Posts Tagged ‘Yohuna’

Quarter-Life Crisis is a collaboration between Ryan Hemsworth and various artists who’ve come to prominence over the past couple of years, many of whom got their start playing scrappy DIY shows. The self-titled debut EP released on December 4th, 2020 features contributions from Frances Quinlan (Hop Along), Meg Duffy (Hand Habits), Charlie Martin (Hovvdy), Yohuna, and Claud. It showcases Hemsworth in a new phase of his career, one that is perhaps a bit less indebted to the nightclub dance floor. “It’s always been a goal to mix, like, 25% electronic sounds and 75% live indie rock sounds,” he says. Collaboration is paramount to Hemsworth’s process, and though he produced all of the instrumentation on the album, he left the lyrics and intention of the song up to the contributors. The resulting collection shapeshifts from track-to-track, taking on new personalities as it moves between artists.

Quarter-Life Crisis, Ryan Hemsworth’s shared another new track from their self-titled EP:  “Comfortable” featuring Meg Duffy of Hand Habits. Quarter-Life Crisis‘ debut EP also features collaborations with Frances Quinlan (Hop Along), Of the track Duffy said “When I was asked to do a writing session with Ryan, I had no idea who he was or what his music sounded like or what his life may be like. I completely showed up to this weird little studio completely blind to predisposition, a little embarrassed because the first time Ryan and I tried to connect I accidentally no-showed him after writing in the date on my analogue calendar wrong. I had never done any sort of co-writing session before and was a little nervous, but since I had no investment I went in with the intention of having fun and being open to whatever spirits wanted to move. We threw autotune on as a joke (half-joke because I can be pretty pitchy especially in the writing process) and it sounded kind of cool. I started thinking about AI and cyborgs and people/souls disassociating from bodies and identity and kind of just freestyled until a mildly understandable common theme started to swim up. It was really fun!!”

The collaboration is paramount to Hemsworth’s process, and though he produced all of the live instrumentation on the album, he left the lyrics and intention of the song up to the contributors. The resulting collection shape-shifts from track-to-track, taking on new personalities as it moves between artists. Quarter-Life Crisis announced the EP with “Postcard From Spain” feat. Frances Quinlan, which Stereogum, Paste and Under The Radar hailed as one of the best songs of the week upon its release. This was the followed by “Waterfall” feat. Charlie Martin of Hovvdy, which was highlighted by NPR, Under the Radar, and others.

The genesis of Ryan Hemsworth’s new project, Quarter-Life Crisis, can be traced all the way back to his childhood bedroom in Nova Scotia, where the producer spent the bulk of his high school years listening to emerging indie acts and playing guitar. Not loving the sound of his own voice and without a band, he eventually started making music on his laptop, which earned him accolades as he stepped out into electronic and club music scenes. His prolific output, paired with a voracious appetite for a wide range of genres and creation of his own label Secret Songs, has made Hemsworth a fixture since he released his debut solo album, Guilt Trips, in 2013. 

But now, Hemsworth’s trying his hand at something unexpected that is nonetheless close to his heart and origin story as a musician. Quarter-Life Crisis is a collaboration with various artists who’ve come to prominence over the past couple of years, many of whom got their start playing scrappy DIY shows. “This project has me in the process of going back to when I was a kid when I’d sit down and play guitar for hours and come up with melodies and chords by just messing around,” Hemsworth says. “It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for ages. Quarter-Life Crisis is just another way for me to work with artists whose music I really enjoy and listen to all the time.”

Working with musicians who largely fall into the category of “indie” gave Hemsworth the opportunity to revisit some of the artists who inspired him to become a musician in the first place. He cites bands like the Cardigans, Grandaddy, Bright Eyes, and Sparklehorse as being foundational to his writing process this time around. Quarter-Life Crisis a sharp turn away from his last project, 2019’s CIRCUS CIRCUS, which he made alongside the Japanese rap duo Yurufuwa Gang, but for Hemsworth, working in a wide array of genres and modes keeps him on his toes, and ultimately, keeps his career interesting. “Getting out of my comfort zone and bringing others into that process has always led to something really unique,” Hemsworth says. “As a producer, I really respond to other people’s ideas and whatever they can bring to a song. Being in a room with someone with a different outlook, or working remotely with them, I hopefully help facilitate something that feels new and exciting for both of us.”

