Jeremy Larson is a solo artist and collaborator with bands like Eisley, Sleeping at Last, and MuteMath. As a multi-instrumentalist and self-producer, Larson is redefining what it means to be a "solo artist". His new album, They Reappear, was just released last week and actually broke into the top 5 sells on bandcamp on the day of its release. Our short interview is below, so take a read and make sure to also check out his new album streaming over at his band camp.
The Feedback Loop: Your recently released album, entitled They Reappear, has a really unique focus on strings and orchestral arrangements compared to the more standard alternative-rock sound on your previous recordings. What was the thought process and concept behind the album?
Jeremy Larson: After the last album, Salvation Club, I was really unsure of what I wanted to do musically. I felt like there was plenty of “indie pop” music out there already. There were bands that do that better than I do, and I was a little burnt out on writing in that style. I was toying with the idea of doing an instrumental album; something that would serve as a sort of resume for getting more into TV and film. But I still wanted to write songs, so I basically married the two on one album. There are 10 traditional “songs”, and 6 additional orchestral instrumentals that play off of themes and concepts of the songs.
TFL: The album's got a very classy, impressionist feel to it. What's your background with classical music and how does that show up in your music?
JL: I was a piano major in college, and became completely obsessed with Ravel. His piano works played a huge part in the type of music I play. Well, him and Jonny Greenwood. I guess my music may show a bit of their influence, but probably only on a very elementary level.
TFL: I hear that you actually performed almost all of the instruments on the record including the string parts. Truly impressive endeavor. How long have you been a multi-instrumentalist and what all instruments do you play?
JL: That’s just the way I’ve always done things. I strongly considered trying to hire a string ensemble to make this record since I didn’t know how to play the violin or the viola. But working with string ensembles is very expensive, even more so when the writing and recording process are usually one and the same for me. On the other hand, I’m not sure I have the energy to do it this way again. It’s extremely tedious recording the same parts over and over and over; especially being so new to these instruments. In order to achieve that orchestral sound, I have to record myself as if I was each individual member of the orchestra. I’m really not sure what I will do for the next album. I’ve made a lot of new friends recently that are string players, and I’m hoping to collaborate with them if they are willing. On this album, I played the piano, bass, some drums and percussion, guitar, keys, violin, viola, cello, acoustic bass, and trumpet.
FBL: So you've just released a new album, DVD, and had what looks like an awesome CD-release show with a 20-piece orchestra and Darren King from MuteMath drumming. What was your experience with that and what's your connection with Darren?
JL: Darren grew up in Marshfield, which is just about twenty minutes away from here (Springfield). We actually met at a coffee shop five or six years ago here in town. We’ve been friends ever since, and collaborate pretty frequently. Whenever he’s in town, we try to squeeze in at least one session together. He does drums for me, and I do some string work for MuteMath. The album release show was a dream. I’ve been working all week on mixing the audio, and the video should be finished within a few weeks. It was by far, the best musical experience of my life.
TFL: I noticed that you also have been working with Sleeping at Last, of whom I am a big fan. Tell us what working with them has been like.
JL: They are really, really, easy to work with. Ryan and Dan are both extremely talented string arrangers, and my involvement is usually just performing what they’ve written. Yes, I’m a pretty big fan myself, which is why I approached them in the first place about working together.
TFL: Do you have any plans to perform the songs on the album outside of your CD-release with your own personal orchestra? I can imagine it might be difficult to put that many people on the road.
JL: No plans right now. And yes, it’s just about impossible for someone at my level to take that large of a group on the road. I’ve become very close with many of the players that helped me out with the show and I’m hoping that we can at least do a few isolated shows in selected cities over the next year or two.
Thanks to Jeremy Larson for taking the time to do the interview and sharing his music with us. He seems like really nice guy and a super talented musician so again, check out his bandcamp, blog, and his new album and tell me what you think. Thanks for reading and look for my review coming within the next few days!