Dazy, the project of Richmond, VA's James Goodson, is on tour now supporting collaborators Miltarie Gun, and today he releases his new album for Lame-O Records, OUTOFBODY. Dazy sounds like so many of the best parts of '90s rock in a blender (Green Day, Nirvana, Oasis, Ride, Sugar, Superdrag, Angus soundtrack, the list goes on), and he does justice to his influences and combines stuff in ways that most bands weren't combining back then. It's also a very fun, catchy record and one where every song feels like it could've been the single. In celebration of its release, James has given us a track-by-track breakdown of the whole thing. Listen and read on for what he had to say...
Out of Body
I always kind of like it when an album starts with a song that feels like it wouldn’t make sense anywhere else on the record. I’d been kicking this song around for a while and always had it in the back of my head as an opener.
My “process,” or whatever you’d call it, is basically to make very detailed demos, sit on them for a long time and tweak things while growing overly attached to how they sound, and then I end up just using a lot of the “demo” takes on the final recording. I think this song actually benefited from that quite a bit because I sat on it for a while and it kept changing down to the wire. One of those changes was to make the intro mostly acoustic guitars. The main Dazy sound so far has mostly been about really loud guitars so I got a kick out of starting the debut album with this feedback fake-out that leads into an acoustic playing. I also like that the outro is so big and borderline over-the-top, all with this crummy little drum machine snare sound leading the way.
I wrote this song several years ago but it ended up being a good introduction to a lot of the ideas that show up in the lyrics throughout the whole album–feeling unsure, overthinking, needing to get out of your head in order to move your life forward.
I wrote “Split” pretty late in the process of making OUTOFBODY. I’d already recorded most of the album but I got the idea for this song and it just came together so quickly that I knew it had to be on there. I think just about everything from the demo ended up on the final version except for the vocals. I feel like I can hear almost every band that’s a big influence on me all in this one song and I really like that.
It’s about feeling like you’re being pulled in different directions and trying to navigate the way most things in life just keep happening all at once rather than when you’re conveniently “ready.”
On My Way
When I finally started putting out Dazy songs in 2020 after sitting on a lot of them for years, a big part of ripping off the bandaid was deciding that I didn’t need to replace the drum machines on my demos with real drums. On some of the earlier Dazy songs I think I was a little tentative about that and would try to make the drum samples sound more like the real thing, but by the time I got to making OUTOFBODY, I was actually really stoked about leaning further into programmed drums and loops. “On My Way” definitely felt like a song where I’d really locked in the different layers of percussion and I love the way it feels very bouncy and dancy without losing any big rock song energy.
The lyrics are basically imagining this version of myself where I let frustrating things roll off my back a little more, and maybe wishing that everyone else would do the same.
This was the very last song I wrote for the record. I was super in the weeds with recording and trying to narrow down the track list for the album and I was having a bit of a crisis of confidence. I’m sure I was just too wrapped up in all the silly minutiae that musicians trick themselves into thinking is wildly important, but I was basically worried I wasn’t “going for it” enough with my songwriting. You only get to do your debut full-length once and I didn’t want to half ass it. I was venting about this to my incredibly patient wife and saying something around the lines of “maybe I should just sit down and really try to write a big hit sounding song…” and she very calmly said, “then do that.” Not sure if I rose to the challenge, but I love how this song turned out and how unabashedly poppy it is. I knew it had to be on the record and I think it helped me shape a lot of the album around it.
A lot of times when I write a song I’ll make little exercises or set some goal for myself–the goal with “Deadline” was to find a way to go from this really bombastic rock n roll energy into something more melancholy without it feeling disjointed.
It’s about always feeling pressed for time and tricking yourself into thinking that your procrastination isn’t just making that problem even worse.
I’m always going on about how much I love loud/noisy guitar music, and that’s obviously a huge part of the songs I make, but I really wanted OUTOFBODY to have some dynamics and point to other sounds I want to try. I know having acoustic guitars or keyboards on a song isn’t some groundbreaking shit for most people, but it’s newer territory for me. I was listening to a lot of mid/later era Teenage Fanclub and I think it really shows in this song.
It’s partly inspired by this memory I have from being a kid where my dad’s truck was in the 4th of July parade in the little town I grew up in. I remember sitting in the parking lot with all the floats and other vehicles waiting for the parade to start, and for some reason it always stuck with me how funny it was to see that the lead up to this big exciting event was really just a bunch of folks hanging out in a parking lot waiting to be told where to go.
