Tribe 20:4 - "Stay" (Song Premiere)

By Kelsey Tang

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Like most collectives, Tribe 20:4 began as a school club of enthusiasts pursuing this shared passion for music production and remixing. Unlike most collectives, Tribe 20:4 features a diverse cast of creatives, making music that ranges from epic, climactic electronic grooves to feel-good, vibey hip hop bounces.

The ensemble’s roots dwell in a past that speaks to their novelty. “We started as a vaporwave rap band. That’s our dark origin story,” comments Tojou, one of the producers and founding members of Tribe 20:4. “It started in UC San Diego at the producers’ club. After the meetings finished, there were a select group of people that would stay and hang out.”

Now Tribe 20:4 has expanded to feature members that occupy San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Tokyo. Scrolling through the collective’s discography will transport you to a variety of worlds, from the sun-soaked west coast regions to the cerebral pockets of the psyche

And the collective has constructed a new fantasy world within “Stay.” With Tojou laying the foundation for the instrumental, he found inspiration in the underwater realm: “During that time, I went to a buddhist monastery and was feeling hella zen. I started trying to work in wind sounds — a relaxing, ethereal kind of ambience. From that idea, it started branching out from me, and then to Jen [Black Jade] and Sarah [Impakt].”

When Black Jade took over the production, she also composed the first verse: “I was going through a tough breakup at the time, so I was writing about a relationship as a painting that you make together. After writing, I realized it was about my own relationship with myself.”

For Impakt, the YouTube rabbit hole guided the music production process: “I played [Tojou’s] beat in the background and started watching GoPro videos of people freediving underwater. No oxygen tanks — they literally dive hundreds of feet, as far as they can go. And I was fascinated by these people moving in slow motion and fighting their natural instinct to go up for air.”

And that’s how “Stay” fashions a world of shimmering harps, feathery vocals, and resonant drums. Do yourself a favor and take a listen before the summer season dissolves.

“Stay” is now streaming on Spotify.

Jeffrey Wu