Intricate and dreamy trip hop production meets unexpectedly with paired vocals of emotive and melodic intentions – And Actually lay down an immersive and beautiful ambiance, for Somehow.
Initially the sound-play of Somehow appeals of its own accord, ethereal layers and tripped rhythms creating an expressive and provocative space – within which the mind can briefly wander, as the body harmonises.
Soon enough though, two vocal leads bring in a kind of melancholic indie-pop thread of humanity – short lines that intrigue and redirect, before the music and performances unite to adopt an explosive representation of the resulting sentiments.
It’s an unpredictable journey, akin to the artistic trip hop projects of a simpler era, though with retro effects known across the likes of modern electro-punk, Daft Punk or dance-pop. Ultimately we get a strong chord progression, enchanting details, and powerful lyrics – ‘I hear the sound of a car crash’ captivates from the outset; just one of many listed reflections and images.
Over time, the mellow and thoughtful groove, the imagery, and the sudden passionate influx of energy, all furthers the embrace of the completed piece.
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What brought this group of people and ideas together? I’m assuming it wasn’t a literal car crash, but I’m curious all the same.
And Actually is a happy accident, fortunately not a car crash accident. We had all worked together musically in different iterations and capacities – playing together, mixing records, but this was the first time we all wrote together. We started a writing exercise to see if we could decide on a direction for a song and create a solid demo in five sessions. If not, we would move on to the next idea. And now, we’re here.
Were there previous collabs that you had all planned with each other for a while before this current one? Or perhaps, collabs that may have shared similar ideas that never bore fruit?
There were previous collaborations, but none of them were planned so to speak. Two of And Actually’s members grew up together and played in a few projects that toured and released internationally. Then they lived further apart. And Actually’s third member came into the picture over covid lockdown as a mixing and producing collaborator in the studio. This collaboration ultimately led to attempting writing songs together. The songs we’re writing are new and unique to all of us, it’s cool to experience.
How did everyone’s roles as musicians and songwriters grow with this effort? Did you find yourselves picking up new instruments or playing familiar ones differently?
It was a whole new writing process! Two of us had only written together in a band setting and on more traditional instruments – guitar and bass. This process was writing and producing at the same time, using the DAW, programming, and synths as writing tools and passing the ideas back and forth.
Also, it’s unique writing when you don’t know what your sound really is because you don’t have anything to compare it to yet. There really were no expectations; we didn’t know what we were going to do with these songs, if anything. Originally there was no intention of releasing these songs. We just played, wrote, and went where the songs went. It’s wonderful that we loved them and wanted to share them! Now we have a little idea of our “sound” and are excited to explore and share it more.
What piece of gear have you bought that significantly affected your creativity? (If no gear, just anything in your life that’s affected you creatively.)
Gear wise, the Almighty DAW expanded creative possibilities and allowed us to do what we do. It’s both interesting and challenging that DAWs really blur the lines between what is considered writing, producing, or mixing.
Life wise, to be both honest and obscure…two of us coming together utterly changed our lives creatively and in every other way. We were a fork in the road for each other and we did write about this. The fork in our road is timeless, it’s happened before and it’ll happen again. In our case, Somehow is a song about forbidden love and deciding to commit.
What albums and bands have you really been digging recently?
Always a fun question! Been on a big James Blake kick recently, we love Friends That Break Your Heart. Caroline Polacheck’s Desire, I Want To Turn Into You has some really beautiful and interesting moves both lyrically and production wise. Some classics you’ll hear on our playlists include The XX, Pinback, Pinegrove to name a few.
What tips do you have for other creatives out there?
As much as you can, go into creating with high hopes and no expectations. Throw it away if it’s bad. Focus on the music and the art. We live in a time where the image of music is a huge pressure on artists. How it looks can quickly become more important than how it sounds and it’s easy to creatively get lost in that pressure. One of the main reasons we are anonymous creators in And Actually is so we can mitigate some of this pressure.
What’s next for the band?
In our immediate future we are releasing our second single, Charades, on March 10th. Follow us on Spotify, check it out! Otherwise, we’re still doing our writing exercises and creating. We hope to have another single to share as we flush out an EP or album. There’s still no expectations.
Any closing musings?
Thank you for having us and for asking about our music. It’s hard to know how a brand new project is going to translate (or not) and we’re grateful people are feeling these songs so far.
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Follow And Actually on Facebook & Instagram or visit their Website.