For his new album, “All Lit Up,” J. Alan Schneider decided to bring some friends into the recording process, a departure from his 2016 debut EP, “Lo & Behold.”
“I’ve played in bands and recording with bands, usually there’s a lot of collaboration ahead of the writing of the record where you’re in rehearsal,” says Schneider, of Astoria, Queens. “This time it was sort of a strange experience. I hadn’t written parts for them. In some cases I didn’t even sit in the same room with them. So I think I left the songs open enough so there was room to fill in. I had to know when to stop and say, ‘Hey buddy, what do you think of this?'”
The new album, out Friday, includes the song “Border Town,” which premieres below. The song includes additional vocals by Matt Cronin.
“I had the chorus sticking around for a while in various points in its life,” he says of “Border Town.” “I did demos of that song with three different verses that aren’t in the [recorded version of] song. Originally, it was just guitar and me, but like I said I wanted to get involved with some other people in this record.”
Thinking the song was missing something, he sent it to Cronin, his longtime friend, former bandmate and college roommate. “He added strings and a bunch of other instruments and piano and even a different vocal part with a different verse,” says Schneider, who adds Cronin’s style “leans a bit more electronic-y,” a la James Blake. Cronin’s own debut album will be out in 2020, Schneider says.
Schneider says he was partially inspired by Postal Service, the Ben Gibbard project that collaborates by sending songs back and forth with each other.
The New England native will play an album-release show on Wednesday, Dec. 4 at Rockwood Stage 3 on the Lower East Side. His set will start at 7 p.m. He’s also looking to schedule a release show in Boston and might release a covers album, an extension of the cover videos — ranging from songs by Pinegrove to Selena Gomez – he’s been posting on his YouTube channel.