Puddlegum had the opportunity to talk with Chris Minielly of Jaguar Sun, an Ontario artist, about his new single, Those Days, his music, and his creative process. You might have heard his 2019 singles he released through Nice Guys, a label in France; one song, Make It Out, hit a million plays. Chris released Those Days on Friday, and it’s such a good track!
Early in the conversation, Chris shared that Those Days will be part of a larger body of work. His latest single, “is apart of an eight-song album I’m releasing on July 24,” he was excited to share. “There will be two more singles promoting it before the full thing drops.”
On January 31, Jaguar Sun released The Heart, a stand-alone single that won’t be on the LP. Chris builds The Heart with a clean electric guitar, a meandering guitar melody that sweeps into the mix, and a deep chamber reverb on his layered vocals. Bass lays a foundation, and a sample kick that joins his palm-muted strum (which sounds like it’s played on an amp with a spring reverb) halfway through this soul-searching song. The production certainly took a step forward (and it was already good).
To those I hurtJaguar Sun – “The Heart” (Genius)
To break amends
I’m sorry friend
But let me start again
I need your hand
To pull me out again
“I’m really pumped about the LP. Definitely the best music I’ve been able to produce in my eyes, and I’m stoked for it to finally drop,” Chris shared.
Those Days is a little brighter than The Heart. It has a jangly guitar buried in the background with bending notes, a nice looped electric guitar in the center, with electric guitar lightly complimenting the melody on the sides. Chris also strums rhythm acoustic, with a narrowed EQ.
The acoustic is doubled on the sides during the verse, then pans toward the center to make room for a warm sliding electric melody that has a beautiful and warm reverb that adds to the depth. Chris uses a drum loop that sounds great. The kick has a nice room carved out from the bass, which has a widened field that fills out the low end while never drawing attention to itself.
Chris doubles his voice and adds supporting harmony layers, keeping them mostly in the center. As the song progresses, the vocal layers increase and pan outward. He adds a trailing reverb on the vocals, predominantly more on the harmonies. These vocal tracks are brought down into the mix, acting as texture to the song, rather than being the main focal point. A dog barking in the background during the first chorus adds to the home studio experience (and makes me smile).
I asked Chris about his creative process. Creating music is often which is often a very personal space for artists, but Chris was gracious enough to dive into this aspect with great detail.
“I think almost all my songs start with me messing around on the guitar until I find a little riff or progression that sticks. I usually record in small chunks and just loop. So once I get that little progression down I start building that small section out until it sounds full. I’ll get some drums down, bass, synth stuff, a million more layers of guitar, and once that’s down I’ll turn that little four-bar loop into a full song, and record the rest of the song structure around it.” After that, Chris adds vocals, adds final touches, mixes the song, and send it off for mastering.
Recording can be especially tricky when you’re recording mostly (or entirely) by yourself. You have to remain focused on the outcome while exploring sounds. For some, having a clear plan is helpful. But for others, the act of creating and exploring is life-giving. “I don’t think I ever go into a new song with a plan. I never write things ahead of time I just kind of make it up on the spot when I record,” Chris continued to share.
This approach can either lend to a messy recording with plenty of edits, or one with a lot of energy. For Chris, it acts as an infusion of energy into his songs. “I think it definitely helps give the recordings more energy or maybe more natural emotion for sure. When you’re making decisions on the fly you’re just going with what flows and what feels good, and nothing is ever forced.”
Chris is releasing his new music with Born Loser Records, a boutique Philadelphia based record label that centers around vinyl and cassette. As for his days with Nice Guys, Chris stated, “their platform boosted my momentum!” We’re certainly excited to hear the next two singles and forthcoming LP.
(Listen to Those Days on Puddlegum Mixtape: tape five.)
Jaguar Sun links: