TOWNEWEST BREAKS DOWN NEW ALBUM “BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE” [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]
BY BRENESSA ROACH | SEPTEMBER 22, 2023
Meet Townewest, a Los Angeles based boy band consisting of Jonum and Bouquet. Townewest formed in December 2022 and debuted with their single “Softspoken” which is their most popular song with over 5.5K streams on Spotify. Followed by “Softspoken” they released the song “BIG HEAD” with Bachyard Ghost on January 26th, 2023. Both of these songs were the pre-release tracks for their debut album Save Sara which came out on February 14th of this year.
This summer, Townewest spent time making a lot of new music, performing and opening up a new era for them, but still continuing the story of Save Sara. They released the single “sunburn” on July 27th followed by “Spider!” on August 15th.
At midnight, Townewest unveiled their new album Before It’s Too Late. This album consists of 16 beautiful tracks and also features Townewest’s good friends Bachyard Ghost and BU-WAN of CLUB BOYBND on some songs.
Behind The Beat had the opportunity to talk to Townewest to discuss the inspiration behind this album and the production process.
BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE ALBUM BREAKDOWN
What is the meaning of Before It’s Too Late?
Before It’s Too Late is an ode to the end of summer from our pasts. The album taps into the feeling of nostalgia towards the good, bad, and ugly memories that lead you into the next chapter of your life.
Bouquet: I initially came up with the concept because the first song we created for the album, “ANYTHING” featuring our friend BU-WAN, sounds like the literal feeling of summer ending and your memories slowly fading away.
I remember before we decided to take our album retreat to the mountains, I created a note of all the demos we had made over the past few months and pieced them together so that they connected to each other in a narrative. That moment was when we knew we didn’t just have a bunch of demos lying around, but an album and a story.
Jonum: The process was very pure and the hard work was put in. With Bouquet’s experience in creating concepts in albums and my experience in production, we were able to create a very cohesive and sonically pleasing album.
Track 1: BEGINNING
The album starts with a skit of two friends talking about what their goals are at the start of their limited summer. One is looking for love in a girl, the other is searching for self respect and love in themselves. It is to juxtapose the idea of summer being a time for pure fun and a time of growth from mistakes or accomplishments.
Track 2: ANYTHING (feat. BU-WAN)
This leads into the next song, “ANYTHING”, which is the pure expression of the loss of the memories of summer.
Bouquet: The song is a ballad of us talking about letting something go, mostly someone. As summer comes to an end you let go of the memories you made during it and embrace them both in loss and gain.
Track 3: SUMMER KIDS
“Summer Kids” is an upbeat rager of a song where we tune into the feelings of having fun and making the most of our time.
Bouquet: This song, along with “ANYTHING”, expresses a “fuck it” way of thinking about life and enjoying the moment.
Jonum: You can feel a lot of pent up thoughts and energy going into this song.
Track 4: MAKE UR MIND UP (feat. BU-WAN & BACHYARD GHOST)
“MAKE UR MIND UP” is a song about putting your foot down and expressing urgency to someone to make their mind up and not waste time.
Bouquet: The thought of summer coming to an end makes us want to avoid the same routines and regretful situations we were in before.
Jonum: There’s no time to waste!! Make your mind up and let’s have a good summer.
Track 5: WHEREAMI??
The next song “WHEREAMI??”, is a song about being super drunk and forgetting all responsibility. You don’t know where you are and you don’t know what’s going on.
Jonum: This song embodies THAT ONE NIGHT you had in a memorable summer where you got toooo wasted. No deep thoughts, just the room spinning.
Bouquet: The placement of the song basically makes no sense, but when you look at it as if you are drunk and randomly ending up in weird situations, then you see that it fits pretty well in the overall story. Additionally, it represents the fun nights of summer where you have to piece the forgotten memories together with your friends.
Track 6: SHOE GLUE
After a night of drinking, after the fun has ended, some people sink back into their melancholic sadness. “Shoe Glue ” is about this idea.
Bouquet: When I was younger I was very depressed and very suicidal. I kept making immature decisions and kept hurting people. I was selfish and didn’t realize my actions had consequences and it was due to my upbringing in the world and all the pain that was dealt to me. I’ve been through a lot and was very close to ending my life, but one day at one of my jobs, I decided to get a cat. Her name is Oona and she is the reason I am living today. The idea of shoe glue being the thing that keeps your shoes together when they fall apart is to represent how shoes protect you from fatigue and help you move forward. I was with my girlfriend when she needed shoe glue and the song name came to my mind.
Track 7: sunburn
“sunburn” is a simple yet finely detailed song of love.
Bouquet: You’re out in the sun and you get burned bad, but you still want to spend all your time with your partner during summer because you want to make the most of it and be with them despite the pain <3
Jonum: If you were out in the sun with your friends or lovers and you didn’t get a sunburn, it meant you either had too much fun or you’re really good about reapplying sunscreen hehe.
Track 8: MIDDLE
The “Middle” skit signifies the midpoint of summer through a conversation of how one feels complacent and “the same” and the other feels more accomplished with the time they spent. The awkward but surreal feeling of the dialogue is then chaotically interrupted with a fun bit of a spider being on your shoulder, bringing the attention back into the music.
Track 9: Spider!
Suddenly we’re back to our regularly scheduled program and still having a blast through the summer!
