The title of Remy Zero’s new album, The Golden Hum, could also be interpreted as their state of mind these days. Their 11 song Elektra debut mines both fragile and transcendent territory, breaking provocative new ground that truly places the fivesome in a category of their own. The band is quick to point out that such unique status can be a blessing and a curse. “Whenever I start to conceptualize our place in the scheme of things, I realize it’s almost futile,” says charismatic Cinjun Tate. “The minute you have to stop and look back at the structure of a band – or of anything – it creates this distance. You’re no longer in the moment. And we write and record our music to keep that flow, to retain what happens at that moment.”
The group credits producer Jack Joseph Puig (No Doubt, Tricky, Green Day) with creating the right atmosphere during the sessions. “He’s passionate about each aspect of the project,” says Gregory Slay. “He tries to get the essence of whatever it is that’s working. He doesn’t just adhere to one formula. He wanted to find the most magical moments of each person in the band.” Gregory cites songs like “Glorious #1” and “Smile” as milestones for Remy Zero. “In a way, ‘Glorious’ feels like reckless abandon to me,” he says. “And ‘Smile’ was probably the first time I ever heard the band in the studio the way I hear them when we play in front of people. We went on to capture that feeling with some of the other songs, too.”
The extrasensory camaraderie of Remy Zero is evident throughout The Golden Hum. The members have known each other since their boyhood days, a bond that Cinjun says goes a long way in the disposable world of the music business. “In some ways music is our secondary focus. It’s just something that happens between friends. This whole thing is really a sociological experiment. I think we’d be together whether we were making music or doing something entirely different.”
The roots of such a creative kinship can be traced to Birmingham, Alabama, but the boys are quick to cite layovers in Nashville, New Orleans, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, among other stops along the way, as crucial steppingstones to their alliance. Whatever their nomadic urges, their first album, 1996’s self-titled debut, definitely hinted at the mesmerizing songwriting that was to come. Their willingness to scrap conventional influences and hone in on their own musical strengths and eccentricities led to what many critics hailed as one of 1998’s breakthrough albums, the mercurial Villa Elaine.
Now relying – as always – on their innate ability to deliver textured, moody rock, haltingly beautiful one minute, aggressively surging the next, Remy Zero finds itself back in form on The Golden Hum.