Conceived as a spiritual, autobiographical artistic statement, Jamire applies sound collage practice to modern jazz composition, beat production, MC/vocalist features, and his uniquely impressionistic drumming style – making an album as akin to minimalist painting as an art-house film soundtrack or a classic hip-hop mixtape. A “self-reflective, almost testimonial work” that swiftly cycles across a vast spectrum of styles, it’s the culmination of his five-year musical journey to the outer reaches of his own sound. It’s the album he has always wanted to make.
To do so he engages his faith and the friends and family that shaped him, working with a host of close collaborators in a free and spontaneous manner. The shared musical, communal, and spiritual sensibility gives the album its sense of unity. “It’s a whole work,” Jamire explains. “It flows seamlessly, and it’s meant to keep playing until you really understand all the messages, prayers, and cries.”
Across twelve multi-faceted tracks, he brings together artists from his hometown of Houston (vocalists Corey King, Lisa E. Harris, Fat Tony, Jawwaad Taylor), those he became close to over several years living in LA (Sam Gendel, Zeroh, Mic Holden, Josh Johnson, fellow International Anthem artist Carlos Niño), and other creative partners from his life-long journey in sound (Chassol, Svet, Kenneth Whalum).
As such, ‘But Only After You Have Suffered’ builds its own world from the pull between Jamire’s jazz heritage – eleven years as a drummer in NYC recording with world-renowned musicians like Jason Moran, Christian Scott, and Dr. Lonnie Smith – and the experimental, narrative art-pop of his more recent work with Solange, Moses Sumney, and Blood Orange.
Its origins can also be traced to his 2016 solo percussion album ‘/////// Effectual’ (released by Leaving Records) – a turning point for Jamire, who has since embarked on a process of stripping back and breaking down his musical identity, creating a new sound from the fragments that most speak to his experience as a musician and a person.
Rooted in his faith, Jamire opens the album with “Hands Up,” a devotional hymn cut against the stark reality of the modern world that sounds like an apocalyptic middle-grounding of Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ and Merry Clayton’s “Gimme Shelter.” Whether in the rousing, spiritual “Just Hold On” or the fluid verses of Fat Tony on “Safe Travels,” the music exists in the tension between higher realms and social realities – what Jamire calls the “duality of a personal thing and what I’m seeing in my community, in the Black community, as a Black man.”
The album reaches its climax on “Pause In His Presence,” which features a chilling operatic performance from Lisa E. Harris, recorded in one take off the back of a single conversation and a shared vision between the two artists. “Every time I hear that song, I cry,” Jamire says. “It’s so real.”
Having recently moved back to Houston, the release of ‘But Only After You Have Suffered’ marks a moment of Jamire coming full circle. A literal homecoming and his arrival as an undeniably multi-faceted artist in his own right.
Produced by Jamire Williams.
Recorded & Mixed by Jake Viator at Stones Throw Studios in Los Angeles, CA.
Mastered by Dave Cooley at Elysian Masters, Los Angeles, CA.
Art by Nik Ewing.
Liner Notes by Charisse Weston.
Insert Portrait by Ray Neutron.
Layout & Insert Design by Craig Hansen.
Jamire Williams – drums, vocals, drum programming, samplers, mellotron, synthesizer, sequencer, electric piano
Brandon Owens – bass guitar
Burniss Travis – bass
Carlos Niño – percussion
Chassol – keyboards, synthesizer, programming
Corey King – vocals
Daniel Aged – bass guitar
Fat Tony – vocals
Flash Gordon Parks – turntable
Jason Arce – bass clarinet
Jason Moran – piano
Jawwaad Taylor – vocals
Joelle Corey – vocals
Josh Johnson – mellotron, synthesizer, programming
Kenneth Whalum – vocals
Lisa E. Harris – vocals
Matthew Stevens – lead guitar
Mic Holden – vocals
Mike Haldeman – guitar synthesizer
Paul Cornish – midi strings
Peter Lee Johnson – strings & string arrangement
Sam Gendel – guitar synthesizer, alto saxophone
Svet – vocals
Zeroh – vocals