Bouquet: “Spider!” is just a fun song about spending time and reminding your partner how much you love them and want to be with them. Like being strung in a spider’s web, you want to be stuck with them forever.
Track 10: stressin'
“stressin’” is an ode to being free of the past and the things that hurt you. The mistakes you’ve made and the regret you’ve felt go out the window because life goes on.
Bouquet: A very classic behavior and mindset when you are relaxing at the beach enjoying the summertime.
Jonum: From jump, the demo that Bouquet had when he first showed me this record had me feeling really relaxed.
Track 11: green hills
While having all this fun and trying to better yourself, waves of depression and doubt can sometimes hit and the only way to deal with it is to acknowledge it with our flaws, and attitude.
Bouquet: “Green Hills” is a ballad to my ex lovers and my current lover, and how I often self sabotage my relationships because of the whole “grass is greener” saying. I ask myself why can’t I be the thing you always need? I don’t understand why this haunts me, but I want to change it for you (the partner I am with) while also apologizing to my ex lovers.
Jonum: We went all in with this song. From the jump I felt the ballad energy in the song and wanted to capitalize with all the emotions we could feel from strings, the guitar solo and the layers in the vocals.
Track 12: misery
As we sink deeper into the more melancholic moments of the album, Bouquet shares a tender moment in his self awareness in misery.
Bouquet: “Misery” is a desperate cry to the people around me. I need them to believe in me because I am stuck in misery and it clouds me a lot. If people could just support me, maybe this misery isn’t all of me. And that if I act weird in reaction to love, it’s because misery is all I know. But I want it to go away.
Track 13: UPSETTING
“UPSETTING” brings back the feelings of hope in the story after going through two very sorrowful songs. It’s as if we found “the one” and really have the desire to push forward.
Bouquet: This is my favorite song by far, it is a direct love song to life and a love song to my girlfriend. Jon and I both decided we would make the lyrics very personal to us. We both use little things we love about our partners to paint a song on one of the most beautiful feel good melancholic ethereal beats I’ve ever made. This one means a lot to me as does “Shoe Glue”.
Track 14: fuji film
Bouquet: “fuji film” was a concept I had where the best way to express a memory is through a photo. There’s not that many love songs for photographers and their passion to capture memories forever really inspired us to create a memory for them. Jon killed it with the production by adding nostalgic and slightly haunting sounds to bring the song to life and to show what a film picture feels like in a song.
Jonum: This song is probably my favorite. The sonics really capture the feeling of nostalgia and just the act of taking photos and remembering when that memory was, what was going on and who you were with at the time.
Track 15: The End
“The End” is the last skit that shows the group of friends talking about how the summer went and how it was better than expected. You can hear our drummer Gio say he prefers the fall rather than the summer to signify the next season and the end of summer.
Bouquet: Gio’s bday is also the day of release of the album!!
Jonum: HAPPY BDAY GIO
Track 16: Dear Universe
“Dear Universe”, is Jon’s personal moment about questioning his place in the universe and the thoughts and feelings that come with growing up and being human. He writes about how he wants to find a place where time stands still and where he can escape to when he feels lost.
Jonum: Being in my mid twenties right now has been quite a ride. I can’t stop overthinking, I see myself trying to rush things and there’s this cloud of doubt just hovering over my head a lot. This song is one of those vibes where you go up on the roof of your house at 2am by yourself, look up into the sky and realize everything will work out the way it’s supposed to.
Bouquet: The song ends with us all going our different ways in a school also mentioning yet again “Sara” and if you listen closely you might hear something from the future of the timeline. Hehe. I’ll leave you with that this is yet another growth for our storyline, with subtle questions leading up to the mystery of who “Sara” is and why we have to “Save” her before it’s too “Late”.
What was the production process for the album?
Jonum: The creation of Before It’s Too Late has been a very nostalgic ride. I grew up listening to a lot of pop folk and live instrumentation in music and so I really tapped back into that period of my life. Making a lot of these songs has soothed my inner child and also has shown me that I can make great music with just raw emotions and without needing to use strong sounding drums.
Throughout the production, Bouquet and I wanted to convey emotions of nostalgia while also having a cyber and digital edge. We used lots of warm sounding synths and strings with nostalgic melodies. I flew my childhood cello out from Houston to LA so I could record more authentic orchestral parts throughout the album. A few notable moments of the beautiful string accompaniments can be found in “ANYTHING”, “Fuji Film” and “Upsetting”.
The drums were carefully selected and mixed to compliment the softer tones of the instruments. Initially, I used hard hitting drums and then dialed it back to make it sound more lo-fi. I also intentionally threw in relevant and popular sounds in the hip hop community to give the younger audience a flavor they can recognize. Overall the percussion dances so uniquely with the melodies and vocals. We’re very proud of how we shaped it all together.
We wanted to also provide a cinematic experience in the album so we created the “Beginning”, “Middle” and “End” skit songs. I remember when we were creating the skits, I felt so free and fluid in the process. Having the freedom to create more of a moment rather than a song and add meaningful dialogue gave me such creative joy. Our main goal as Townewest is to provide the most artistic experience we can and share the emotions we felt while creating the album. We want our listeners to associate their own unique memories and feelings to our songs and we hope that the small details of our music like the skits does that.
Special thanks to Jonum and Bouquet of Townewest for taking the time to do this interview with us!
Listen to Before It’s Too Late by Townewest on Spotify: