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Premiere: Juice Jackal - "Nightmare"

I wrote the song early last year with the intent that it would be released with my band Cable, but after that project kind of fell apart, I started working on a new batch of solo songs. It took a minute to find my voice since I’d only done production up to that point. Cable had been loosely working with WEDIDIT, so I reached out to Groundislava (Jasper) who I’d been listening to non-stop at the time. I was obsessed with his production style, and had his album Frozen Throne on repeat.

 

Even though he was full electronic, and I was more rock-based, it felt like we approached song writing in similar ways and had a lot of mutual interests. We worked on a song together called “I Can’t Sleep,” and we were both really happy with the results. We decided to move forward on finishing the rest of Juiced together via email from NYC to LA. Later in the process, I came back to “Nightmare” and we basically pumped it up with steroids and brought it to the level of quality it needed to be at. This took some trial and error, and there were a bunch of different variations Jasper and I went through to find the right one. By the time I had gotten around to re-recording vocals, the words felt more true and relevant than ever.

 

I had numbed myself for a long time, and within the recording of this song I really felt myself open up. For the first time since my dad died several years earlier, I felt some real emotional pain again with a breakup, which turned out to be a blessing. Instead of numbing myself, this time I let myself feel the emotional consequences of the breakup which flipped my whole lifestyle in a very positive way. It all added to the record that we were recording simultaneously as I was going through these life changes.

 

The end result is this kind of Frankenstein of a song—a mix of genres and different versions and feelings of what the song could have been and who it could have been about. In that respect, I feel like it really captures the manic and multifaceted nature of the end of a relationship. When someone you know dies, or a friendship ends, a piece of them lives on in you forever—and sometimes it’s that absence of presence that can help lead you in the direction that you need to go, even if it feels like you’re living a nightmare at the time being.