Los Angeles might be under a COVID-19 stay-at-home order, but the fair city’s modern folk-rock trio Distant Cousins remains vigilant in ensuring good music flows through its county’s canyons on their second album Here & Now, due out June 26th on Jullian Records (pre-order here).
In fact, for the title track to the follow-up to their lauded 2018 debut Next of Kin, Dov Rosenblatt (formerly of the Jewish rock group Blue Fringe), Duvid Swirsky (who also serves as the voice of “Eddie” on the ABC series A Million Little Things) and New Jersey native Ami Kozak cut the entire song remotely and in collaboration with Nashville-based singer-songwriter Lindsey Ray.
“The three of us recorded our own parts separately during quarantine in our home studios in LA and then we sent the song to Lindsey in Nashville to add on her harmonies,” explains Rosenblatt. “We wanted the video to reflect the reality we’re living in so we kept it simple and each filmed ourselves, Zoom-style, and that’s how it all came together!”
What’s even cooler is that Distant Cousins utilized the film footage of their Zoom recording session and transformed it into the song’s video, available now on YouTube. For Kozak, the clip truly showcases the inner workings of the group’s creative process in collaboration with others.
“Most of our songs have been written by the three of us but we do collaborate with other artists as well, and it’s always so refreshing to get that new perspective and creative input when writing,” he tells American Songwriter. “We had been fans of Lindsey Ray for years and arranged to have a session with her when she was in LA back in February. Within minutes of sitting down together, ‘Here and Now’ was born. Lindsey sat at the piano and played one line of the chorus and we were instantly hooked – after that, the song basically wrote itself. The song is about appreciating the moments you have right in front of you, because life is fragile and unpredictable. What’s truly remarkable and a bit eerie was that a month after our initial writing session, the whole world froze in the wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic. So we honestly feel like the message of this song could not be more pertinent to the times we’re all living through.”
For the band, the hope for “Here & Now” is that listeners will allow themselves to sit back and take in the song’s message of compassion and patience.
“We hope this song can do what music does best – help people escape for a few minutes and remind them how truly connected we all are,” the band wrote in a collective statement to American Songwriter. “The song is an expression of empathy at its core. We all have struggles and challenges, and need to strive to not take anything for granted. So we hope for this song, as with all our songs, that it reaches people and connects them to us, and us to them. And that one day, when normal life resumes, we can play it for audiences around the world, face to face. For the time being, all we have is here and now.”