ASD, the band created by Jake’s House as part of a fundraising project for the national autism charity, has released a six-song EP of original music called Fireflies that’s available on major streaming services.
The band, whose name is an acronym for Autism Spectrum Disorder, was put together by Edelman two years ago as a collection of individuals who are all on the spectrum and possessed an extraordinarily high level of musicianship.
Some people with autism possess a remarkable acumen for music, math, art or language. This so-called “savant syndrome” can appear in up to 37% of autistic individuals, although it is still fully understood how this aptitude comes about.
There were no expectations around ASD, but the members’ accomplishments since then have been remarkable, said Andrew Simon, Edelman Canada creative director and Jake’s House board member. There have also been some unexpected discoveries along the way, including the fact guitarist/vocalist Jackson D. Begley is an accomplished Elvis impersonator.
“We brought people together [saying] ‘We don’t know each other, but we’re going to do this thing.’ But I’ve been blown away by their level of musicianship,” said Simon. “It’s been the most amazing journey. When we started two years ago, it’s not like we said ‘In two years we’re going to put out our own music.'”
ASD began by doing covers of well-known pop standards like “I Got You Babe” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” but has since branched into writing its own material, with all but one of the band members contributing songs and music to the new EP.
“The most amazing thing about this is that we’re talking about a group of individuals where communication is not their strong suit,” said Simon. “That’s the part that was really intriguing.”
The band also brought in Maury LaFoy, a professional bass player who has worked with prominent Canadian musical artists including Bruce Cockburn, Sarah Harmer, and Kathleen Edwards, to serve as what Simon calls a “musical guide.” LaFoy co-produced the Fireflies EP wth Chris Stringer, a well-known indie rock producer who is one of the owners of Toronto studio Union Sound Company.
The EP’s title song blends the bouncy melodies of The Go Go’s with the ska-inspired sound of No Doubt. There is also a video (see it below) assembled from footage captured by director Mark Bone for a feature-length documentary about ASD that will be submitted to festivals next year.
The band has also created a merch line, although Simon said that fundraising opportunities for Jake’s House will arise out of band showcases that will hopefully inspire donations.