Hi AJ, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Great! Crazy busy but not complaining. Thank you for having me aboard.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Little Lady”?
Absolutely! This one is definitely a rocker. I never try to write a specific type of song. I let it flow out of me naturally. So sometimes you wind up with ballads, and other times you wind up with tracks that Just want to make you drive faster. I think that’s pretty apparent on both my previous albums. This one is definitely the latter.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Inspiration comes from a lot of different places. I can’t say it was one particular experience, more like many experiences that come together to create a song. I can say that the song is a play on words, where the chorus can be interpreted as “Takin’ off” or “Take it off”. I make a lot of references to “driving” and “sex” in my music, even if its metaphorical. So this one is definitely inspired by that. When I say “Little Lady” in the song, the car is both literal and a metaphor.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
Yes. That’s already in preproduction. It’s being filmed by Director George Matsuo. We met on the set of the Luis Fonsi and Demi Lovato “Echame La Culpa” music video. I was playing guitar for them at the time. George and I began talking and hit it off. He’s worked on music videos for artists like Asap Rocky, One Republic, Yo Gotti, and TV shows like Gotham, Power, Orange Is The New Black. I’m sure I’m forgetting a bunch.
How was the recording and writing process?
This song was written pretty quickly. Its one of those songs that just writes itself. I knew I had a hook and once I figured out what is what about, it just really came together. And once we played it live, everyone started requesting it. So I wanted to get a single out before I record the full ep this winter. Its being recorded with Rob Freeman, whose probably best known for recording the Gym Class Heroes and Adam Levine song Stereo Hearts. I’ve worked with him before, and hes excellent. So I’m really looking forward to working with him again.
With Country and other artists moving into the City of Music – what made you want to move into the Big Apple?
Every great and iconic artist simply expressed themselves through their art. They never specifically tried to identify with a place or a genre. Those were the ones to revolutionize the industry. Not to say that there aren’t amazing artist coming out of places like Nashville, because each person there is better than the next. I’ve just always done my own thing.
Has it been easy to breakthrough with little competition, at least on the Country scene or this little facts actually makes it much harder for you as a Country artist?
There is always going to be competition in every walk of life. But if your goal is only to be better than the competition, your setting your bar low. The best you’ll ever be, is just slightly better than the competition.
What role does NYC play in your music?
New York is known for having a grit… A sexiness if you will. I think that is very apparent in my music. Real Rock n Roll should be sexy. You cant fuck to Sum 41.
What’s been like to play with some of the biggest names in the industry?
I understand how difficult it is in this industry and appreciate and respect any artist I have the opportunity to work with. Its always a privilege to play alongside someone who has worked that hard to get to where they are.
Do you tend to take a different approach when collaborating with someone else rather than working on your own?
Every song I have ever cut I have written in its entirety. I’m open to suggestions from others, and I have used other people’s suggestions too… as long as I agreed with them. Every time I have gone against my gut, the track just didn’t sound right. So I’m at a point now where I take what people say in stride, but when it comes down to it, its my decision.
Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?
Definitely. This single is only a precursor to the ep that is being recorded this winter.
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
The ep should be out sometime after the holidays. And as far as a title, I like to get a feel for the whole record before naming it or picking a title track.
Any plans to hit the road?
Its looking like spring.
What else is happening next in AJ Penta’s world?
A side project may be in the works. My influences range from Willie Nelson and Garth Brooks to the Smashing Pumpkins and Bush, and so much in between. I have a bunch of songs written that are way too alternative to fall into country. Every once in a while I will play one live just to change things up. They always get a great response, so a good friend of mine, country star Rod Black, suggested I record some of them. But that’s probably not until next year. Until then I’m just focusing on now.
How would you classify your music? The music that I create is centered around the …