Richmond’s London Perry has been making music as Dazeases for about two years now.
The first EP, Crumbs, was created as a distraction during a “post-breakup, ‘fuck it, I’m gonna do me kinda thing.’” The feedback was resoundingly positive and it just continued from there, with London saying “yes’ to as many musical endeavors as possible. With a brand new album under Egghunt Records, Dazeases’ beat-driven dark-pop is finally getting the attention it deserves. At times enchanting, at times brooding and often both, London’s songwriting is invigorating – a lifeboat in a sea of indifference. This is partly due to a unique perspective – London is self-described “black femme” (and a nerd) – and partly due to the urgency of the songwriting process.
“I get really tired of songs fast,” London tells me. “I’ll feel like a song is really old when it’s only been a few months.”
The result of that impatience combined with persistence is music that is particularly “now” both in sound and lyrical content. Although it sounds much more thought out and complex than it really is.
“For one, it’s sporadic,” London says of the process. “Sometimes I take an idea that I have in Garageband from months ago that I suddenly can hear a way to work on it. I’ll build on that beat…”
I love that Dazeases songs are done in Garageband. Intricately sparse and lo-fi, it’s not an intimacy one expects from the associations with Garageband.
“I always do beat first because that’s hardest for me and I know I can adapt lyrics to a melody, but I’m not really at the point where I can reverse that,” London says. “Usually I’m writing under time pressure so I’m writing a song in an afternoon.”
This time crunch came up a lot in our phone interview and I didn’t ask about it, but I get the impression it’s self-imposed. Sort of the way many people write term papers the night before class or the way I’m writing this article hours before it’s due. There’s just more honesty in the time constraints.
“I find a hook that I like and try to expand on it, but not too much,” London says. “I’m very self-conscious about sounding repetitive and a song getting boring… Then I kind of pick-and-choose lyrics based on what matches the beat… Some songs, I didn’t finish the lyrics until I was literally walking up to the venue.”
This haphazard approach to lyrics confounds me because every single Dazeases lyric is mysterious, personal and poetic. Reminiscent of Jenny Hval, each word seems carefully placed and uttered from some secret place that the listener is invading late at night. Listen to the ambient-noise bliss of “Lakeview” from the newest album, Local Slut, and you can feel every syllable as if they were from your own wine-stained lips.
“Everything’s personal,” London says of the lyrics, “but it’s written in abstract terms. Most of the metaphors that I use are referring to something that’s actually happened, it’s just coded. I try to take those real moments and add a poetic element to them. Not to glorify them, but to bring them to the level that I feel them emotionally. If anything sounds metaphorical or abstract, it’s really just me trying to convey the intensity that I would’ve felt it with. I didn’t feel it in a mundane, everyday sort of way.”
And there’s nothing mundane about Dazeases. When I first caught on this past summer it was just London, an iphone and an aux cord. Minimal and unassuming, I didn’t expect such an enormous, daring and dynamic force to come from that. I’ve had a lot of time to listen to, explore, think about and interview Dazeases since then. I could write a think piece about the complexities of being a POC and a pop artist in today’s social climate and why it’s time to end the monopoly that the ‘3 to 5 white guys singing about hetero-normative heartbreak’ has on the music industry. I could, but I won’t because I’m coming up on 700 words and I’d rather you all experience it for yourselves.
So, in lieu of a think-piece (and probably a Pulitzer), I’m going to invite you, encourage you and implore you to come out to Charlie’s American Café this Saturday, March 18th, and draw your own conclusions.
Opin and Feral Conservatives are also on the bill. Here it is on Facebook.