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INTERVIEW: J Burn

Hi J, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I am very well thanks, excited to be talking to the fans and you here on Vents.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Moonshine”?

MoonShine is a special song for me. I definitely feel it steps into the Psychedelic Rock side of the J Burn sound. It’s got a lot of textures, definitely one to put a really good pair of headphones on, turn up the volume and sink into.

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

There was, I wrote this song for my son, who was born with hemi facial macrosomia. His case is more to a milder side but his ear is malformed and left him with unilateral hearing. The lyrics were for both him and I, to illustrate that in life sometimes we get caught up in the fine details. Sometimes it can push us to believe we are so different then others. In the scheme of things when we… “Let all the colors fade to grey” we again see how differences don’t matter so much, we are more often alike than not. “At night we all shine the same, under MoonShine”.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

I have thought about it. I think the song naturally conjures images which would make for a very cool visual experience in a video. The ideas I have go beyond my video production skills, so when I ponder it I think about a cinematographer jumping in. I do have a video coming out in the near future for one of the other singles of the Randomly Banded album called “Shine”. The video was home grown, so please check it out and let us know what you think.

The single comes off your new album Randomly Banded – what’s the story behind the album?

Well, I wanted to create an album with songs in an order that would give an organic whole record feel and experience.  With this in mind, I wanted to have the concept put over the two sides of a Vinyl record. The first starts with the song “Shine” with the opening lyric, “We can rise like a sun to shine”. The second side opens with the song “MoonShine”, a bit of a play on the flip side between sun and moon. Sound wise, the song mixes and selections were done to make Side A: More Rock Americana vs Side B: With more Psychedelic Rock tones and sounds.

How did the studio and its vibe influence the album?

TRI Studio is a magical place. For me it just took on so many different angles of influence. It has amazing sound, talented engineers and many incredible musicians working there. It all played a huge part with inspiring and supporting the projects. Having this place as a creative outlet at this time in my life, was something that truly helped me personally weather some storms. Being that I am a fan of the Grateful Dead’s music, it definite offered a special stop in Deadheadland. Growing up, I was fortunate to see shows in the 80’s and 90’s so there are ties to special heart strings for me. Truly, a one of a kind place.

How was the recording and writing process?

I find myself writing all the time, casing melodies in my head and strumming them out on my guitar. Sometimes it can start with a one line lyric hook, which I come back to and build on. Other times it’s like a download, the song is all just there and I am racing to write it down before it vanishes. I feel like I am just stumbling to capture the purest essence of its feelings, before I think about it too much.

The recording process was done more like how records were made in the past. We really didn’t have a lot of time, we got in and got the job done. We tracked stuff live at times and on the fly. We mixed a huge amount of the songs, I think 15 in a short 4 day window, plus instrumental versions and some alternate takes. It was a really great experience which really didn’t let you get to much on top of things. Made me really feel close to a quote I admire from Salvador Dalí, “Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”

On this record you blended different genres together – what led you to do a very eclectic material?

This is just a case of the music I love and admire influencing me when I create. I definitely try to stay true to myself and my creative process. I guess it’s true though, that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree… I have eclectic music tastes.

What was the working method as for what genres to blend together? Did they depend on the lyrics theme or they were randomly done?

Lyrical theme, at times, can definitely play a big part of the blend of styles. For me when I create a song I want it to convey its story. The story usually has a feeling and an image in my mind which most certainly can drive that selection.

The album also features a wide range of veterans – did you handpick them or how did they come on board?

A matter of being in the right place, the right timing and a good collection of interesting songs to create. RatDog was on break from touring and Jay Lane, Robin Sylvester and Michael McGinn where all around working on things at the studios. Jason Crosby who also lives in the area was in and out of the studio. I had been work with Rick Vargas and Brad Dollar both engineers there. Michel Nuzum, a longtime friend and musical contributor on my projects, was there to jump in. There were also some special guests who added to the efforts as well, one being Scott Guberman. So I have to say it was a bit of cosmic intervention mixed with some visualization, manifestation and pure drive to keep on creating in the available space in time.

What did they brought to the table?

All the guys involved in the record bring pure talent, experience and some really great taste in music with them. Such a bunch of great musicians, engineers and producers. All with hearts of gold and know how to jam as well as craft sounds, like no bodies else’s business. Each individual brought their own inspiration and music sensibilities making this a great open creative project. We all talked about ideas and experimented in the confines of the quick turnaround timing we had. These guys also being willing to be part of making my song a reality, also gave me a sense of confidence and most definitely joy about my craft, which I am truly grateful for.

Any plans to hit the road?

I definitely want to bring the music out to the live audiences and support the album. I think these songs all play well to improvisation and to me that is a big part of the live music scene. I sure do enjoy that.

What else is happening next in J Burn’s world?

Well, I have another round of songs I been working and would like to get back into the studio with. I have some surprises as well which I don’t want to spill the bean on just yet. An upcoming video is on the way and no plans on slowing down.

Cheers and thank you for all the love and support, it’s greatly appreciated and enjoy the music.

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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