“Hurts” is the first single released from the Gimme Space (2016) by James Jean.
In 2013, I started writing the songs that would ultimately end up on the Gimme Space (2016) album. Good friends, Jake Riley and Fred Mandujano, would come to my house for days at a time. We’d set up in a front room and get great sounds. There were guitar amps at full volume down the hall, and mics running into the utility room where Fred would do some crazy shit like bang on the washing machine to build out deep metallic-sounding loops. Jake has always been a gifted engineer and can arrange a song so well, but he had really dialed-in his skills on these tunes. He could capture all that craziness beautifully and mix it.
I wrote “Hurts” during the time that we were having regular sessions. The song is about friends, one of whom wants to care for the other who makes a bad decision, or perhaps even multiple bad decisions. For me this was a very personal song because in my circle of friends I could often find myself on both ends of the equation described in the song. Even though there are themes that hint at brash stupidity and addiction, this song is primarily about brotherly love in that context, caring for someone with a splinter in their eye.
“Hurts” was the song that convinced us it was time to take our sessions from the front room to the studio. Fred would introduce me to Brian Douglas Phillips (aka BDP), an amazing songwriter and artist in his own right. Brian had previously engineered, recorded and played live with the likes of David Ramirez, so I was sold on the sounds. Jacob Hildebrand also joined the project, adding some of the finest guitar playing around, which is saying a whole heap in a place like Austin, Texas.
My professional work schedule was brutal. For that reason the album languished for about a year. It might have been fate, but when that job imploded, suddenly I was free. A week after becoming “unemployed” I was in the studio with the guys putting the final touches on what would be my solo debut album. Gimme Space is both sad and happy, which is completely in line with how it was made.
Written by James Jean
Engineered and recorded at Rattle Trap Audio in Austin, Texas
Produced by Brian Douglas Phillips and James Jean
Instrumentalists: Jacob Hildebrand on electric guitars, Brian Douglas Phillips on guitars, pedal steel guitar, and background vocals, and Fred Mandujano on drums and percussion
Mastered by Jeff Lipton at Peerless Mastering, Boston, MA
Assistant Mastering Engineer: Maria Rice