By: Gemma Mastroianni
Boston solo project of Jeffrey Gray Somers, Steep Leans, has returned since his groundbreaking LP, Grips on Heat. Somers found popularity through his haunting grunge sound, being signed to Nathan Willliam's Ghost Rhamp label, and touring throughout the US with Wavves and Twin Peaks.
I discovered Steep Leans while seeing them open for Wavves in 2015. Following this moody performance, I was hooked. The LP has been in my library ever since, but have been craving more ever since. When I got a notification on Spotify that he dropped a new single, "Paralyzed//Youthanized" I couldn't be more stoked. I also wondered, where the hell has he been for the past four years? Through that, lead to my conversation with Somers.
In 2016, Somers began working on a new album in LA with a pop producer who had worked with many notable bands, including Modest Mouse. After about a year, it wasn't working out as anticipated. Following some artistic differences and wanting to stay true to his sound, and Ghost Ramp ending the relationship with this producer, Somers realized he had to start from scratch in the Summer of 2017.
In the Fall of 2017, Somers started recording a new record in a DIY studio at a friends of his, where he recorded his first LP. After about eight months, of making a less hazed out and more angular sound, all worked out.
His debut LP had a very specific dark and grungy sound. I was curious if this record would be a sequel to this, or perhaps sound much different.
"I was trying to be like, just more sharp and angular and have the song writing be a bit more classic. It's hard to say the exact thing that influenced but I'd say it's a history of the stuff I've listened to in the past. Leonard Cohen, some Bob Dylan, Blonde on Blonde- to a degree you wouldn't hear this all on the record but the band Woman- a lot of the guitar stuff is definitely influenced by that band."
He wanted to make a more American style record with pop influence. This scared Somers a bit because it sounds so different than the first, but it still sounds stellar, which you can hear in the two singles released thus far.
Steep Leans has an interesting style to their album artwork, obviously I had to ask about it. All of his album art IS actually photographed by Somers himself. See his first below, followed by the upcoming album:
Steep Leans will be dropping a brand new album, Naukeag, on June 28th. Naukeag is the name of a rehab, in which the lyrics will further explain the significance. .
"Have open ears. I never tried to make a shoe-gaze or surf-rock record, but at the end of the day their really songs I could be playing on an acoustic guitar. I will constantly take new directions in whatever direction I feel like and never get locked into a sound."
Check out the brand new video for "Traphouse" below:
Be sure to listen to the singer-songwriter album when it drops, you don't wanna miss this one. Additionally, keep those ears open for a tour announcement.