by Ryan Meehan
Zack Chance and Jonathan Clay comprise the Austin duo Jamestown Revival, which is best described as indie rock with a Southern slant. We saw them on Last Call a week ago, and decided to contact them to be our guests this week in 5 Questions.
FOH: First things first: Who is The Architect and who is The Healer? What’s the story behind that?
JC: I am The Architect and Zach is the Healer. The terms were given to us by birth right. In another life, there’s a good chance Zach might be a shaman, and myself, a free mason.
FOH: I’ve always been fascinated by the school of thinking that says the more simplistic the music is, the greater the chance of error and chance that the listener might lose interest. As a two-piece band, do you feel like that’s the case or do you feel that it actually opens up more opportunities for the listener?
JC: I feel that the simpler the music, the smaller the spaces for those ‘error’s to hide. Still, we can’t forget that music is art. We are imperfect creatures, not perfectly pitched machines. With Jamestown Revival, I’ve finally learned to embrace the humanistic quality in (certain) music that makes it real. To me, a good song is a good song, regardless of how much you church it up or dress it down…
FOH: Austin has given us a lot of killer musical acts over the years, such as …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead and What Made Milwaukee Famous. How does your style of music fit in with the Austin scene and what are your live shows like?
ZC: Austin is a very eclectic town, there are a lot of different sounds and influences swirling around which makes for a very inspiring environment. There’s a certain level of tradition with the country and blues sounds that have always existed but then there is also a very progressive indie scene. As for where we fit in, I think we just try and stick to what feels the most natural to us and hope that people can relate.
I would like to think our live show is like losing your virginity in the back of an olds-mobile at a drive in movie theater while watching a double feature of Purple Rain and Smokey and The Bandit. It’s a very emotional and strange experience with a whole lot of southern charm and nostalgia.
FOH: (For Jonathan) Your music has been used in several television shows…What do you think it is about your writing style that attracts the attention of television producers? Do you separate music that’s intended for that medium from music that fits the style of Jamestown Revival, or do you just write each piece of music with the intention of composing a great song?
JC: To be honest, as far as what attracts them, I’m not quite sure. If I did, maybe I could bottle it up and actually pay my bills. As far as songwriting goes, I do change my mindset depending on what I’m trying to accomplish.
Musically, what am I most happy doing? That’s easy… Sitting around on the porch writing songs with Zach because we have something we want to say. Not even thinking about a mindset, and not doing it because we feel like we have to. Just making music because we’ve got something we’d like to tell you. It’s purely instinctual, it’s a little bit selfish, and it’s ultimately gratifying.
If I’m writing music for a documentary or a film, I have to think differently. I have to think in terms of what somebody else is looking for. I find enjoyment in it, but it’s a different kind of enjoyment. To me, there is not greater feeling in the world (musically) than writing and performing songs as part of Jamestown Revival.
FOH: To date, what has been your best experience as far as working within the music industry? Are there any myths about the business that you’d like to dismiss?
ZC: I guess the best thing about what we do has been the opportunity to get out and travel. At our level you really get to experience different areas of the country from a very honest point of view. We spend most of our time driving in an SUV and sleeping in truck stops, but we encounter so many wonderful and interesting people and places.
There aren’t any myths I think either one of us would like to dismiss but a I will say it’s not nearly as glamorous as some people think.
FOH: Could you tell us a little bit about the new music you are working on? Also, I noticed you guys seem to be really into documenting the making of your projects…What about that is so important to you?
J: Sure. This past June we found a cabin in the Wasatch Mountain range in Utah. We filled a 16 ft Ryder truck to the brim with recording equipment, took off from Los Angeles, and basically converted this cabin in to a recording studio. We spent two weeks there. It was exactly where we needed to record the record. We set up mics all around the room and played the songs as a band (with the addition of Ed Benrock on Drums, and Nick Bearden on Bass). Everything was recorded to tape, and the vibe is reminiscent of a lot of the old records we’ve been listening to over the past few years. After it was all said and done, we tracked 14 songs. We documented it because we wanted to share the experience with people. To us, how me made the music was almost as important as the music itself. It’s almost one half of the record in a way. You can definitely hear the influence of the process (and the cabin) when you listen to the songs, and we wanted to show people exactly what they were hearing. We wanted to do our damnedest to bring people back to that place.
FOH: What’s up next for Jamestown Revival in the twelve months to come? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
ZC: Right now we are working furiously to finish up the album we just recorded and get everything ready to go for the release. Other than that you can expect a fair amount of pipe smoking and we really look forward to getting back out on the road.
Official Website: http://www.jamestownrevival.com/
Jamestown Revival on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/jamestownrevival?fref=ts
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