Written After Learning His Masters Were Lost in the UMG Fire
Co-Written with Jenny Owen Youngs and Ethan Gruska
“My new single is ‘Red Light,’ which I wrote with Jenny Owen Youngs and Ethan Gruska, and produced with Ethan,” explains Dan Wilson. “We wrote it when I had just learned that all of the master recordings of my two bands Semisonic and Trip Shakespeare had burned in the secret Universal fire. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I was angry and sad, haunted by the image of police helicopters floating above the archives as they burned in the night. A red light, shining up from the city. Ethan’s treatment of the piano and the ambient space he created around it makes it sound like it’s crackling and curling in the red light of a fire at night. And of course the ‘recording’ light on a tape machine is red. On top of all of this, I was thinking about people in my family who have lost their memory. I think ‘Red Light’ is also about them – are we all just archives of our own lives? What do we bring to the people we encounter? Would I be me if I forgot everything I had experienced? If my master tapes are gone, am I still here?”
Following the release of his critically-acclaimed solo album Re-Covered, where he revisited songs he wrote with other artists including Adele, Chris Stapleton and others, Wilson opted to release a new single each month in lieu of a new solo album. Listen to all of his recent singles via a YouTube playlist.
As a highly sought after songwriter and producer, Wilson continues to work with a stylistically diverse array of collaborators. Recently, he co-wrote three songs on Phantogram’s new album Ceremony (“Gaunt Kids,” “Glowing,” “Love Me Now”) and has recently collaborated with The Monsters and the Strangerz, Yoshi Flower (“More”), Leon Bridges, Rhye, Mondo Cozmo, James Bay and more.