Ask Smoke Season where they get their hazy blend of psychedelic Americana and electro-soul from and they’ll give you two words: “manifest destiny.” Los Angeles-based Gabrielle Wortman and Jason Rosen, the duo that comprises Smoke Season, both grew up around the NYC area, ironically meeting in California after their separate musical paths brought them to make the move west. Their sound stems from what they call “east coast heads and west coast hearts."
From the outside looking in, the first thing one notices about this fiercely independent duo is the buzz that has mounted around them in recent years — earning them a place as "the up and coming band you wish you were in” (Pancakes & Whiskey, 2015). However, it’s where this buzz is generating from that makes for Smoke Season’s most defining characteristic.
Since forming in 2013, Smoke Season has proven themselves to be in a constant state of artistic fervor, with a flurry of activity and creative output surrounding them at all times. They’ve independently released 3 EPs, 5+ music videos, toured tirelessly with internationally known acts and become a regular on the stages of nation-wide festivals, such as SXSW and CMJ. Judging by their millions of Spotify plays and acclaim from major press outlets (Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, Clash Magazine, LA Weekly, and The New York Times to name a few), it looks like their hard work is finally paying off.
The duo has consistently (if not stubbornly) foregone traditional routes and branded their artistic output as multi-sensory in nature. Their live show is a great example of this, employing synchronized light shows, smoke and unique sampling — all of which are programmed and executed by the duo. “We want audiences to do more than just hear what we’re making. We want them to see, smell, feel it as a multimedia experience. Jason and I both studied film scoring as college students so a fully immersive experience was somewhat undeniable,” Wortman explains.
Expanding upon this multimedia concept even further, the duo organized their most recent EP, 2016’s Ouroboros EP, as a collection of music videos that combine to form a complete short film. Pairing up with APLUSFILMZ, known for their Kendrick Lamar, SZA and Talib Kweli videos, Wortman and APLUSFILMZ’s Scott Fleishman crafted a screenplay and spent almost a year casting, shooting and editing the film counterpart to the EP. “At its core, our music is very cinematic. Press, fans and collaborators alike have all pointed this out to us. To us, creating the cinema piece to go along with the music was the obvious next step in maturing our artistic output,” Wortman notes.
The duo will be the first to admit the film component was no small feat. They opted to tell the story of human interaction, fate and compassion through a cast of renowned talent including Emmy Award nominee Lexi Ainsworth (General Hospital), Nicole Fox (winner of America’s Next Top Model), Julian De La Celle (Ugly Betty, How To Get Away With Murder) and Nicholas Gonzalez (Bordertown). With music videos for the first two singles, “Loose” and “When The Smoke Clears”, already out on VEVO, the Ouroboros EP itself is being released digitally on April 15, 2016 with the vinyl and short film following for a summer 2016 release.
Sonically speaking, they think this release is poised to be their best musical effort yet. “The songs on this newest EP really capture the heart and soul of who we are as artists in this moment.” Jason Rosen describes the direction of the songs on this release as "1 part electronic beats, 1 part psychedelic soul and 2 parts whiskey under the Mojave Desert stars.”
So what’s after Ouroboros? “Well, we’ve already begun working on our first full length album,” Rosen admits. “We’ve never been big fans of slowing down.”
Smoke Season’s tracks