Quarter-Life Crisis – from the Quarter-Life Crisis EP out December 4th, 2020 on Saddle Creek Records. 

“I see you / is that just me? / mirroring,” sings Johanne Swanson, marveling at her own life from afar, on the title track from her latest, “Mirroring”. Every word drawn out over swelling guitars, the drums bounce along, as she circles on feeling lost in a relationship. As a songwriter and producer, Swanson – who performs as Yohuna has always maintained a masterful ability to distill chaos into calm; to contemplate the more challenging and messy matters of heart and mind with a self-assured deadpan stare and pointed stillness. Here, she continues in that direction, but with some of her most sweeping arrangements to date, adding cello riffs that sing like a grounding human voice, harp and trombone, drums that push her loudest hooks yet forward. And unlike her previous synth-center work, Mirroring was written entirely on guitar.

I’m really excited to share with you the stunning new album from Brooklyn artist, Yohuna. Her amazing new record “Mirroring” is out today. It’s one of the most beautiful and intimate records I’ve had the pleasure of working on. You need to hear this record in full – It’s an experience, a diary, a window. More than anything else I’ve heard.
“Mirroring is filled with some of Yohuna’s most accomplished arrangements yet, with pillowy synths and dreamy guitars and strings that add a sense of luxury to even the smallest moments.”

“Mirroring patiently dwell on the emotion they inspire. Tone, textures: build, overlap, pulse and vibrate. With repeated listens this album has become so incredibly necessary to me.”

Yohuna’s new album ‘Mirroring’ out June 7th on Orchid Tapes & Fear of Missing Out

Yohuna’s Stunning First Album Is For Anyone Who Hates Labels

This is such wonderful bedroom pop. It makes me think of the Softies, though the sonic palette is quite different. The lyrics get a bit burry in favor of overall tone, but that sound! You could curl up in it and feel like it’s an endless, slightly sad mid-afternoon forever . Swanson makes beautiful, layered music that mostly resists classification: too pop to be electronic, too soft to be rock, too X to be Y, too A to be B — she’s heard it all before. No wonder she felt strange: her music is one of in-betweens.

Take “Lake,” the opening song off Yohuna’s long-time-coming debut LP, Patientness, which is now available on Orchid Tapes (and includes a re-recorded version of beloved, Hunger Games-referencing “Badges” . With a bittersweet cloud of synth and guitar, “Lake” sounds like a summer spent in the shade of a tree, a meditation on a passing moment. The light on the lake/ How it gives and it takes/ Like a summer/ Far away, she sings. It sounds a little electronic, a little rock, and a little pop. But it’s not quite any of those things.

Swanson grew up in the Wisconsin countryside, going to church three times a week. Her town was quiet but her family was musical: her mother, at one point, provided musical therapy as a hospice chaplain, and her father played classical piano. Swanson grew up singing in choirs and acting in musicals , honing an interest in songwriting that would follow her through college at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and through her later stints in New Mexico, Berlin, and finally, Brooklyn.

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Swanson first came to New York as part of the live-in residency program at Brooklyn DIY arts space the Silent Barn, but was quickly displaced by a fire last September. “I really don’t know if [Patientness] would have happened if [the fire] hadn’t,” she said. “Things like that just force you to prioritize.” She was the one who discovered the fire, so moving back in was no longer an option – the memory of that day made her physically sick. It was around this time that she began working with Canadian composer Owen Pallett , and recording Patientness — the title a suitable mantra for such personally turbulent times.

The album’s title is reminder of things just over the horizon, and the fleeting nature of what’s happening now. I would like to be hung over/ With the sun streaming over us/ That’s when things are normal, Swanson sings on “World Series.” Hangovers may be unpleasant, but they are also proof that we’re real. That’s where you find Yohuna — not hungover necessarily, but somewhere in the middle — of then and now, of happy and sad….just trying to feel real.


Written, arranged, and performed by Yohuna.
Yohuna is Johanne Swanson.
Adelyn Strei sang, played guitar, and co-wrote “Golden Foil”.
Felix Walworth played drums.
Emily Sprague played mellotron.
Warren Hildebrand played bass.
Owen Pallett played a lot of things.
Production and engineering on “Creep Date” by Jake Yuhas and Miles Coe.
Produced by Yohuna and Owen Pallett.