Chicago artist Jabril Power came on my radar when it was announced that he was part of duo Abandoned Mall Arcade. Alongside producer Elias Abid, the two crafted a self-titled project this summer that was one of the finest Chicago EPs of the year. They followed that up with a split single that was equally as strong. Meanwhile, Power began to branch out as a solo artist, releasing a series of unique singles to broaden his horizons and prepare people for his debut solo EP, skin (all lowercase). Today, we're happy to premiere the five song project skin. Along with the EP, which comes fully produced by Quinn Cochran (with a track handled by Elias Abid), we have a Q+A below where we talk about Power's creative process, his journey into literary writing, and what we can expect from him down the road.
How long have you been working on this project?
Since November. Quinn Cochran was working on some stuff and I ended up putting vocals on some of the tracks. The songs didn't have a place immediately but we realized that we had a cohesive message and so those songs became this project, skin.
skin seems much more relaxed than Abandoned Mall Arcade. Do you approach your solo work differently than AMA?
Yeah I do, When I do work as a solo project, I'm a lot more willing to dig into myself and pull out feelings that seem to be the foundation for who I am. Whereas when I'm working in a duo with Elias, in Abandoned Mall Arcade, I go into the project thinking more about what I can do artistically for whoever has hands on the project. Simply, I think more about myself on a solo project and making sure that my feelings are fully exhausted, If I'm working on a AMA track with Elias, Quinn, and myself, I think of how the other artists on the track can express themselves better so that all around we have a better project. If it's a "Jabril Power" thing then I'm just writing some things down in my journal so people can get to know me better. I mean, really it's a matter of compartmentalization, I think.
2015 saw your first release as a vocalist. Are you still finding your voice?
Nah, I think I've found my voice for quite a few years now. I've been recording music for years. In 2015, it just grew more into its adult form. Now it's a matter of continuing to mature that voice, to nurture and cultivate who I am. It's amazing because specifically with this project (and a few other songs I've written for), my voice has found its deadly, sharp edge. I know how to use it now. I know my strengths and weaknesses vocally. I can write a song in two minutes. I don't really even have to write anymore. I've been doing lectures and stuff at the university, it's helped tremendously.
How would you describe skin to a stranger on the street?
Well, I would definitely use a bit of the Socratic Method and ask them questions to see how they feel about music and art and such to set up how I would describe it. Immediately though, I think of skin as a notion of love and related emotions through melodies and peaceful ambient vibes over a few songs. It's chillwave. It's good for listening to alone or with someone special.
What else can we expect from you in coming weeks/months? Any more literature down the road?
New literature for sure. I have a reprint of my philosophy, self help book "WHAT TO DO" coming with more analysis and philosophical depth. I have another book I'm trying to get the university to buy called, "Revelations". And I'm working on a philosophy web series to help steer the youth of this generation in a more intellectual direction.
New Abandoned Mall Arcade is coming very soon for sure. And I'm working on traveling to universities to speak about modern culture and ideology. So a few things,
Any final words/thoughts/shout-outs?
if you feel any of these songs on skin, share them with people you care about.
Thank you Quinn Cochrann who executive produced this project, this guy is literally like a mastermind. Shoutout Elias Abid and Aura for putting heavenly touches on this project. Thank you These Days for the premiere.
Looking forward to meeting and talking with everyone. Let's continue to grow together.