To make waves within the “surf roots” or modern American reggae scene, up-and-coming artists need to command attention by setting themselves apart from the rest. Popular acts like Stick Figure and Tribal seeds, along with notable bands that have come on strong in recent years like The Movement, Iya Terra, and Kash’d Out, all have a distinct, recognizable sound.
Along those lines, I’ve really enjoyed the output from The Ellameno Beat to date, and I’m especially stoked about the musical direction they’ve been trending towards. Ever since their stellar yet lamentably underexposed 2017 release, Surface, singer/songwriter/producer Reggie Froom has been crafting a new vibe that infuses their brand of heady roots reggae with elements of psychedelic and indie-pop/rock reminiscent of Tame Impala, MGMT and Foster the People.
Today, the band releases a video for their single, “Jump the Gun,” which dropped yesterday, all entirely conceived and executed by Froom from his home studio in Jacksonville, Florida.
The song and video are a culmination of several years of creativity. Over that span, Froom, in addition to his love of the foundational elements of roots reggae, became addicted to psychedelic rock and funk, while also becoming obsessed with cinematography as another form of artistic expression.
“My aim in producing this tune was to encompass all of those feelings into this Swiss Army Knife of an arrangement and make something I’d never heard before,” he said. “Nowadays, whenever I’m not spending my time working on music-related things, I usually find myself playing with cameras and lights. So, for this one, it was a no-brainer that I was going to do a video.”
Sonically, Froom melds the song’s trippy texture using an assortment of synth patches, guitar and voice modulations, delays and reverbs. “Another key to a lot of the feels in this track would be the movement in the mix,” Froom told me. “Tones are shifting and elements are moving all the time.”
Thematically, the song offers limited, somewhat cryptic lyrics. About it, Froom said, “My perception of time seems to be drastically changing day by day, and something about that absolutely terrifies yet excites me.”
Given that it makes reference to a woman, the song seems personal, ostensibly about a relationship. Yet, as its catchy beat and chorus lodges itself in my consciousness for hours and days at a time, I’ve created a context for it within my own sensibilities. In this day and age of our Divided States of America, where judging others on television, in the press and on social media has become a national pastime, the phrase “jump the gun” has become a sort of mantra, prompting myself not to be so quick to rush to conclusions about people. I’ve always been very open-minded and diplomatic by nature, but in these heated political times, I have on occasion found it very difficult to love and respect my fellow humans. “Jump the Gun” reminds me that I need to remember that we never really know how people form their thoughts, ideas and feelings because we haven’t walked in their shoes. Everyone has had different life experiences that shape their outlook and opinions. I still remain resolute in my beliefs, but I aspire to temper my frustration and anger toward those that may not agree with me unless I can gain a deeper understanding of what influences and motivates them.
When I bounced this concept off of Froom, he agreed. “This song, like most of my songs, is in many ways a conversation with myself. But it has taken on a lot of meaning this year as things have progressed from a societal perspective. You’re spot on here.”
Visually, the video premiering on Rootfire today may not wow you with exotic visuals shot by drone on location, but the dynamic editing captivates the viewer nonetheless, a testament to the many solo hours dedicated by the auteur Froom to bring his vision to fruition.
Enjoy the video below, and I encourage you to check out The Elllameno Beat.