Throughout his career, emcee/producer Jackson Whalan’s work has consistently acknowledged the universal themes of our human condition. He offers lyrics meant to not only entertain and inspire, but to also invoke positive social change. In addition to consistently releasing his own music and videos, Jackson produces and engineers recordings for other artists. He has placed his own music in film and television and toured nationally throughout the U.S, most recently as direct support for Moon Hooch. He has an extensive catalog of original and collaborative albums, EPs, and singles, and has worked alongside a diverse spectrum of artists, including Mr. Lif, Dave Eggar, Myka 9, Esseks, Space Jesus, Jade Cicada, HEISS, Rabbi Darkside, Honeycomb, and others.
“Epic Proportions”, the fantastic debut single from Jackson Whalan Live Band, just dropped last Friday, and the track is an exciting new endeavor for the ever-evolving emcee. Whalan, a veteran of the underground and avant-garde who hails from the Berkshires, recently recruited a bombastic live band and holed up at Pilot Recording Studios in Housatonic, MA to record five songs, with videos filmed simultaneously in-studio for each track. Produced by Jackson Whalan, the project will be digitally released across all streaming and download platforms on Friday, June 21st, 2019 as an EP titled Epic Proportions. The title track has just arrived, and it’s a phenomenal leap forward for the artist, and looks to propel this new project into the hip-hop stratosphere, and beyond.
To co-create with a live band for the first time, Whalan collaborated with Massachusetts-based musicians—cats who have been playing music together for years and who understand one another’s sonic and creative muses. The live band includes Jackson Whalan on vocals and sample pads, Jules Jenssen on drums, Brian Ross on bass guitar, Ian Evans on keys, Ian Stewart on trumpet, and Tyler Gasek on saxophone. The band chemistry produces explosive content that has been defined as jazzy hip-hop, jazz-fusion, heavy metal rap, modern neo-soul, electro-funk, with lyrics that address social issues and cultural awareness.
As Whalan explained to Live For Live Music, “‘Epic Proportions’ started out as a beat that I produced using Ableton Live. Like most of my songs that the band plays, it was reverse-engineered into a live arrangement. The energy of the music (especially the sample and the horns) heavily informed the attitude of my lyrics: amidst so much chaos and struggle going on in the world, it’s more important than ever to challenge aloofness. It’s time take action, get involved, and make demands for human rights.”
[Photo via Avida Love Photography]
The song itself nods toward conscious hip-hop, with Whalan examining protest and discussing a commitment to social justice. However, the music and video for the tune are quite a bit lighter fare—humorous nods to a 70’s vibe (think Starsky and Hutch/ Boogie Nights/ Dallas era). All recorded at Pilot Recording Studios with engineer Will Schillinger and videographer/editor George Cox, the five songs will showcase the band’s immense talent inspired by generations of successful hip-hop-oriented acts who have successfully utilized the power of live musicianship, from Lettuce and Anderson .Paak to Vulfpeck, FKJ, Beastie Boys and others.
“My intention in putting all of my chips into this band project boils down to this: making the live show an unforgettable concert experience,” explained Whalan. “My hope is that this new approach and organic sound will resonate with the incredibly supportive live music communities in cities across the country and festivals coast to coast. We definitely want to be performing for larger audiences, people who are hungry for this kind of vibrant ensemble. We’re ready to play for the people.”
You can check out the new video for Jackson Whalan Live Band’s “Epic Proportions” below:
Jackson Whalan Live Band – “Epic Proportions” [Official Video]
[Video: Jackson Whalan]
Jackson Whalan Live Band has several appearances scheduled this summer, including a concert on Friday, May 24 at the Egremont Barn in Egremont, Massachusetts. The full Epic Proportions EP drops Friday, June 21st, 2019. Check his website for a full performance schedule, contests and release updates, and follow him on Twitter (@jacksonwhalan) and Instagram (@jacksonwhalanmusic).
Words: B.Getz / Upful LIFE