Snowden's Jordan Jeffares: It's hard to reach young people with slow music

Categories: Interview
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Photo by Preston Craig

It's been over six years since Snowden released their debut full-length album, Anti-Anti, in 2006. In that time, frontman Jordan Jeffares has seen a lot of landscape changes. He moved from his native Atlanta to Chicago to Brooklyn and finally settled on Austin, Texas, where the newest reincarnation of the band is based. Jeffares signed onto a new label, Kings of Leon's Serpents and Snakes, and now, after an almost impossible period of radio silence, Snowden are reviving their sound.

After breaking from his early label, Jade Tree, Jeffares was contractually unable to perform material for a significant period. It would seem that the long years in almost-exile were good fodder for his artistic soul, because Snowden's sophomore album, No One In Control, is a masterful study in textural rhythm. The ten tracks on No One In Control slink by in a hazy fog of synths and echoey beats, with Jeffares' vocals guiding the listener along through a garden-maze of sounds. The first track off the new album, "The Beat Comes," progresses upwardly with an energy that's deceptively cheerful, considering the melancholic introspection in Jeffares' lyrics.

Snowden - "The Beat Comes" from stereogum on Vimeo.

The rest of the album moves similarly: slow vibrations across an electric landscape, like a story's sad ending. The lyrics to the title track even sound like a vague eulogy: "I could tell that there was no one in control/and that was exactly how I liked it," sings Jeffares. It's the sort of indie electro-rock that soothes and still sounds good, and without calling No One In Control a "comeback" album, we can at least call it a victory.

Gimme Noise caught up with Jeffares over the phone ahead of his upcoming gig tonight at the Triple Rock.

Gimme Noise:
It's been a long time since we heard anything from you. Tell me about what's been going on in your life between the release of Anti-Anti in 2006 and your forthcoming sophomore album, No One In Control.

Jordan Jeffares:
I toured a lot for that record, pretty much constantly for a year, and then I had a falling out with my label, and then I had to be really quiet for a year. The contract stretched out forever, so I couldn't really play, and then I just kept writing. I moved around a bit to Chicago and New York for a while, and now I'm in Austin. I kept writing and writing and trying to make a record that I knew had to be bigger than the last record, and more developed, and I had to make the sound go somewhere.

You're releasing
No One In Control on Serpents & Snakes, the Kings of Leon label. What made you decide to release with them?

They have a little bit of weight to throw around, and honestly, it was the best deal around after having sniffed around for a long time. It just made the most sense.

Let's talk about the new album for a moment. The songs off
No One In Control sound a good deal smoother and softer than those off Anti-Anti. What's changed for you musically between the projects?

I am not preoccupied with having an album that can be played live, one that is aggressive and upbeat... Because with the last album I had to have that, because you have to establish that to play live shows, and it's hard to reach young people with slow music. So with this new record, I just wrote what I wanted to hear. I'm happy with it.

You've got a 10-date U.S. tour, mostly East Coast and the Midwest. Is there any scene in particular that you're really excited to check out?

I'm excited for Minneapolis again, because that was one of our biggest markets, because of the Current, and big thanks to them for that. It's been a long time since we played Minneapolis, because it's hard to get to for us... We haven't played LA in a long time, so I'm looking forward to that too. I've got some friends up there.

What else do you have coming up? Have you been writing new material? Any new projects?

The next record will come much faster than this one. I've also got a lot of collaborations coming up... I'm working with a new guy called Lane 8 on some remixes, pop and electro. He's got a really good ear. It'd be cool if I could put myself in that direction.

Snowden will be at the Triple Rock Social Club on Monday, February 25. $12. 8 p.m. 18+.


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