Every Friday through the pandemic, Merry-Go-Round Magazine hosts Dime in the JQBX, a fun event where artists from across the musical spectrum come and hang out! During these events, Editor-in-Chief CJ Simonson attempts to navigate a short and often spontaneous interview in the chat with the artists! We figured why not save those and publish some of them, along with the songs that the artist played that night. This edited transcript is from March 12th with Jeffrey Silverstein, whose new EP is available this Friday via Arrowhawk Records! You can find a playlist of all his picks from that night below! Join us on JQBX.fm every Friday at 6 p.m. PST!
So Jeffrey, you have a great new EP called TORII GATES coming out soon on Arrowhawk Records which is always so reliable, such an underrated label. How do YOU describe your sound? Very palatial Americana is how I’ve defaulted to describing this really excellent recent wave of folksy ambient music happening right now.
Jeffrey Silverstein: I dig the whole ambient-folk/country tag—cosmic country, etc. Not mad when anyone puts me in that category. Just psych is cool too. That word can get thrown around real easy though.
Yeah, it’s always hard for me to put a finger on it because it’s often a lot of very nuanced and micro genres happening in conjunction together, like, it is ambient, but it isn’t. But there’s a whole wave of you guys doing great stuff on that front these days, I feel like William Tyler is the big one but, North Americans, Yasmin Williams, yourself.
JS: Overall I just love the intersection of ambient and traditional folk/country. I’m always pulled in both directions so when folks do both I definitely pay attention. I have a sweet tooth for it or something. Amanda Petrusich can do no wrong!
What’s the energy with this EP, was it something crafted originally or is it some leftovers and ideas from last year’s excellent YOU BECOME THE MOUNTAIN?
JS: The EP is a stepping stone to another LP. I was very focused on trying to incorporate less ‘pretty’ guitar textures at times and blending both real and drum machine sounds.
Yeah wasn’t an album that was on my radar to be transparent til I got my hands on the new EP but it’s really a delight, both have been in a regular rotation for me. Tell people about Arrowhawk Records, because from any interaction I’ve had with Alyssa DeHayes (who owns the label), she’s crazy nice and that’s a really tight roster of cool artists That Arbor Labor Union album from last year is worth running and not walking to check out.
JS: Arrowhawk Records is run by Alyssa out of Athens, GA, and she is the smartest, kindest, and hardest working person I know in music. She is also a publicist for Riot Act Media and recently started an entire series of workshops/classes for self-releasing artists called ‘Album Relief’
Oh wow that’s amazing, I didn’t even know that
JS: Everyone needs someone in their corner and I’m very grateful to have her in mine.
What’s the Portland scene like in terms of, I guess I’ll blanket it as cosmic country, I know there is some Rose City Band crossover, I always just assume PDX is filled with excellent musicians of that ilk but that’s based purely on stereotypes!
JS: Portland is far more inviting / supportive than Brooklyn was. Reminds me of my time in bands in Baltimore. Really great small to midsize venues are often the heart of a city’s music scene and we are lucky to have some of the best—Doug Fir and Mississippi studios for sure.
Anything worth plugging beyond the EP?
JS: The next song I’m playing is by Ted Lucas. I had the honor of curating a cover tribute of his one and only album from the 70s for perpetual doom coming out in may. artists include Willliam Tyler, Juliana Barwick, Shannon Lay, etc.
Check out all the tunes Jeffrey Silverstein played during Dime in the JQBX below and check out TORII GATES this Friday!