*The Following Press Release Was Issued By JATK*
|Never Gonna Be Your Girl, Friend from JATK is here! Filled with lyrical androgyny and layers of infectiously melodic synths, the sixth and final single from the upcoming album Shut Up and Be the Light is out now via a very special maxi-single release, which features four versions of the song as imagined and reimagined by JATK, Weston Smith, Anika Pyle and Sawtooth.|
All proceeds from the Bandcamp Friday release went to Transgender Law Center. The song itself directly relates to the misunderstanding and struggle around words, ideas and feelings that stem from gender and identity. Transgender Law Center changes law, policy and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression. They are the largest national trans-led organization advocating for a world in which all people are free to define themselves and their futures.
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JATK is ‘Never Gonna Be Your Girl, Friend’
BOSTON, MASS. — Like an impassioned love affair, JATK’s new single “Never Gonna Be Your Girl, Friend” instantly grabs hold and never lets go. And like most impassioned love affairs, things very quickly get a bit more complicated under the surface. The latest maxi-single from the eclectic power-pop project from Boston multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Matt Jatkola hit the streams on Friday, March, 4 and it and all of its hyperactive glory serves as the sixth and final single from JATK’s forthcoming debut album Shut Up and Be the Light.
Musically, the upbeat and infectious “Never Gonna Be Your Girl, Friend” calls on sonic inspiration from The Rentals, that dog., Tegan & Sara, Devo, and The Cars, as well as Jatkola’s previous band, The Bynars. But underneath squealing synths and power-pop hooks is a fun, but delicate, subject matter. “In its simplest form, ‘Never Gonna Be Your Girl, Friend’ is about a person who feels like they will never be the right partner because of their gender,” says Jatkola. “The lyrics play with ideas around gender, masculine and feminine language and the fluidity of it all. A step further, the masculine and feminine articles in the song are designed to be easily changed, swapped, modified, omitted or otherwise reinterpreted.”
To further illustrate the fluid nature of the song, Jatkola reached out to friends and colleagues who explore queerness and identity in their own work to reimagine the song themselves. These aren’t b-sides, per se, but reimagined versions of the song that give it the layered focus it was originally intended to have. In addition to JATK’s version, the “Never Gonna Be Your Girl, Friend” maxi-single features added perspectives by Arizona-based synth pop wizard Weston Smith; Philadelphia-based queer musician and poet Anika Pyle; and Lowell-based electronic music producer and DJ Sawtooth.
“I never wanted to sing this song,” Jatkola admits. “It’s really supposed to be sung from a more female perspective. I wrote it imagining I was a woman or female-identifying person. I performed it live many times with FBGM (my genderless/genreless duo with D. Orxata) and we discussed and toyed with the song at length. It was only through that process and D. simply telling me, ‘You should just sing this’ that I relented and settled into my own version. I realized it’s a song not from one perspective, but from every perspective. You can change the pronouns and masculine/feminine language because they’re not integral to the song or rhyme scheme. Or you can leave them as they are and just be a woman singing, ‘I want to be your man,’ like on Anika’s version. It all works. That’s the point.”
There’s a portion of “Never Gonna Be Your Girl, Friend” that is about understanding that which is often misunderstood and that is a central theme of Shut Up and Be the Light, set for release digitally and CD on April 15, with vinyl issues to follow shortly after (pre-order for all three formats is now open exclusively via JATK’s Bandcamp, with free merch supplied with every order).
JATK has released five singles from the 12-track LP so far, starting with last April’s raucous guitar-rock rager “When Tomorrow Comes,” the first time Jatkola opened up about his cancer journey that began a year prior with his Hodgkin’s Lymphoma diagnosis. In the time since, armed with a clean bill of health after chemo and radiation treatment therapy and inspired to write songs related to both his recovery and a crazy world around him, JATK has displayed a songwriting acumen that has run a spectrum of genres, from heartfelt Americana (“Conscious Wonder”) to jangly power-pop (“Japanese Butterfly”) to hymnal-like dream-pop (“Ride The Wind”).
