Ah, Fall: a season of wonder. This is the month of change: the leaves go from green to a lush mixture of colors; the air gets cooler but not unbearably so, ushering in a lovely breeze; everyone’s favorite TV shows have their season premieres; people repopulate the ancient and decrepit apartments around the two campuses (campi?), all bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to start the new semester of classes, homework, stress, failed midterms, summer withdrawals, flimsy two-week relationships, flimsy two-week relationship breakups, watching your ex begin dating your roommate and then get engaged three weeks later (congratulations to Jeff and Katy, by the way), and so on.
But, for me, the most important change in all of what Fall has to offer is based around just what this article has to talk about: music. How I love looking through the street windows of downtown Provo’s Muse and Velour and seeing them bulge at the seams again with people packed in like sardines, not caring who’s sweaty arm just brushed theirs or how awful it must smell with so many bodies moving to the beat of their favorite local musician. All they care about is having fun, and that is what it’s all about.
Music should be used as an outlet, an expression, a way of escaping the worries of school and work and ex-girlfriends/boyfriends. I don’t know how many musicians out there read this, but if you are a musician, would you not agree with me when I say that is why we get in it, why we play music? Because of the thrill of seeing other people mouth the words to your songs while thoroughly enjoying themselves, or listening intently, focused on the world you create for them with your lyrics and tunes. That’s why I do it anyway. Not that anyone actually knows any of the words to my music (including myself sometimes), but I digress. Music is essential to living, and that’s that.
When I asked to write about music for Rhombus and was invited to do so, I was thrilled. This was my opportunity to bring to the forefront some of the astounding music Provo really has to offer that I know many of us have not so much as heard of. I knew who I wanted to interview first too.
I had just gone to the show of a band named J.Wride — a local three-piece group consisting of pianist/vocalist Jesse Wride, drummer Austin Anderson and bassist Garrett Hendrickson — and they impressed me with their quick, clear lyrics and melodies accompanied by music that just makes your body rock to the beat. I caught Austin for a minute afterward and asked if I could set up a time to talk to the band. He was more than happy to oblige. We met later that week and the following conversation ensued:
Rhombus Magazine: How long have you guys been playing?
Jesse Wride: About five or six months. Me and Austin have been playing together for years. Then we all went on our missions and came back, moved into Raintree Apts and met Garrett there.
Rhombus: How did you get people to go to your shows?
JW: The first show we had was at Velour. It was the first night we played and it was pretty packed. Most of it was because of where we lived… we practiced in our apartment and people just heard us so they came and started telling their friends. It’s all been word of mouth, but it’s working out really well.
Rhombus: You two are from Utah and obviously have known each other. How did you meet Garrett?
Garrett Hendrickson: These two guys lived in the apartment above us. So one day I came up there and listened for a while and just thought, “Wow, I’ll be seeing these guys on a big stage in two years, and they live right above me.” And then I was just like, “What am I thinking? I gotta get in on this!” They were kind of skeptical at first when I asked them if I could grab my bass–
Austin Anderson: Very skeptical.
GH: –which is understandable, but things kind of fell into place… We all liked what was going on and stuck with it.
Rhombus: So your new album, is it full length?
AA: Yeah, 12 songs. Most of the songs were written during the five months. It turned out really well, and we pretty much sold out on the first night of our CD release.
Rhombus: Where did you guys have the CD release?
JW: At Muse, three weeks ago. We had to have two shows because it’s too small. Too many people that were going in and out, but it turned out real well. Muse is a cool place, though. They have helped us out a lot. We had nowhere to go for the CD release and they moved a couple shows so that we had a place, so we owe them a lot.
Rhombus: Well that’s pretty cool. You guys ever play out of town?
JW & AA: Just up in Murray. We haven’t tried too much to play outside of the Valley, just so we could focus on getting the album out and market it here first. We’re not really trying too hard to go tour and stuff, because it’s so easy to bomb… I mean, we do have some fans in other places, but we don’t know if we have enough yet to go hit up some other cities and get a crowd, so we’re trying to build the fanbase here.
SM: So the management you’re working with, are they trying to get you to go outside of Provo and tour and whatnot?
JW: They’re trying to get us in to open for some bigger national acts, but it’d still be in Utah, just stay around here for now, get the name out here so they’ve at least heard of us. The music’s getting out there though. We got fans all over the country and I don’t really know how they heard us, but they have.
Rhombus: Thank goodness for social networking, right?
All: Yeah, heh.
Rhombus: That’s cool that you’re getting your name out though. I love seeing the smaller bands get some action, having people listen to them alongside the bands that have already sold with labels like Columbia, Atlantic, etc.
JW: Yeah, one thing that I’ve realized while working with our management lately is how much of a business music really is; How much about money it is, like that’s all it’s about. Some of these bigger artists are really conceited, it’s crazy. Kind of had our eyes opened in the past couple weeks. There’s a lot of independent artists that can easily make enough money and they’re not signed by labels.
Rhombus: Who would you say some of your biggest influences are?
JW: If I would pick any, it’d be the Beatles and Dave Matthews Band.
AA: We all listen to pretty much every genre of music. In my car right now, I have a Jay-Z CD, an Incubus CD, a Kalai CD and an Eminem CD. So it’s all this different stuff, but I think it’s good that we do that because we learn all these different types of music; a little bit of everything goes into it.
JW: We actually have a lot of hip-hop in our music, sort of unintentionally. I mean, we’re not necessarily rapping, but with the faster lyrics and stuff.
AA: A lot of the beats I play are straight up hip hop beats, just behind piano and bass music.
GH: We’re all trained in and grew up playing a lot of jazz, so we take that and incorporate it into our own style of music and it has really worked out. Listening to the album there’s a lot people can relate with, because everybody can find something they like.
Rhombus: Well, what is the limit for you guys? Where do you want to see J. Wride going?
AA: The sky.
JW: Yeah, no limit. My personal goal is to make a career out of it. At the same time, it’s important that we make sure we’ve entertained the people coming out of our shows.
You can listen to J.Wride on MySpace or Facebook. Be sure to check out their show tonight at Muse Music at 8:00 p.m. They’ll be giving out free copies of their new song, “Melody or Two,” as well as selling copies of their full-length album, Work of Art.
Scott Manning is Rhombus’ newest music correspondent. He currently plays in multiple local bands.
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