Almost a year has gone by since Empty Atlas released their acclaimed sophomore studio album Kairos. Now, with no shows being played in the last year, the Jackson, MS quartet is set to release Dipping Vat Sessions on June 11th: the project is a six-song live studio EP mixed and recorded at Dipping Vat Studio in Monticello, Mississippi.
Taking the most poignant and emotional tracks from the aforementioned sophomore record, vocalist and rhythm guitarist Micah Smith, lead guitarist Brennan Michael White, bassist Alex Ingram and drummer Robert Currie Hansford came together to capture the unbridled energy of a live performance through the studio’s intimate setting. Another collaboration with engineer Nick Smith proved to be an excellent choice, as the Kairos credited team member captured the intensity and magic of an in-person concert throughout the session.
“For us, Dipping Vat is one of those places where you immediately know, ‘I’m somewhere special.’”, vocalist Micah Smith said when asked about the location choice of Dipping Vat Sessions. “On Kairos, we’d work really late hours on it, sleep at the studio, and each of us would just wake up with tons of new ideas. It felt like a constant creative experience. So when we decided to do a live recording, we knew we wanted to go back there and work with [engineer] Nick Smith again.”
“With the album, we had a specific sound we wanted for each song, and I feel like we really accomplished that. With the live recordings, we wanted almost the opposite approach: No agenda. Just go play the songs the way we play them together naturally. We love the record, and we just thought this would be a cool companion piece for people to enjoy with us.”
“Putting out an album during the pandemic, you of course have questions about whether it’s a smart business decision, but our hearts win out: we needed music during all of that, and we wanted to provide something that people could hear and feel joyful about. For us, the live recordings are the exact same thing. We miss being on the road and with a crowd, just loving music with other people. So we wanted to capture that feeling with these recordings, take a little different of a lens to songs from Kairos, and hopefully make people feel like they’re back out at a show again.”
With previous coverage via Discovered Magazine, Jackson Free Press, Turtle Tempo UK, our very own Stitched Sound, and more, Dipping Vat Sessions showcases another aspect of the band’s passion for songwriting and performance. “Codebreaker (Live at Dipping Vat Studio)” is out on streaming services now.