Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Bubblegum”?
Bubblegum is a sultry jam, dripping in romance and unrequited love. It’s a song I’ve had for a little while, and would often turn to as a cathartic exercise — any time I needed a relief from the complications of romance I’d grab my Martin and wail on this one. It was therapy for me. It’s emotive and raw, with a subtle sweetness carried through the layered guitars and vocal harmony. It’s a brooding conversation between lust and loss.
Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?
Not one event, countless. Putting oneself out there following a relationship’s end is full of thrill and frustration, particularly poignant in a city like Los Angeles. Beauty and allure reign supreme. I sought to define that intangible, ooey-gooey essence of femininity that I repeatedly have found myself caught in. Women I’ve known for years had become entirely different animals. These fleeting attractions had a fading sweetness. I felt chewed up and spit out.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
Yes! We’ll be releasing the visual for Bubblegum very soon. It’s a piece I’m beyond proud of that truly brings the song to life. It’s a 4 minute 18 second single shot — my dear friend Elliot Wolf at Howl Projects executed my vision flawlessly. I can’t wait for it to be out in the world.
The single comes off your new album Pheromone – what’s the story behind the title?
The project confronts a 360 degree view of honeymoon and heartbreak. It gives an intimate, raw look at the most meaningful relationship I’ve had in my life thus far. Pheromones are natural chemicals we release as humans that form the basis of attraction. It’s all their fault.
How was the recording and writing process?
All of the recording was done at East West studios in Los Angeles, with my friend and champion Chaz Sexton manning the board. It was a dream to create in such a historic space frequented by idols of mine (Frank Sinatra, the Beach Boys, Michael Jackson to name a few). I brought in a handful of incredible players that I’ve gigged with for other artists in the past. It was a dream team that took my source material and elevated it to new heights. I’d live in Studio 2 if I could.
What role does LA play in your music?
LA has always been the throughline. It’s where I’ve come to live and grow as both a songwriter and a young man. What’s interesting though is how my LA background speaks to my time growing up in Meridian, Mississippi. Two drastically different worlds in conversation, molding who I am today. Wherever possible, I try and incorporate the sweet tea southern soul and mucky blues into my sound and guitar playing. The likes of Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson are huge influences. I’ve always taken this strange dichotomy of backgrounds for granted, but it’s something I’ve become more and more thankful of as I’ve aged.
What aspect of love and heartbreak did you get to explore on this record?
I had one of those tricky relationships that seemed to linger on for too long. I felt the joy of new lovers bliss, the bitterness of infidelity, the attempts to rekindle the spark, the moving on and getting over. Each song on the record speaks to one of these phases — it’s a full circle, reflective project.
Any plans to hit the road?
Absolutely, that’s definitely on the horizon. I’m so eager to play these songs live and breathe a whole new life into the project. I’m in the process of putting my live band together now — will definitely keep you in the loop as dates get locked.
What else is happening next in Austin Ward’s world?
I’m gearing up to release the music video for Bubblegum, and then a second music video accompanying the next single, both of which I’m really excited to share. I’m also focused on getting my live band together and in motion, with the hope of playing a number of local LA shows throughout the summer. And of course, I’m already hard at work writing music beyond the scope of Pheromone, exploring new sounds, ideas, and collaborations. Lots of exciting things to come.