While "To Die In LA"—the first single released off Lower Dens' new full-length, out March 31st—sees the typically grim Baltimore band experimenting with brighter textures, we still didn't really know what to expect when we commissioned a FADER Mix from Jana Hunter, the band's cool, contemplative lead singer. Would it be a total downer? It turns out that in addition to a well-established knack for writing moody rock songs, Hunter also has an ear for interesting party music. Here, she weaves together dynamic, club-ready gems like Rare Mp3s' mash-up of SOPHIE and Gucci Mane and FADER Mix alum DJ Uniiqu3's head-spinning T-Pain edit. Download the whole 37-minute set below, followed by a brief catch-up interview about cat piss, DJ sets, and cooking lamb.
Where are you right now? I'm in a room with a wood floor. The floor is worn and stained, like with water or maybe cat piss. The door to the room is also wood, fitted with an old warded lock, and shows signs of having been hit with the flat side of the hammer. There's a latch on the outside of the door and I wonder sometimes if somebody used to get locked in here. According to the owner, the house was built at the end of the 19th century. I can't hear the sleet anymore. Somewhere else in the house, somebody's watching sitcoms.
What vibe were you going for on this mix? Vibes are not so much my thing. I want to feel something of the person that made the song, some kind of intensity I can relate to, but the vibe can be whatever.
Do you play "DJ sets" often? So-called "DJ sets"? I play them, mostly in Baltimore. I love it. Cex and I want to set up a night but he's been doing a lot of plays and I've had the album.
What's the last thing you read that had an impact on you? One book I'm reading now is The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald. He's got a way of equalizing seemingly disparate things so that they're objective value seems less important this his/your subjective relationship to them. Something vital about that.
Production-wise, how is Escape From Evil different than previous Lower Dens records? It's a real "in-your-face" vibe. Stripping back a lot of the effects made us work harder on the songs themselves. Gotta stand up to scrutiny now they're not hid. So much more fretless bass than previous LD records. They were fretless-less. EFE: very fretless-y. Honestly, it's much simpler in terms of production. It's easy to add things, harder to trim fat. The record's lean and mean (not actually mean).
What's your favorite thing to cook, and how do you prepare it? Lamb dopiaza. I can't find cubed lamb, so I buy a piece of shoulder and cut it with a boning knife. Takes me a while. I use seeds and grind them, which is basically therapy. I follow this recipe faithfully. Anything I've made according to Madhur Jaffrey's instructions has turned out pretty incredible.
Shagabond - Drawpit
Massacooramaan - Trainwreck feat. Dj Rashad & RP Boo
Nina B Blanks - HOLLUP (Rizzla's Around the World Remix)
Future Brown - Big Homie feat. Sicko Mobb
SOPHIE x Gucci Mane - Lemonade
T Pain - Up Down (Uniiqu3 Remix)
False Witness - Makina (Rizzla Remix)
333 Boyz x Schwarz - 2 Live feat. TT the Artist
Flinch - Y'all Already Know feat. Star Eyes
Ricardo Villalobos - Easy Lee (LetKolben Remix)
Claude VonStroke - Eye I Eye (Original Mix)
Champagne Drip - Champagne Drip Theme