In January, he even leaned into Prince-inspired R&B territory with “Don’t Call.” But with “Never Gonna Be Your Girl, Friend,” which was mixed by Adam Taylor and features drums by Seth Botos (Lesser Glow, Gozu), Jatkola is taking pieces of his past (notably, the synth-pop prowess of The Bynars) and combining it with a diverse pop present. He calls working on the synth aspects of “Never Gonna Be Your Girl, Friend” a “joyful experience” and the track’s extended outro serves as an exploration of its electronic-pop layers, slowly stripping down to basics as it fades away.
“‘Never Gonna Be Your Girl, Friend’ is quintessential to Shut Up and Be the Light because it doesn’t conform to what came before it (it doesn’t sound like previous singles) or what will come after it (the album as a whole),” Jatkola admits. “It stands alone, but also magically works in context. There’s also an element of fun in this song musically – and lyrically too. It’s playful. I’d equate it with the album as a whole. There are heavy moments, but plenty of lighter moments too and overall, I hope the takeaway is that the album is a celebration of all of those moments at once.”
‘Never Gonna Be Your Girl, Friend’ credits:
Matt Jatkola: Vocals, guitar, bass, synthesizers, vocoder, programming
Seth Botos: Drums
Recorded by Matt Jatkola at Peace & Love Laboratories in Arlington, MA; Seth Botos at Studio 52 in Allston, MA
Mixed by Adam Taylor at Bang-A-Song Studios in Gloucester, MA
Mastered by Nick Zampiello at New Alliance East in Somerville, MA
Produced by Matt Jatkola
Cover photography by Niki Fandel
Alternate covers & design by Matt Jatkola
Written by Matt Jatkola
© & ℗ 2022, 2 STEP IZ DED (ASCAP)
Weston Smith version
Weston Smith: Vocals, synthesizers, drum programming, saxophone
Produced, recorded, and mixed by Weston Smith
Anika Pyle version
Anika Pyle: Vocals
Produced and recorded by Anika Pyle and Matt Jatkola
Mixed by Matt Jatkola
Utilizes elements of the original recording
Produced, recorded and mixed by Sawtooth
Utilizes elements of the original recording
Media praise for JATK:
“The performer casts aside his usual Smashing Pumpkins, Cure and Slovedive chops, opting for something completely different [with ‘Don’t Call’]. So different, in fact, that you’d never recognize it as JATK at all… As homage to the much missed Prince and some of his more wayward pop experiments, it’s pretty much perfect… via a mix of sheer balls and melodic ear, JATK serves a winner with this left field offering.” – Real Gone Rocks
“There’s a garage rock jangle and an indie rock vibrancy to the song, all framing some surprisingly delicate songwriting… In short, the song’s a brisk, uplifting joy.” – Worcester Magazine
“Such poppy magic” – Boston Emissions
“‘Japanese Butterfly’ is a burst of mid-’90s style power pop with some T-Rex style glam thrown in. It’s all buzzy guitars swirling with some of the catchiest vocals around”- If It’s Too Loud
The music of JATK has been heard and featured on:
The Rodney Bingenheimer Show on SiriusXM, The Honey Pop, Real Gone Rocks, idobi Radio, UncertainFM, The River 92.5 FM (Boston, MA), If It’s Too Loud, Citywide Blackout, BumbleBee Radio, WZBC’s Virtual Detention, Mark Skin Radio (Christian’s Cosmic Corner, Original Music Showcase, Marc’s Alt-Rock Playground), Your First Listen on KNNZ 89.1 FM, Sweet Sunday Sounds on Banks Radio (Australia), Garagerocktopia with Robert Kreutzer, POP! The Beat Bubble Burst on KDHX, Boston Emissions with Anngelle Wood, WMBR (The Paradox Box), WMFO Tufts University (Rising with Skybar and On The Town with Mikey D), Everything You Know Is Wrong on WMWM Salem State, Bay State Rock, Tinnitist, Lonely Oak Radio, The Menace’s House of Indies, Nova Southeastern University’s Radio X, WODU Old Dominion University, Blood Makes Noise, Ricky’s Daily Bangers and other fine radio stations, outlets and programs.
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