“The best of what humans and machines can bring out in each other” is how NPR Music described Doe Paoro’s single “The Wind,” a meditation on urban isolation in the face of Hurricane Sandy.
The song, which was produced by Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon with beats by Chicago duo Supreme Cuts, sets the tone for the upcoming release of Paoro’s Anti- debut album, After, out on September 25.
The album’s first single is the intoxicatingly downtempo, R&B-influenced “Growth/Decay,” which Paoro co-wrote with Sterling Fox (who has previously worked with Lana Del Rey, among others). The groove-laced, gospel-inspired track ruminates on the notion that change fuels all life, with the chorus putting out the call to “cycle to the light or fade away.”
Listen to “Growth/Decay” on Nylon: http://www.nylon.com/articles/doe-paoro
For After, Paoro worked with producers Sean Carey (drummer / supporting vocalist for Bon Iver) and BJ Burton (The Tallest Man on Earth, Sylvan Esso, and others) to even further deepen her musical repertoire, creating a mesmerizing hybrid of R&B, synthpop, and indie-leaning electro rooted in an earthy minimalism, drawing from influences ranging from Carole King to Portishead, Aretha Franklin and beyond. The album was recorded at April Base, a Wisconsin ranch house that Vernon had converted into a studio. “I’m used to just working with a piano,” says Paoro, “but with this album, we built an entire world with the sonics alone.”
Vast yet intimate, hypnotic yet electrifying, After plays with time, space, and mood to provide an ever-changing backdrop for Paoro’s exploration of the album’s often painful subject matter. “Many of the songs come from a feeling of loss, and the period of reflection that unfolds after you’ve realized something’s ended,” says Paoro, who co-wrote After with a number of songwriters that included—in addition to Fox—Peter Morén (Peter Bjorn and John), Max Hershenow (MS MR), and Adam Rhodes. “There’s a lot of reckoning with regret, but at the same time, there’s a feeling of surrender.”
With the release of After, Paoro’s central ambition is to share a new kind of music that takes an unconventional approach to the universal themes of love and loss. “There’s an assumption that pop music needs to be dumbed down,” she explains. “But I think pop can be surprising; I think it can make you uncomfortable. It can encourage you to think about something you hadn’t considered before, and maybe awaken a part of yourself that you hadn’t been giving attention to.” She hopes the effect of that awakening is ultimately both inspiring and healing: “Making music helps me move through my own experiences and come out with a deeper understanding of them. I believe this album can do that for other people, too.”