I had the fortunate opportunity to meet Zohayr Shirazee while I was working at a corporate music shop in suburban Memphis. His sincere love of music can be illustrated through the many occasions he’s skipped his lunch breaks to spend time freely riffing around with licks from bands like The Fall of Troy, Glassjaw, and Animals as Leaders.
“About six to eight months before Greyscale officially called it quits, I brought the idea to the table of purging ourselves completely from that sound and trying something else.”
Zohayr, Samer Shirazee, Chance Clement, and Barrett Kutas formerly entered the music scene as a group by the name of GRYSCL (pronounced grayscale). They released six different compilations on bandcamp, but on June 16, 2015 the guys released their last GRYSCL album entitled Limn Everything.
In an interview with Josh Canon via the Memphis Flyer, Zohayr says that, “About six to eight months before Greyscale officially called it quits, I brought the idea to the table of purging ourselves completely from that sound and trying something else.”
Since the birth of Jadewick, the band has been pretty subtle with their releases. “Some Call it Funk” and “That’s What’s Right” gave them a solid debut with brand new material that sounds like nothing I’ve ever heard before. It sounds like blunt force trauma straight to your cranial cavity, cutting deep into the minds of those with tired eyes (and ears). The first few measures place pressure on that open wound, eliciting a Stockholm’s syndrome that envelops the listener into a raw story about four brothers simply facing their losses of the past and chasing their dreams into the future.
“Some Call It Funk’ is about accepting your blood family and that there is no escaping them no matter what, and basking and truly embracing the family you have chosen,” Zohayr says. “It’s a song about my three brothers in this band and how much I have come to love and trust them.”
“Some Call it Funk” has been literally pushing right me out of bed for almost a year now as my own personal wake up call, and as “That’s What’s Right” has been a great tool for personal meditation.
“It never really translated with Greyscale. It was always ‘this is screamo with eggshakers’ or ‘this is screamo with a fuzz pedal.’”
Jadewick has a sound that mysteriously bypasses genres. Swinging from an industrial rage that cascades down into ambient melodies, a new writing process was formed in purging themselves from their former sound. “Honestly, the influence for it all came from approaching the song writing with a complete embrace of all genres,” Zohayr says during his interview with Canon. “It never really translated with Greyscale. It was always ‘this is screamo with eggshakers’ or ‘this is screamo with a fuzz pedal.’”
Perhaps it was this practice that led the guys to title their new release Carve Out Your Own Void, a four song EP recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis, TN. In this new release, Jadewick continues their collection of enigmatic journal entries with an even deeper focus on lyrical content and full movement composition.
First of all, forget a chorus. Akin to the old Robert Frost poem, “The Road Not Taken,” Jadewick has decided to trailblaze their own path to create Carve Out Your Own Void. The composition feels more like an empathic movement created in stark contrast to one poppy refrain bouncing to the next with. The underlying theme throughout this short set of songs is a friendly warming sensation arising from the deep cold nature of social apathy.
“People are losing their lives to a smoking barrel of a narrow mind…”
“Sunspot” introduces Carve Out Your Own Void like a few tiny drops of food coloring diffusing into an enormous pool of warm reticence. However, it’s not diffusing from or into any sense of detachment. It’s more like energizing a state of sterile social awareness that radiates from the music streaming into phrases of wisdom like “People are losing their lives to a smoking barrel of a narrow mind…” and “…I’ve been putting all my money aside, just for a funeral.” “Sunspot” seems to diary a story about living in the golden age of opportunity, yet falling short of one’s own expectations of success before finding comfort in the togetherness of collective defeat, but never quite accepting it.
“You will not be missed, But rather a cloud above my head.”
Decompressing beautifully into the next song, “Escape You, Me,” Jadewick segues from the first composition by revving the tempo up into a trippy trance that scoops up and spits the listener back out onto a new surface with an industrial charged cryptic message, “Snuffing out a smokescreen, layered with indigo, Sifting through all of the noise, I thought you would become my home.” The song flows through different means of creativity crafted from incorporating a myriad of genre influences that change with each new line of lyrics. As the final climax approaches, a new call to action gradually condenses into the former industrial complex now softening as these lyrics spill over the edge of a filled cup with raw emotion, “You will not be missed, But rather a cloud above my head.”
There’s flowers for miles, Yet you’re hunched over, Cramming weeds down your throat, Living life in the mirror, Hoping one day it’ll talk back…”
“Sleeping in the Weeds” begins with bright open ambience contrasted by percussive stick work that bleeds into another enigmatic melody. If there is one song that could be radio ready, this is it. It hits the ears so gracefully that one cannot help but get sucked into its nostalgic grasp. As the lyrics begin, “There’s flowers for miles, Yet you’re hunched over, Cramming weeds down your throat, Living life in the mirror, Hoping one day it’ll talk back…” they speak about the truth of self indulgence that seems to act as a foul plague among our privileged society unbiased of age. The song moves forth in a slightly more formulaic craftsmanship compared to the previous songs. Stoking the flames of enlightenment, the composition makes a hard turn and bursts forth into a new creative summit. From here on the mountain top, the poignant lyrics that became the title of their release are shouted to the world, “Keep me in your thoughts, (loving someone else in the distance), Carve out your own void, (you could never be replaced).”
“These boats don’t sail anymore, They’re standing in the way of dreams, And we lie in wait of waves, And the children will curse our names and the sea, For leaving no legacies.”
The final song on the album was actually released as a single prior to the band’s EP drop. “Yacht Club” is a lighthouse beckoning to failed bands, dreamers, and fans of the creatives that make improvised vessels for sending their messages throughout the globe. Fitting into their “motif of movements” this song begins much heavier than the rest from the EP singing like a siren to the blockade of shipwrecked vessels preventing exit from the safety of a harbor: “These boats don’t sail anymore, They’re standing in the way of dreams, And we lie in wait of waves, And the children will curse our names and the sea, For leaving no legacies.” In pure Jadewick fashion, the band immediately regroups and transitions with stellar stickwork, ushering in a new ambient melody that crescendos back into the heavy hitting vocals promising that, “If there is damage to be done, You can be sure that we will deal in spades, Until there’s no more cards in the deck. You’re asking me to ignore this, But you’re asking too much.” Then a new melody flows effortlessly from the punchline into a collective plea for sanity among the aforementioned wreckage, “We beg for, no plead for, A conscious state of repose, Living with a sliver of some sort of sanity.”
In closing, this album is not one that you’ll find on any billboard top 100 list. It’s probably not going to be featured on Nikki Sixx’s syndicated radio show, and Howard Stern won’t send his Baba Booey fans flocking to their respective local indie shows, but it’s a long range shot across the bow from a growing new age of musicians that fail to see failure as a reasonable outcome from their collective tenacity; a wave now starting to swell from the displacement of landscape that was destroyed in the wake the Internet’s en mass use. Anyone who has ever been pissed that their favorite hometown record never made it out of a local circuit will be kindred spirits to Jadewick as they charge forward with spearheads in hand driving every mortal wound they can into the skulls of those who doubt their success.
Check out their videos posted below and don’t forget, they’re also playing during Locals Only on Grit901