Early Talks w/ again&again

Last week I got the opportunity to interview three members from again&again, a multinational eight-piece composed of some of the best instrumentalists, producers, vocalists, and graphic designers in the game right now.  The again&again roster includes: Atwood, Colliding With Mars, Garrett., Ryce, planet girl, juicebox caviar, Bluknight, and Wet Day Timetable.  Since group members are dispersed around the globe, I spoke with the founder of the group, Austin Pool (Atwood), as well as Christian James (Colliding With Mars) and Charles Njoroge (juicebox caviar).  In this interview, we dive deep into everything surrounding the group’s formation, the trials and tribulations of writing and recording solely over Discord, future aspirations, and everything in between. 

Again&again is at the forefront of something incredible and Early Rising is thankful to have the opportunity to share their story and help propel the group to new heights.  Check out Early Rising’s conversation with again&again below!

Ben: So to start off, can you list all of the group members and explain how you all met?

Austin Pool: There’s eight of us.  It’s me (Atwood), bluknight, planet girl, Colliding With Mars, Garrett., Wet Day Timetable, juicebox caviar, and Ryce.  We all came up like on the internet so I met everyone over Twitter, Soundcloud, and Reddit to name a few.

Ben: How did this start? You guys are multinational and completely disconnected from each other so really where did again&again start and where did the inspiration for the group come from?

Austin Pool: It started with me. I was living in LA last year and I’ve got some friends who are in bands and such. One day I was driving home with my friend and we were listening to one of my homies’ bands that I really like. I was like, ‘damn, you know, I want to be able to make music in a group again,’ and then I thought that I could make my own.  I started thinking about the kind of sound I wanted to hit and I thought about a good way to go about it.  I started thinking about a team of instrumentalists, vocalists, producers, and really everyone that could achieve this sound. I’ve been making music for seven years and I’ve always just been one to connect with anyone who I like in different music communities. I usually send these people a message and try to link with them, play games, chop it up, and connect over Discord. By the time I had this idea I had just befriended enough people to build the team that we are today.  I met Charles at a party in Houston because we’re both from Houston even though I’ve since moved.  Our graphic designer I met on Reddit because I heard his beats on this one subreddit and I immediately knew that we should work together.  He started showing me that he was really good at graphic design and that was like five years ago.  Once I got home from that car drive, I just called everyone personally and was like, ‘Yo, I just had this idea. It might not be anything but if you’re down to try it out, let’s see what happens.’ That was in March 2019.  We kept it under wraps for like an entire year and then we finally decided to unveil again&again because we could clearly work together and we all knew we had something special going on here. I just didn’t want us to get ahead of ourselves. 

Ben: When you were on this car ride, were you thinking that you had all these creative people in mind and you wanted to put them in the same room and figure out who does what? Or was it more so thinking about the elements that you wanted to include and then hand picking each individual? 

Austin Pool: Originally I was thinking that we’d have something like three main vocalists. I wanted a girl to be a part of the dynamic in the group too. I wanted instrumentalists to be able to feed loops to producers because I know producing beats from scratch can be a little hard sometimes so I figured anything that could spark inspiration would be good for workflow. I knew Christian is an incredible instrumentalist and also does vocals. I knew Charles as an instrumentalist and a producer and that he also does vocals.  So a lot of the people we have are actually multifaceted besides myself.  I just I just I knew what all these people were capable of and when I was thinking about the sound I was trying to achieve, I knew it was close enough to what they made so that they could mold themselves towards what we were going for.  We’ve strayed from the original idea for our sound but it’s become very, very cool.

Ben: What is again&again’s guiding principle in terms of sound and image? 

Charles Njoroge: We really bounce around all over the place.  Visually, our graphic designer handles everything and knows what’s going on so he usually tackles that.  In terms of our sound, it’s a collaborative and adaptive process.  Sometimes we just decide to try something and start throwing out ideas and then go back and forth with each other until we figure everything out. One day I might hit up Garrett and be like, ‘yo, I came up with this crazy baseline. Check this out.’ And then he’ll be like, ‘oh, I could come up with some drums for that man.’ He fleshes out the drums and when I hear that, I’ll respond and we continue back and forth until we create a solid track. We also have the guidance of Austin, because sometimes we might make something that’s just a little bit wack and doesn’t fit the vision.

Christian R: Although we’ve steered away from the original sound that we set out to make, it’s still in the same headspace that we started with. We’re just in our own lane now as opposed to creating a more generic sound that we initially strived for. Every once in a while we’ll do something a little bit out of left field, but under the guidance of Austin and it all comes out rather cohesive.

