Sundressed and Tiny Stills guitarist AJ Peacox also pens his own music under the name Glow & The Dark. The emo project, supported by San Diego-based label Dark Horse Records, has just released a new single titled “The W” from the newly released “Holy Shit EP”. What makes the “Holy Shit EP” stand out is its transparent account of heartbreak, loneliness, and depression against emo acoustics. AJ shares the writing behind “Holy Shit”, what’s next for the project and more in this exclusive interview below!
Can you talk about the creative process behind “The W”?
I wrote “The W” and the rest of this EP in a green notebook that I took on two tours at the end of 2021. I was reading a lot of poetry by Derrick C. Brown, Kim Addonizio, and Charles Bukowski, so I was really into the idea of writing lyrics first and music second. When I got home I organized the lines by theme. The lyrics for “The W” all ended up on the same page, and the song flowed out so naturally.
What was the most challenging aspect when writing “The W”?
I really wanted the arrangement to be dreamy and nostalgic, so getting the drums right was a big part of it. Jordan Krimston is an absolute shredder, but this song called for super simple, reverby drums. Simple acoustic guitars, bass, and a tape loop helped set the scene for the story to carry the song.
What was it about “The W” that made you choose the song as a single?
When I started organizing my notebook full of lyrics, I didn’t know if writing songs starting with lyrics would work for me. When I sat down to write “The W” it all flowed out so quickly and naturally. I felt like the story in the song was a perfect thesis for the topic of the EP: what happens to the places you once considered “holy” in your relationship after it comes to an end?
Did you have a specific ritual you went through when writing the new music for the EP? For example, did you prefer a certain ambiance?
I wrote the majority of the EP in a shed in my backyard at night. I would go out there with a beer, my guitar, and my notebook, and just experiment with lyrics I had organized. Daniel Charlson from Dark Horse Coffee Records gave me a custom condenser mic that I used to track my demos and bring to him. My process was happily interrupted by a tour with The Front Bottoms, after which I came back with more lyrics and finished the EP.
Is there a track on the “Holy Shit EP” that you are more fond of? If so, can you elaborate on the reason as to why it’s your favorite?
I love the title track “Holy Shit” because, much like The W, it gives a true account of people, places, and things that took on different meanings after certain relationships came to an end. Kailynn West was kind enough to track her beautiful vocals on it. Going over to her house to record them was a really happy memory, and it reminded me that though I was going through something at the time I wrote this song, I was already on to better times with people like her who mean the world to me.
Which song from the new EP do you think you’ll enjoy performing the most?
No question. “It Was Death” is going to be a total ripper to play live. I’ve performed it acoustic a few times, and even that was so much fun.
Is there a particular song that you believe listeners will gravitate towards the most?
“No Surprise” is producer/label owner Daniel Charlson’s favorite song. I think that song was constructed super well, with a straightforward structure, and a huge outro. For those reasons, I think certain people will gravitate towards that one!
What is the overall theme and message you want the “Holy Shit EP” to communicate with your listeners?
G&TD: “Holy Shit” refers to the people, places, and things that hold significance to you in your friendship or relationship: initials carved into wet concrete, the hotel where you first kissed, the airport where you said goodbye for now, the songs you’d always sing together. Those things can become cursed when someone disappears from your life, and that’s a really strange feeling to have. I wrote these songs to heal from that feeling. If you’re going through something similar, I just want people to know they’re not alone and it gets better.
The “Holy Shit” EP is available now.