“Mac and I met in 2013 when our label Captured Tracks (we were both on the label then) thought it would be a good idea that we meet and do a song. We met and recorded Beatles songs. The tape machine we were working with broke and the songs were never recovered. After that, we never collaborated in any serious way. When I reached out to Mac about the new project I was doing, he was down since the beginning. I happened to be going to LA so we did it at his studio. Mac provided a really safe place to bounce ideas off of each other. We tried a lot of new things and we ended up with this track so special. The song put an end to that awaited collaboration that was the initial impulse behind us meeting and forming a friendship that stood in time.”
Much like preceding single/video “Presentation (with Nick Hakim and Benamin)”, “Real” evokes nostalgia for warm days. In the video (directed by Matthew Volz), Wauters and DeMarco ride through sunny LA on bicycles, motorcycles, and horseback, DeMarco’s signature laid-back guitar underscoring Wauters’ introspective spoken word vocals.
The interplay between genre-hopping eclecticism and earnest, plain-spoken observation makes Real Life Situations come alive. It’s something Wauters is known for, and for all its collaboration, this album could only have been made by him. Mining older songs, phone notes, new material, and snippets from TV and YouTube, he’s crafted an aural document of the year through his eyes. Jubilant choruses and spoken word poetry bleed into city noises and overheard conversations. Real freedom, the album suggests, comes not from gaining control, but from accepting its artifice.
Until recently, Wauters had viewed his solo project as just that – a singular expression of his artistic vision. A trip through Latin America while recording his last album, however, laid the groundwork for a different approach. Inviting local musicians to contribute to the songs he was working on produced a collection unlike any of his previous work, infused with the musical traditions of each country he’d visited. As a result, 2018’s La Onda De Juan Pablo and its follow-up, Introducing Juan Pablo, were Wauters’ most expansive and sonically diverse records to date, tracing both his Uruguayan roots and his travellers’ spirit. On Real Life Situations, he’s channeled this collaborative spirit, lending his chameleonic songwriting to experiments in hip-hop, lo-fi R&B, and deft indie folk.
Real Life Situations will be released digitally on April 30 and physically on May 14. Pre-order/save here.