Chicago-based artists Rich Jones and producer Montana Macks, announce their new collaborative album, How do you sleep at night?, out October 30th. In anticipation of the album, they share the lead single “Groceries,” which features fellow Chicago musician Mykelle Deville. Jones recorded How do you sleep at night? sporadically in the initial months of lockdown, hesitant to dive into anything too seriously with another album in the works himself that needed to be completed. The title is a question Jones often ruminated on, as this year brought more bad news heaped upon bad news, and few answers, if any, on how to turn it around. And that’s without even reconciling what our lives have become under the duress of the pandemic and the horrific loss of nearly a quarter-million people in this country alone since March.
“There are some wildly bad actors at this moment, but it’s not just bombastic shit heads or calmly ghoulish pragmatists who deserve a solid boot to the ass (and boy do they ever),” says Jones. “It’s the unbothered and unconcerned, those who choose to have no opinion at all and go about life as if everything is just ‘great.’ I don’t know, maybe life has turned me overly sour, but I have a hard time getting geeked about brunch or whatever while police kill with impunity, and we not so quietly descend into a fascistic nightmare. It all feels a little too Cabaret, and I have no interest in tuning any of it out or having delusions of normalcy.”
“When recording, I honestly didn’t know what to say at the time, but I knew if I was gonna do something, ‘party and bullshit’ were not on the menu. I also knew that it should definitely be a Hip Hop record. While I’ve gone on to make all sorts of sounds over the last decade, it’s truly my first love and the thing that centers me and informs my choices as an artist period. My favorite MCs speak directly about their opinions, and that is what I sought to do as I would hate to have people misconstrue where my heart and head are at. Plus, I was long overdue to reconnect with Montana Macks, the person who brought me into this in the 1st place almost 20 years ago sitting on a school bus and who’s made some of the best music I’ve heard to date. Lucky me, that quarantine started with him sending 14 hours of beats to go through! Even luckier that we’re part of a community that has embraced us as we’ve enmeshed ourselves in a cultural movement that is not inherently our own but that we nevertheless feel honor-bound to uplift and support as much as it has for us.
Since I started working in earnest on this, I’ve had some pretty rough days. Watching in horror as strangers and friends alike have been brutalized by our local police and then hearing politicians and their commanders praise them for their “professionalism and restraint,” will do that. The same goes for all those struggling to keep their businesses afloat while aid that would truly sustain them is still less than idea even after we’ve seen how the pandemic is ravaging them. It’s just plain not right, and it pisses me off. However – it’s been some solace to put how I feel down, an audio diary of sorts to remind me what’s happened, keep my head in the fight, and double down on how I can be the best friend and comrade to those who need it. My hope is that it inspires you to do the same because Lord knows we need more people to step up if we’re going to have any shot of turning the tide.