F is for faith, just like the leaps Jamison Covington took to craft his personal rebirth of sound. Most people know the back story, the inner turmoil of small major label wonder JamisonParker and how it all came to a dramatic end. But that was years ago, and as Jamison has shown with his fresh full-length, Reinventing the Heartbeat, it's time to progress and rewire. In this interview, Jamison talks about his new project, E For Explosion, a sweeping shoegazing landscape, and the emotions and feelings he has invested behind it. Thanks a billion to Mr. Covington for answering our questions and more thanks to Derek from Solid PR for playing connector.
Let's jump right into E for Explosion. What is this project about for you? How did the project start? I've been hearing about how this is kind of a rebirth for you.
Jamison: It started with making music... plain and simple. I left my old band to expand, not to give up. Creatively, I was more concerned with finding my own voice again rather than starting a new band, playing shows, putting out a record, etc. Mentally and physically I wasn't in very good shape either. By the time I left Jamisonparker I just wasn't who I used to be so I just quit. The time spent after leaving the band was pretty rough. As typical and corny as it is, I started making music... more so as a distraction at first though. Then at some point I began making music that was real to me again. Once I'd realized that the void I had been experiencing was beginning to fill it became clear that it was time to take steps to get that music to the outside world. A lot of people were very unhappy with me leaving my old band but I guess sometimes you have to take a step back so you can leap forward. You know when you see someone who is about to attempt to leap over a huge distance, they take a few steps back and then sprint forward? The same actions apply mentally and emotionally when you're about to take a leap of faith.
Where did the name come from? What about the album title Reinventing the Heartbeat?
Jamison: The name E for Explosion came from my admiration of Ray Bradbury... I can't begin to explain how much I love his writing. A couple of my favorite short story collections of his are entitled "S is for Space" & "R is for Rocket". The idea for the name E for Explosion is directly inspired by Ray Bradbury and those books. As for the decision to use the word "explosion" as the center piece of the band name... I'll probably keep that part to myself. The thing is.... telling the story behind a band name is kind of like telling the story behind a tattoo.... it always makes more sense and is more interesting to the person telling it. The album title, Reinventing the Heartbeat, stems from this moment of clarity that I experienced while in the middle of an era of overmedication. It was as if my eyes opened a little wider than they had been in a long time and all I could see was what i mess I'd made of me and everything around me. Instead of living in my little mess, I just wanted to start rebuilding... crawl inside and rewire myself.
Do you have a plan lined up for where you would like E for Explosion to go in the future? Like, any particular goals you're aiming to accomplish?
Jamison: Wow... that's a loaded question. You tell the truth and you come off like an asshole.... you try to down play it and next thing you know you're a liar. So, call me an asshole but... I want to take over the world.
Your big past project is JamisonParker, and lots of people recognize you from this. Do you care about separating yourself from what you did back then?
Jamison: Not really... I'm solely focused on making music that reflects upon what I am. Sometimes I'm not always able to sort things out on my own. It takes writing it out and hearing myself say it out loud before it makes sense or in some cases becomes a reality to me. If separating myself from certain aspects of my past becomes a necessity... then I have no problem abandoning it. If a song forms and sounds as if it was plucked from a moment three or four years ago and it comes out naturally and makes sense to me... then so be it... either way, I do what I do and hope it helps to sort out everything around me.
Does it ever bother you for people to compare what you did back then with your music now? Moreover, do you feel extra pressure?
Jamison: The only pressure that ever effects me is the pressure that I put on myself. I'm in a constant battle with myself when it comes to making music. As far as comparisons to my old music goes, I have no problem with it. I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate every person that takes the time to be a part of this with me by listening to the music and letting it be a part of their lives but at the end of the day I, first and foremost, write these songs for myself so comparisons and opinions can't and won't mean anything to me. The one thing that I do concern myself with when it comes to the outside world is that the listener connects and feels something when listening to the songs.
So tell me about this album. Now that it's on the streets and you're getting feedback, what are your thoughts?
Jamison: Honestly... I don't take feedback to heart. I know what i think and feel about my music... listening to opinions about music that I make will only bring problems to the table for myself in the future no matter how good or bad the feedback is.
How was working with Dave Trumfio? How did he further along your vision for Reinventing The Heartbeat?
