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2920 Proves Distance Has Nothing On Them

Distance has brought together the profound offerings of the artistic duo 2920. Shane Leigh and his partner Kat Mahoney grew up in Brooklyn, NY, creating music as solo artists on their own respective paths.

Learning music production and releasing melodies under his label Nuh Romp Records, Shane Leigh uses the moniker Zek Jr for his solo work. Over 20 years, Kat Mahoney has recorded one-shot covers using her given name and was further propelled into music by watching MTV Unplugged – teaching her how to master her craft.

In 2020, she and Shane Leigh decided to create music together. What began as a hobby quickly became a series of original songs written and composed by Shane Leigh - thus forming 2920. Two years later and 2920 miles apart, they've released a five-track EP to the public, sharing their creative ventures.

Commencing with emulating synth textures and an energetic wave of entrancing melodies courtesy of Kat Mahoney, "Never Better" is the short, sweet intro track that immediately sends your mind into a sonic time warp. In just 36 seconds, we're transported to an ethereal atmosphere that has us yearning for more as we eagerly welcome in "Backyard Shandy."

The contrasting elements of "Backyard Shandy" take a boisterous turn as 2920 unveils gritty guitar riffs and a sizzling effervescence that shakes things up. Taking us into a nostalgic forcefield of varying elements, a timeless essence is presented in the lulling sounds we choose to pursue in a hunt for solicitous feeling.

Protruding dark undercurrents and distortion embody the soul of "Majonzi" as it falls at number three on the tracklist. However, what we love about this record is that 2920 offers up an alternate version as the final song on their self-titled EP, which showcases yet another side of their artistry.

Through a warm embrace of guitar plucks, spellbinding harmonies, and the sparse percussion that lingers through the uncanny entirety of the original, 2920 conveys an old-school 70s atmosphere through the dreamy and mystical essence driven by the vibrant duo in which they offer a night and day selection to suit the listeners needs.

When we take our attention to the alternative version, an entirely new dynamic is brought to life. The entity that is "Majonzi Alternate Version" glimmers in a newfound light through bright hues and buoyancy. This portrays the dynamism they whimsically achieve through creative avenues while profoundly cementing their uniqueness.

Wistful acoustic guitar strums and flowing soul are prominent in 2920's "In Visual." The slow tempo transmutes into a livelier performance touching on the endings that love can face. As Kat Mahoney accompanies Shane Leigh through a back-and-forth escapade of direct storytelling, the passion in one another's voice makes this song the holy grail of 2920. Their velvety croons speak life into each dynamic puzzle piece they convey, and we know one thing's for sure – we need more of 2920 and the desire they profess through dazzling songwriting.

2920 makes it so your imagination runs rampant and anticipates each melody they bring forth to their audience. Between purely instrumental breaks in the songs, Shane Leigh and Kat Mahoney emanate harmonies that put you at ease and further allow you to sink into the trance this EP has over you.

Welcome to BuzzMusic, 2920! We absolutely love the dynamic the two of you bring to the table throughout this EP. Could you please take us into the concept you've placed behind these five songs?

Shane: Sure! The Never Better Intro was meant to bridge different elements of our sound and lead the listener into the EP, a sort of funnel into the eclectic sounds to come. I used some synth, a solo played backwards, and heavy fx on our vocals from Majonzi for this purpose. The intro's forlorn sound matches the themes of love and loss found on the EP.

Backyard Shandy was born of the isolation of the pandemic. The large, joyous, family backyard barbecues of my youth were gone, even in the summer of 2020 when we were hopeful it would be safer to meet. I missed them, but rather than write a maudlin song I put as much energy into Shandy as I could muster; brisk pacing, loads of lead guitar and jaunty lyrics, and vocal melody. The song itself is a counterpoint to my grief at what was lost while at the same time being a testament to it.

