How do you usually write the lyrics of your songs?
Larry: I try as often as possible to allow the lyrics to write themselves. Often the right words are just waiting to emerge and hit the page, if I can quiet my mind enough to allow them through. But certain sounds will suggest themselves, and suddenly you have a lyrical “hook” that makes sense, which can set a tone, or a direction for a song. Sometimes, when I have tried to deliberately write a particular kind of song, it can be a struggle to find lyrics that fit the idea, or the tone, or the direction of the song. At other times, a song will emerge almost completely at once, with no struggle at all, as if it was a song that had already been written, and just rediscovered. Really, there is no one particular way that lyrics are written, but in the end, I know they are done when they feel right.
In your opinion, what is the most important thing in songwriting?
Larry: I’ve never thought before about what I would call the “most important” thing in songwriting, but I think there is an aspect to songwriting that I would compare to something else which I love, which is amusement park rides. I have never designed an amusement park ride, but as a rider, I have always appreciated the creativity, thought, ingenuity, and care that must go into the design of the ride, to ensure an aspect of surprises, thrills, perfectly timed respite, and ultimately the assurance of a safe return to the start of the ride. When I write songs, I am always mindful of the experience of the listener, in the same way that I imagine a designer thinks about the experience of the rider of the ride. I want it to feel like a journey worth taking, and hopefully more than once.
Are you ever scared of revealing aspects of your personal life/experience to strangers through your music?
Larry: Not particularly. I actually prefer my personal life and experiences to inform my songwriting as much as possible, because I want our music to be something which other people can relate to. We don’t all see things the same way, and we don’t express ourselves the same way, but we are all human, and so we all share the same environment, the same sunrise and sunset, the same stars and moon in the same night sky, and the same life. I don’t imagine that anyone listening to my songs is more interested in my life than in their own, but I know that we share the experience of being human, so we will always have things in common.
What is the best lyric that you ever wrote (the most meaningful for you)?
Larry: I really have no idea what the “best” lyric I have written would be, and I aim to make all of my lyrics at least somewhat meaningful, but many years ago, I wrote a line which a fellow songwriter more or less “borrowed” from me, so maybe the one worth borrowing is one of the better ones! That line, (which I do still like), was ‘tell the rest of my parade that the rain’s coming down,’ which was really just my own “borrowing” and re-phrasing of a cliche, but that’s part of why I wrote in another Jellybricks song called “Growing Girl,” the line, ‘it’s hard to write a new cliche.’
What inspired “Corner of My Eye,” part of your upcoming album Some Kind Of Lucky?
Larry: “Corner of My Eye” was very much a song that just kind of poured out of a guitar on a Sunday. The lyrics and the music seemed to emerge almost at the same time, and I think the tone of the opening line was very in the moment, a lazy Sunday, dreading the return to the workweek, something to which many people can relate. The song just took its own direction from there, sort of working out the tension knots of a normal life, thinking about getting away from the routines which can feel stifling. I like that the song reflects both the heaviness of what can be stressful in life, and also some of the freedom of breaking out of that.
And “Mrs Misery”?
Bryce: This was loosely written in response to a great film I had re-watched, for the third time, called ‘Love and Sex,’ with some actual real life experience thrown in for good measure. It’s sort of a love letter from one main character to the other, and it could be seen/sung from either character’s perspective.
Is there a link/common theme among the songs on the new album?
Bryce: All four of us write songs which come from different places, and then those songs tend to find their way into our common headspace en route to becoming Jellybricks songs, so if there ends up being a theme, it’s not by design. The songs become what they are, and stand on their own, accordingly.
Tom: Musically, our albums always include a stylistic shift or two from song to song, and the new album is no exception, but the identifiable vibe and spirit of The Jellybricks shines through the songs no matter what the style, tempo, key or mood.
What is the best suggestion your producer gave you?
Larry: We actually worked with numerous co-producers on Some Kind of Lucky, each of them collaborating in some degree with us as a band. We like to have an objective set of ears in the room with us, someone whom we trust to tell us when we have gone too far, or not far enough. In the case of all of these co-producers, Frank Silver and Pete Drivere at Ampreon Recorder in Youngstown, OH, Scott Ensign at Obscura Sound in Baltimore, MD, and Geoff Sanoff at Renegade Studios NYC, we knew we were working with creative artists who know their craft. We choose people whom we respect and trust to help us deliver our ideas to recorded form, and each of them individually makes suggestions that help us achieve the best results.
What are your plans for the upcoming months?
Larry: We are looking forward to playing shows in New York and Ohio in September, as well as releasing a couple more teaser singles. On October 4th, our new album gets released along with a new single, and hopefully some new music videos as well. Also, we’ll be playing shows in Pennsylvania and Ohio in October, with more tour dates being added before and after the new year.
To conclude the interview a short Q/A session, please answer the first thing that comes to your mind:
- Define in one word your new album Some Kind Of Lucky (PRE-ORDER LINK HERE: https://geni.us/SomeKindOfLucky): Bryce – Delicious.
- The best show you ever played: Tom – We have played many (many) shows that were awesome and memorable, and the best show is still likely yet to come.
- The one thing that you must have in your backstage: Garrick – When we do get an actual backstage area, it’s nice to have a quiet place to relax and mentally prepare for the show. But we’re very used to sitting or standing around whatever club or bar we’re playing and waiting to go on, since many of these places have no backstage area. We’re not very high maintenance in that respect.
- The soundtrack of your childhood: Garrick – Lots of 80s FM radio and MTV. / Larry – The same, but also classical music and show tunes, courtesy of my parents.
- Your favourite song lyrically speaking, but not written by you: Larry – I have many favourites, lyrically speaking, but one of my favourites is “Across the Universe” by Lennon/McCartney. I love how the words mirror themselves in the most unfettered way: “words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup …”
- Last question is “unusual,” we want to know your best relationship advice: Garrick – Whether it’s a romantic relationship or a personal relationship with friends, communication is the most important thing. If you’re not letting the other people know what you think or feel, things can start to fester and that’s how resentment builds. We’ve been a band for over 23 years, and one of the key factors to our longevity is that we always let the others know if we like or don’t like something. We’ve have some loud, ugly arguments and disagreements in that time, but it’s always from a place of love and respect, and talking shit out is always better than letting things go unspoken.