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Novaak began in May of 2010 as two friends wasting time discussing music over Thai food. Multi-instrumentalist/producer Blake Panter and lyricist/vocalist Jessi James casually discussed a collaboration at SXSW 2010, but were reluctant to delve into the writing process. A long absence from any sort of songwriting was something they had in common. The long break allowed Panter and James ample time to grow in their respective abilities, but it left both with a level of uncertainty of whether they could even finish a song if they gave it a shot.
The first attempt that became "Deepest Part" began on James's front porch as a simple three chord riff on an acoustic guitar. Panter went home that night to flesh out the idea with full instrumentation. The challenge to write vocals and lyrics was passed onto James with an MP3. The song was finished after a few more sessions and Panter and James began a process of writing one song at a time. Panter threw himself into learning all he could about the recording process and accumulating enough equipment to set up a DIY recording studio in his bedroom corner.
The duo became Novaak once the first three songs were completed and a distinct mood became evident in the music they were creating. James' escapist approach to writing, affinity for music in film, and love of mystery was echoed in Panter's increasingly expansive instrumentation and complex arrangements.
Novaak completed an 11 song album entitled, "I Am, You Are" only six months after they began.