As a much sought-out producer, Ryan Hemsworth is more than comfortable with collaboration – although we’ve known him to work more in the electronic and hip-hop realms. With his new project, Quarter-Life Crisis, he’s working even more closely with his musical partners, and they’re not necessarily who you’d expect. On the Quarter-Life Crisis EP, which arrives December 4 on Saddle Creek, we can expect collaborations with Frances Quinlan (Hop Along), Meg Duffy (Hand Habits), Charlie Martin (Hovvdy), Claud and Yohuna.
The first song shared from the project is the Frances Quinlan collaboration “Postcard from Spain”, which is appropriate as she had a big role in shaping the project, according to Hemsworth:
“I had a plan going into the Quarter-Life Crisis project, but Frances really helped radicalize me, this collaboration was kind of the catalyst I unknowingly needed. Working on the arrangement together and with our engineer Ryan Schwabe was the best – I’ve worked with a lot of people but I felt a serious encouraging push from them. In the end we got this fun mix of live, electronic, soft and hard sounds (And a children’s choir on the chorus!). It feels like the basis of my whole project.“
Quinlan adds: “This was one of my first attempts at writing lyrics to a fully formed and recorded melody – it’s certainly one of the few times I’ve worked on something collaborating with an artist other than my bandmates in Hop Along. I love the melodies Ryan Hemsworth composes, they’re both catchy and intriguing, calculated and dreamy. I was nervous about possibly throwing a wrench into it with my vocals, as I’m so used to writing lyrics along with the chords, but it ended up being a really freeing experience to focus solely on vocal melody, to play with where I could take what was already there, already strong on its own.“
Despite the reservations Quinlan expresses in the above quote, she and Hemsworth team up magically on “Postcard from Spain”. It kicks off not too dissimilarly from what we’ve known from her band and solo work, singing about Buffy Sainte-Marie over a chugging guitar with subtle synth undertones. Things take a turn for the stunning when Hemsworth starts to drop out elements to focus on those spaced-out synth beds, while Quinlan’s inimitable voice and words continue, floating in space – and then that children’s choir really brings the whole thing resoundingly home.
Quarter-Life Crisis’ self-titled EP arrives on December 4 through Saddle Creek (pre-order).
Quarter-Life Crisis track list:
1. Waterfall (feat. Charlie Martin of Hovvdy)
2. Comfortable (feat. Hand Habits)
3. Postcard from Spain (feat. Frances Quinlan)
4. You & Me (feat. Claud)
6. Stars (feat. Yohuna)