The combined talent of flymyspcshp and Tra$h Magnolia has created a supergroup for 2022. Both of these artists have righteous resumes; long lists of collaborations with massive names in diverse genres. Tra$h Magnolia has worked alongside artists such as Nicholas Payton, Jason Lindner, Zach Danziger, Tank & the Bangas, Chali 2na, Chris Bullock (Snarky Puppy), and Adonis Rose.
For his part, flymyspcshp has collaborated with Meshell Ndegeocello, Lauryn Hill, Mulatu Astatke, Angelique Kidjo’s ‘Talking Heads’ Remain In Light’ re-imagined, Matisyahu, Danny Elfman, Donny McCaslin, Yebba, and Donna Grantis (3RDEYEGIRL). He even collaborated with David Bowie on his final album.
Okay so those are some big names. This project, this collaboration between these two artists, this is special. It’s a supergroup.
With sexy R&B grooves and a chewy 80s synth, their new track “so in love” is one hell of a vibe. It’s both groovy and atmospheric. It’s sensual and romantic. Clocking in at just under four minutes, the song takes its time showcasing all the ingredients and letting them get to know each other. It’s an entrancing combination that moves the song along so fluidly that it feels much shorter than it is. They leave you wanting more.
Jason Lindner, the keyboard mastermind behind his alter-ego flymyspcshp, starts things off with a sonic spiral of synthesized call and response. The low end being answered by the high in a hypnotic progression of notes. That intro is captivating enough, but then a soft, yearning melody floats above as Tra$h Magnolia (aka jazz vocalist Sasha Masakowski) lends her absolutely heartbreaking vocals to the mix. This isn’t a song for the jaded or the cynical. This love song feels earnest. /so in love/but it’s not enough/ driftin’ with the tides at sea/ hopin’ that you will find me/ I’m left alone again/.
And here that 808 bass drops hard. And that kick hits with it. And the song becomes exponentially sexier. It’s a late night groove that belongs on a late night playlist. The sultry vibe brings to mind Blood Orange, The Internet, or even Frank Ocean.
The video was shot on an iPhone by Masakowski while was living in northern Thailand in 2021 and it features her close friend’s daughter. Sound waves manifest visually in the luscious landscape as a girl drifts dreamily from scene to scene. Another of Masakowski’s friends, Chotika Watanajung, helped edit. The track along with the video is beautiful. Both are simple with hidden depth and complexity.
That simple repeated synth melody captures the feeling of being stuck in a loop. When you just can’t stop thinking about the one that got away. “So in love” perfectly captures those themes of innocence, love, and the meandering disorientation of heartbreak.
You’ve both been involved in the music world for some time. How did you meet and subsequently decide to collaborate?
Jason: Sasha had just moved to New York. I met her at Rockwood Music Hall one night – I remember she was wearing this leather hat with wings, she looked like the female version of Flash Gordon, and I introduced myself and we became fast friends. We realized we had many favorite artists in common so we were excited to collaborate- we had a few sessions at my home studio and this song was one of the tracks we finished. We still have lots of song ideas floating around that we hope to finish and turn into an EP one day.
Sasha: That was the only winter hat I had at the time.. it was from a costume shop in New Orleans and I moved to NYC in the dead of winter, so I needed something- that was the first time I really experienced snow! But yeah- Jason and I were both inspired by similar sounds, textures, musical experiences. We used to go to raves in warehouses in deep Brooklyn, we drove down to North Carolina every year to go to Moogfest with our friend, amazing vocalist/ producer Monika Heidemann, to hear whatever cutting-edge electronic music was happening and we had this deep love for the new and the unknown in terms of synthesis and sound design. We wanted music to excite and inspire us, we wanted to feel the waves from subwoofers and analog synths literally push into our bodies, make our stomachs spin.. So we would always share music/ tracks/ ideas, and play improvised electronic shows at Nublu with Jason’s project Oscillations.
Also we were both also deeply connected to nature, to philosophy, poetry and art. We were coming out of the “jazz” scenes- respectively, Jason had a huge career and was well respected modern jazz pianist in NYC, and I was coming from a traditional jazz background and upbringing in New Orleans, and we both were just trying to push music forward, innovate, and we had our own very unique sound and styles we had developed, so it seemed natural to collaborate.
Speaking of being in the business for a while, you’ve both got an impressive list of collaborations with other artists. What was one of the more interesting or surprising collaboration experiences you’ve had?
- Recording with David Bowie on what would become known to the world as Blackstar. I spent a total of 3 weeks over the course of 3 months recording at the Magic Shop studio in NYC.. that was one of the most profound experiences for me. David was easily the smartest, funniest and most generous human being I’ve ever had the honor of working with. His level of professionalism, focus and artistry is unsurpassed for me. Because he’s such an icon, I was half expecting him to not even be in the studio, for us to never meet him, but he was there every day- completely present and in-the-moment. He was totally hands-on during the entire process, not only as a performer but as a producer. He gave 100% freedom to us (myself, Donny McCaslin, Tim Lefebvre, Mark Guilliana, Ben Monder) to be ourselves, he wanted to showcase us artists within the songs he had written, and he made us feel completely comfortable and confident in order to capture our best performance.
