“Relatives is a rotating cast of characters. Katie Vogel and myself are always there,” says composer, arranger and guitarist Ian McLellan Davis. The duo met upon arrival to New York City in 2007 and have been singing and writing together since.
With a focus on melodies sung in unison, Relatives has been known to incorporate winds, strings and horns into their music, but over the years, they’ve been paring down and turning inwards, exploring what can be done with less.
For their forthcoming record Strange We Fall, Ian and Katie recruited bassist Dandy McDowell and drummer Jason Burger.
On August 31, 2018, Figure & Ground releases Strange We Fall, a small collection of seven original songs by Relatives. Produced, engineered and mixed by Lily Wen, the record was recorded over two days in a storefront studio in Ditmas Park.
The release features a limited edition 7x7 chapbook handmade by Ian featuring artwork by David Foarde.
Listen on Spotify, Apple, Bandcamp + Preview the album here 👇
Strange We Fall came about by “not over-fussing for too long about something and just kind of seeing what comes out,” says Ian. “I think we can get pretty ahead of ourselves sometimes and it’s more complex than we intend it to be. This was an attempt to really simplify and try the same idea for a while. And just coast, you know?”
Katie adds: “there was a quicker turnaround than usual between writing and recording; these songs still feel really fresh. What these songs are about, at least for me, are subjects I’m still processing. So, even the process of recording was part of working through. That was kind of strange. Usually, we’ll have worked on songs for a couple years and then record them.”
“Simplicity and repetition was on our mind,” says Ian. “But we were pretty responsive to each other. I feel like it was a lot of back and forth on this one too—someone would bring an idea, and then it’d turn into another song, and that’s with a quick turnaround, when it’s fresh. The nature of the last couple albums were more slow and cumulative, and over time we had these songs that just sort of materialized. I think it was a pretty short period of time when Katie and I were just sort of firing things back and forth—this summer and into the fall.”