After two years of putting out numerous singles and popular remixes of songs by artists such as Tycho, Yeasayer and Vacationer, the prolific Teen Daze finally released his debut full-length album, All of Us, Together, on June 5 through Lefse Records. Influenced by Daft Punk, the Vancouver-based electronic musician (known only as Jamison) got his start in 2010 and is humble about his beginnings. “I posted some music online, and the next thing I know, I’m doing this full time,” says Jamison. Teen Daze blew up quickly, and after catching impressive sets from him during SXSW 2011 and again at CMJ 2011, I understand why. Although the music Teen Daze creates is easily classified as down-tempo chillwave, Teen Daze is anything but mellow in a live setting. When I caught his performance during New York’s CMJ, Teen Daze quietly informed the crowd that he’d be playing some new music and hoped the crowd would get friendly with one another, before diving into a half-hour set that saw him head banging over his MacBook and Ableton Live sequencer, thrashing about as if he was in the midst of a seizure.
The combination of ambient, hypnotic music and his spastic performance made for a memorable set. Seeing him live also made this release feel long overdue—luckily, this highly anticipated album did not disappoint. “I’ve gotten into the habit of making a collection of songs that’s definitely large enough to be an LP, and then cutting a lot of the stuff that doesn’t really fit,” says Jamison. According to the musician, it’s this style of working that made the wait for a full-length record so prolonged.
“I actually made enough stuff to put out a double LP, but there’s no way I would release a double LP for my first, proper release,” says Jamison. “I’ve found that the consuming of an LP seems difficult for a lot of people. It’s really easy to take in an EP or a single, but an LP takes a lot of commitment from the listener.”
The album was created using Reason, Logic and GarageBand, but Jamison says that his live performances (where he also utilizes Ableton Live), at festivals like the aforementioned SXSW and CMJ, ultimately helped him determine what would make the cut for All of Us, Together. “I’ve been playing these songs for probably a year or so. ‘Erbstuck’ has been around for probably a year and a half. [The live performances] definitely had an influence on how the songs all came together.”
The result is a gorgeous, nine-track, mostly-instrumental album that begins with the shimmering track “Treten,” which slowly brings in a pulsating beat and sets the stage for how the rest of All of Us, Together plays out. “I wanted to make a record that sounded like it came from a future that was envisioned by the futurists in the ’60s. I wanted to create optimistic future music,” he says. “‘The Future,’ the only song with vocals, brings it back to our time, and basically asks if this future that we’re living in is the one we want.” Jamison is referring to a group founded in 1966 known as World Future Society. The group investigates how the social, economic and technological developments of today may eventually shape the world of tomorrow. The organization doesn’t claim to predict the future, but instead explores possible outcomes, with the hope that if a better future can be imagined, it can be achieved.
The optimistic future that Teen Daze hoped to create with this album is instantly apparent. All of Us, Together washes over listeners with its dreamy and melodic electro beats. Euphoric tracks like “Cold Sand” and “Brooklyn Sunburn” conjure up a combination of nostalgic imagery of times past and unrealized future plans of good times spent with friends. All of Us, Together could be the perfect soundtrack to falling in love for the first time, to the first epic road trip taken with close pals or to the feeling of returning to your hometown, which you left so many years ago.
Despite all the ambiance, it’s still easy to imagine the tracks on All of Us, Together blaring out of the speakers and a crowd of sexy twenty-somethings slowly gyrating against each other to the beats. Although Jamison calls the release a “headphones record,” he realizes the importance of the live experience. “Creating community is a really cool privilege that I’ve been given, and it’s something I try to do as much as possible. The live show is probably the best example of everyone experiencing the music together,” he says.
On July 18, Teen Daze will bring his community-creating skills to Kilby Court. The show will mark his first in Salt Lake City, and considering the intimate venue, it is sure to be a memorable evening. “I’m really thankful to get to be living this life, and one of my favorite parts of it is getting to meet/hang out with friends, both new and old,” he says. “Relationships are at the core of the music.” Swing by Kilby to see what this up-and-comer is all about.