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INTERVIEW: The Bergamot

-Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Absolutely amazing and crazy! We are wrapping up a Kickstarter Campaign here in Brooklyn for our upcoming “Unity Collective” tour to have people sign our touring vehicle of the last 6 years (270,000 miles) with a message of hope and unity. We hope to make it to all 48 contiguous states and will be making a documentary out of it. Nathaniel just put out his first book of poetry and is updating his blog (natehoff.com) daily and writing new music. Jillian is working hard on her blog (thedistractedbeet.com) and working on scheduling the tour. We are also on the verge of releasing our biggest album to date “Tones” in early 2016. While we’re at it, we recently bartered a 20 minute performance at a local tree shop in Brooklyn for a Christmas tree (it smells AAAAMAZING). Then just surviving in NYC – which is always a challenge.

-Can you tell us more about the story behind your track ¨Forget About Tomorrow¨?

Nathaniel: Forget About Tomorrow seems to be our life story in a nutshell. Success and life always seem straightforward on paper, but in the real world it seems like everything gets in the way of what you truly want. My life’s works are the songs on our records. With the world at your hands, with the Internet, and the gazing ball of Social Media, the distractions line up one after the other. Also, I seem to develop a keen sense of consciousness when I achieve something. We were fresh off our last album when I started writing and I realized that I was feeling pressure to start writing again – and I was not wanting to get to work – so I wrote and that is what came out. In the end, it is the moment that matters – the here and now. We have no other option but the now. Yet so many people want to put off what should be done right now for the hopes of doing it tomorrow. That is all shit. You want something – now is your moment. Then you’re dead. Well, kinda.

-Did any event in particular inspire the song?

Out of Jillian and I, I am the timekeeper. I like to keep us on a schedule. Jillian has a much more ethereal feel for time which makes us the perfect Yin-Yang. But I remember one time where I felt like my waiting was actually taking away from what I needed to be doing: working and writing. This tension was the inspiration behind the music. Life seems to happen that way in general. Living in New York City is a constant reminder that ANYTHING can be a distraction if you let it. The next thing you know, a week has flown by and no new songs, no inspiration. So you have to deliberately set out what you want and how you can achieve it. The chorus is the most essential aspect of this song. It pulls it all together and reminds me of the most important aspect of life – Forget About Tomorrow.

-The single comes off your new album Tones– what´s the story behind the title?
“Tones” refers to the auditory pollution we currently live in. Life is full of “Tones”. We live in a space now where our life decisions are based around cell phone rings, alarm clocks, hand watches, technology, computers, etc. Typically when we think of pollution, we think of smog and other aspects – which are very visual, but I believe in auditory pollution as well. It is the pollution of sound that makes us unable to feel, hear, sense. Tones clog up minds and ears and make our awareness drop. The whole concept is a derivative of the idea of auditory pollution. Well, it definitely sounded better than “Exhaust”.

-How was the recording and writing process?

Writing is always magical. From the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina to New York City, the writing occurred all over the U.S. and tries to capture influences from the land and the people. We are constantly writing. Nathaniel does the bulk of the writing and also runs a blog (natehoff.com) to help with ideas and lyrics. He posts to his blog once a day and then after a couple months he takes his most socialized poems and converts the ideas into songs. It’s a process – but it always allows for inspiration to be growing and created. The recording process was insane. We were working with one producer in NY, but had to cut ties because the workflow had degraded. Then, we went to Nashville and knocked out a huge chunk of the album. We went to the Smoky Mountains thereafter, and secluded ourselves from the world for 2 weeks to work on editing the album and final overdubs. Additional edits were made in South Bend, IN and Hartford, CT while we were on the road. We ended in Manhattan, mixing the record with two awesome engineers in NYC. Finally, we had it mastered at Sterling. Then off to the Vinyl mastering and the disc press!

-Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Auditory pollution was a huge concept for us. Looking at all the influences in our lives: technology, advertising, television (although we do not own one) etc., created a huge base of experiences that we were going through to document. I hope this album serves as a time capsule to capture the human experience in 2015. Our love was also a huge aspect of inspiration on songs like “School Notes”. Touring was a huge influencer for songs like “Miles” which plays a lot into that experience.


-How did you come up with the idea of doing a 48 state tour?

It was a totally random rant that Nathaniel was on and it just kinda was blurted out. Then we reflected on it – and realized this is our destiny: people signing the car from all 48 states. Although I have to preface this – we HOPE for 50 – but we have no idea if we will be able to pull that off. We might even ship a piece of the car to Hawaii and Alaska to have people sign it so we can have all 50 – but 48 for sure. Anyways, by collecting all of the signatures and messages we hope to create a collaborative artwork for the world to see. A symbol that hope and unity are possible. I mean What Would John (Lennon) Do, right?

-Why 48?

We hope 50, but we have to be real. The car and tour may not make it to all 50 states. But we will ship a piece of the car (side mirror) to HI and AK to have people sign it. We will have to see what the open road has in store for us. As far as we know, I am not aware of any other band that has ever attempted or completed this task. Props for being the first??? We will see…

-So besides the 48 state goal – how is this tour going to be different?

This tour will be a totally interactive experience with the car. We are going to take a picture of the car after every stop so people can actively see the transformation. It is going to be wild. We will also be documenting the entire experience, interviewing our fans, and posting daily about our progress. This is going to be an all-engulfing experience – and we are pumped to do it.

-What are you looking forward the most?

Meeting rad people and hearing their stories. Honestly, the best part of being a musician is going from town to town and hearing and meeting amazing people. We all share in the human struggle, it is just so different from person to person – but we are all somehow and mysteriously unified in this. It is pretty amazing – we just hope our amateur documenting skills can actually capture the true essence of the whole experience.

-What else is happening next in The Bergamot´s world?
Other than fresh bagels, fresh coffee, New York slices, cheap Kabobs, the world’s best cookies, drunk Thai trips, super aggressive male fans, and Global Warming in NYC (it’s 70 degrees on Dec. 13th as we write this), eh, nothing.  In all seriousness, we have some absolutely incredible things coming up, which will be announced over the next few months, so you’ll want to stay tuned.  2016 is turning into one hell of a year!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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