A few years ago, OurStage ran a competition in partnership with the microchip giant Intel, searching for talent in various genres. One of the overall finalists was a song called “Coming Off Pretty” by what appeared to be a band called The House of Jed. On further inspection, it became clear that The House of Jed was actually the solo project of Jarrod Gollihare, who is a member of Admiral Twin, a band that had made a big impact on the site a couple of years prior. Although the folks at Intel ultimately selected another artist as their overall winner, we here at OS HQ were taken with “Coming Off Pretty,” a catchy burst of vaguely electro pop. We followed as Gollihare turned out several more excellent organic/electronic hybrid jams, including a couple of impressive videos. Out of curiosity and fandom, we approached him with some questions about his career and creative process, and he graciously took the time to answer. We found it interesting enough to make into the following interview, which has been lightly edited for clarity.
OS: I’m curious about your process. The music sounds really pro, but I imagine The House of Jed as a one-man operation from start to finish – is that accurate? Does anyone else perform, engineer, mix, or otherwise aid in the work?
JG: It is indeed a one-man operation. With the exception of a few backup vocals on “Everybody Lies” (courtesy of my wife Jaime) all the House of Jed sounds are made, engineered and mixed by me…in my one-room studio [at home]. For better or worse. I’ve got no formal production training. Everything I’ve learned, I picked up by peering over the shoulders of producers and engineers who actually know what they’re doing. Or by watching Internet videos. Or by trial and error. So, in other words, I’m pretty sure I do a lot of production stuff completely wrong, and I probably take way longer to accomplish recording and mixing tasks that could actually be done much more efficiently and effectively by a real professional. But I have fun.
OS: Do you program your drums? How do you get those sounds, which seem like a mix of real and programmed?
JG: Most of my recorded drums are played on my kit. Drums are actually my primary instrument. When it comes to recording a song, I’ll often put down a programmed drum loop over which I’ll record a scratch guitar and vocals…giving me a “roadmap” of sorts to use for recording my kit. And that programmed loop sometimes makes it into the final mix in little sections of the song, or layered with my real drums for effect. I don’t use anything too involved to make my loops, though. In fact, I either use this old freeware program called HammerHead (a super simple rhythm station that emulates a few sounds from Roland 606, 808 and 909 drum machines), or I use pre-made rhythms from an inexpensive (very unprofessional) Casio keyboard I’ve had for years. In fact, some of the keyboard bass I occasionally use comes from the “organ” setting on the same Casio. Another thing I do occasionally is cannibalize old drum recordings from my other band, Admiral Twin. I have a wealth of material I can re-purpose by slowing the isolated tracks down or speeding them up, and then chopping them into entirely new rhythms. The drums on “I Won’t Survive You” and “Last Entry” are re-purposed Admiral Twin drums.
OS: Do you use other virtual instruments, from apps or other software? Is that an Omnichord on “O Caligula?”
JG: I use virtually no virtual instruments. The bass on “Last Entry” is a virtual Moog that I programmed into a 12/4 pattern over which I played drums in 4/4 time to create a slightly off kilter pulse. That’s really about it, though. I tend to use real instruments. And yes, that’s an Omnichord you hear on “O Caligula.” It’s one of my prized eBay purchases. In my studio, I also have a small collection of guitars; a ukulele, a Danelectro bass; a MicroKorg synth; several cheap, consumer-level Casio keyboards from the 1980s (eBay baby!); a xylophone; a small Ludwig breakbeat drum kit, and quite a lot of percussion bits and bobs.
OS: I haven’t seen any tour dates – do you perform live with House of Jed? Any long-term goals beyond what you’re already doing?
JG: The House of Jed is a studio project for now. But I’d sure like to get these songs on stage at some point. I do play drums and sing with other acts though. One of those is Admiral Twin.
My goal for any song I write and record is (first and foremost) to make people feel something. Art of any kind is the closest thing to actual magic I can think of. And that’s a big deal to me. However – I’d sure like to earn some money with what I create, as well. It’s what I do best, after all. My big personal career goal is just to be able to get up everyday and work on art for a living…to pay the bills with my songs or writings or paintings (or a combination thereof). I’m grateful for my dayjob (my wife and I both work for a social media management company) but being a full-time artist is the real goal. I got a brief taste of the full-time musician lifestyle with Admiral Twin back when we were signed to a subsidiary of Universal Records. We got to put out one national release, and then – a few months after our CD hit the shelves – the label we were on (Mojo) folded, like so many other labels did at that time. We’ve been indie ever since. It was a good ride while it lasted.
OS: Do people call you Jed?
JG: Some of my friends call me Jed. Picked up that nickname in 6th grade…somehow it stuck. So feel free!
Aly Spaltro and band – aka Lady Lamb – performed their new “Billions Of Eyes” plus a few other songs on World Cafe Live. She also spoke with David Dye in an interesting interview, which included an explanation of a reference in “Billions Of Eyes” to her relative who was named a saint. She also talks about songwriting and the recent truncation of her stage name. You can listen to the whole interview with all of the songs here.
