Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner and Crying’s Ryan Galloway have teamed up to drop a new EP entitled ‘Pop Songs 2020’ – listen to it below.
Released under the name Bumper, the four-track project, which arrives tomorrow (September 4), was birthed from a previous collaboration that saw Zauner ask Galloway to write a guitar part for a song from Japanese Breakfast’s upcoming new album.
The pair clicked and decided to work on their own EP.
“I’ve always really liked Crying and I think Ryan as a talent is so underrated,” Zauner told Rolling Stone. “I knew that he was such a guitar wizard and his influences are super bizarre, in my world anyway. And I really appreciate that.
“For this new [Japanese Breakfast] record, I just wanted to work with people that really inspired me creatively. We worked together and made something that was totally out of the realm of what I would usually make. I realised that Ryan had this wealth of material that he was just sitting on.”
Zauner and Galloway live three blocks apart in Brooklyn, New York, but haven’t seen each other since before the pandemic occurred. To make the EP, the pair sent each other songs remotely, contributing lyrics and toplines as they went.
“Basically, her songs were made and were not obnoxious, and then I just added that element to it,” Galloway said. “I also think personality-wise, both of us are very loud. When Michelle came over and we figured out what I can add to the Japanese Breakfast song, both of us were at full volume the whole time. It also carries over throughout this project.
“There’s a specific part in a song where I added a timpani part, and Michelle was like, ‘Sounds like a dumpster falling over. It’s awful.’ I think it’s fun to accept that way of criticism, and bounce back and forth and be allowed to say, ‘Hey, that sucks.’ Because typically, I think that’s how more hardcore musicians tend to communicate. But for indie rock, it’s not usually like that.”
Zauner added: “I felt very comfortable saying things like that. Maybe because I felt like the stakes were set very low. We just wanted to make something fun. It was a space that we created that was very comfortable for us to be honest with one another without hurting each other’s feelings. We were also in a place where we wanted to make bombastic pop music.”
Bumper has shared the EP a day early via YouTube. You can listen to it above.
According to a press release, “Crying in H Mart is Zauner’s story about growing up Korean-American, losing her mother too young, searching for identity in a hybrid culture, and finding a passion for her ancestry and Korean cooking as a way to heal and return to her roots in the wake of loss.”
The musician penned an essay of the same name in The New Yorker about her experiences in the American-Asian supermarket chain H Mart, relating them to the loss of her mother who died of cancer.