Of Montreal's JJames Husband discusses the release of his new album, A Parallax I during a recent visit to the Guest Apartment. Why does a fellow who's spent more than a decade playing with Of Montreal decide to take the solo route? Find out in this exclusive interview. - David Pitz
James Huggins placed his mark on the Athens, GA music scene a long while ago, but it took 10 years on the road and relocating to Sweden to bring it all back home for his debut album. Playing with the Elephant 6 Collective groups Great Lakes, Essex Green, Marshmallow Coast while remaining a core member and multi-instrumentalist in the band of Montreal for over a decade after agreeing to a part-time position in 1998, he has kept his recordings exclusively behind the scenes. But now, Huggins is finally opening the vaults of his underground recording project and stepping out as a songwriter and solo artist with the release of James Husband's A Parallax I.
A Parallax I is the sound of a one-man band amplified. A collection of songs that were written and recorded over a demanding twelve-year period of touring and recording with of Montreal (a stretch that has included some of the band's most critically acclaimed works, including Satanic Panic in the Attic and Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?). It is an album that finds Huggins a lush instrumentalist, layering dozens of instruments and vocal tracks over a core of '60s fueled rock with aid from long time musical partner Dottie Alexander ( of Montreal), producers Tomas Hakava and Johan Stenstrom and Swedish pop sensation Jenny Wilson.
Pulling inspiration from years of writing, recording and extensive touring, A Parallax I showcases the adept musicianship James Husband has leant to the recording and live shows of acts ranging from of Montreal to MGMT, Ladybug Transistor, Elf Power, and Ruby Sunsto name a few.
Officially recorded between 2003 and 2008 in of Montreal's Athens-based home recording studio and Stockholm's Up & Running and Truckland Studios, A Parallax I is not only the synthesis of co-existing musical projects, but also parallel recording methods, as the first third of the album was recorded on cassette, the next third on strictly analog and the last third in a straight digital formatwith the final version seamlessly stitched together by Andy LeMaster and Huggins.
James Husband might be a new name to audiences, but A Parallax I is the work of a performer whose influence already permeates the sound of many bands. As the album title suggests, although James Husband appears displaced from the musical contexts you have previously known him in, the creative drive he brought to these other groups is still present here. You've been listening to James for years, you just didn't know it.