Puddlegum is pleased to premiere a video from Coolhand Jax, Wanna Watch U Move, the opening track to his new EP, No Dreams of Anything. Cassette label Spirit Goth released No Dreams of Anything in September, a four-track psych pop influenced EP mixing in funk elements. This song begins a journey that is both intentional, reflective, fun, yet also forward thinking.
Coolhand Jax is Jake Weissman, a 23 year-old artist from Los Angeles. Weissman pulls from influences of Men I Trust and Alvvays, to Beach Boys and David Bowie. He brings in 70s funk influences with lo-fi elements of chorus-laden vocals and guitar, and bedroom pop synths. The blend of these sounds results in lo-fi bedroom psych pop that puts you on your feet. Or should we call it backseat pop?
Weissman shared with Puddlegum that he graduated a semester early from college (University of Massachusetts in Amherst). He wasn’t sure what to do, “so I got in my car and drove across the country for a few months. I brought a lot of my instruments and mics and a little portable interface. I was just hoping to capture any little demos if inspiration struck.”
In the process, he recorded a few dozen demos. “I would record wherever I was staying that night, or in my car at rest stops, in parking lots, and so on. Of these demos, only a few of them fully developed into song-form, and of these I picked a handful for the EP,” Jake Weissman shared.
“It’s really backseat pop instead of bedroom pop,” Weissman joked.
Weissman set up a small bedroom studio back in Massachusetts, and recorded/produced everything. “After a couple months back on the East Coast I drove back across to move to LA, and it was on that tail-end of that trip that I recorded ‘Wanna Watch U Move’.” After finishing the songs and mixing them, he had Daniel Eaton master the EP.
The EP capitulates on the delicate dance between leisure and active pursuits. I asked Weissman about this, and he agreed. Elaborating, he explained, “It is my contention that work should only exist for leisures sake, and not vice versa. It is a constant struggle, though, to allow yourself to take part in any activity, creative or otherwise, that doesn’t somehow play into productive market-forces. This is especially true for artists who are constantly concerned about money anyways. That whole mindset is totally damaging to my creative process. We need a total realignment of what we as a hyper-productive machine view as ‘worthwhile’ or not.”
Weissman writes about this in a thoughtful blog piece that reflects on idleness this pandemic has induced on millions of Americans, and the positive effects leisure has brought us:
“Throughout this pandemic I have personally seen, within myself and my peers, an uptick in more active pursuits, whether they be exercise, writing, cooking, music, painting, learning, exploring, etc. Extended leisure leads to us having the energy to enjoy these active pleasures. Such pleasures seem and have perhaps felt strange for many of us, which is indicative of the broken system we were participating in before.”Coolhand Jax blog
Weissman shared that the song is, “about missing somebody from the middle-of-nowhere.” While the song is performed with a somewhat somber tone, he wanted the video to be fun, mimicking his life in a “specific time and place,” in L.A. Working with co-director James Wyatt, “We shot it all in a day, which was a big undertaking. I think there are 13 different locations, shot between 6am and 11pm or something like that.”
It begins with his character getting up off the ground, stretching, and starting his day. He cooks an egg on the hood of his car which he has arrived in, emphasizes relationships in his life while hanging out at the park, and dances his way to a party.
Weissman’s songs and creative expressions are grounded in concepts, seen both in his writings and heard in the production of his music. This song/video begins this journey we can all dive into as we collectively grapple with the difficult realities around us.
Coolhand Jax links: