Jackie McLean of the indie band Roan Yellowthorn grants us an inside look at the making of an album from start to finish in her ‘Breaking The Record’ column.
:: stream “I’m Enough“ here ::
Watch: ‘I’m Enough’ – Roan Yellowthorn
I’m feeling a manic energy these days. The weather is odd and keeps changing. One day, it’s too cold to venture outside without risking frostbite. The next, it’s balmy and wet. Most days, regardless of the weather, I’m inside. I’m either ruminating on my feelings or trying to avoid them.
I feel the inception of a new album gathering heat, like tinder. It’s getting ready to ignite. This is the kind of energy that precedes it, this manic feeling. It’s exciting and also a little scary. I always wonder if I’ll be able to put the feelings, images, colors into words, the way I want to. It’s so satisfying when it works. But it takes a lot of energy and focus. It requires me to feel my feelings – to lay them out in the sunlight and examine them, to drag them out of the dark corners. That, itself, takes a lot of emotional energy.
Just jumping into the Breaking The Record series documenting the making of our album from start to finish? Read part 1
But it’s not time to think of the unwritten album quite yet. The completed one is still emerging
I will be releasing a new album of 11 original songs in mid 2021. I finished recording it, with producer John Agnello, in February of this year. I finished writing it in August 2019. The release date has always felt ages away. And now it’s approaching. It’s actually, finally, approaching.
I felt for so long like there was too much time in the way of the release – an ocean of it – and now I feel like there’s almost not enough. Well, there is enough. But the distance is diminishing. The veil is thinning. I feel the pressure of things to be done. I feel the crush of it.
The first single of my new album is coming out at the beginning of next year.
That means that we have a lot to get in order before then.
The two things I’m most focused on are:
- Album artwork. My mom came to visit a few weeks ago and took a million photos of me. She’s a photographer and it was really nice having her take pictures. It was also a very familiar feeling. She took pictures of me the whole time I was growing up. Many hundreds of photo sessions where she’d say ‘just one more!’ over and over again.
So, we need to design an album cover as well as choose press photos and create artwork for each individual single. We have a lot of photos to choose from.
- Music videos. This time around, we’re trying to make sure our videos and photos are cohesive and polished. For the first single, we’re working with a director in California to remotely collaborate. Uncharted territory for me and I’m excited about it.
I like the artwork part. Videos and photos. It’s also anxiety-inducing. Because it matters a lot to me. And I want to make sure that everything reflects not only the aesthetic of the album but an overall authenticity. I want it to all feel connected and authentic to Roan Yellowthorn and to me.
This is all exciting. It’s just that exciting things make me feel anxious. Maybe they’re kind of the same feeling, excited and anxious. Ya, that’s it.
PS – thank you to everyone for streaming my new song ‘I’m Enough’ and for all of your lovely comments. I read them all and they bring me such a good feeling ❤️ Thank you for sharing and watching the video, too!
PPS – While you read this column (or anytime), listen to this ‘Breaking The Record’ playlist with some of the music I listen to while I write this column.
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📸 © Jackie McLean
:: Breaking the Record ::