Ben: In terms of your guys’ workflow, you said it’s very collaborative. Given the fact that you guys are from all over the world, what does the process look like from start to finish? I understand that you mainly use Discord to communicate and create so what are the advantages and disadvantages of doing everything remotely?

Christian R: I know a major disadvantage is the fact that if we were all living in the same house, we would be making probably about 100 times more music than the amount of music that we’re currently making. That’s the major disadvantage but we’ve all learned how to work so well together over Discord so it actually works well.  Advantage wise, I’d say our current setup gives each member time to digest what we’re working on. 

Ben: It seems that what you guys lose in terms of productivity for not being in the same room as each other, you actually gain a different sense of productivity that a lot of other groups don’t really have because you have this time and space to think. 

Austin Pool: When you’re in a room with people, there’s this idea that you need to make sure you’re appeasing everyone.  On the contrary, if you have the ability to get in your own mode and zone out, you can really hit the direction you’re thinking of and just go full out. There’s a little more apprehension when you’re with a group of people. So yeah, there’s pluses and minuses to both for sure. Even in a group setting where we’re all in the same place, there’s nothing stopping you from walking into a different room. 

Ben: In the future, once everything returns back to normal, do you guys have plans to get together and start touring? 

Austin Pool: Without a doubt.  We’re only a few plane tickets away from each other so that’s definitely in the cards. Ideally, we’ll all be living in the same house by the end of 2021.  That’s what we’re shooting for right now. Not all eight of us because some people don’t necessarily want to move into the house, but the goal is to get a house so that people can live there without having to worry about living expenses. Then we can be in the same place and be more productive. We’ll keep moving forward. I mean live shows are definitely something we all look forward to.  I have literal dreams about performing live with everyone else so it’s definitely in the works.

Ben: You guys are still fresh onto the scene being a 2020 group that started putting out music and 2020 and all.  What are your goals for the future, both short and long term?

Charles Njoroge: World Domination.

Ben: And then to go off of that you guys just released a new single, “I Hate It.” Tell me a little bit about that single and what went into it.  What does it mean to all of you?

Charles Njoroge: We it started in August of last year. I woke up on a Thursday and thought,  ‘I’ve got this baseline idea in my head but I don’t play the bass.  So I hit up Garrett and said, ‘dude, I don’t have a base, you have a base you play really well, please can you try this out?’ I mapped out the bassline on my keyboard and I sent it to him and then I wrote a hook to it.

After that, we produced drums and all this other stuff and it just sat there for a little while. Slowly but surely, everybody started hopping on it and started pushing eachother to create the best possible song we could. 

Christian R: It’s definitely Charles’s baby. 

Ben: How would you describe your music to my little sister? She’s only 10 but smart as a whip.

Austin Pool: When you’re in the car going to a place you really want to go. This is the music that plays.

Ben: You guys are obviously not a group that’s trying to fit into a certain box. You’re carving out your own space and creating this sound that transcends genres, borders, and possibly even dimensions. How would you describe your music?

Christian R: The first thing that comes to mind is that I remember when I was nine-years-old, and that one song “1901” by Phoenix was playing on a Cadillac commercial. I always think that our music is like that. We’re trying to hit that stride and pick up the baton where Phoenix left off. But also we’re doing it with updated production because so many of us come from different backgrounds and we all have have eclectic music tastes so obviously that’s going to bleed into the music that we create.  

Ben: You guys are all solo acts or part of another group and you all came together to form again&again. How does again&again work in conjunction with your pre-existing projects? Are you all still working on them, is it all again&again, or is it a balance between the two?

Christian R: I think that I’m the most active member of again&again outside of the band, at least as of this recording.  Personally, my priorities are split in half right now because I’m working on a project for Colliding With Mars, which is a solo act. It’s not a band, even though it sounds like one.  I work on my music every single day and then always pop in to the again&again group chat and see what we have and what I can tackle. It hasn’t halted my solo work because I feel like my solo work is still very much a priority in my life because it is currently paying my bills.

Charles Njoroge: To piggyback off of that, we had a meeting about this several months ago and we tried to make sure that we’re all on the same page. The consensus was that we’re all basically going to make time for again&again. What’s happening here is pretty special and it’s taking off in a very beautiful way. 

Again&again is nothing short of incredible.  Fusing together so many worldwide influences into a single project is not something that you’ll hear very often, and it’s even more rare to listen to a group that has perfected it as well as again&again.  Make sure to listen to “I Hate It” and keep up-to-date on again&again as they enter 2021.  There are some incredible things in store!

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