Published: February 18, 2014
This year Billy Van is embarking on #AYearOfSongs journey to create 12 unique EPs with 12 different artists. Following up his first installment in the project, Convergence, which was an orchestral dubstep collab with film composer Danny Olson, the second EP of the year, done in collaboration with singer/songwriter JT Roach. Flipswank is all swagger.
Each of the four tracks has a decidedly sunny sound, with a nu-disco feel through half the EP. Before descending into house madness, future funk and plenty of slap bass dot these colorful creations. The dubstep that Van is known for enters the picture with the closer--and boy does it kick.
Produced by: Billy Van
Vocals by: JT Roach
Billy describes this second installment of the #AYearOfSongs project in his own words:
Flipswank, my second collaborative EP of this project, was a step in a new direction for Billy Van. J.T. Roach, this mega talented singer/songwriter came to Indiana for 5 days with no strings attached, and the music you hear is the result of our collaboration.
The groundwork for this project was laid quite a while back. J.T. and I have run in similar circles for a few years, both working with Quincy Kwalae and jamming with a lot of similar people. We had communicated a handful of times about each others’ various releases, and always supported one another. Each conversation concluded with a standard “We really need to work together at some point”.
J.T. is one of the few people I’ve had conversations like that with who actually followed through. In October of 2013, he called me and laid it all out. He wanted to drive down from Wisconsin and make some music. At this point, my idea for #AYearOfSongs didn’t quite exist, and I was really just in the mood to create something different, something fun. I agreed, the date was set, and we both began brainstorming ideas for what our collaboration would look like.
The first track we did together was Neon. J.T. had been writing acoustic/minimally produced songs for several years, and had this amazing bank of “sketches” to use for starting points. Before he arrived, he sent me this zip file of ideas and Neon jumped out at me instantly. The chiller verses, the openness of the hook, I couldn’t resist. I produced the songs up from scratch before he got here, and sent him a preview. My excitement fed his, and we knew magic was going to happen.
J.T. arrived and we spent five days doing absolutely nothing but creating this fun-loving danceable sound. Each track from the EP has a distinctly different flavor though. From the more aggressive “Click Clack Boom” to the ultra-groovy “Tearin’ It Up”, we had a blast exploring different tempos and feels. The project was elevated to a whole new level once we finished production and got into vocal recordings. J.T. and I both have a serious appreciation for harmonies, and spent a long time crafting the vocal sound that we recorded.
For me, this project really represents having a good time. From our moments of pure laughter in the studio making slurpy talkbox noises, to our inability to stand still during playbacks, the entire process was an absolute blast for me, and I hope dearly that the emotion translates in the songs. These songs are intended to lift your spirits, take you to a happy place, so grab a drink, put on your dancing shoes, and turn up these jams.