Perth’s neo-soul jazz collective Demon Days have just released their self-produced EP Taking It Slow This Time following on from singles “Hands-Free” and “Gravel”. The EP follows their debut award-winning EP Magic Eye which took the band to Melbourne to work with renowned producer Nick Herrera (Hiaitus Kaiyote, Jaala) and after a huge learning curve with Herrera, the band have decided to take the leap and go out on their own.
Taking It Slow This Time is a six-track self-produced EP by the band and demonstrates the band’s incredible musicianship as well as their freakish ability to bend the mould on soul music. The EP draws its namesake from the processes employed to write it: The band this time opting to plan a long lead writing schedule and really allow themselves the time to produce their own music from start to finish. For the first time employing instrumentalists from outside the group, Taking It Slow This Time showcases lush strings, punchy horns and a developed production technique intertwined with plenty of old-school jazz imaginings.
Demon Days talk on their vision with the EP:
“Each song had more thought behind it lyrically and arrangement wise. We wanted this to be bigger and better and so we got more people involved having string sections, complicated horn parts and indulging more on synth tones and melodies.”
From the opening track “Taking It Slow” starts things off with ethereal layered synths and vocals before snapping things into gear with outre horns and punchy vocals. From here the EP departs into previously released singles “Gravel” and “Hands-Free” however this time, “Hands-Free” features a reimagined bridge which brings some serious horn arrangements to the forefront with performances by esteemed instrumentalists Tom Beech and Jemima Mills alongside the bands trumpet extraordinaire Will Renner-Shao.
After a couple of doses of familiarity Taking It Slow This Time reminds us that at their core, Demon Days are a group of serious jazz fans and can’t go past an instrumental interlude. “Hot Minute” takes us deep into the brains of a jazz nerd with a serious jam groove letting you sit in there just long enough to completely love it but then darting in another direction. Bassist Marley Donnan-Cook really sits front and centre in this one with his bass noodlings being nothing other than meticulously calculated forming pristine supportive bass lines whilst also being melodic unto themselves.
Track six “Trash Talk” is probably the most familiar thing you’re going to get to a contemporary band on this whole EP with rich vocal harmonies from Bella Nicholls, a more traditional song structure and the song sits on the EP as a downright bop. That is until… Enter Butter’s Lachlan Payet; whose rap verse featured on the bridge above a crumbling, yet structured backing.
Rounding out the EP is Demon Days first attempt at strings arranging, and you better believe they nailed it, with a song that feels like a big nostalgic lo-fi cuddle. “Plum” features stunning string lines performed by Robyn Blann (Violin), Adrian Biemmi (Violin), Ariel Postmus (Viola) and Miranda Murray (Cello). The lush arrangement draws a beautiful end to an EP which closes as calmly as it opened. Taking It Slow This Time is truly a journey of Demon Days exploration into their own craft and pays respect to the concept of giving art some space to breathe and develop.
Accompanying the sophomore EP release is a 12 date National tour encompassing festival appearances as well as four co-headline shows with Demon Days’ dear Brisbane buddies First Beige.