Interview with Jade Lilitri | By Renaldo Matadeen | Photo by Joe Calixto
Jade Lilitri has had quite an interesting ride fronting oso oso. Many considered the project to be a solo endeavor as it evolved following the hiatus of his band State Lines, but as 2017’s the yunahon mixtape reminded fans, oso oso are a full-blown band of indie punk darlings who are intent on rocking out and wearing their Long Beach, New York, hearts on their sleeves.
Two years later, Lilitri’s back at it with basking in the glow, released Aug. 16 via Triple Crown Records. Though some people might find the new release tame, Lilitri is perfectly clear that it’s “chill” and dialing it down didn’t stop the band from making a punchy, charmingly saccharine alternative rock record.
The new album’s really chill, slower, and melodramatic. Any reason why basking in the glow is not as sped-up or punk as your older material?
It wasn’t an intentional thing, but I wouldn’t mind suggesting that perhaps it has to do with me getting older and more chilled out and melodramatic as a person! [Laughs]
How would you best describe these songs? Heavy alternative vibe with a dash of ’90s rock?
I think you nailed it on the head with “alternative.” I think that’s very fitting, and there is probably a lot of subconscious ’90s influence in the songs!
Factoring in this “chill” vibe, what else would you say changed from your last record to this new one in terms of writing and recording?
With this record, there simply was just way less time to sit back and digest the songs and let them soak or marinate and then make adjustments. With yunahon [mixtape], that was written over, like, a year period and recorded over a two- to three-month period. basking in the glow was written in about a month and recorded in 11 days. I don’t think either process is better than the other, but I definitely do think they’re responsible for each album being the way that they are, and I’m glad to have experienced both processes as a songwriter. Don’t know what the next recording process will be like yet, and that’s even [more] exciting to think about.
“the view” is hands down one of the best songs you’ve done. Could you elaborate on what’s it about?
Thank you! It’s possibly my favorite on the album. That song is about somebody finding this apathetic mindset very attractive to delve into and explore, whether it be less stressful or an easy guarantee to experience less emotional pain and, then, kind of weighing what it is to bypass that for glimpses and moments of euphoria and the risk and reward that comes with that. It’s very much so a song about adjusting to a life that is actually dealing with engaging your emotions and not being a numb, closed-off, apathetic alien.
With that in mind, basking in the glow is a pretty upbeat and optimistic name for the record? What’s the meaning behind this album title and what would you say are the main themes?
I like the album title because, to me, while it does come off very optimistic, there is something about “basking in the glow” that gives a very “ignorance is bliss” feeling to it. When you’re basking in the glow, it can be very blinding, and you can’t see the risks or dangers that can come with that. I think that’s where the conflict lies in the record. Where do you draw your lines in the pursuit of your happiness and at what cost?
You’re definitely a versatile indie punk act and “one sick plan” is another nifty acoustic gem. How does it feel transitioning and making these slow-burners?
Thanks! Hope we can keep up that reputation and continue making all kinds of songs, because that’s pretty cool to hear. It’s very intentional but unconscious. I think I was listening to a lot of the Mountain Goats one week when I made that song, and I was just like, “I want to make an acoustic song that’s a little upbeat.” I don’t really try to think of what the last song I made sounded like or what the next song I’m gonna make will sound like; it’s really just a one-song-at-a-time approach, so it never feels like a wild transition or anything like that.
Lastly, what message would you send fans as a hook to get them to buy basking in the glow?
I would say, “Look, oso oso has a new record! I don’t know, try it out. [Laughs] You might like it, and if you do, then it was probably worth the $12 to $20 you spent on it—and if you don’t, I will let you kick my ass!”