John Jeffcoat and Joel Husenits first met in 1993 as students at Denison University, where both were enrolled in the same multitrack recording class, in addition to deejaying for the college radio station.
“Joel was in a band that had recorded some stuff, and we had to mix it in the multitrack recording class,” said Jeffcoat in a mid-February Zoom interview from his home in the Seattle area, joined by the Columbus-based Husenits. “And I thought it was cool, and I thought it would be fun to do some music together.”
So, Jeffcoat, a film major, tapped Husenits to help him create scores for his student films, the two eventually gathering in the basement of Jeffcoat’s house to bash out raw, mostly instrumental recordings influenced by the likes of Galaxy 500, Dinosaur Jr. and the Dream Academy. These experimental sessions lasted about three months during the pair’s final semester, and then the two went their separate ways, with Jeffcoat hanging up his guitar and moving to the West Coast and Husenits continuing to play in various bands while living in Central Ohio.
The two stayed in touch, though, and in 2017 Husenits sent Jeffcoat a CD compiling all of the recordings the two made together in college, which led to the pair kicking around the idea of turning these musical sketches into a proper album. But it wasn’t until the pandemic hit in 2020 that the two finally found themselves with enough extra time to actually make a go of it. Beginning in the early months of COVID, the two worked remotely to flesh these early recordings out into fuller songs, the results of which can be heard on Nameless Station’s , released today (Friday, Feb. 24) on Old 3C Label Group and Twolick Recordings.
“The [material] was pretty raw, but you could see there was potential, and there were elements in [the music] that made me curious, and made me want to dig a little deeper,” said Jeffcoat, who dragged his guitar out of storage to help rework the songs. “And what was really exciting was coming up with a riff or a chord progression I could send to Joel, and he would sort of really develop it and layer it and add some vocals. And it was exciting to see the songs take shape. And so, while the original intention was to find a reason to play music again … it started to turn into, ‘Okay, what else can we write? What else can we do with this?'’’
The resultant album blends the nerve-y tension of those early-20s years with a perspective that can only come from having absorbed decades of experiences – creating the sensation of the middle-aged musicians jamming with their younger selves. (It’s difficult to imagine, for instance, lines such as “Maybe nothing here’s meant to last” or “How did we become so brittle?” emanating from the mouth of a college senior.)
“It was like going back in time and getting a chance at a redo,” said Jeffcoat, who had to redevelop the calluses on his playing fingers after not having picked up a guitar in 15 years. “It definitely gave me a boost and an excitement that had been lacking, especially during COVID times, which could be pretty dark. It was a real light to be able to get in there and kind of play around. … It allowed me to reconnect with a passion I’d lost after college, and it did give me this youthful exuberance and this excitement, like, ‘Here we are, making our debut album … 30 years later.’”
The experience was slightly different for Husenits, who never stopped making music and therefore felt less as though he was reconvening with a younger version of himself. “I wouldn’t say that it took me back to college, per se, but I was happy this stuff was getting dusted off and revisited,” he said.
Now that the two have finally polished off their debut release, they’re already well into sessions for a new record. “I’d be optimistic and say we can do an album a year, or an album every other year, but we’ll see,” Jeffcoat said, which speaks to a larger idea that both musicians have embraced as part of this later-in-life reboot.
“I know for a fact that there are a ton of people, our peers, who used to play music, who used to write songs,” Husenits said. “And then at some point along the line: work, families, kids – all of that hits and they put it away. And I think it would be great if some of them heard this and were like, ‘Oh, I might dust off that old song and try recording.’”
“Maybe it will be inspiring for some other people to kind of get off their asses,” Jeffcoat said. “It’s never too late to pick up the guitar.”