On November 19th, Bloodshot Records released Bottle Rockets/The Brooklyn Side as a two-disc package, including a detailed 40-page booklet. Released in 1993 and 1995 respectively, these two records are crucial early planks in the bridge from The Replacements through Ryan Adams‘ Whiskeytown and to the now-established alt-country scene.
Not only do the records hold up to their countless progeny, they sound even more vital than many of today’s roots rock releases. The albums’ straight-ahead, raw and roomy production (enhanced by a fine remastering job) has nothing in common with the budget indie sound that dates so many of their contemporaries and, along with the top-notch songwriting and fearless performances, makes for an exciting listen.
We had a quick Q&A with Bottle Rockets drummer Mark Ortmann to see what he thought accounted for the great sound on these records, as well as his thoughts on touring, playing with Marshall Crenshaw, and bands on other planets.
SJ: I had never heard these two early records, and being a fan of lots of independent releases from the early ’90s, I can’t believe how vibrant these sound in contrast, with a really high production value. That can’t just be the remaster, right? To what or whom do you attribute the sound of the recordings?
Mark: John Keane produced, recorded and engineered the debut album Bottle Rockets, whereas The Brooklyn Side was produced by Eric Ambel and recorded by Albert Caiati. Although the remastering did put a new polish on those albums, it’s John, Eric and Albert who are responsible for the vibrant quality of the original recordings. The common approach they took was to record a faithful representation of the band while avoiding the audio fads/trends of the times (gated drums, digital effects, etc.) There is more production on The Brooklyn Side because there was more studio time to work with by the second album, but neither album sounds dated due to the recording methods used.
We spend a lot of time covering the biggest pop acts here in the United States, but considering the fact OurStage welcomes artists and fans from all over the world we thought it would be fun to begin introducing a few world music new tidbits into the magazine as well. If you’re an international artist with a new song, video, or tour announcement, email firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to your material. We cannot guarantee every submission will be featured on the blog, but we will reply to every message we receive.
In Portugal, if you’re looking for male pop artists you would be hard pressed to find a more notable person than Johan Rodrigues. His latest EP, Um, has been garnering praise the world over, and his latest single “Bad Girl” is so catchy it hurts. Johan recently took time from his busy schedule to discuss the gift that started his interest in music, the creation of Um, and developing as an international talent. You can read an excerpt from the piece below, then click here to read the full interview. (more…)
Say Anything frontman Max Bemis recently sat down with AbsolutePunk for an extended interview that debuted online earlier today. In the piece, which was written by Drew Beringer, Bemis discussed his comic series, numerous musical projects, being a new dad and more. You can read the full feature on AP, but we’ve highlighted an interesting section for you to enjoy below:
First things first “ how awesome is it being a new dad?
It’s really amazing. To me, obviously the main perk being around the baby and just simply “ it sounds corny “ but just looking into her eyes is literally the most experience I have ever had in my life. You realize it’s your kid and that’s how your relationship with her, and it already sort of (more…)
Hopeless Records’ act The Wonder Years are currently gearing up to release their new album, The Greatest Generation, this May. Recently, the Philadelphia based pop punk group took some time from their busy schedule while in Grand Rapids, MI to discuss their upcoming release with MindEqualsBlown. You can read a portion of the interview below and, if you feel like reading more, click here for the full feature. If you’d like to support The Wonder Years, click here to preorder The Greatest Generation.
MEB: Right now you’re currently on tour with Fireworks, Hostage Calm and Misser. How’s the tour going so far?
Soupy: Fantastic. We are at show number six. Four of six have sold out well in advance, while the other two have gotten close. I think Albany was pretty close and Minneapolis, I don’t want to say it was close to selling out because it was a huge, huge room, but it was a really great, really full crowd.
You also just got back from Soundwave in Australia. What were some of the highlights of that?
Personal highlights or professional highlights? Eh, personal highlights it is! One: I held a koala bear! Thatwas cool. We were walking around Lone Pine Animal Sanctuary in Brisbane, where you can pet kangaroos, hold koala bears and see all this shit. B-Real from Cypress Hill was hanging out, I have to assume high because, I mean, he’s in Cypress Hill. That’s their whole thing, right?
Not to unfairly judge the members of Cypress Hill, but I kind of think that’s kind of like the vibe they want to go for, regardless of just looking at like a giant fucking colorful bird, just staring at it. That alone time was kind of cool. I went to see Chris Jericho of the World Wrestling Entertaiment company, who also sings in a metal band called Fozzy. Well¦let me back it up. Soundwave is over the course of two weeks, and there’s only five shows, so you’re there a lot of the time when you’re there and you’re not playing festivals, and they do these things called Sidewaves. They basically say, Hey, every band on the Soundwave festival is in Sydney today, so instead of doing a festival, we’re going to have them all break down into three band bills and have them play small clubs around the city. One of the Sidewaves was Scott Ian from Anthraxand Chris Jericho doing spoken word, and they literally just sit there and tell stories for an hour each. And I’m a huge, huge wrestling mark, so I went to that. Everyone else went to do other cool stuff and I walked there for 25 minutes by myself through Sydney, and it was fucking killer, man. That was a huge highlight for me, Jericho’s spoken word. I met Jericho, which was also incredible; I got a picture with him, so that was really cool for me. I also got to stay on side stage and watch Blink  play. (more…)