Let us welcome in “Gray Skies” this afternoon with the help of JIMBO. The psychedelic rockers are pleased to be releasing their brand new single, a Springsteen-esque display that examines the emotions one feels with the arrival of new life. The Kingston, Ontario-based band packed up their things and headed a couple of hours west to Toronto to record “Gray Skies” at the well-regarded Noble Studio. The recording opportunity arose when JIMBO showed their stuff and won some recording time after coming in first place in The Authentic Initiatives Toronto Battle of the Bands, an impressive achievement for any up-and-coming group.
The trio provided some insight regarding the writing and recording of “Gray Skies” and from where the inspiration for the song came. “This track was written by band member Alex Van Der Heyden after becoming an uncle in April 2019. The track deals with the themes of hope, uncertainty and strength associated with welcoming new life into the world. The song resonated with guitarist Joe Narducci, as he also became an uncle in the same year. The band began working and shaping the track and began playing different iterations in their live set.
In terms of style, this track is very inspired by fellow Kingston, Ontario bands The Wilderness and The Paper Ladies, acts which we look up to and often have the pleasure of sharing the stage with and watching in concert. The opportunity to record at (Noble Studio) is one we will never forget and we feel the track reflects the magic of that day. We hope ‘Grey Skies’ optimistic vibe resonates with our listeners during these difficult times and we look forward to the opportunity to play live in front of everyone again!”
Formed in 2017, JIMBO specializes in the creation of art rock. Narducci and Van Der Heyden are joined by Jacob Tessier who provides the power on the drums. Musically, the band strives to create music that combines heavy riff rock and dreamy psychedelia. It’s a meeting between progressive rock ideals and garage rock delivery which offers listeners something a little different than the standard rock radio fare.
To get to know JIMBO a little more and to inquire further about “Gray Skies,” we spoke with the guys who elaborated further about the inspirations behind the song, how Van Der Heyden presented the single to the other members, and what it is about The Wilderness and The Paper Ladies that they enjoy most.
You have an impressive new song in “Gray Skies.” Listening to it, it reminds me in many ways of a Bruce Springsteen kind of song. Would you consider Springsteen to be one of your musical role models?
“Unfortunately we don’t count Springsteen as one of our musical role models, but we do admire the energy he brings to his tracks and we consider the comparison a huge compliment! ‘Gray Skies’ was written by bassist Alex Van Der Heyden after he became an uncle last year.”
What was the band’s reaction when Alex first presented the track? Did he play it live or did he play a recorded demo version?
“We all thought the track was something we wanted to work on, we loved the message behind the song and the psychedelic sound it had. He originally presented it as a demo recording.”
How did you work on the song after Alex presented it to all of you? Did it change much from its original incarnation?
“After jamming on the song we realized we wanted to make it a longer track that had a definite build and fuzzy climax. This was definitely brought out by Jacob contributing more driving drum parts than the ones Alex originally had in the demo. Joe also created lead lines and took time layering different guitars in the studio that gave the track a fuller more intense sound. The original idea for the song was a more softer ballad with shoegaze inspired guitars. We definitely wanted to keep this vibe and it can be heard in the first two verses but ultimately we love tracks that bring the listener on a journey and so we opted to build the track to its loud outro.”
How would you say “Gray Skies” compares to your other recorded material? Is this song in line with the type of sound that you typically strive for?
“We would say that ‘Grey Skies’ is definitely not similar to our other recorded material or the material that we will be releasing in the future. Even though this song is not a sound we typically strive for, we have a number of different musical inspirations and love to test ourselves to see what we are able to create. We also feel this track has personal meaning and importance to us as a band and as individuals. We want our listeners to get a full picture of who we are as artists and although that often involves heavier psychedelic ventures, we also want to show that we do have pop sensibility as well as proficiency in a wide variety of musical styles that includes Shoegaze, R&B and Indie pop.”
You mentioned that “Gray Skies” is in part inspired by fellow Kingston bands The Wilderness and The Paper Ladies. What do you enjoy most about these bands? What is it about them that rubs off on you?
“What we enjoy most about the Wilderness is their sense of rhythm and they are masters of writing amazing choruses. We feel the Wilderness inspiration can be heard in Jacob’s beat in the second verse of Grey skies and how we approached the chorus of this song. What we love about the Paper ladies is their fuzzy intense shoegaze ‘freak outs’ and use of synth bass. The Paper ladies influence can be heard in the outro of ‘Grey Skies.’ We feel Kingston has incredible rock acts and we are so fortunate to have had the ability to spend so much time playing and meeting other musicians in that city. Being in the audience at a Paper Ladies or Wilderness concert is an amazing experience and we hope you get a chance to catch either of those acts when they come to your city!”