I’ve been great! I’m on the road with Black Jacket Symphony at the moment in Pensacola and I just moved in to my new space for my comics, art, music, and general eccentricities at Bohemian Trash Studios. And Master of None just released! It’s been a whirlwind week! I’m leaf on the wind!
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Master of None”?
Master of None was one of the last songs I wrote for the record when we were recording it. We already had a collection of really chill, lo-fi material and I wanted at least two songs that had full production to open and close out the experience. It’s very dissonant and dark but the chorus moves to this major resolve to really let the song open up and explore all the emotions it was intended to touch on.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
I’m a jack of all trades and always have been. I write and illustrate my own comic books and have released two graphic novels. I play fourteen instruments. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Atmospheric Science. My whole life, people have used these accomplishments against me to try and imply that I should just pick one. Of course, they’ve always used the phrase “Jack of trades and a master of none.” as a sort of derogatory jab. What most folks don’t realize is that is only half the phrase. It finishes with, “oftentimes better than a master of one.” So this song is definitely a solid middle finger to that idea and also a love letter to myself. It’s very easy to let that negativity get into your life and snuff out your fire. The chorus really gets in that with, “Even the best of them can’t love you like you do. Even the best of them will try to break you.” And hopefully that resonates with other people trying to love themselves in a world that’s making that kinda hard.
How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
Oh man, it was a fantastic ‘seat of the pants’ sort of deal. I’ve had the pleasure of working Matt Powell on previous videos that we shot for my alt-rock band, Absinthe Junk, and so it’s very easy for me to just send him a song and trust him. We shot this video in the middle of the night in the boiler room of Lowe Mill in Huntsville, Alabama. It was so extraordinarily creepy. The room was just dead and and decrepit equipment. No lights or power. We wanted it to be as simple as possible so it was awesome we were able to have such a unique looking location. The video was such a pleasant departure from Absinthe Junk’s work, which were all so detailed with heavy costuming and makeup. This one, we just embraced the mess and the flaws, which has kind of been at the heart of Luxury Eviction since the start.
Why naming the record after this track in particular?
I honestly had no idea what I was going to name this record. It was such a surprise to even be doing it. Then in the last two days of recording, Master of None and Could Be Worse were written, and I knew instantly that Master of None was the title track. The record itself being so personal, vulnerable, and raw, I felt like Master of None really took the heart of each of these songs and housed them so well.
How was the recording and writing process?
It was such a departure from my usual way of writing songs. I’m a child of synthesis and all my previous work has been to a click, with computers, building songs on a map. When I was approached by Noel Webster to cut some songs, he said he wouldn’t put up with any of that. He told me to sit down at the piano, no click, and just write some songs. The first one born out of that process was On Your Tongue, and it’s so obvious in that song that there was no map. It breathes in a way that none of my previous material can. Master of None was written in one evening and damn near wrote itself. The hardest part was writing that little hook in between the phrases.
We recorded everything exactly how Noel said: no click, just piano and vocals. It was an extraordinary experience – both fulfilling and terrifying. We laid drums and piano together live organically and then I went on top to overdub the Rhodes, Hammond organ, synth bass, acoustic guitar, and vocals.
What made you want to go for a minimalistic approach?
It really was Noel’s production style that put the project in that direction. Left to my own devices, I will oversaturate the hell out of anything I touch. I want all the synthesizers, a full orchestra, electronic drums with real drums. I’m a mess! But I love that style – it’s like a puzzle to me. And I’m a child of the nineties, so I love that over-produced sound. But with this, and after being in so many bands my whole career, Noel wanted me to find me. Who was I as a singer and songwriter with only my piano and my voice? What kind of a performer was I as a recording artist, if I knew I could tune or edit my takes? And I think we found something there and it’s pretty magical. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still getting used to it.
Would you call this a departure from your previous musical projects?
Oh, most definitely. Like I said, I am a ‘pull out all stops.’ kind of writer. And I think some of that spirit is still in these songs. I have a beautiful piano and three synthesizers and Noel has a beautiful Hammond B2 organ and leslie, a genuine article Rhodes and let me tell you, I used damn near all of them on every song. I think the truest departure is vocally. On Absinthe Junk, I’m unleashing these characters and none of them are delicate. They are roaring and maniacal and standing three feet away from the mic. Luxury Eviction is careful, anxious, vulnerable, and full of whispers. There is still a dash of maniacal and rage in some of these songs but it uses its inside voice for the most part. Its emotion is seething and raw in its own way that I’ve really come to love.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
These songs are all a lot more personal, as I’m sure most solo records go. Master of None is about my struggle as a renaissance person and learning how to love that person. Songs like Altered Cinder and Could Be Worse deal with the struggles of being a queer person in today’s world. Catching Fire is about my epic solo motorcycle journey out west where I camped on the ground for a month and almost died more than once. On Your Tongue and Soulstar are about particular people who have touched my heart in both hurtful and beautiful ways, respectively. Dragonflies and Hurricanes is actually the third song I ever wrote and is now over ten years old, so this take was to break it down to its bone and heart and discover it, just like how the producer wanted me to discover me.
Any plans to hit the road?
Always! It’s hard to get out with Luxury Eviction, as I have the awesome duty of performing with Black Jacket Symphony nearly every weekend. I definitely encourage everyone to check that out and if we are coming near you to let me know, as I’d love to meet up with folks to dig this record. If and when that calms down, I definitely plan to throw my keyboard in my car and pop up around the country. I have a thing for jumping in my car or on my motorcycle and sleeping on the ground in strange places, so Luxury Eviction hitting the road is probably inevitable.
What else is happening next in Luxury Eviction’s world?
I’m dreaming up new song children every day, so hopefully I’ll have some time to go into the studio this summer or this fall.