All Becomes Okay is the debut EP from shallou, the new project of musician and producer Joe Boston. Boston grew up in Rockville, Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC. He attended college in New Orleans, and then moved to Chicago, where he began making electronic music in his bedroom.
shallou has come a long way from the bedroom. “Begin,” the first single from All Becomes Okay, recently hit #1 on Sirius XM Chill. He has over 23 million total streams already on Spotify, including over 12 million on “Doubt (Summer Edit).” An excellent live performer, shallou has honed his craft across North America, touring with Petit Biscuit, Roosevelt, El Ten Eleven, and more.
All of this has shallou primed to break out, and All Becomes Okay is his first major move towards the mainstream.
An electronic album with an indie heart, All Becomes Okay is a stunning debut for shallou, a full artistic statement in five songs. Boston describes his music as “happy/sad,” and though that might sound like an oxymoron, it functions as a perfect descriptor for shallou’s brand of music, a dark and beautiful mix of ambient textures and dance rhythms.
Forgoing the easy crowd-pleasing ecstasies of typical electronic music, shallou aims for the mind as well as the heart. The EP is structured to be listened straight through as one complete piece of music, but the singles can stand easily on their own. All Becomes Okay is music made for headphones just as much as it is for the live show.
The title comes from living in a fearful world. “Working on this music alone, I’d get all in my head,” says Boston. “Watching the news with everything going on in the world, I developed all of these weird fears. ‘All Becomes Okay’ was kind of a mantra I wanted to repeat to myself and tell other people. It’s not a passive thing, but an active hope.”
That’s what “happy/sad” music means. It’s music that you can dance to, or you can listen to it alone in your bedroom. The music comes to you and meets you wherever you are. It’s a gift, a sliver of hope in a dark night, a moment of solace for all the thinkers and dreamers of the world.
Thereǯs a certain power to music, a magic that allows the listener to be transported into a new place where their fears and needs are understood. Itǯs that spellbinding quality thatǯs at the root of Hazey Eyes and his new EP, ǮSome Reasonǯ, a record thatǯs as much a comfort blanket as it is a cushion to sit back and reflect on past and future experiences. Growing up between Philadelphia and New Jersey, the twenty-one year old artist is classically trained in a slew of instruments: from violin to piano to upright bass. DzWhen I was a kid I hated practicing,dz Thomas explains, but he was pushed onward by a musical family (his dad plays saxophone, clarinet and piano) eventually ending up being rated in the Top 5 players in his state. Music began early for Hazey Eyes. As well as his work in the classical world, in high school he formed a heavy metal band. Though itǯs a far cry from the subtle, relaxing sound he makes now, the name Hazey Eyes is a subtle nod to his heavier background –itǯs taken from a lyric in the first chorus on Taking Back Sundayǯs debut album. Once high school was over Thomas moved to university, where he studied to become an electrical engineer. At this point the EDM bubble in the United States had yet to burst and he became entrenched in the burgeoning scene. DzI started producing with my metal band but I didnǯt try any other instrumentation beside guitar bass and drums. When I went to college I heard electronic music and it changed my palette.dzThough there are subtle nods to his electronic background in the music, Hazey Eyes sits in a place of his own – one of comforting reflection, somewhere between the hours when night time begins and the day ends, all compliment with strings hinting at his orchestral background. DzWriting music is a way for me to blow off steam,dz he says. DzI come home from work and play the piano and see what comes out. I donǯt open Ableton with a goal in mind. I think itǯs really important to let my ears guide me.dzThe result is an EP centered firmly in the realm of heartbreak. DzItǯs focused on relationships, the darker side of them,dz Thomas says, hinting at each of the tracks on the record. Dz If you know me personally Iǯm an upbeat person but this is the outlet for when Iǯm by myself, personal reflecting on things. Itǯs a little bit of reflection in the darkness.dzCompleted with a selection of vocalists Thomas scouted out via Soundcloud –DzI take pride in the random messages I send on theredz–itǯs a record of full vision, coloured with the shifting pain and revelation that comes with being heartbroken and left to pick up the pieces of something thatǯs been lost. Title track DzSome Reasondz, featuring FEELDS, is at the root of the fall out. DzLet something be my light,dz he sings above a subtle rhythm that slowly builds into an emotional crescendo. Itǯs not exactly EDM as anyone has known it before, itǯs a slightly different moniker: Emotional Dance Music. Finger clicks, synths, piano, cymbals, everything builds to the final statement: Dzfor some damn reasondz.
DzMy first EP I didnǯt get a chance to work with any vocalists,dz Thomas says of his decision to bring singers on board. DzIǯm a lot more interested these days in the whole meaning of a song, the story they have and the message they can portray.dzAs the EP builds we begin to get a sense of the changing emotion with third track DzSkylinedz seeing singer Claire Ridgely ask to be Dzlifted up above the skylinedz. Itǯs a uniquely euphoric moment, tinged with the sadness of the past and a desire to be moved forward. Meanwhile closing track DzRun Fordz– which Thomas created on Christmas Day and features Violet Skies – ends with a satisfying and triumphant conclusion, a powerful knowledge about a relationshipǯs end, sandwiched between orchestral strings. Life can often throw curveballs, upending a once-pleasant situation and clouding it with darkness. In these times the music of Hazey Eyes is important: a way to feel less alone, to reconsider things, to even find a kind of happy solace in the sadness – all of which is important to move forward. Part of that comes from his heavy metal background, some of it comes from his dabbling with EDM. Ultimately however, this is a new sound, a new feeling – a fresh light on the world.