By now Boston has been spoiled by the vocal talents of Jen Johnson. First with the shoegazing Static Of The Gods and more recently with the dramatic rock of Velah, Johnson’s angelic voice has both lovingly danced with and provided the necessary nemesis against her previous bands’ highly-audible sonic crush. But here in new project Pale Hands — with fellow Velah accomplice and husband Mike Latulippe — Johnson’s voice provides the bittersweet emotion against an electronic, at-times skittish backdrop.
The result of that collaboration is “Fanatic,” which we are honored to premiere today on Vanyaland.
“I started dreaming this up last summer when I started writing these songs that just weren’t Velah material,” Johnson says. “The songwriting was fast and furious though; I wrote like 10 songs in about two months. Then I handed them over to Mike and he took them to a whole new place — it was amazing and exciting. We have different and complimentary skill sets, and even though we’ve played music together for a long time, we’ve never done a project with just the two of us.
Working as Pale Hands has given Johnson a new appreciation of her voice. She is likely the last to join the party.
“Most of my close friends know that I hate hearing my own voice, so it’s been cool that in the process of writing these songs, I’ve been able to sort of own and appreciate what is unique and interesting about my voice,” she adds, then laughs. “Not in a diva way though!”
Velah is currently working on a full-length, so Johnson says all is well with her rock band. Pale Hands, however, gives her an excuse to branch out into new musical territory while keeping a familiar blueprint. An EP is expected next month.
“The aesthetic for EP came together really quickly and the blueprint of what we’re doing feels strong and clear,” Johnson says. “We use DSI Mopho x4 for all the synth sounds and made a lot of samples, but when it comes down to it, these are our take on pop songs. Everyone likes a good pop song.”