06 2:56 pm
- Posted by: Greg Jones
- Category: Artist Interview
1) How did you and Sarahbeth meet?
Sarahbeth & I met through a community of similar friends. She & I have a ton of mutual friends, including my soon-to-be wife (who is also named Sarah). The more we kept hanging out in mutual friend groups, we started to become friends, get to know each other better, etc. I had heard that she sang, so one day, I just asked her randomly if she wanted to sing with me at a show coming up. Thankfully, we clicked vocally. Since then, we’ve tried to sing as much together as possible. It’s still my solo music, so occasionally I’ll sing by myself, or if she can’t make a show & I really want female vocals, I’ll ask other friends. But we’ve played so many shows together & recorded together, so it’s just aways much more comfortable with her on stage.
2) We’re intrigued by your genre. The song we featured seemed to be folksy country, but what we heard on bandcamp sounds a bit more like Indie rock or even pop alternative. What do you consider your music?
I really consider my music to be singer/songwriter. When I go into the studio, I try my best to not have any idea of how I want the song to become, for better or worse. That may not be the best way to go about recording, but it’s worked for me so far. I love the process of seeing the song develop into something I didn’t imagine it would become. Sometimes that ends up being a pop song, sometimes it’s really country, sometimes it’s just straight up rock-n-roll. But I always love how it unfolds. I also like to think that if it’s me writing & singing, they’ll always end up flowing together somehow, even if they can be different stylistically. There’s that common bond between each song that makes it all gel.
3) What does the songwriting process look like for you? Does Sarahbeth write too?
I like the song to be able to stand on it’s own as a song, whether it’s full band or just me & an acoustic. So when it comes to writing, I’m constantly focused on lyrics, melodies, & overall structure. I want the song to make sense, capture the listener, lead them from the beginning of the song to the end, & leave them feeling like they understood what was happening; so that’s my lyrical focus. I also want the listener to walk away after one listen, even half of a listen, & be able to immediately hum the melody. Finally, I just want it to feel good; so that’s where the structure focus happens. I really like to “trim the fat” from songs. I don’t like to have a 45 second intro to a song. I just don’t feel like that’s necessary. I don’t feel like a song needs 2 minutes of lyrics before the chorus kicks in. I’m always really concerned with the overall feel of the song. If at any point I feel as if the listener might get bored or let their mind wander, I cut that part out.
4) Which is your favorite of your songs to perform live and why?
There are a few “fan favorite” songs to perform. One of them “Honey, Let’s Run Away” that y’all already featured on the blog. I like songs that naturally make the audience want to sing along. I’ve always felt awkward forcing crowd participation, but I’ve always liked having “la, la” sections that welcome audiences to belt them out with me. “Honey, Let’s Run Away” has that at the end with the “no oh oh” section. A couple other of my songs, “Come & Go” as well as “No Future,” have moments like that as well. Those are always really fun to play.
5) Your songs have a narrative style to them. Who do you consider your primary songwriting influences? Do you have that “one” songwriter that really shapes the way you write?
I have a few songwriters that I really look up to & love their writing style. John Prine is a major influence when it comes to lyrics. That dude can lead the listener so well through a song, and then when you least expect it, blow your mind with a genius lyric. It’s incredible how many great songs that man has written. Other folks that I feel like have influenced me are The Avett Brothers, M. Ward, Ryan Adams, Dawes, David Bazan. I also really love listening to my friends music & drawing inspiration from what they have been writing. It’s almost like a friendly competition. “So-n-so wrote this killer song last week, what do you have to show?!” That sort of thing. It’s been really helpful pushing each other as writers in that way.
6) Who are you listening to right now?
Currently, I’ve been listening to a few things. Noah Gundersen has just recently blown my mind. He’s this small town dude from Seattle, I believe. Just killer, honest lyrics that focus on melody & structure. All things that I love. I’ve also been hooked on my buddy’s, Matt Hires, new record that comes out sometime next year. He’s such a great pop singer/songwriter. It’s been fun hearing him write these songs for the new record & now hearing how they are turning out. It’s a record that you’ll want to pick up. The dude can write a chorus so well. I’ve been waking up with his songs stuck in my head every morning for the last week…and I haven’t listened to the album in probably that long too. That’s how infectious his melodies are.
7) What are your career aspirations? What is your goal for your music career? Rock Hall or Grand Ole Opry?
I’d really just like to be able to support my family with songwriting & performing. I’m not chasing a rich & famous sort of life, which really don’t exist much anyway for musicians. I think the dream life would be to make most of my living co-writing & publishing deals, then to release the occasional album & be able to tour it for a couple months a year & do OK. Just to have a solid, committed fan base would be awesome. Not a huge one, but one that I know when I release an album they’ll be excited for it. Something like you’d see in David Bazan. Then when I’m not touring or releasing an album, spend the majority of my time co-writing for people and such. I think that’s the dream. Just making an honest living doing what I love to do; songwriting.
8) What would you like our readers to know about your music? (You can be as serious or as silly as you’d like to be with this one.)
I think I’d mostly just like your readers to know about my music…haha. I mean, obviously enjoy it too. I really do take songwriting very seriously & treat it like a craft. I work hard at trying to always improve, understanding I always have more to learn, & there will always be people better than me. It’s not something I just kind of do or “wait for the inspiration.” I really want to be the best songwriter I possibly can be. I think it would be cool if people understood how much I respect the craft. Also, I just love building relationships. I don’t really want people to look at my like a “rock star” or ever feel like that myself. I always like it when it feels like I’m playing music for a bunch of friends…whether that crowd is 50 people or 1,000 people. I want people to know I am their friend.