- Playing live electronics for a pillow fight tournament. A few years ago, during the Bowie Is exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, I was asked to live-score to the Little Cinema company’s immersive re-imagining of the Nicolas Roeg film, ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth.’ Françoise Voranger – a world-class acrobat – and Nikki Ortiz – a yogic contortionist – were among the performers that day, and we were so drawn to each other artistically that we’ve become a part of each others’ worlds ever since, collaborating often. I asked Nikki to star in a music video for my band Now Vs Now – “Silkworm Society” Françoise founded an experimental circus company called Hybrid Movement and they create avant garde multi-media/ multi-disciplinary shows, several of which I helped create music for. But the most unusual (which is kind of my favorite because it’s so unusual) is called “Sleep Some More – Pill Ow Be Killed” which is a participatory blind-folded pillow fight tournament with edgy circus sideshow acts. I devilishly enjoyed playing frenetic speed-rave music on drum machines and synths to amp up the fights.
- A duo electronic collaboration with the bassist from Blackstar, Tim Lefebvre, called “sedatø.” Tim and I started playing together in Mark Guiliana’s Beat Music project, and then that trio became Donny Mccaslin’s rhythm section, which later got picked up by David Bowie as the band on Blackstar. So we have been playing together for many years, in various settings/ configurations. Tim and I always connected on our deep interest in sound design. We both use a lot of pedals and effects, so we wanted to try and develop a duo project that explored this rich sonic landscape we were each creating. We spent a few days improvising in the studio, and, together with producer Abe Seiferth, we sculpted the studio jams into a 6-track EP that was just released a few months ago.
Sasha: Um.. One time I wrote a jingle for a well known lawyer in town and recorded a commercial where I sang this jingle with my band and it got aired all over Louisiana television, all the time, and then my picture was on the side of a city bus for months (as a big advertisement for this personal injury attorney) and one night I went to a strip club on Bourbon Street with some friends and the bouncer recognized me from the commercial/ bus and gave me a free year-long VIP membership to the club. Meaning I could get all my friends into the strip club for free AND get super cheap/ discounted drinks for an..entire..year. I was so cool. We all spent so much time in the strip club that year..
But aside from that, my most recent and very dope collaboration was producing an album for renowned Thai singer, Rasmee. I was scheduled to open for her at this festival in Thailand and because of covid restrictions her band couldn’t make the gig, so I offered to try and learn her music and back her up solo, programming beats and using my loop-station and synth rig to arrange these songs for an electronic setting. Rasmee loved the vibe, the audience was really into it, and she asked me to produce an album for her. Thailand was just going into lockdown and since I had zero desire to go back to the US where absolutely nothing was happening because it was the height of the pandemic, I decided to stay in Thailand and write/ record/ produce a 10-track album for Rasmee, called Thong-Lor Cowboy. I learned so much during the process- about the history of Isan music and Thai culture, about the art of ghost-writing and producing for another singer, the challenges of trying to capture the musical essence of a particular song when the lyrics are in a foreign language and google translate takes Thai poetry and literally turns it into a messy, laughable pile of word-noodles. But, challenges aside, one of our songs recently hit #1 on the Thai pop music charts, and the album was nominated “Album of the Year” by a major Thai music awards foundation, so I’m very proud of that collaboration and can’t wait to do the next album with her!
“So in love” has such, innocent and earnest lyrics combined with this really sensual groove. What’s the interplay there?
Jason: We didn’t think about it, it just came naturally. I wrote the opening synth line, which has a bassline sort of already in it so I doubled the line in a lower octave, then Sasha wrote the vocal melody and lyrics. The beat is programmed on a drum machine and to me has the flavor of some of those rhythm machines in tracks from the 70s.
Sasha: I started humming the chorus melody as soon as I heard that opening synth line. It had this haunting, mysterious feeling to it and this sort of rocking- forward movement with the 3-bar loop- reminded me of being on a boat or being submerged in water, and the idea came to me to write about the feeling of your first heartbreak- not knowing how to process your emotions and feeling like you are lost at sea. It has this sweetness and purity to it, as well as this idea that the depth of human emotion is as deep as the ocean (I didn’t mean for that to rhyme by the way. Maybe that’ll be the lyric to our remix).
Anyway we were finishing this track around the same time I was in Thailand working on the album with Rasmee. I had this beautiful apartment in a small village on the outskirts of Chiang Mai, and my apartment was next door to this amazing coffee shop, where I met little Marta (nong Marta); a vibrant, sassy, super smart and witty 14 yr old who was the barista during the daytime (her parents own the coffee shop) and at night she would practice violin and classical piano. She was a great sight-reader and spoke perfect English and had a wealth of knowledge about music and food and art. I asked if she wanted to star in my music video and she agreed- the day we filmed was the first time she had ever worn a dress and lipstick, and at first she was shy and a bit nervous but after a few minutes her poised confidence and natural beauty took over and she totally embraced the song and the vibe, capturing the essence of the track perfectly. I shot everything on two iPhones and edited the scenes together, my friend Chotika Watanajung added the subtle animations to bring it to life.
Are there future plans for this collaboration that we can look forward to?
Jason: We have some more tracks up our sleeve that we’re working on finishing and some ideas for some new material and projects so stay tuned! short answer: yes!
Sasha: Yea and I also plan on having Jason use his superpowers as a freak genius producer to work on a few of my Tra$h Magnolia tracks for an upcoming album. So lots more music to be made in the future. There’s also plenty of cool tracks we’ve collaborated on in the past, a few of my favorites are:
- The Scarecrow (Now vs Now feat. Sasha Masakowski)
- Jockamo/ Candy (Sasha Masakowski feat. Jason Lindner)
- Kamome’s Dream (by flymyspcshp, human vocals by Sasha Masakowski)
- Hoofdeer (Tra$h Magnolia, synth sounds by Jason Lindner)