The Breakdown: "Everything" - Jaws of Love

The Breakdown: "Everything" - Jaws of Love

It's likely you're familiar with the work of Jaws Of Love, as it's the solo project of Local Natives' Kelcey Ayer. Ayer just released Tasha Sits Close to the Piano earlier this fall and today we're excited to welcome him to TGE to explain a little more behind one of the tracks - "Everything". 

"Everything." is a song I made a few different versions of, because I found out if I made that second chord in the progression minor, it actually made the song sound happier, but if you made it major then it made it darker, which totally changed the direction I took with it's respective different versions, production-wise. Given the sound that developed for the record, the darker version made way more sense. 

Recording the song was really fun. We'd been using this grand piano for all the songs at the studio, but wanted something more unique for the arpeggiating melody, so we taped some felt over the strings of this honky-tonk-sounding upright piano that was stuffed in the corner. It gave it this really beautiful muffled sound, like it was underwater. This was also one of the songs I wanted sax on (the other one is a b-side that hopefully will become one of the next album's a-sides!), so from a recommendation through a friend, I got this super-pro seasoned jazz dude, Matthew DeMerritt, to come in and throw down some chords. I'd been listening to some Blood Orange and Badbadnotgood at the time, and wanted a sax solo in that vein, and magically in two takes he busted out a solo that made my jaw drop to the floor Looney Tunes-style. I was just like, "Uhhh, yep. That's it." It's one of my favorite moments on the record.

We added this droning vibraphone pulse throughout the song, which we then put through an awesome vintage spring reverb they had at the studio, but even after all that, it was all still sounding a little too adult-alternative to me. That's when my buddy COMBAT! threw some extra production on that totally righted the ship. He basically took all my vocals and processed them in a way that felt very Kid A or Arca, adding an electronic experimental element that weirded up things up in the best way. Making an album featuring the piano can easily find its way into singer-songwriter cheese-territory, so it was really important to me to have a counterpoint of something weird on every track.

The song is about the battle of seeing the glass half-empty or half-full. You can say that life is meaningless and who cares what happens, or that it's a magical gift where anything is possible. I go back forth just like everyone else, but I guess this is some sort of scenario where the narrator is trying to talk this kid out of the funk he's in. He's sitting in traffic and sees the aftermath of a horrible car crash, and has to decide to either go high or go low. I think we constantly have to make that decision with everything we see.