When it comes to partying, Teen Daze likes to start early. After spending a decade moving from the boundary waters of the blogosphere, to setting a course across a squall of ever-cresting waves, Teen Daze, real name Jamison Isaak, knows a little something about subverting expectations. With a back catalog sporting hallmarks of bedroom pop, subtle lofi dance bubblers, and melodic ambient compositions rooted in the majesty of nature, a wide breadth of dexterity exists in Isaak’s work. Now, residing on the outskirts of Vancouver, BC, Teen Daze is thinking about the club.
But the irony of making music for loud, crowded spaces while living in relative isolation is not lost on Isaak. The newly-minted Interior Club Radio airing on Wednesdays at 2pm PST on Blast Radio was conceived with a dual purpose: to connect listeners yearning for the communal experience of live music, and as a launchpad for Isaak’s recently announced dance-centric new album, Interior, set to be released on December 10th. With eyes and ears set on grade-A sound systems and woofers, Isaak turned to Joel Ford to help instill some of their trademark glamour and sheen for the upcoming release.
Known for their production work at labels like Software, Mexican Summer, and their own co-run imprint Driftless Records, as well as performing as Airbird, a member of Young Ejecta, and in collaborations with Oneohtrix Point Never’s Daniel Lopatin as Ford & Lopatin, formerly Games, Ford is a master at pushing dance floor exuberance just shy of its breaking point. To celebrate the culmination of their efforts on Interior, Teen Daze invited Ford on the show to discuss their creative trajectories, philosophies on treading into artist/producer relationships, and how they approach making music to dance to.
“For me it’s just about making things more kick drum forward, and that just sets an expectation for a certain type of sound, and then moving on from there,” Ford mused when asked how they walk the knife’s edge of mixing pop/dance hybrids. With records by artists like Alex Cameron, Autre Ne Veut, and How To Dress Well in their production discography, Ford’s reputation precedes him. As the pair kept up an engaging back and forth of Q & A’s slotted alongside tracks that informed the record, listeners were left immersed in the process and art objects that brought them Teen Daze’s new single.
But Interior Club Radio wasn’t the only place listeners could catch some of last week’s Teen Daze love. With “Swimming” receiving generous praise from the Lawbreakers over at Roy Molloy’s Illegal Radio Drive Time Power Hour, it was only fitting for Teen Daze to get on the other side of the interview.
“They say don’t talk to strangers, but freak me if I haven’t made some really lovely online friends,” Molloy quipped before being joined live over the phone by Teen Daze. But Molloy and Isaak are hardly strangers in the traditional sense: both are frequent Blast Radio broadcasters, and with the added connection of Joel Ford as a mutual friend and collaborator, the pretext was organic.The two chopped it up over working and quitting bullshit jobs while getting their music careers off the ground, the undeniable splendor of Hootie & the Blowfish’s 1994 juggernaut Cracked Rear View, and what the ideal setting is to listen to your favorite songs.
“I tried to sort of chart the evolution of Teen Daze a little bit the other night, just listening through your records. You’ve got some prolific output there. Lots of EPs, I bloody love that,” Molloy said, before highlighting the accelerated pace of Isaak’s release schedule that resulted from the birth of his son and the onset of the pandemic. Despite starting work on Interior back in 2019, the string of releases that came in between, such as 2020’s Reality Refresh series, reflected a life realigned around parenthood and domestic responsibilities.
“All of those [releases] are definitely more influenced by homelife with a kid, and just being home because of the pandemic. But this entire time I had this dance record that was just sitting on my harddrive, that I was picking away at, sending tracks back and forth to Joel. We put the finishing touches on that in April/May of this year. And here we are.” Isaak’s recounting of this period, though rooted in the specifics of their life, was disarmingly relatable. With much of the past two years consumed with internality and cloistered isolation, the desire to focus inwardly on home and family reverberated globally. But, with his son now a fully mobile toddler, and the world slowly, if cautiously, returning to old routines, the timing of Interior’s release parallels these dual causes for celebration.
With more singles on the horizon and bi-coastal launch parties on the books, it’s fitting to view this great thaw as a reason to dive back into things, like dancing, that bring us joy. Check out Teen Daze’s new single “Swimming,” and pre-order Interior, available on December 10th.
Follow Teen Daze and tune in to Interior Club Radio, Wednesdays @ 2pm PST.
Follow Roy Molloy and tune in to The Illegal Radio Drive Time Power Hour, Mon-Thurs @ 11am EST. Read more about Roy’s show here.