Back in September, Jagwar Twin burst back onto the scene with his second album, 33, a charismatic collection of alt-pop earworms woven with thoughtful, dark notes of introspection. Though it’s still a relatively fresh release, Roy English is expanding its world with the companion EP The Circle: The Great Jagwar Myth, which witnesses him reimagine the album’s final track, “The Circle,” in three unique new ways.
“I’ve been lucky enough to create with some amazing humans who have inspired me in so many different ways, from Matt Pauling, S1, Jeff Bhasker, Colin Brittain and more,” English says. “We each have our own fingerprint and perspective, and so the process with this EP was to let the story go out and be translated and see what came back. The EP is simply a showcase of many translations of the same story.”
There’s even more of a story to dive into behind the EP, though, as English explains.
33 has been out for nearly six months now. How do you feel about that project looking back?
33 is a reflection of myself at a very important time in my life, and I’ll always be deeply connected with the songs. Life keeps moving, perspective evolves and changes, but 33 is a beautiful moment in myself and in the world forever captured. I still find myself in these songs, and I hope others do, too.
How did the idea of making a companion EP with reimaginings of “The Circle” come about?
“The Circle” is one of those songs that seemed to write itself. From where I see it, “The Circle” feels like the story of Jagwar Twin but, in many ways, the story of all of us. Much of modern music is made with the ever-elusive algorithm in mind, but this song is the opposite of that. The mind had very little to do with it, and I just got out of the way. This song houses a story that can be told in a million different ways, and it will evolve over the years. The idea of different ways to tell the same story was at the core of making the EP.
Was “The Circle” always the obvious track to focus on for the EP? Did you contemplate focusing on other songs or incorporating multiple?
“The Circle” was definitely the not-obvious pick to make an EP around. It’s obviously not a “single,” but there is a resonance with the song that is obvious from people’s reaction to the song. I see this song being just as impactful opening at a tiny club show as headlining a sold-out stadium, and that feels special to me.
What did you hope to achieve with the reimagined versions of the song?
To me, the melody feels like a lullaby I’ve always known. Even though it’s new, it feels ancient. The music surrounding the lyrics and the melody seems to just play with the context in which the story takes place. I feel at home in many different spaces, and I have a very eclectic taste in music, but the story is always the same. I hope with the reimagined “angles” of the song that everyone can find their own “home” in one of the spaces.
Tell us more about the song’s background as a “Jagwar Twin origin story.”
If we look back through history, we can learn so much from the stories of our past and apply what those before us knew to our own world today. We are all fighting a war within, between our hearts and our minds. There is an inherent duality within each of us, and exploring that duality was the genesis of the Jagwar Twin project. I think a lot about how different a world we would live in if we truly knew ourselves, who we are, and where we came from.
Would you ever consider giving any other songs the reimagining treatment?
There are often two sides to a feeling, and I’m trying to become more attuned to what is really driving the desire to reimagine or “improve” something. Letting go can be very difficult for an artist, for anyone. But if the reimagining is coming from a place of feeling that a song does have another side to be told, then for sure I would consider it.
What’s next for you? What do the coming months have in store for you?
I’ve been writing nonstop for the past five months, connecting with the current moment in my life, and am really excited to continue putting out new music. I’m also heading out on the road in April with Transviolet and [am] excited to connect with other humans in a live setting. There’s really nothing like the feeling of shared energy around a song in a room.