Jamison: Having already known Dave for a pretty good while there wasn't a doubt in my mind that he'd be the right guy to work with on this. We have a lot of similar interests when it comes to the music we enjoy listening to and the kind of music we enjoy making. I could talk production specifics all day but what I really feel ties everything together so tightly is the fact that he's not just a producer... he's a songwriter, a musician, a mixer, and an engineer. He understands the artist's standpoint as well as the views of the producer. Having someone in the studio that is basically a one man army is undeniably the best relationship you can be in. Because he knows the process from start to finish he's able to play an important role in solidifying that common thread in the sound. Having that common thread throughout the record is something that I start working toward from the moment I begin working on the song with an acoustic guitar... having Dave in there brought it that much closer to what it needed to be.
You must be proud of the results, as I hope most musicians are, but are there parts you wish you could do-over? How do you view your work when you look back on it?
Jamison: I always feel that I could use more time... there's never enough time when it comes to creating a song or an album. When I look back on what I've made I usually feel a little like I've opened my big mouth one too many times, like I've probably said too much. At the time its very important to me to get things out... exercise the demons you might say but afterwards I'm always a little weary of the things I let slip out. Don't get me wrong, I'm OK with what I make but some things in my lyrics I wouldn't talk to my best friend about so why set it to music and say it in front of a room full of people every night or put it on a disc for the world to hear? I guess no matter how much you may want to deny it, somewhere deep down inside everyone has a need to connect... maybe that's what makes a people write and share deeply personal memories and emotions... we all hope that someone understands. Why we hope for that I'll never know.
After someone hears the album, what would you like them to walk away with? Are there certain feelings, emotions or ideas that you are trying to get across with the album?
Jamison: I like to leave the music open to interpretation. The most important thing is that you walk away with something. I can't imagine wasting time on music that doesn't effect you, that you can't connect to, or that doesn't strike a nerve. There would be no point in sharing the music with anyone if they couldn't find some way to weave those songs into some piece of their lives.
How did Eyeball Records swoon you into signing with them? What is special about the E for Explosion - Eyeball relationship?
Jamison: It honestly didn't take much. It was as simple as this... I sent them music. They came to a show. We hung out a little and then we signed a contract. It was nice not trading a million emails and dealing with all of the artist/label hassles that are usually involved. We all hit off immediately... I think it was everyone's common love of the Commodore 64 and its amazing HTML based animation functions. Its not every day that you meet other people who owned that computer and its especially rare when those people spent as much time as you did typing in endless html code just to watch a balloon float across the computer screen. Aside from antique computers, what works best about this relationship is that we're all on the same page... we have the same goals when it comes to creating and releasing music. Being part of a label full of people who work so hard and care so much about their bands... I'm just very proud to be involved with them.
Now that you're not working under a major label, how have things changed in the way you approach writing music?
Jamison: The way I make music has changed but not because of a change in labels... its just progressed and evolved. Life is always changing which means the way I write is always changing as well. As far as life with the record labels after I'd finished the writing and demo process goes... when I got together with Eyeball they didn't feel the need to make me feel special by feeding me the line, "We're giving you creative control because we believe in you!" Instead they let actions speak louder than words and I was able to go into the studio and make an album completely free of criticism and pressure. Doesn't it just make sense that naturally the creator should have creative control?
Do you plan on doing a full US tour in the near future? If so, will it be acoustic like your earlier shows?
Jamison: Yeah, We're working on getting tours together right now. The plan is to start touring this summer and continue on 'til the end of the year. There will probably be acoustic versions of songs mixed into the set that's played with a full band but there aren't any plans for a fully acoustic tour as of now but you never know.
What bands, albums or songs do you regularly look to for inspiration?
Jamison: The Psychedelic Furs, Snow Patrol, My Bloody Valentine, Peter Gabriel, M83, Far, Jimmy Eat World, Sigur Ros, The Cure... I could easily list a hundred artists so I should probably stop while I'm ahead.
What are you jamming to on your iPod nowadays. We love recommendations at AbsolutePunk ... please rec us something.
Jamison: The new M83 album, Saturdays = Youth is on quite a bit. Jettie - Kites for Charity, Ride - Nowhere, Jimmy Eat World, The Cure - Disintegration, Sigur Ros - Takk, Psychedelic Furs.
Thank you so much for taking time to answer these questions. We all wish you the best of luck. Any last words for our community at AbsolutePunk?
Jamison: Thanks to AbsolutePunk for all of the past and continuing support. I'm really happy to have done another interview with you! To everyone reading this interview... if you've bought, stolen, or borrowed the album, thanks for listening.
Great interview, he made some interesting points and seems like a really decent guy. I really enjoy the album too. It took me a few plays to get into, but I've been listening constantly for the past couple of days and its grown on me a lot.
I'd be giving the album a lot more attention if it was late fall or winter right now. It doesn't really work as a late spring album. Summer's starting and I just want to listen to upbeat music right now.