Del Water Gap is the solo project of American songwriter and producer S. Holden Jaffe, born in New Haven, Connecticut. Jaffe began recording in a converted storage closet at his boarding school in upstate New York, releasing a self-produced EP in 2012. Following a move to New York City to attend New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, Del Water Gap grew from a bedroom project to a nationally touring band.
The years during which Jaffe began writing, recording and performing as Del Water Gap were ones fueled by the kind of hedonism that you can get away with when you’re young and hungry in New York City. But at some point between exiting the pandemic and releasing his long-awaited debut album in 2021, that lifestyle had swiftly (and necessarily) vanished. Now midway through a global tour behind that record, he had found stability in the constant transience through his relationship and his sobriety. Still, the rigor of spending every night in a different hotel room was taking its expected toll, and by the time he was expected to put pen to paper for the next Del Water Gap project, Jaffe felt spiritually depleted.
Any trace of cynicism began to dissipate instantly upon his first session with producer Sammy Witte (Harry Styles, SZA) who encouraged Jaffe to abandon the self-conscious subtext of his previous work and make the record he’s always wanted to make but never allowed himself to. That meant hoisting his sonic palette up into panoramic pop heights, as on lead single “All We Ever Do Is Talk,” a joyride hinging on massive existential doubt: “will we ever get that feeling again?” Can the cardinal jolt of young love last beyond its initial spark? Can one still achieve highs without the drugs? Are the best times really over, or are they still within reach?