September 25, 2021



Jam Metropolis on His Journey From Experimental Electronic Songs to Generating Olivia Rodrigo

Below the title Jam Metropolis, Jack Latham slice his teeth in the early 2010s with two albums of conceptual electronic tunes that reshaped vacant house into an adrenaline rush. About the past handful of several years, nevertheless, Latham’s talent powering the boards has permitted him to embark on an ever more itinerant occupation path. From executive creating Kelela’s icy R&B masterpiece Take Me Aside to performing on Olivia Rodrigo’s recently minted No. 1 debut, his rising CV has become a who’s-who of ascendant icons. But to listen to Latham explain to it, the change from heady club audio to constructing a Major 10 strike for the most talked-about pop album of the calendar year so far is only a way of connecting extra deeply with other artists. “Doing session do the job and producing with other persons is about acquiring to know the other man or woman in the place,” he explains more than a online video get in touch with from his studio in London, exactly where an armada of keyboards sits just out of view. “It’s creating rely on and making it possible for each and every other to really feel susceptible and go to individuals psychological destinations that they want to in get to make great, resonating tunes.”

On his 2012 debut Classical Curves, Jam Metropolis introduced a minimalist digital tableau in which the seem of shattering glass and barking puppies suit comfortably together with glowering synths and kick drums. The album grew to become a paradigm for Evening Slugs, the British isles dance label that merged percussive components of club, grime, and hip-hop into 1 sleek package deal. Latham’s production design and style immediately caught the consideration of diverse singers, who layered their vocals over his instrumentals and permanently altered his standpoint on creating and collaboration. “It was a stage of no return,” Latham claims with a chortle. “Suddenly, you hear how another person interprets your new music, and it’s completely unanticipated and usually takes you in a new course. It is my favourite point about making new music now.”

Latham released his third Jam Metropolis album, the woozy, retro-minded Pillowland, very last November and has lately teamed with upstart singer-songwriters of every single stripe. No matter if crafting Deb Never’s fuzzed-out grunge-pop or Troye Sivan and Conan Grey’s intimate balladry, Latham is an equivalent-chance producer who lends pop songs an omnivorous ear.

Here, Latham discusses his strategy in the studio, remaining impressed by the Brill Developing creation powering ’60s lady groups, and bringing his own “weird” sensibility to chart-toppers.

Pitchfork: How did you link up with producer Dan Nigro to work on “jealousy, jealousy” and “deja vu” from the Olivia Rodrigo album?

Jack Latham: Dan and I worked jointly on the Kelela album and have been mates for a long time. Normally, he’ll deliver me a demo and say something like “make it weirder,” which is ideal for me. He despatched me a bunch of tracks for [SOUR] in September of very last 12 months, so everything had been created, but Dan was searching for a couple of very little bits and parts. Olivia absolutely has an edge to her, and we spoke about how it wasn’t a scenario of accomplishing some neat drums or whatever—there’s a tiny little bit of abrasiveness in there, a little little bit of distortion that captures some of the anger and inner thoughts of jealousy and bitterness in the songwriting.

When a person provides you that variety of way, to make anything “weirder,” what do you do with that?

I interpret it as just a tiny bit more challenging but not way too a lot and not being judgmental. I’m on my individual as very well, so if I’m doing work on something remotely, I have the time and area to throw every little thing in and the kitchen sink. Nine periods out of 10, it’ll just be a single minor element that will make items a minimal little bit far more magical.

Do you still get nervous sharing new tips and tunes with men and women in the studio, or has that lessened about time?

It is gotten substantially greater more than the yrs. The to start with time I went to the States and bought involved in that entire composing globe, [I found] you have to build a thick pores and skin really quickly. But you also have to be delicate and have your guard down in any case, for the reason that the other man or woman in the room is vulnerable, also. I’m however looking for real, honest criticism in the folks that I rely on. When I have that, I know that issues are going in a very good area or likely where ever they have to have to.

What reactions or cues are you looking for from an artist when you’re trying to determine out whether a music is performing?

I check out to invest as minimal time at the computer as achievable. I’m not a virtuoso at all, but I test to sit down at an instrument with another person initial and foremost so it gets fewer alienated. At the extremely foundational amount of the songwriting, you are just going off emotional cues—you’re entirely intertwined from the very initial levels of issues. You really do not get previous 1 line of melody and a few of chords without the need of recognizing if you come to feel anything or not.

What is your planning like when you get a track by somebody like Olivia Rodrigo or Conan Gray? Is there study associated?

For the Conan history, it was like getting a screenplay for a film and then owning to do the costume style and the makeup and the set design. I experienced the demo for “Heather” and listened to it a bunch of situations, and the guitar chords and the waltzy time signature manufactured me assume of the Beatles and Elliott Smith. I just go down a very little rabbit gap and it comes alongside one another exactly where, after listening to it a few times, I have all these bizarre disparate references that most likely really do not make feeling to anybody. But I do that enough and out of the blue, I have a whole minimal motion picture that I want to dive into. With Olivia, there is just so much imagery packed truly tightly in her lyrics: car or truck rides, Malibu, strawberry ice product, all these other minimal reference details. It’s a goldmine and you dive in.

Did you attract on any particular influences though doing the job on Sour?

I was listening to a whole lot of the Shangri-Las and other woman groups. Not that Olivia’s new music sounds like that at all, but they were being from an period of pop new music when each creation choice was tailor-manufactured to the narrative of the track and the songwriting. There’s sort of a psychodrama likely on with the way the vocals are organized. That’s a little something that around the years has fallen out of favor, but that influenced me when listening to the Olivia things for the reason that it was telling a tale. Almost everything that will come in has to be on cue to embellish her words and even further the narrative of the song—anything far more than that and you are distracting, and just about anything fewer and you’re not performing justice to the incredible songwriting. I believe about that extra and additional, how generation is not just a scenario of musical problem solving or EQ or compression or using elements out, but it is a filmic point. You’re soundtracking their voice and their narrative and aiding that. I truly feel like generation ought to be invisible sometimes and you shouldn’t discover it in that sense, due to the fact you’re just carried by the tunes alone.