Grand Am Embraces Darkness With "In the Air Tonight" (premiere)
The Phil Collins classic "In the Air Tonight" gets a new take from TV/film-minded duo Grand Am.
Grand Am arrives with a new take on the 1981 Phil Collins staple "In the Air Tonight". The track comes a little more than a month after the duo's last single, "I Think I Am Found" and spotlights the group's knack for creating moody, atmospheric music. Grand Am's James Panepinto knows a thing or two about setting distinctive moods via song. He's been the force behind a wide range of soundtracks heard on programs created for MTV, A&E and many other networks.
In 2016, he found a similarly-minded soul in vocalist David McMillin, who'd fronted the Chicago outfit, Fort Frances. They are at the core of the new Collins cover, a song that Panepinto waxes enthusiastic about.
"'In the Air Tonight' is one of those few songs that stop time," he says. "It has such a distinctive sound that it paints a picture every time you hear it. This song does not fuck with daytime. It's a nighttime song. It has that effect. It takes you to a dark place and transforms the moment."
Written as Collins' first marriage was falling apart, the song became the stuff of urban legend in the 1980s (including one that claimed Collins had literally witnessed someone drowning and remained unwilling/unable to help) as well as representative of the Genesis drummer's formidable powers on his chosen instrument. Now, more than 35 years after its initial release, "In the Air Tonight" remains an excellent confluence of production and composition.
"The negative space in the song gave a ton of room for us to be creative as producers while keeping the emotion of the original song intact," says Panepinto. "We channeled the sonic atmosphere of those dimly lit corners of the night from the original and drenched our version in a lush landscape of delayed Moog synths and effected guitars."