In this interview spotlight, we chat with Pete of Jonas & Warren discussing influences, their newest project, the various places the duo has lived, and much more.
Full Q&A along with links and streams below.
Where are you from and what style of music do you create? (In your own words, not necessarily in marketing terms or by popular genre classifications.)
This is always a funny question to answer. I’m from San Juan Capistrano, CA; Josh is from Phoenix. We met at our old College in Orange, CA because we started to talk about how we both spent time living in Maryland. The ball for this project got rolling when I decided to stop going to the college where I met Josh and move to Boston. Josh soon decided to move to Nashville – this gave us both a deadline to start and finish an album and more cities to add to our cornucopia of “places we’re from as band.” Ironically, all of the lyrics about Nashville were written by me.
As far as music we create, it’s an intersection of two very different styles of writing and of taste. Josh and I wrote this album in three writing sessions with acoustic guitars and pianos, and as a finished project it’s far from that. We purposefully left the songs to be mostly blueprints and to have the studio work as a compositional tool. I was listening to a lot of Brian Eno at the time which definitely had its effect on how we approached the random noises we threw in. Josh has an angelic Jeff Buckley type of voice. We listened to the Talking Heads during every recording session. That’s the best I can do with this. I’m really bad at labeling genres.
What led you down this path of music and what motivates you to stay the course?
Personally, I stumbled into music, taking my sister’s unplayed guitar and never letting it go. But as a band, we had this mutual admiration for each other’s art, a desire to create something, and the pressing need to impress each other. As far as what motivates this project to keep going, it’s Josh’s amazing ability stay on top of stuff. His stick-to-itiveness is deeply inspiring.
How is your new release different than previous ones? Did you set out to accomplish anything specific?
This is our first project together, but compared to our personal projects its exactly a middle ground.
We did have a specific goal we wanted to accomplish with this record: to make it. We discovered a voice memo of the song that quickly became “New Tenants” dated September 13 and we had to be finished recording by the second week of December, so the act of even making this was a press for time. Josh was in school and I was working full time. We didn’t have anytime to question what we were doing, we would always be doing last minute lyric changes on the days of vocal recording and other pressed-for-time things.
Do you face any challenges as an indie musician in a digital age? On the flip side, how has technology helped you (if it has)?
“The Digital Age” has been nothing but helpful for us in the creating of this record. There would not have been any way, with our budget or time frame we could have put together ensembles as big we have Footprints in the Snow for rehearsals and recording. This record was a marriage of performer and studio. There are songs where I’m playing 2 guitars, piano, and organ with tracks of Josh playing the same guitar rig. Things like that would have been literally impossible had we not had the same access to the technology we did. We got a saxophone ensemble which was just a bunch of our friend Matt Mattila.
The only variance from this is the song “California to Tennessee” where we got The Wimberley Bluegrass Band to meet us at a part where we set up two wonderful microphones to make it very performance like.
Where can we follow you online and hear more music?
Jonas & Warren – This Town Ain’t Big Enough For the Both of Us is up on iTunes, Spotify, probably Tidal but I’m not sure because I don’t use it, Bandcamp (where you can buy a physical CD), and the rest of those innumerable streaming sites.
Anything else before we sign off?
The album art is really cool in my opinion so I want to shamelessly draw some attention to that. Also, the musicians we worked with were really great. They made the fourteen hour days Josh and I would spend in the studio much more pleasant than any amount Nature Valley bars could.