Track by Track is a recurring new music feature in which an artist offers a comprehensive rundown of their new album.
Copenhagen-based songwriter and producer Vera recently received a major co-sign when he co-produced or co-wrote three tracks on fellow Dane MØ’s surprise EP, When I Was Young. Now, the young musician born William Asingh is stepping out with a project of his own called Good Job No Conversation.
The 7-track EP contains lush, atmospheric tunes combining smooth saxophone and Bossa nova guitars with electronic beats. Production that’s equally seductive and moody serves as a backdrop to lyrics which take on more meaning with each listen. Hear it below.
To provide deeper insight into the effort, Vera has broken down Good Job No Conversation track by track exclusively for Consequence of Sound. Check it out:
The song presents the aesthetic core of the EP, and I wanted it to be kind of shallow to let the aesthetics take the scene. The French spoke[n] exemplifies that — it’s totally nonsense — the only reason why it’s there is that you should get a certain vibe. I imagined a decadent Copenhagen club in 2000 wrapped in blue lights and packed with admen, posh punks, and lot of drugs.
“In and Out of Love”:
I had just watched a television series about a taxi company based in Copenhagen in the late ‘90s featuring these lovely, hard-working taxi drivers driving a bunch of posh yuppie people to the trendy, decadent bistro cafes. I imagined that this was the music that they listened to when they were sitting in those cafes, drinking their cappuccinos and sipping on rosé.
This was the first song that I did in this new style and it kind of defined the whole project. The singer in the studio could not make the high pitch for the song, so we pitched it down. He recorded the vocals and we pitched it up again and suddenly my friend sounded like my all-time idol, Sade.
Lyrically, “Nobody Else” is a tribute to the Caribbean novel Wide Sargasso Sea, by the Creole writer Jean Rhys. The novel is a response to Brontë’s Jane Eyre, in which the landowner keeps his Jamaican wife locked up in the attic, allegedly because she is mad. Wide Sargasso Sea tells the story of the “mad woman of the attic” and with its cool tone of tristesse the book describes the wickedness, the Jamaican landscape, and the eternal drinking of rum.
This song came along in such a lovely way. I met one of my oldest friends in a studio one day and I hadn’t heard what he had been working on for ages. He played me this beat and I fell in love immediately. I went on to do a few things on top of it and a few days later, the singer and I met with Off Bloom, who helped us do the vocal melodies. When I got home that day, I played it to my girlfriend and she came up with the lyrics for the song.
This way of working is the reason why I love producing and writing music. To involve a lot of the people you love and trust and make them do their best. I’m probably the one who made the least on this track — I just collected people’s ideas — it’s very beautiful I think.
“Falling” (feat. Okay Kaya):
This track was the first I did after “In and Out Of Love”. While the latter was cold and electronic, this is the opposite. It’s warm and acoustic. I’ve listened a lot to the albums my parents listened to when I was a little kid. Buena Vista Social Club and the Swedish singer Lisa Ekdahl have been a huge influence. You can see it as my interpretation of the music my parents and their friends danced to when I was a kid.
The reason I joined with Okay Kaya was that I’ve loved her music for a long time and then one day I heard her track “Druer” where she’s singing in Norwegian. It instantly moved me and it reminded me of some the earliest Lisa Ekdahl (Swedish singer from the 90’s). I sent an instrumental of “Falling” to Kaya and then she did a full top line on the track. You only hear one verse on the final version, but I use the rest when I’m playing live.
“Life Round Here”:
“Life Round Here” is one of my all-time favorite songs! I thought of going on vacation, sitting on a bar listening to these compilations where they are transforming well known hits into salsa versions. I think is fun to do with this track cause salsa is the last thing that comes to your mind when you think of James Blake (No offence, by the way). The outro part of this track is all about the soundtrack of my favorite series called Rejseholdet. Muted trumpets and lounge piano!
“Love Hurts” is a song about a child trying to carry a mother’s sorrow. The child is doing its best to cheer up the mother and at the same time is afraid of being left alone, because it’s only a child. I think a lot of children have tried to be caught up in a parent’s chaotic emotional life. It can be really tough, but it can also bring you closer to your mother or father.
I see this song as my interpretation of a Bossa nova song. The idea of the lyrics came because my girlfriend read about Madagascan twins being abandoned and left off to die because a certain tribe believes that twins bring bad luck. It gave the song a twist, ‘cause on the surface it sounds very happy, but when you listen to the lyrics, it’s the most horrifying story you’ve ever heard.
It’s also a comment on the demonizing way that not only today’s media depicts Africa, but also the Western literature that we praise so highly. For example, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness in which he describes Congo as “one of the dark places of the earth.” “Antananarivo” is a twisted tale of how the West exoticizes African countries as these magical and feverish places.