Ginger Root's Aggressive Elevator Soul Makes for Great "Weather" [PREMIERE + Q&A]
Have you ever heard of a musical sound dubbed "aggressive elevator soul?" Well, Ginger Root is exactly that. Cameron Lew, the multitalented mastermind behind the alternative soul project, prides himself on being fully hands-on with all aspects of Ginger Root, as he does everything from writing the music to editing the music videos. Blending together the charismatic nature of Toro y Moi and the intricate instrumentals of Vulfpeck, Ginger Root is breaking into the music world one irresistible single at a time.
A cheery tune drenched with upbeat electronics, "Weather" takes us back to the sonic soundscapes of America's 70s disco scene while introducing a modern take to the growing bedroom pop genre. The upbeat song's refreshingly organic sound complements its lyricism, which has Lew acknowledging both his good and bad moments. Recognizing that there's a similarity between day to day weather and ever changing situations, "Weather" is message for all of us to not be so critical of ourselves and appreciate the circumstances we're given.
The accompanying music video for "Weather" has a vintage vibe that pays homage to Ed Sullivan's iconic television personality as the visual incorporates a retro television with Lew as the lively host of every channel. Family ties are so important to Lew that even his adorable grandparents star in this entertaining project that sees them channel surfing until they settle on a Ginger Root performance that features their grandson as the handsome front man.
On "Weather," Ginger Root exclusively shared with us,
"The song comes from a place of me accepting the fact that I go through mental fogs and blockades from time to time. And acknowledging that these times come and go just like the day to day 'Weather.'"
Ones To Watch has your first look at the "Weather" music video below:
To celebrate Ginger Root's new music, we recently chatted with Cameron Lew about his self-dubbed "aggressive elevator soul," his upcoming US tour, and of course, "Weather."
OTW: You've labeled your music as "aggressive elevator soul," which is absolutely hilarious. What inspires your DIY sound?
CL: Ginger Root's sound definitely has one foot in what's going on in the ever-evolving bedroom pop scene, but also another foot in the days of 60s/70s soul. And maybe one more foot in 80s Japanese City Pop? A friend described the music as also being "Nü Motown" to me, which I loved and see fitting. I also am a fan of power pop and French 60s pop, which might slip into the music from time to time. I record and mix everything in my room so I've embraced cranking up the "home studio vibe" dial in the production of the music.
OTW: Something that makes Ginger Root especially unique is that you’re the mastermind behind literally everything – from writing the music to editing the music videos. Why is this so important to you?
CL: I think the variety that comes with fronting so many different aspects, keeps me thinking on my feet about new ideas and new approaches to what makes Ginger Root Ginger Root. I feel like I always need to be making something too, so if I'm stuck on a song, I'll make a video! If I forget to charge the camera, I'll finish a t-shirt design! But all in all, I find something fun about all the different hats I get to wear.
OTW: The “Weather” music video has such a fun, vintage vibe to it. What was the process like for this entertaining project?
CL: Like previous Ginger Root music videos, everything came together like a week before we shot it, haha. The first iteration of the idea was solely supposed to be the band performance/Ed Sullivan-esque scene with a huge studio audience. Almost soul train-like. But to find a place to let us shoot something like that was tough. So then I thought of scaling it down and including channel surfing with different shows starring different people. But being that would be a logistical nightmare with the little time we had to shoot it, I thought, "Why don't I just be in all the shows?" So I went shopping at flea markets and thrift stores for all the outfits. Ashley Kron (friend and hot glue master) and I cut an obscene amount of cardboard for the band performance scene. Seriously, you should see what she can do with a box cutter and a hot glue gun. Tehillah De Castro (friend and camera wizard) has shot three music videos with me previously so no need for a shot list. She can read my mind about that. This new reworked idea also allowed me to feature my grandparents in the video. I'm glad they were good sports about it.
OTW: Another one of your upcoming songs, “Slump” warns us of the dangers of complacency. What made you want to write this song?
CL: In the past, I've known people that would always dwell on theoretical failures. Chances they never took because they were too caught up with having it backfire or not work out. And being around those people would often make me second guess some of the roads I wanted to try and take (career wise, music wise, life wise, etc.). And so "Slump" is a letter of sorts telling them, "It's fine for you to be scared of those hypothetical situations, but that's not going to stop me from moving forward."
OTW: Who came up with the idea of exclusive Ginger Root air fresheners and sticker sheets with pre-orders of "Weather?"
CL: The sticker sheet was a stolen idea/nod to Japanese Breakfast. She had them for sale when she toured Psychopomp and I thought it was so cool and fun. I came up with the air fresheners half as a joke to Dan at Acrophase Records and he actually came back and found a website that made custom ones. Sadly, no one does a ginger scented air freshener, so we settled on pine, haha.
OTW: What are you most excited for in regards to your upcoming US tour?
CL: I'm most excited for what we have in store for our set. As an opener, it's hard/almost impossible to try new things out on stage because you feel like, or at least I feel like, I'm trying to get people to not head back to the bar or look at their phones the entirety of our set. It'll be interesting to see if anyone shows up to these shows. But playing to ten people who came to see Ginger Root would be a lot more fun than playing to 100 people who talk over you and spill beer on your merch.
OTW: If you could collaborate with anyone in the music industry, who would it be?
CL: Oh man, hmm... I'd love to work on something with Feist, James Petralli from White Denim, Joseph Mount from Metronomy, Ben Folds, or Chaz from Toro y Moi.
OTW: Who are your Ones To Watch?
CL: Stella Donnelly, Steady Holiday, CHAI, XinXin, and Mamalarky (who's touring with us)!
+ Catch Ginger Root on tour this summer!
6/7- Nashville, TN â€¢ EXIT/IN
6/10- Atlanta, GA â€¢ Smith’s Olde Bar
6/12- Philadelphia, PA â€¢ Kung Fu Necktie
6/13- Brooklyn, NY â€¢ Elsewhere
6/15- Indianapolis, IN â€¢ Healer
6/16- Loveland, OH â€¢ Plaid Room Records
6/18- Chicago, IL â€¢ Lincoln Hall + Schubas
6/20- Dallas, TX â€¢ The Prophet Bar
6/21- Austin, TX â€¢ Stubb’s Austin
6/22- Houston, TX â€¢ Satellite Bar
6/23- Santa Fe, NM â€¢ Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery
6/24- Denver, CO â€¢ Larimer Lounge
6/26- Palm Springs, CA â€¢ The Alibi
6/28- Santa Ana, CA â€¢ The Observatory Orange County
6/29- San Diego, CA â€¢ Soda Bar
7/2- San Francisco, CA â€¢ Starline Social Club