JayWood dives into his sun-kissed and soul-soaked new EP ‘Grow On,’ a euphoric record that builds out the world of his last album ‘Slingshot’ and basks in the glow of his own radiant sound.
Stream: “Dirk Gently (Know Yourself)” – JayWood
At some point, deep in the thick of JayWood’s new EP, it becomes clear that he is having the absolute time of his life.
Maybe it’s the smoldering layers of hot soul sound raining down, as if from the heavens – the feverish bass work, the soul-stirring drum beats, the glistening guitars, and churning pianos – or maybe it’s the lyrics, so many of which seem to embrace living unapologetically in the present. Or perhaps it’s the opportunity to cover his favorite artist, which he does with his own charismatic style and finesse. A cinematic and soul-soaked seduction, Grow On is a golden moment of euphoria for JayWood as he continues to build out the world of his last album Slingshot, basking in the glow of his own radiant sound.
Stay here, tell me is it truth or is it fear?
Cause maybe your youth will set you free
Or maybe I just don’t know nothing
While it still comes easy to me
I’ll grow, images of things played on a roll
Well isn’t it cool? That’s it for me.
Moving outta cycles spinning out,
is this what it’s all about?
Tell me one thing, tell me nothing
Is it all but wasted?
Maybe someday we’ll have something
That says “Everything’s connected”
I can’t overstep, I can’t be no one else
Mama told me that “you got to know yourself”
Cause time won’t wait, so whether it’s true
I’ll let you know
– “Dirk Gently (Know Yourself),” JayWood
Released August 11 via Captured Tracks, Grow On is twenty minutes of sweaty, psychedelic revelry and reverie. The twenty-minute experience arrives just thirteen months after Montreal-by-way-of-Winnipeg based Jeremy Haywood-Smith stunned audiences around the world with his sophomore LP Slingshot, a vibrant and full-bodied record brimming with life, stunning levels of energy, deep reflections, and utterly alluring sonics.
“Grow On is made of songs and ideas from the Slingshot sessions that weren’t fully ready for the album, but they kinda fill in the gaps making a more complete piece of work in my mind,” JayWood tells Atwood Magazine. “[My vision], I’d have to say, was having a “complete” version of the album out in the world. I think with this EP it really brings the whole album together and because of that it didn’t really change things too much – if anything, it just created a little more focus.”
“I think Grow On really just feels like me playing and having fun with some ideas,” he adds. “When I was working on Slingshot I felt so laser focused that I had to remind myself to enjoy the experience, but having a small project like this it was just so nice to be making music again and working those muscles again after taking a tiny break between projects.”
Since debuting in 2017, JayWood has been seemingly relentless on his quest for artistic evolution. A plethora of early tracks led up to 2019’s debut album Time, after which point he hunkered down and, but for one or two standalone singles releases, didn’t reemerge until it was time to start teasing out Slingshot.
“Where Time was my Musicianship project, and Slingshot was my Producer project, I think Grow On and whatever the next album is really feels like my composer/arrangement moment?” he muses. “Who knows, but that’s super exciting but also hard af. I’m stoked for the next album, to be honest!”
JayWood describes this EP as “wild, busy, and sunny,” and the shoe fits perfectly!
Grow On is a gorgeous, multi-chromatic coalescence: A celebration of artistry radiating JayWood’s confidence and comfort in his own skin. The title Grow On has a few different meanings. “It was something my mom told me to do in one of our last conversations together, and that really stuck with me,” he says. “It’s also the last lyric on the album, so it just continues on the theme of ‘looking back to go forward.’”
From the very first piano and synthesizer hits of “Heavy Eyes” to the acoustic outro of his Tyler, the Creator cover “SWEET,” JayWood all but assures his audience stays hanging onto every moment. He packs a lot of raw talent and dazzling musicianship into these four tracks, starting with the five-minute opener he describes as “four songs smushed into one.”
“I think the weird Frankenstein nature of the track kinda sums up some of the larger themes going on in the song,” he says of “Heavy Eyes.” “The lyrics almost feel like a positive manifestation of things to come in the future while the sonic aspect of the song is just a reflection of the idea that I’m always changing and I constantly change my mind to keep things interesting.”
Well I don’t really wanna stand alone
Even though it’s new gotta go hit the grooves
Yeah you can tell me anything, that I can believe in
Everything you lose are the same things you run to
(So what chu gonna do with it?)
Cause you got all this time good god oh why?
Because we’re living halfway through the seams
(So what chu gonna do with it?)
I never had to show this pain I keep down
Until it started giving out on me
– “Heavy Eyes,” JayWood
The EP’s lead single, “Dirk Gently (Know Yourself)” is another instant highlight off this collection: A radiant reckoning full of deep reflections and breathtaking grooves, the song has an uncanny way of getting us all up in our feels, in all the right ways. A sweaty, high energy reverie comes to light as he dives deep into his own depths, delivering an exhilaratingly soulful and seductive performance meant to capture the drama, the magic, and the wonder of self-discovery. Catharsis and cacophony can often feel like one, and they certainly flow together in this song.
Be true, ownership of things I wanna do
Cause lately my view just isn’t clear
Moving outta cycles spinning out, is this what it’s all about?
Now you can just shake it off, hard times you can just take it all
Satan and God gave me attention, overcome with no direction
Online lookin inside the house, offline lookin inside myself
Overcome with no direction, all was lost or so I thought
That’s when I punched back in real time
And found every little thing in a new light
I looked to the sun and he looked back to me
Then he asked me “is this really where you wanna be?” No
“‘Dirk’ is a song that’s very reminiscent of some of my older funk/disco songs,” JayWood shares. “It’s a song that’s just me explaining going through a full blown bout of psychosis, it was a really weird tricky time and I had to navigate a lot of things I’ve been putting off for some time. I often use contrast for harder themes in my music, if it’s something sad i’ll put it in a dance song but rare is it that I just let a sad song feel kinda sad so that’s definitely something I want to explore moving forward.”
JayWood finishes off the EP’s back half with a slower, almost Motown-esque “OG” version of the Slingshot track, “Thank You,” and a captivating cover of Tyler, the Creator’s “SWEET,” taken off his 2021 album, Call Me If You Get Lost.
“I am so damn happy that I was able to do “SWEET” – I’ve been talking about wanting to cover that song since it’s been out, so to actually pull it off felt like a huge achievement,” JayWood beams. “I have to give the biggest shoutout to one of my best friends/creative collaborators Brett Ticzon for tag teaming this track with me. It was such a huge task but honestly having him help with it made it way more possible.”
When it comes to favorite lyrics, he harkens back to a line on “Dirk Gently (Know Yourself).”
“Satan and God gave me attention, overcome with no direction. Something about that felt super regalian. Like I wrote them words with my pinky out and a feather on the pen type of shit!” he laughs.
There’s no denying it: JayWood is in a great place, and he channeled that positive energy into a soulful record of sun-kissed brilliance.
“I [hope] listeners/potential new fans just enjoy it more than anything. I’d hope at this point it’s become a little clear to people that as an artist I don’t have any intentions on doing the same thing over and over again, and I plan on changing and growing with my music between projects,” JayWood shares. “So more than anything I hope this creates some incentive for folks to stick around for my artistic journey ahead but also to look back at some of my older projects to see how far I’ve come! So go listen to Time, then go listen to Slingshot, and then listen to Grow On.”
As for his own takeaways, JayWood is already ready for the next big thing – and most importantly, he’s sure of himself and his ability to bring whatever his mind dreams up to life.
“I’ve taken away that I should trust myself more and give myself all the time necessary to finish a project all the way through. Whatever I do next will be cool af and much different from these projects. Now that Grow On is out it kinda marks the end of an era for me, and it gets me really excited for all the new things I’m able to do now because I had some room to try some new things as well as just put myself out there with some new ideas between Slingshot / Grow On.”
Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside JayWood’s Grow On EP with Atwood Magazine as he goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of his latest release!
Stream: ‘Grow On’ – Jaywood
:: Inside Grow On ::
This track feels like 4 songs smushed into one. I think the weird Frankenstein nature of the track kinda sums up some of the larger themes going on in the song. The lyrics almost feel like a positive manifestation of things to come in the future while the sonic aspect of the song is just a reflection of the idea that I’m always changing and I constantly change my mind to keep things interesting.This song was supposed to be Track 13 placing it right before Arrival so it’s almost like the proper ending to the album in a way. Favourite moments: The whole intro, 2:35-3:08 has such a sick transition, and the outro bit for the folks that don’t notice it’s the bass line for Arrival! The two songs would’ve seamlessly gone into each other.
Dirk Gently (Know Yourself)
“Dirk” is a song that’s very reminiscent of some of my older funk/disco songs. It’s a song that’s just me explaining going through a full blown bout of psychosis, it was a really weird tricky time and I had to navigate a lot of things I’ve been putting off for some time. I often use contrast for harder themes in my music, if it’s something sad i’ll put it in a dance song but rare is it that I just let a sad song feel kinda sad so that’s definitely something I want to explore moving forward. I love this song, but I just don’t wanna be doing a bunch of dance songs! Dirk would’ve been right after YGBO making it track 11. Favourite moments: Honestly this might be one of the best bass lines i’ve written so far, I really like how the second verse starts up a little scarce, and that lil satan laugh is hilarious, The EDM chorus drop is so dope it’s kinda funny to me. This song really feels like it should’ve been on the album however I’m so stoked it isn’t so it can have room to shine on it’s own!
Thank You (OG Version)
When I first recorded “Thank You” it was at a super raw point in my life, I had just lost my mother and I just wanted to have something that felt a little more uplifting and happy during such a rough time. When I first showed people this song the reaction of it said it all, it really hit people. I think it was the first time in my whole artistic career that I had something that actually connected to people in a way that felt more real than just having a fun song to dance to. The version of the song I did with Jacob Portrait is so amazing and it captures so many of the feelings that went into the original however I felt like I needed to redo my original take on the song to capture the otherside of things. The main inspo behind the original was Al Greene’s “Let’s Stay Together” which was my moms favourite song or atleast the song I remember her playing the most around the house. I wanted the groove of the song to feel really motown inspired like not too much going on and letting things breath as much as possible. There’s a huge gospel feeling in this song as well, my mom was a pretty regular church goer so I wanted to incorporate some of the feelings that resembled what church kinda felt like. My favourite moment of this song is super easy that closing chorus 3:21 3:55, when the piano comes in it’s chefs kiss at it’s finest! Huge Shoutout to Brett Ticzon for his performance! Which is a perfect segway to the next track.
SWEET (Tyler The Creator Cover)
So if it isn’t super apparent at this point, Tyler The Creator is probably one of my favourite artists of all time. There’s so many reasons as to why but I think the biggest one that has kept me engaged throughout the years is the fact that he’s just being himself and he’s allowing himself to change and saying “fuck anyones expectations” I really love that attitude of letting yourself just do what makes the most sense to you. While I was working on the album in 2021 “Call Me If You Get Lost” came out, and I listened to it in one shot and proceeded to listen to it on repeat for the weeks to follow. I was pretty deep in the recording process so I made sure not to let the album interfere with any new ideas or anything like that for “Slingshot” . I had the idea to do a cover of “SWEET” for a while, however it always seemed so ambitious. When I finally got some time in April between touring to get back into the studio, I teamed up with Brett Ticzon who’s one of my best friends as well as the keyboard player in my band and we co-produced the cover! As soon as all the key parts were laid out the rest of the song felt possible! Favourite moments: The whole ass thing, great song
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© Min Soo Park
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