Ahead of his anticipated release, Day Wave's Jackson Phillips has been hiding away and honing his sound in the breezy, sun-kissed state of California, an influence that shimmers throughout Headcase in the form of slacker-ism infused lyrics and laid back, dreamy guitars. Favouring the DIY ethics of recording and producing his music himself, Headcase is a collection of stunning, melancholia-infused sad songs that also manages to straddle the line between lo-fi ennui and dreamy, beachy pop that is a subtle high five to his current surroundings.
But Headcase isn't another scuzzy, sun-tinged homage to hazy days and feeling sad; there is a bristling sincerity to both Phillips and his music as well as an emotional tug beneath his sighing, laid back vocals and sparkling guitars. There is heart, soul, and unapologetic uncertainty within Phillips that continues to make Day Wave all the more endearing.
The EP isn't a release that is concentrated on sounding a certain way or bending to a similar beat throughout. Phillips isn't intimidated by any struggle of being able to maintain the intriguingly elusive air that made his initial offering (and EP opener) "Nothing At All" so captivating. As a result of his flexible approach to his sound, Headcase drifts seamlessly from track to track.
There is an underlying yearning that shines throughout the EP and Phillips' uncertainty over what he is yearning for, exactly, is the beating heart that drives the emotional feel of the release.
With a penchant for the lo-fi, and a base that is built around hazy, nostalgia tinged wistfulness, Headcase continues Day Wave's early discovered tradition of being able to cast an airy, hypnotic spell, studded with specks of questioning optimism throughout.
Read Phillips' exclusive comments on 5 tracks below (buy the EP).
"Nothing At All" was the first Day Wave song that I wrote. It was my first time writing really honest and personal lyrics. I actually recorded a couple of versions. The first time I recorded it through an old cassette tape deck, but it turned out a little too lo fi. After that I upgraded to a reel-to-reel tape machine, and that's what I've been using ever since to record all the Day Wave songs.
"Total Zombie" was the second Day Wave song I wrote. Unlike "Nothing At All," I recorded the entire instrumental before writing any lyrics or vocal melodies. I left it alone for a few days, came back to it and wrote/recorded all the vocals in just a couple hours.
"Drag" didn't come as easily, I had to change things around a few times before I got a final product. But I'm glad I didn't give up on it when it wasn't working. I promised myself that I would finish every Day Wave song that I start, and I think it paid off with this one.
Is definitely the most different from the rest of the songs on Headcase. I think its a refreshing addition to the EP. I wrote and recorded the whole thing in just a couple days, luckily this one came pretty easily. I think Its one of my favorite songs I've made so far.
"Headcase" is my favorite song on the EP. There's something about it that really sticks with me. Also, it sums up the theme of this release, which is why I named it after this song.