In Visual is the first original song by 2920. Our first single was a cover song released in 2020 on Bandcamp. We decided to do an original next - but we didn't have a defined sound. I looked at the elements of our cover song, acoustic and electric guitar, dual vocals, an honest-to-god solo, and rock drumming. I set out to write a song that married all the same elements and landed on something that was reminiscent of the 60's Laurel Canyon scene and its electrified child, '70s arena rock. As there were two of us, I wrote lyrics that told of he said/she said failed relationship. Very Fleetwood Mac!

You offer up an array of sounds, all while staying in a lane you execute extremely well. Do each of you happen to have a favorite song from this project? What's your reasoning behind that?

Shane: My favorite song on the album is definitely In Visual. It took two years to produce the final version. I wanted it to be sonically rich and structurally dynamic. That meant experimenting, which as a full-time father, I had little time to do. I poured everything I learned from my producing mentor John LsSala into the song. I re-recorded many parts as I improved in my guitar playing. I think the song is the embodiment of the 70's, and LA rock feel 2920 sometimes emulates.

Kat: There are a lot of elements from each song I like, but my favorite song to play and record was Backyard Shandy, the beat of which reminded me a lot of the intro song for Fraggle Rock. The imagery reminded me of what I'd seen growing up in Brooklyn. Park days where a family would be having a birthday party or some celebration, and there'd be a group playing dominos and lots of food cooking on the small bbq grills. The chorus also is a good reminder to move forward, not so much move on and forget, but just don't get stuck in the past. It's a part of who you were, and take that with you as you move forward in life.

Being so far in distance, what does your creative process tend to look like? How long did it take you to bring this project to life?

Shane: It took us many months to come up with a workflow that even close to worked! The best version of our process went like this: I would write the bulk of the song before building a preliminary demo. I would send that demo plus lyrics and chords to Kat, who would give notes. I would go back into hermit mode and keep adding elements; eventually, we'd have a full song. Kat would record her parts and send them back to me; I would then record my own. Vocals were always last. Once everything was laid down, I would make a full producer turn, adding texture and mixing the songs. It took almost two and a half years to birth Never Better, but we learned much from that time investment.

Kat: Being 2,920 miles apart created some hurdles. We could not just get together and "jam" or discuss a song. When recording a track, if I lost pace, I did not have Shane there to restart the recording. But we'd chat a lot, send small videos back and forth, and sometimes I'd send him several acoustic tracks for him to choose from. We meshed really well, even if time and distance made for delayed feedback and production. I'd practice and sometimes end up coming up with some interesting (although not always planned) strum or sound that would add to things—for example, the Majonzi Alternate version. Shane, let me rework that song completely and add a mandolin. It wasn't planned or discussed. I sent back the file and said something like, "delete the track if you hate it." He liked it, and we kept it.

We're huge fans of artists offering up an alternate version of a song that sits so well in the soul. What inspired you to do this with "Majonzi"?

Shane: Largely, it was that we needed another song to lengthen the EP! But that need turned into an idea: what if we took Majonzi and did two versions, one that had more of pathos and feeling and another that was closer to what Kat did before we linked up, one-shot (live) covers? The lyrics described how it felt to lose my father, so my take was filled with pain and longing. Kat's version was uptempo; she wanted an almost French-style jazzy electric sound from me, which was a fun challenge. So two very different songs from one wellspring.

Kat: I like one-shots and live tracks. Shane knows this. When we were recording Backyard Shandy he proposed that I do Majonzi in my style and had envisioned a "live" version. Well, the song is complex, and so a live version isn't totally possible, especially since there is a modulation that requires moving a capo. But the final version you hear is one where we broke out of the rock vibe of the 1970s to 1990s and embraced an upbeat jazz sound. I liked the solo bc it feels like it's taking a journey. While the lyrics are sad and about loss, the guitar solo by Shane feels like a path that is being walked.

What can we expect to see and hear next from 2920?

We plan to release at least one single in 2023, maybe two. I'm writing for a full-length Zek, Jr album, but once that's done, Kat and I will start work on our first LP, hopefully in early 2024. We can't wait to see where the writing will take us.

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