Choose Yr Ramone
I really, really value simple songwriting. I truly don’t think that you need to change the whole game in order for something to be exceptional, and I’m sure a lot of the reason I feel that way goes back to getting into the Ramones as a kid. “Choose Yr Ramone” is sort of an accidental tribute to them in the music and lyrics. It’s a very simple song and another one where I was layering in a drum loop and using some really dancy sounding snare samples, which is an obvious example of The Jesus and Mary Chain being another huge influence on me. That makes a lot of sense because the Ramones were also a big inspiration for JAMC. I think a lot of people see that kind of endless feedback loop of influences as sort of a “copy of a copy” diminishing returns type deal, but to me that’s kind of the whole point of rock music. I love the way musicians can try to draw on what came before and the result will come out different just by the nature of a new person trying it.
The lyrics are about trying to have some perspective as you get older. When you’re a kid, you can’t fathom the idea of aging and you think you have everything figured out, and then you get a little older and realize that’s absolutely not the case. I think that’s pretty normal, but the bigger mistake you can make is to not keep that perspective in mind and start the process over again. My grandpa’s 90th birthday party was yesterday so maybe I’m just really thinking about how nuts it would be if I ever thought I was wiser than him. Shout out to my grandpa.
I like this song because it sort of has a more relaxed feel without being quieter. I love the way all the different percussion parts click together and the “doo doo doo” singing blends in with the guitar. When I’m recording, I really try to just run with anything that sounds cool and not worry too much about how it was achieved. This song is a good example of that because it has a lot of computer sounds mixed in with noisy guitars coming from a real amp.
It’s about how easy it is to get hung up on different things you want in life and how rare it is to actually be satisfied if you actually get them.
I’m kind of proud of this song because it’s one of the few where I wrote a proper bridge and managed to cram the whole verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/chorus structure into 90 seconds. I also love how the verses have this very poppy melody but the guitar feedback is just shrieking the whole time. Shout out to Justin Pizzoferrato for mixing and mastering all my stuff and always doing an amazing job of making that kind of thing actually listenable.
This is another one of those songs that just came together so fast that I knew it had to be on the record. I think the two or three songs on an album that come before the closer are always tricky, it’s just a tough spot to keep the listener’s attention, but I knew this song was going to end up here. It just feels climactic and a little triumphant, which I really like because the lyrics are actually kind of a tongue-in-cheek bummer.
This song was definitely a big swing for me. I’ve always loved when an album has a quiet moment before the finale, and I also just wanted to push myself and set aside my distortion comfort blanket. I know it might seem sort of silly to say a 90-second song was some wild songwriting challenge, but doing something this stripped back and singing this quietly was pretty new for me. I like to think of Dazy as a container for all the different types of music that I want to make, and it was really exciting to add something like this to it. Keep an eye out for MINIMUMBLASTSUPERQUIET I guess.
Lyrically it’s pretty much a love song. A lot of the record is about all this internal conflict and neurotic stuff that’s always swirling around in my head, so I liked the idea of the most quiet moment being about the one thing in my life that I’m certain about.
Speaking of the finale… I wrote this song a long time ago and I always knew it would have to be the closer on whatever release it ended up on. A lot of Dazy has just been about getting in touch with the things I really love about music and trying to channel them all into one project, and I really have a soft spot for a big closer. This is another song that benefited from a lot of tinkering. Some of my favorite parts of it–the mellotron strings, the vocal layering, the callback to the first song–all came pretty last minute as I was recording the final version. Maybe sometimes it pays to procrastinate? Not sure if that’s the lesson I should be taking from this…
I love the way the music of this song sounds so wistful but the lyrics are actually about trying to avoid getting lost in nostalgia or hung up on the things you regret. It’s about how difficult it is to be present and appreciative of what you have when you’re also looking backwards or even trying to look ahead. That all sounds very serious, but it’s also a big dumb rock song full of big dumb rock moves and I hope it’s fun to listen to!
The Militarie Gun / Dazy / MSPAINT tour hit Brooklyn's Saint Vitus last night (10/27) (and saw James joining Militarie Gun on stage for "Pressure Cooker") and hits Long Island's Amityville Music Hall tonight (10/28). In December he'll return to Brooklyn for a show on 12/1 at Alphaville with Jobber and Golden Apples, then he'll play at the Lame-O Turns Ten celebration at First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia. All dates:
Dazy -- 2022 Tour Dates
10/28 - Long Island, NY @ Amityville Music Hall^
10/29 - Philadelphia, PA @ Foto Club^
10/30 - Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar Upstairs^
12/01 - Brooklyn, NY @ Alphaville
12/03 - Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church (Lame-O Turns Ten)
12/04 - Washington, DC @ Comet Ping Pong
^ supporting Militarie Gun, MSPAINT