Premiering the new single from the ebullient ackerman
Bristling with reflective and life-affirming emotion, experimental rock group and multimedia collective ackerman work based off of a seemingly endless spring of sun-soaked energy. Their new single, “84 Palms,” which Impose is premiering today, is a kaleidoscopic journey that offers multiple colorful streaks to ride through on every sonic twist and turn. “84 Palms” teases the A Million Sunflowers, out later in 2019 on Dolphin Arcade and we can’t wait to dive in fully.
To celebrate the release of the latest from ackerman, we sat down for an interview with McAfee-Hahn. Listen to “84 Palms,” check out the interview below and be sure to add the track wherever you stream here.
Jordan: Ackerman began as a solo project of mine while I was in college, and the project always had an air of collaboration to it: I lived with a tight knit group of musicians/artists, and didn’t have much compunction with showing them songs or ideas that were in the making. This invited a lot of input, and sometimes that translated into outside contributions. I also performed around NYC solo a lot, and when I wanted to develop that live show into a band, getting friends onboard was a natural choice.
The current lineup of Matti, Nardo, and I is the product of many different iterations of the band, and is the strongest of them because of how strong our friendships are.But I imagine that more friends and collaborators will be joining our ranks in the future!
What’s your songwriting process like? Who are some of your biggest influences?
Jordan: The process is kind of nebulous. This project has an amorphous structure, it’s a band and a solo project, and that translates into every part of the production pipeline. Sometimes, I’ll work on songs alone, and the other guys will be involved as co-mixers or co-post producers, like in the case of this latest single, or we’ll write a song from scratch jamming in the rehearsal space. It kind of runs the entire spectrum from there, because of my preferences on how I work/record.
What is “84 Palms” about and how did it come to be?
Jordan: “84 Palms” is kind of a song about transitional periods… I don’t know if I can be more concise than that without sounding strange. Listen to the song, and tell me what you think! I had been really inspired by vocal samples, so I was experimenting with various techniques in that realm, and the instrumental just sort of came incredibly fast. Sometimes, it gets easy to get caught in a rut with the logistical aspects of recording, but I like to fight through that.
I wasn’t even at home when I wrote/recorded it. I was just banging out the synthesizers on my computer keyboard, programming the drums in the DAW, letting it flow. Obviously, it took many more months of honing/writing/recording/producing to get the song to the state it is now, but that initial brain blast set the foundation. After a few months, I sat down with the dudes in the mixing stage and we got it over the finish line.
You handle pretty much everything from recording to mixing in-house. What’s your background there/were you self-taught?
Jordan: We all went to music school, and are jacks of all trades in recording/producing/performing music. For us, it’s really fun to work on music together, and if our skills allow us to record/produce/mix at home, then why not? We also never had the money to outsource that stuff, so we’ve kind of taught ourselves through making these records. It’s developed to the point where Matti is a freelance producer/mixer/drummer, and Nardo is a contributing songwriter/performer for a ton of other bands in NYC.
If you go back to Sleep Songs (one of Ackerman’s first records), you can hear the production differences between then and now, because of how much I’ve/We’ve grown in those various realms. I think with the ubiquity of affordable recording gear, a ton of bands our age are doing that now.
You’re not only producers of music but a multimedia collective. If you had an unlimited budget/time, what would be a dream project to pursue? Any long simmering ideas?
Jordan: I would love to make an album with an accompanying feature film that incorporates the work of all of the talented animators, filmmakers, graphic designers, and visual artists that have contributed to this project. It would be super psychedelic, like a high-budget, abstract “Shrek Retold”. I would also love to perform with a symphony orchestra someday as well, to hear those string arrangements come to life would be insane!
Who would you potentially love to collaborate with?
Jordan: Oh, man, this is a heavy question! Jai Paul and Oneohtrix Point Never changed my life, but I don’t think I could hang with them musically, so maybe just some piano lessons would be cool? If divine providence brought The Books back together, I would love to dig through old Scandanavian VHS tapes for samples with them.
Someone is a band I stumbled upon online that I’ve been really really into. She’s also a visual artist that makes her own artwork, and it’s incredibly unique and beautiful. I’d love to work with her in any capacity. Cyriak makes the dopest animated music videos/commercials. I’m also a huge fan of the old Spike Jonze music videos from yesteryear.
What was the last cultural experience you had in New York that you found inspiring? A great show, meal, long walk?
Jordan: Well, our studio in Ridgewood flooded last month because of a broken water main. Although it destroyed a lot of gear, nothing irreplaceable was destroyed, so all of the friends navigating that obstacle and coming out stronger is incredibly inspiring!
Any plans for the rest of 2019?
Jordan: We’re actually on a farm in NJ right now, writing/recording/jamming out a new record, so more news on that soon! In the more immediate future, “84 Palms” has a music video we’re premiering in a couple weeks! We have a show at Coney Island Baby in NYC celebrating these releases on 7/26, followed by a mini northeastern tour!
Then we’re releasing our new EP, A Million Sunflowers, in October! I am directing a couple music videos for some amazing local bands next month. My sister and Matti’s sister are getting married two weeks apart in September, so we’re going to travel a bit for that.
What else? Nardo has a solo project that is recording their album next month as well, the band is called Panther Hollow, check them out, they’re dope. Basically, we’re grinding it out, hitting the studio/road/personal lives, and there’s so much to keep track of, so follow us if you want to stay up to date! We’re out here having a blast, and would love for you to come along for the ride!