Wonky, soothing alt-pop
Jessie Atkinson
10:33 23rd October 2020

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JWestern has only been around since August, yet today he shares his debut EP Just People. As such a green artist, this is a remarkably well-formed accomplishment: wonky, alt-pop that'll appeal to fans of artists like Easy Life, Arlo Parks and even Jimothy Lacoste.

We got the 411 on the EP from JWestern (aka John Gooding) himself. He walks us through it here:

'Call You Right Now'

‘CYRN’ for me was always going to open the EP. It was the kind of song that all came together in one night, the lyrics and melody already seemed to be there in my head, it was just a case of getting them down. I always really wanted CYRN to have a strong groove to it. I’m really inspired by Kaytranada but most specifically his drum production so I spent a long time getting it so that the song would grab you straight away with a strong kick and bass relationship. CYRN is probably the song I enjoy nodding my head to the most so when live gigs start up again I can’t wait to take it on the road.

'Weight In Gold'

‘Weight In Gold’ was actually one of the first songs that I wrote really and gave a start to the JWestern project. A lot of the time I’ll start songs with a set of chords but I had this bass line that I thought had a lot of feel and just stuck with me. For a period of time it was a song that had purely a bass line and a beat behind it until the opening line ‘we’re back again’ came into my mind. It really acted as a catalyst for me to take this journey back in time and reflect on a bitter sweet moment of realising you see a person as something so much more to you than you had previous thought. I find it really hard to not draw inspiration from my own experiences so on a whole the EP is extremely personal. I see my songs as little snippets of time, moments that have been and gone that most people are able to relate to.

'Regret It All'

‘Regret It All’ really felt like a turning point for me production wise where I felt that the overall ‘JWestern’ sound started to come together in my mind. The phrase ‘Don’t make me regret it all’ was a throw away comment of mine for so long but something about it really drew me to make it a focal point of the song. I really wanted the start of the song to swell in a dream like haze almost like the phrase was going round and round in my head and that’s really how the song came to begin. For me, signing to Heist or Hit really motivated me to push myself as much as I could production wise, so Regret It All went through many various versions before I felt completely happy. I also really wanted to feature the very first acoustic guitar that my parents bought me when I was 6 as a lot of my songs that I write seem to begin on something that has been with me for a large portion of my life.

'Check In'

‘Check In’ is all about a breakdown in communication between two people. I often find it really hard to say how I’m actually feeling in the moment and end up saying the wrong things; then in hindsight everything becomes clear in my mind and I end up regretting everything that I said. But at the same time, even through a rough patch, I still want to check up on the person and make sure that they’re okay and go back to how things were before. Similarly to ‘Regret It All’, ‘Check In’ had many different demos mainly due to trying lots of new techniques. I really wanted ‘Check In’ to have a live energy to it so I began cutting up funk/soul drum groove recordings, putting the kick, snare and hats into a sampler and makings my own beats.

'Let’s Disappear'

‘Let’s Disappear’ is probably the most intimate/personal song on the record so from the outset I saw this as the song to close the project as a whole. I think this is because it comes from a very vulnerable place for me. The lyrics stem from me falling really fast for a person and it honestly being the best but most scary feeling on the planet. I sat down with my acoustic guitar one night and the chorus just came to me; it was a relieving feeling to be honest with myself in that moment rather than ignoring how I felt. I immediately knew what kind of route I wanted to take with the production. I had this image of a small, cosy, dim lit-space with a really stripped back, raw sounding song in the background. This alone gave me a lot of direction to the track.

Just People EP is out now on Heist or Hit. 

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Photo: Aubrey Simpson