The early days of writing All the Time , Jessy Lanza's first album since 2016's Oh No, marked a sea change for Jessy and her creative partner Jeremy Greenspan. After Oh No, Jessy left her hometown of Hamilton to go and live in New York. Written long distance for the first time, across Jessy’s new set up in New York to Jeremy’s home studio in Hamilton, and finishing in the recording studio Jeremy had been working on during this period.
Even though the move to New York and the change in remote working was tough, All the Time has turned out to be the most pure set of pop songs the duo has recorded; reflective and finessed over the time and distance they allowed it. Innovative juxtapositions sound natural, such as rigid 808’s rubbing against delicate chords in Anyone Around, unusual underwater rushes underpin Baby Love . Jessy’s voice is treated, re-pitched and edited on songs like Ice creamy and gestural sounds seem to respond to her lyrics in songs such as Like Fire . A lot of these sounds came from live take experiments using semi modular/modular equipment like Mother 32 and Dfam and Moog Sirin. Jessy says ‘We got all of the machines talking to one another and would run patterns through. A lot of the little burps and quacks and squiggles heard on songs like Anyone Around, Like Fire, Face, and Badly are from those experiments. That’s when I’m having the most fun, making music and improvising through takes of the song and editing together all the best gurgle sounds afterwards’.
More than previously the lyrics on All The Time were an important focus for Jessy, articulating difficult feelings into her outwardly joyful music. ’Anger is a familiar and safe feeling for me. The album became a conversation with myself about why that is. Some songs refer to real and legitimate things to be angry about; Lick in Heaven takes aim at what the culture expects from women. The cynicism I felt towards the people around me kept coming up and All the Time is an exploration into those feelings and a conversation with myself about other possibilities when it comes to my outlook on life.’
As the final elements of the album were being put in place, everything changed overnight. Her European tour was cut short and she flew back to New York quickly, plans for the foreseeable future dissolved. What's more her lease was up on her apartment and she couldn’t find another in New York due to quarantine restrictions, so she packed what she could into her van and drove to San Francisco to be near her family, stopping on the way in increasingly empty motels as she journeyed from coast to coast.
‘Even though All the Time was written in 2019 the themes feel even more relevant now. Like a lot of people, I’m still struggling with the reality that life is hard to predict and it’s even harder not to make the same mistakes over again, trying to control what i’m able to and leave the rest.’
The cover photo of Jessy in her van was taken before these events , but it’s taken on more importance since. ‘Through many changing situations my minivan gives me comfort. It seems like such an American thing to say. I realize it’s symbolic of a much larger existential struggle in my own life but regardless I wanted it to be a part of the album cover. Sitting in my van made me feel so comfortable and it’s rare for me to feel that way.’
All the Time has ended up being a triumph of transcending difficult feelings into something that channels them with energy, wit and style.