X Ambassadors Announce New Project (Eg)

X Ambassadors have announced a new project called (Eg), a multi-part series featuring collaborations with an eclectic mix of emerging artists. Today, the multi-platinum-selling rock band share the first single and video from (Eg) — “ultraviolet.tragedies” by X Ambassadors with Terrell Hines, a euphoric yet explosive track that perfectly captures the project’s boundary-breaking sensibilities. “ultraviolet.tragedies” by X Ambassadors with Terrell Hines is available now.

Also featuring up-and-coming artists Jensen McRae and Earl St. Clair, (Eg) was conceived as an outlet for X Ambassadors’ more free-flowing and left-of-center impulses. The project is a natural progression for the hyper-creative and highly collaborative band, whose output includes producing and writing for global superstars like Rihanna and working extensively with Lizzo on her massively successful 2019 album Cuz I Love You (including co-writing and producing tracks like “Jerome,” winner of Best Traditional R&B Performance at the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards).

As lead singer Sam Nelson Harris reveals, (Eg) took shape from an undeniable urge to showcase some of the talent they’ve discovered through their production and co-writing work. “We wanted to give voice to these incredible artists that people may not have heard yet, and really let their imagination be at the forefront of everything,” he says. “They’re all very much artists with their own unique style that’s so specific to them; they truly don’t care about fitting into any sort of mold, or curating their sound to anything other than what they envision.”

With its bass-heavy grooves and furious momentum, “ultraviolet.tragedies” was sparked from a jam session between X Ambassadors and Hines, a multi-instrumentalist who released his critically acclaimed Portal One: The Mixtape last August. Capped off by an epically eerie operatic climax from Harris, “ultraviolet.tragedies” is accompanied by an equally enthralling visual that transcends the traditional music-video format by integrating elements of an off-the-cuff conversation in which Hines speaks with Harris about his origins as an artist, including his upbringing in Georgia. X Ambassadors used Microsoft Azure Kinect Body Tracking SDK and bespoke software meant to serve as a tool for artists aiming to capture 3D joint data of subjects’ movements in real-time. Microsoft Azure Kinect’s Sensor SDK also provides the ability to capture and output real-time point cloud; the output is then seamlessly integrated into 3D software, ultimately opening a new medium for creative expression.

X Ambassadors’ first new music since their spring 2020 single “Zen” (a collaboration with K.Flay and grandson that’s now amassed over 17 million streams), (Eg) came to life as the band completed their third full-length effort, due out later this year. According to Harris, the project has already had an indelible impact on their evolution as musicians and creators. “All the artists we’ve worked with on (Eg) have reminded me how important it is to make what you love and not think twice about it,” he says. “When people hear the project, I hope they come away with that same sense of freedom, and also just feel the pure joy that comes from the art of collaboration.”

X Ambassadors made their full-length debut with VHS, a 2015 release that saw the band transition from Ithaca alt-rockers and Brooklyn-indie-scene outsiders to Billboard stalwarts. Now certified platinum, VHS provided an intimate look at Sam Nelson Harris and his brother Casey Harris’s youth, delivering the genre-defying hits “Unsteady” and “Renegades” and leading to a three-year global touring odyssey as well as a string of high-profile festival performances. VHS was followed by X Ambassadors’ 2019 sophomore album ORION, which the band supported with an extensive headline tour of the U.S. Their ’60s and ’70s soul, R&B, inspired Belong EP was released last March.

The core of his sound is a living mix of eerie soul, alt-pop, hip-hop, post-punk, and southern funk, but Terrell Hines is a world-builder with a voracious mind. This Georgia-born, Los Angeles-based visionary has created an entire ecosystem for his songs, where sonic structures and lyrics are just as likely to be inspired by the sociopolitical as the personal, by functional architecture as abstract art, by the austere science of survivalism as the limitless potential of technology. The best part is, you don’t have to know all that to feel the holistic magic of Hines’s work. We hear immediacy, exuberance, freedom, and ingenuity — music as surprising as it is captivating — while he sees a burning question: “If shit popped off and society had to be rebuilt,” asks Hines, “how would I do it?”