In the world of music, artist collaborations can spring up from just about anywhere, and often with interesting results. Just take a look at pairings like slack-rockers Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, the recent J-pop/rap group WEDNESDAY CAMPANELLA and Chvrches single “Out of My Head”, and even–dare I say it–the Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett jazz collaboration that came out of the blue a few years ago.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that joining the ranks of these unexpected one-off projects is none other than… Justus Proffit and Jay Som?
If you’ve been following indie rock in the past year, you may have heard of Jay Som’s (Melina Duterte) steady rise to fame as an self-made musician following the release of her debut Turn Into and last year’s Everybody Works, but at the time of writing this, singer-songwriter Justus Proffit is still relatively unknown. As it turns out, after Duterte relocated to LA via Oakland, Proffit reached out to see if she wanted to record a track together “for fun”… which soon evolved into the collaborative EP Nothing Changes.
After listening to a few of Proffit’s other songs (off of his two EPs Magic and UPS/DOWNS), Duterte made the right choice in choosing Proffit as a musical partner. Proffit is a promising artist, but one who’s still trying to find a signature sound. Just compare his singles “Lost” to “Angel of Mine”: it’s hard to believe the same person shouting about how alone he is over cascading guitar riffs could harmonise so well with another person (Jon Won) over an acoustic melody.
However, although he’s found a new musical partner in Jay Som on “Nothing’s Changed,” Proffit doesn’t change his sound too drastically… or so it seems. The first 40-ish seconds of “Nothing’s Changed” still sounds like it could fit in with his other songs on UPS/DOWNS… harmonising melodies and all.
But once Duterte’s signature production style starts to kick in (the sunny meandering guitar, the dreamy fuzzed-out vocals, the sudden trumpets!), the song starts to take on a unique form. Duterte’s work elevates the song from a catchy campfire sing-along to a beautifully composed duet. Suddenly this seemingly random collaboration makes sense–Proffit offers his sharp songwriting skills while Duterte polishes them up and make them stand out.
If the rest of the EP is anything like its lead single–filled catchy hooks, twinkling production, and an overall good time–it’ll definitely be worth looking forward to.
Nothing’s Changed EP will be released September 28 on Polyvinyl. Pre-order here.