WPGM Commentary: Malloy James Explores Life’s Synchronicity On New EP ‘Something Died When You Left’

Coming to you live from New York, New York, this is Malloy James: musician, composer, sound designer, artist in general, big Him. Just dropped a new project that I’m excited for you all to hear – Something Died When You Left. I’m here to tell you about it.

This isn’t my first project, but it is by far the most significant one, and the one that feels most representative of the unique blend of psych-rock, hip-hop, jazz, and neo-soul that’s my signature. Going into this project, I had a clear vision of how I wanted it to flow and build on itself. And a really clear vision for the stories I wanted to tell, and the mood I wanted to create.

I grew up really inspired by musicians like Patti Label, Earth, Wind, and Fire, and Barry White who created these whole worlds and moods with their work. When my parents would play those records in the house when I was a kid, I was it felt like it really took me someplace else. Something Died When You Left is a tribute to that – a travelog through different lives, places, and eras.

The project is inspired by the idea that we all go through life, living on this huge rock, with so many other people in different places, but it’s easy to feel like your reality is the only one. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in whatever is going on with you that you forget, billions of other lives are moving forward on parallel tracks, and it is happening simultaneously.

We’re all the center of our own narrative. With this project, I was exploring that constant of synchronicity – while I’m having this low point, somebody’s having a high point or lower point, or while I’m having this okay time , omebody’s having a greater time or a worse time.

The tracks reflect multiple versions of reality, multiple perspectives, multiple experiences that are contrasting and harmonious – the good and the bad are all always happening at the same time in a balance.

If you look at the tracklist, it also kind of reflects that with the titles of all the tracks, almost reading like a travel journal through Paris, Shibuya, Santa Fe, New York, and beyond. Some of these reflect the places in my life and reality, and others are channeling a dream, an aspiration, a vision.

This multiplicity was challenging and exciting, in part because I did everything completely myself – I play all instruments; all of the vocals are mine. I mixed, mastered, composed, arranged, and wrote all of the material. So while these are wildly different stories and different perspectives, they are all me.

And that is part of the point of the project – we are all so many things. We morph, change, and grow. We’re all of our experiences at once. We are our lived experiences, and we’re also our dreams and aspirations.

That’s what made the making of this project such an interesting process. I had to let the experience that I was trying to create the world for lead, and just go with it.

For the tougher moments, it was like a therapy session, when I had to relive some of these foundational experiences, and create a new world around it. Other times it was nostalgic in really good ways, when I was revisiting and writing about the really amazing experiences and using that as subject matter, to create the world.

The process varies though – sometimes I would play and make the compositions, and then the experience would relive, it would trigger the memory of a past experience that then would become the subject of the song. It’s a very interesting process to be doing everything, to be hands on with everything, because it’s the truest and fullest extension artistically of your perspective, since you’re the only cook in the kitchen.

As you all listen to the project, I hope that you can relate, and that you feel like you’re taking this journey with me. At the same time I was making this, I began working more in sound design, and have learned a lot from architects and designers about creating and holding space, and channeling an energy. These tracks are meant to be built to hold you, your ideas, your emotions like a house, and to create a vibe. Welcome in.

Listen to Something Died When You Left below.

Words by Malloy James // Follow him on Instagram + his Website

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