Henry Jamison on ‘The Wilds’ Within
Rising folk artist Henry Jamison had one of the year’s most remarkable and endearing records, his debut full-length, The Wilds. TIDAL had the opportunity to speak to the Vermont singer about double meaning of the album’s title, relationships and the moment of discovery.
How long have the songs on your debut record, The Wilds, been with you? Did you set out to make this specific record or were you organically unifying a collection of disparate songs?
Somewhere in between. A lot of them were written over the period of two years and after a good amount of time that I sat with the music, it started to reveal itself as being bonded by something, some sort of theme. It was a reflection of time in the past and combining that with music I pulled from my previously written material really provided this crystallizing moment.
A lot of the music has a through line sonically and there is an ever-present “her” referenced throughout the record? Is there a story/context on who that person is, if it is any one person?
It’s definitely a real person, but, in some instances, I’m projecting onto someone. Some of it comes from experiences with two girlfriends and some symbolism of things I learned from those relationships.
Was there anything specific you were trying to access from your experience in those relationships? I hear a lot of reverence and compassion in the references to lovers on the record.
There was definitely this instinct driven by the fact I am currently in a relationship. It’s not sugar-coated or anything, but I was trying to create that would be nice for her to hear. It’s certainly focused on being invested in the present moment. There’s a song on the album called “Through a Glass” that ends in some bitterness, but in retrospect, it’s more bitterness than I could show now.
Did the forestry of Vermont and the natural landscapes of your home state impact the sound of the record? Was that being captured in the music?
Potentially less so than has been made of it. It’s hard for me to say. I’m in Vermont so often, that it inevitably happens. I’d say it exists there in the music, but I am really looking more about the wilds within and accessing that sort of feeling to create.
What were you looking for within?
Well, a lot of the creation process for me is fighting to unravel and discover this moment of catharsis. In a way, I was aiming to not do that, but I think the idea of multiplicity and contradictions are important to consider and can really guide you in searching. It doesn’t come from any sort of exertion, it’s this internal, passive journey that resembles, to me, a walk through a mental landscape.
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