Dessa has announced her new singles series titled IDES, which will see the performer releasing a new single on the 15th of every month. The project is led by the new single “Rome,” which features samples from New York City bucket drummers that Dessa had found in the subway.
“Before the pandemic hit New York, I ran across an incredible pair of bucket drummers in the subway – syncopated, pocket players, I was waiting for the L at Union Square, and found myself wanting to miss the train,” Dessa said in a press statement. “I wanted to just stay and listen, start writing lyrics. During one of their breaks, I asked if they busked at that stop often. It was their usual spot, they said, and they played for hours at a time. I went home, found a work-for-hire template online, printed it off, put some cash in my pocket, and went back to Union Square. I asked if I could record their stuff, to be sampled in a song if I paid them upfront. I got a yes, dropped the bills in the bucket, and captured audio on my iPhone.”
The song was produced by Doomtree collaborator Lazerbeak, who has also produced for Mac Lethal and Lizzo. Along with the single, Dessa shared the music video for “Rome,” which had been directed by Erin Busko. The video incorporates live concert footage of Dessa performing as well as collected images. Keegan Burkhard provided the concert footage while Matthew Levine collected the additional video, which shows Dessa singing in a hallway and images of the Black Lives Matter protests from this past summer.
“I picked some favorite parts, and turned the recording over to the composer and producer Andy Thompson, who built a skeletal arrangement,” Dessa said in a press statement “He shared that file with me and Lazerbeak, a longtime collaborator in Doomtree, and we slowly wrestled the song into existence. The lyrics are about the way we live in modern cities—a kind of life that is heavily influenced by global powers who stand to profit by stoking our basest vanities and appetites. Many empires of the modern era aren’t bound by borders, but by bandwidth. And of course, we benefit in many ways by being so connected to one another. But if you don’t much care to live in the world that the corporate interests are building, well, there’s not an untouched city to escape to.”
IDES first started being teased on social media in December, with Dessa revealing the project title at the beginning of January. The new project follows her 2019 live album, Sound the Bells: Recorded live at Orchestra Hall. In 2019, Dessa had also released the singles “Good for You” and “Grade School Games.”
Photo credit: Marv Watson