my house and I spent a long time working on them, coming up with all the forms and words.
What kind of lyrical themes did you focus on?
This record is a bit of a mixed bag lyrically, but some themes are “at least you tried your best” “everything is going to be ok” , and general nonsense that sounds nice.
You mentioned that the chase of the gold or success is exhausting and that you should just enjoy the journey. What does success look like to you?
I think it’s important for everyone in their own life to look at what types of things really make them happy. I love making songs and recording them and tinkering forever. If you put some sort of number on your success you’ll just continually want more. I think I’ve come to terms with how I make my art and the joy I get from performing it. I don’t have as much hunger for the idea of fame anymore.
The video for the title track takes viewers on a mind-altering psychedelic trip. How did the concept come to be?
I had been digging the art and work of Parker Theissen who does all sorts of glitch work for artists across western Canada, and his work seemed to be a good fit for the song Give Up The Gold. We had our friend Dylan Howard shoot a nice looking/neutral music video with the intention of Parker glitching it at a later time. The collaboration was a success and Parker really illustrated the song’s production changes with the work that he did.