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Armon Jay – Photo courtesy of Armon Jay
Armon Jay, the lead guitarist and backing vocalist in renowned alt-/indie rock band Dashboard Confessional is also been crafting captivating albums as a solo artist for a number of years.
This third solo album, The Dark Side of Happiness, will arrive on September 18th and offers an intimate glimpse into Jay’s own inner conflicts.
It’s a quiet record of ruminations and confessionals, but one with shifting dynamics and an emotional rawness. Jay turned his conflicted feeling, full of anxiety, frustration, neuroses, self-doubt, and compulsive behavior, into art, with yet another step on his musical journey.
Jay explains, ““Depression can be hard to articulate. It’s not something that can be summed up easily. But, I believe life is worth living. I allowed myself to go to some dark places on the record, with the purpose of trying to work through them as a temporary residency.”
For The Dark Side of Happiness, Jay took matters into his own hands, writing, recording, arranging, engineering, and producing every song, and playing virtually every instrument at his home studio in Franklin, TN.
Jay worked with mixer Zach Hanson from Justin Vernon’s April Base studio outside of Eau Claire, WI, where Bon Iver albums are made. Hanson proved to play a major role in how it turned out after Jay recorded “in the box,” using his UAD interface and plugins.
“I credit Zach with bringing that analog warmth to the album,” says Armon, adding kudos for Jeremy Larson, who recorded and arranged the strings for three tracks (“Lighthouse,” “Break the Habit,” and the title song).
The last two years have been the most successful yet for Armon Jay’s ascendant musical career. As a member of Chris Carrabba’s Dashboard Confessional, he toured and recorded with the band on its first studio album in nine years.
Songs from his first two solo albums earned a number of song placements, including “Edge of the Dark” (from 2013’s Everything’s Different, Nothing’s Changed), which garnered syncs in Criminal Minds, So You Think You Can Dance, and Salvation, while “Better Off Without” (from 2015’s Del Rio) ended up in 13 Reasons Why, Nashville, Heartbeat, and Set It Up, among others.
Big Takeover is deeply pleased to host the premiere of the music video for gently compelling and emotionally/lyrically vulnerable album opener “Lighthouse.”
The atmospheric clip was shot and edited by Guadalupe Bustos and focuses on Jay walking along a city sidewalk at night. Jay is half-cast in nocturnal shadows, but also half-illuminated by the streetlamps and storefront lights, which emit a glowing aura.
This chiaroscuro play of shadows and light that are constantly morphing as Jay walks by deftly captures the delicate balance between the hope and despair found in Jay’s lyrics:
I’ll stay whole for you
I’ll try not to fall apart
Even on the days I drift out into the dark
Listen to me
Don’t let your spirit burn out
Stay lit for me
You are a lighthouse
The clips visuals demonstrate the powerful struggle of searching for light when someone is lost in their own dark headspace.
Jay reveals, “On the surface, you would probably think this song is about leaving someone you love, asking them to be your guide while away. But for me, there is a deeper meaning. I can physically be around the one’s I love and yet my mind and true self is somewhere else in a dark place. And that’s when I truly need their light to guide me back.”
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