Hi! Thanks for having me. Things are great, yeah. Pretty excited about the new release.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Panhandle”?
Yeah man, I’d be happy to.
Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?
Actually, funny enough it was the drum groove that did it. Brett my drummer / co-writer was laying down this improvised monster of a beat…and basically I hit record and said “play that until you get sick of it”. The length of time he played is exactly the length of the song, I sat down and wrote all the music to it after the fact.
How was the filming experience of the video?
Awesome & successful, but damn windy. Our director had in mind all these long aerial shots with his quad-copter, and we had to scrap those after it took a nose-dive on first launch. But it was fine…it actually worked out really well. Our “cowboy” Micah did a great job looking pensive and leathery and amazing, as he always does. And David our director did what he does best…capturing forlorn, pensive, leathery actors chewing scenery in the sun-drenched desolation of southern California desert-scape.
The single comes off your new album Comedown – what’s the story behind the title?
“The Comedown” was a silly name for a fictitious band on one of those joke flyers about the Coachella festival that float around the interwebs. I thought it actually had a nice ring to it, evoked something cool…I can’t remember if it became the name of the album first, or the actual song on the record of the same name. I think it bounced back and forth a bit.
What led you to do a fully instrumental album?
Well, besides the obvious answer of not having a lead singer…yeah, actually that’s basically it. I had just come out of a band situation and once again that hard realization that my main handicap for getting things done in a timely fashion, at the pace that I want, has always been a reliance on other people’s schedules, enthusiasm and so forth. When you have a genuine, real band situation…all your business dealings and so forth are compounded by everyone else’s…and that’s part of the joy, of course…but also part of the struggle. So this is something different now…completely different. It’s been terrifying, but also very damn cool.
How was the recording and writing process?
Fun…long…exciting…frustrating…ha…all of the above. Writing has never been much a problem for me, that tends to come quickly. It’s the process of capturing the ideas properly, that’s where things can sometimes get a bit difficult.
Because it’s harder… seriously, it’s more restrictive, and I find that really inspiring. I think some of the best creative people do their strongest work when they are deprived of assets and materials, so in this case I thought why not apply that to myself as well? As all turned out, it seemed to work really well I think… for this choice of material, in particular.
You are also known for your work in producing other bands – do you take a different approach when you are working with others than you are producing your own music?
Yeah, I tend to take a lot more time with my own stuff…and sometimes that can be a problem, you almost have to create deadlines for yourself or you can get lost in the creative swath. Clients are on an imposed deadline, either it’s money or time or both…and that’s a good thing. It keeps everyone focused.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs on this material?
Mostly from the drum grooves. I tried to really make something that didn’t sound like a “guitar” album or a “keyboard” album, ultimately I wanted it to be about closing your eyes and letting whatever imagery floats in getting conjured up in your head…like that kid at the end ofDazed and Confused cranking up Foghat in his headphones with a big goofy, super-stoned smile on his face. You can tell that kid is happy.
Any plans to hit the road?
Yes! I just had a good conversation with my booking agent today, we’re working out dates for the summer months now.
What else is happening next in Jason Achilles Mezilis’s world?
The album comes out on iTunes end of this month, Tues. June 28th…and the record release party is Saturday July 2nd at The Viper Room in Hollywood, we’re playing that night with Danny Carey’s band VOLTO! which should be amazing, as well as of course quite an honor and a pleasure. Their founding guitarist John Ziegler has been a strong encouraging voice for my new record, and I’m really excited to finally be sharing the stage with those guys.