Jul 19, 2021
By Mark Redfern
Photography by Cameron Lewis
Richmond, VA-based singer/songwriter/producer Matthew E. White is releasing a new album, K Bay, on September 10 via Domino. Now he has shared its second single, “Electric,” via an infomercial-themed video for it. Wes Parker directed the video, which features White getting his hair trimmed for the first time in years. Watch it below.
“I wrote this song after listening to ‘Me, My Baby And My Cadillac’ by Sleepy Brown,” White says in a press release. “I wanted to write something so intentionally direct like that. When we recorded I wanted the playing to come across raw, limit the instruments and let everything redline from start to finish. The lyrics are mostly pure ’60s bubblegum pop—think Brill Building Carole King—an homage to the overtly saccharine songwriting style of that era. There’s really an absurdity, and theater to it all.”
White self-produced K Bay, which was recorded at his Kensington Avenue home studio (and album namesake) K Bay, Richmond’s Montrose Recording, and White’s own Spacebomb Studio. The album features Spacebomb’s house band (bassist Cameron Ralston, drummer Pinson Chanselle, and orchestral arranger Trey Pollard), along with multi-instrumentalist Alan Parker, keyboardists Devonne Harris and Daniel Clarke, and engineer/mixer Adrian Olsen.
“For me, one of the most exciting production techniques from this record was this idea where I’d record the song twice,” explains White in a press release. “First, in a more traditional, band-in-the-room, work out the parts and sounds, nail it, kind of way. Secondly, I would distill the concept of the song one way or another into an instrumental composition. I had a much larger band (based off of Miles Davis’ On the Corner bands) play this kind of new-music/improvisational piece at the same tempo as I had recorded the first, more ‘normal’ take. The goal was to be able to cut across between the two pieces, and/or layer them and have them fit together in wild ways. To a large degree it worked, which was pretty exciting for me. The intro to ‘Genuine Hesitation’ is an excerpt from the much longer improvisation based instrumental.”
White’s last solo album was 2015’s Fresh Blood. But since then he’s kept busy producing the likes of Natalie Prass and Bedouine and taking part in collaborative albums. In April, for example, he partnered with Lonnie Holley to release Broken Mirror: A Selfie Reflection via Spacebomb/Jagjaguwar. In 2017, White teamed up with British singer Flo Morrissey for Gentlewoman, Ruby Man, a collaborative album of covers that came out via Glassnote.
Read our 2015 interview with Matthew E. White.