Now living in Oakland, CA, Patrick Jeffords grew up in Columbia, SC playing music with Chaz Bundick (known professionally as Chaz Bear) in bands like The Heist & the Accomplice and Toro y Moi, who he still plays bass with. Jeffords’ solo outlet Kid Trails new EP Naming just came out a little over a week ago and was recently featured as “New and Notable” on Bandcamp. We caught up with Jeffords following the release to talk about the EP.
“My songwriting approach was pretty similar to what I’ve done in the past,” said Jeffords. “All of these songs started with me and a guitar.” The transition from “me and a guitar” to the recording studio is where the tracks “really came into their own” says Jeffords. “The bulk of the drums are programmed with a Korg Volca Beats drum machine. I love the way that drum machine sounds, but there are certain rhythmic limitations to it that shaped the overall feel of the songs. ‘Calm Down’ originally had a country swing to it, for instance.” The fourth track on Naming, “People Has it Hard,” is the only track on the EP that Jeffords’ didn’t write. “People Has it Hard” is a song originally by The Coleman Family. “A good friend of mine showed it to me back in 2011” said Jeffords. “I always thought it was a beautiful song. The sentiment is so universal. Paying bills, relationships falling apart, loss of innocence…. it’s not easy being a person ya know? The divorce line always hit me hard too.”
The majority of Kid Trails discography has been self-recorded by. Naming takes a departure from this practice and was recorded at Jeffords’ friend Jonny Esser’s recording studio, Antiquity Records, in Oakland, CA. Esser also served as the main collaborator on the EP. “We would get donuts and coffee in the morning and work on it all day when we had days off” says Jeffords. “I played the bulk of the instruments and he engineered. It was a lot of me going ‘Hey Jonny, was that cool?’ from the other room and him giving me the yay or nay. There was a lot of experimenting/throwing stuff at the wall. Once the songs were in a good space we would invite whoever over to add something specific to it.” Members of Toro y Moi, Washed Out, Butter Man, and Disguised as me are all listed contributors on Naming. Jeffords’ talks about the process of bringing in contributors. “The guitar solo in ‘Calm Down’ was like ‘Matt definitely needs to play a solo in his style over this, that’ll be sick.’ There’s no way I could hit that high harmony in ‘People Has It Hard,’ so it was like ‘Yo Tony can you come sing on this man?’ Same thing with Brijean’s congas. The song was sounding cool but it needed that extra rhythm, and she totally slays.”
Listen to Kid Trails’ EP Naming out now on all major streaming services. If you live in the Bay Area, catch them at their next show on February 17 at Cafe du Nord in San Francisco, CA.