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JWestern Releases New Track ‘More Than Friends’ via Heist or Hit

May 2, 2022
Photo Credit: Aubrey Simpson


Releases New Track ‘More Than Friends’ via Heist or Hit

Leeds alt-pop wunderkind JWestern makes his first move of 2022 with the sultry, mournful jammer ‘More Than Friends’ out today via Heist or Hit

As with any good show, the new series in JWestern’s world begins with refined character development, and engaging evolution in the plot is accompanied by well-placed callbacks to energise committed fans. JWestern – AKA John Gooding – takes his trademark Jazz-inflected guitar twirls and lackadaisical vocals, and sets them atop a watery soundscape bejewelled with artisanal production flourishes. The overall impact is a 4K / celluloid clash – precision and clarity married to a detailed vintage aesthetic, at no expense to the lyrical story. 

Expanding on the themes JWestern explains: “Lyrically, I found myself thinking very reflectively about a moment of my life that I couldn’t process at the time. It’s all from the perspective of someone who is so enamoured with the thought of being with this person, that they don’t see that these feelings are to the detriment of themselves. A lot of stuff was happening that I felt I didn’t have enough control over, or enough words to communicate . Emotionally/mentally this really messed me up.” 

The palette of influences has also expanded. Years of music listening has culminated in a period of intense breadth and depth in exploration, which has had an effect on the process towards this track’s fruition. A mix-cassette of inspiration, from Men I Trust and JDilla, to Homeshake and Alice Phoebe LouJWestern is genre trespass for the indie-trained ear. With more osmosis than a water-logged permeable membrane, his sound is a soluble solution of beat-textured nuance, swirling guitar layers and sepia toned pads. Elaborating on the process, he says: 

“The track really came to life when I started chopping up and editing my vocals, loading them into a sampler and messing around with different rhythms of what became the phrase ‘More Than Friends’. I’ve always loved JDilla , and his use of the MPC sampler made me want to experiment in my own way of giving the vocal lines a bouncy choppy feel. 

Recently I’ve also been listening to a lot of 70s / 80s funk and soul with artists like Cassiano, Robson Jorge, Joao Donato and Joao Bosco. The harmony and instrumentation feels so honest and always makes me feel inspired.” 

The new track immediately whisks the audience away into the center of this already compelling atmosphere, this elusive mood emerges from the sweeping tonality and delicate noodles that convey the structure of “More Than Friends“. The emotive course of the harmonies from JWestern captivates the audience, this real easy attribute flows from the musician, the tones glide with ease, and the melodies bring affection into the soundscape whilst JWestern remains distinctly cool. The progression of this musician is something else, the ability to continue to curate a world and a specific immersive ambiance that ultimately becomes this compelling vibe, that vibe will alter the audiences’ mood without a doubt. JWestern continues to showcase this immense range, uniting dreamy landscapes with a real sense of immersive intimacy.

This digital crate-digging has lent itself to a really mature sound, and the emotional beats are growing more and more telling – tales of relatable youthful self-discovery never jar against his easy going flow, resulting in a woozy transatlantic sound.  

The likes of Billboard, Vogue (Paris), The Line of Best Fit, Clash Magazine, DORK, GIGWISE and BBC Radio 1 have proclaimed themselves as fans in his ongoing mission. Live sets with Feng Suave, pizzagirl and JW Francis has seen him cut his teeth on the stage, and further afield Japanese vinyl heavy-weights P-Vine packaged his first 2 EPs onto a 12’ for a release earlier this year. 

More Than Friends’ – the new single from JWestern – is out now via Heist or Hit 


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