The words “Columbus” and “collaboration” together do not just create a neat alliteration. It has a deeper meaning within the city’s music scene. When residing in a city with one of the largest universities in the country, people from all walks of life come together and cultures intermingle.
Oftentimes those people are musicians, and in the case of one of Columbus music’s latest collaborative darlings, Doc Robinson — soulful, funky, fun pop music — something truly beautiful can transpire when members of different local bands come together for the creative good.
It took one session between Jon Elliott of The Floorwalkers and Nick D’Andrea of Nick D’ and The Believers to spawn a project that originally took the pop-rock stylings of Dr. Dog and soul of Smokey Robinson. The creative studio happenings also inspired the duo to reach out to MojoFlo members like guitarist George Barrie and trumpeter Adam Bidwell, former MojoFlo drummer Jake Levy and Forest & the Evergreens’ saxophonist Terrance Farmer to complete the band’s first song, “It’s Over.”
“It’s Over” is deemed by D’Andrea (keys) and Elliott (vocals) as “backyard BBQ breakup music,” a glorious summertime ode to finally ending it with a previous lover. The track is extremely ambitious, as listeners are almost immediately welcomed with the triumphant beckoning of Bidwell’s trumpet and Levy’s bombastic, infectious drumming.
Eventually this song transforms into a parade when all the pieces come together at one point. Just before the two-minute mark, the musical forces of Doc Robinson truly turn ending a relationship into a celebration.
On the forthcoming EP, Elliott mentioned how the group wanted to create a fluid story with each track. Near the aforementioned spot, he sings, “Now we’re waiting for the sky to fall, the final curtain call, you walk out the door, now it’s over,” signifying the protagonist breaking it off for good.
“When we first started writing the first song, we wrote every jam pretty much through a narrative concept, almost like creating a character in our mind or using people we know or famous people as the muse, as a narrative muse,” Elliott said.
One of the many standout portions of the track is the refined production of Mike Landolt, who recorded Maroon 5’s Grammy-winning debut album.
When Elliott and D’Andrea originally mentioned backyard BBQ music, it would not be crazy to jump to UGK or Ice Cube. The first few seconds of “It’s Over” features a looped, bass-heavy mixture of Doc Robinson’s sounds, but it quickly turns over to Bidwell’s trumpet calling. Landolt uses a similar trick to close out the song. His polished pop skills call back to Fun’s “Some Nights,” produced by the renowned Jeff Bhasker.
“On paper Mike Landolt has so much experience working with so many artists that we grew up listening to,” Elliott said. “There’s so much of the vibe and energy in the studio created just because the fact you’re working with this dude who has this infinite wisdom of record making.”
“It’s Over” is a Memorial Day anthem at its core. It’s the black shades, grilling out, no-longer-worrying-about-your-ex type of tune. With three other Doc Robinson songs in production, the group plans for an EP release this fall. The first time the collective will be performing together live will be at The Columbus Food Truck Festival this August, date to be announced.
Listen to “It’s Over” on Spotify here.