Currently halfway done with their follow-up to 2014's excellent album Keep Doing What You're Doing, the group's sound continues to evolve as notoriety surrounding the Orlando-based rock act grows. "We wrote our last album right when we got off tour playing basements and small venues where there weren't P.A.s and the sound was kind of muddy, so you had to have an aggressive tone and way of playing songs," Jones explains. "We wrote [last year's EP Pioneer Of Nothing] after starting to play bigger venues with professional sound and monitors so you could hear yourself, things got naturally scaled down a little bit," he continues.
The three songs on the aforementioned EP—released on legendary indie label Jade Tree Records—show an added depth and vulnerability to the band's guitar-driven excursions. However what’s perhaps even more impressive is the band’s ability to implement influences from the past without resorting to the nostalgia which permeates so much of their genre today via reunion-culture. "In the past we've talked about pushing our sound forward or trying to go different directions, but historically as we've written... we come up with a song and then sort of, there it is. Not that it's a bad thing at all. I think it's just ingrained in our fingers by now."
You Blew It! picked up some helpful tips by working with someone whose been able to retain that timeless trait: Into It. Over It.'s Evan Weiss, who incidentally produced the band's last full-length. "One thing that Evan really hammered into us was that big parts should be big," Jones explains. "He also taught us some more nuanced things: For example a chorus should only have one note repeated a certain amount of times instead of the same notes every single time…I feel like personally my vocal melodies and the way we write songs has changed. Because before we tried to kind of bend to the whole pop song "intro/verse/half chorus/verse/bridge/chorus" and he kind of let us be ourselves and do our own thing without sacrificing structure."
Clearly evident in the track You Blew It! have chosen for Singles Club, "Punker Than Thou" displays the darker side of the band's often saccharine sound. While it retains the chiming guitars and syncopated drumbeats that have become YBI! hallmarks, it also features distorted bass and a mantra-like chorus that sees Jones repeating the phrase, "you have nothing to say." Luckily, the group have plenty to say about the song which eschews emo's cliched relationship-based writing and instead explores current societal issues. Don't worry though, it's all done over a super catchy backdrop.
"The song lyrically is about the fact that these days there are a ton of things happening that haven't really happened in history before," Jones explains. "Just as an example, the sheer acknowledgment of any gender other than the binary gender. That's just one of the topics going on right now. There's a lot of division as a nation, but not a lot of discussion about it because I feel like zealots from each side of the fence are kind of just lobbing information here and there and not a lot of people are talking in the way that they should," he continues. "Not to get too political, but I feel like there could be way more discussion than there is."
However he does believe that we are moving in the right direction as evidenced by the dialogue surrounding previously taboo or easily avoidable subjects in American culture. He references Louis CK's monologue on Saturday Night Live's season finale as evidence of this. "His joke about walking into that pizza place and just acknowledging that two black women owned it is in itself inherently kind of racist…. is actually a positive thing according to an article I just read. I think if someone was able to acknowledge that racism did exist in people who didn't want to be racist, there would be more conversation that could happen about that. You know, you kind of need a little bit of venom to get the antidote."
On the other hand, when it comes to recent music tastes he admits that, like many of us, he can sometimes get caught in a loop of the music that influenced him early on. "I'm not proud to say it, but I listen mostly to older stuff," he says with a sigh having spent the last two or three months solely listening to The Photo Album by Death Cab For Cutie and Pedro the Lion. “I wouldn't call myself ignorant as far as newer bands go, but the majority of it is early 2000s.”
This all sounds pretty depressing, huh? "Yeah, when I'm in my car it's mostly just David Bazan singing stories about wives leaving husbands… and then eventually killing them," he laughs laugh. "So not a lot of smiles on my way to work.”. Seeking inspiration from other art forms outside of music, Jones will “sometimes find inspiration in stand-up comedy, just the way that things flow and the connections that are made in stand-up or the way tones are represented in movies and films.”
"It gives me inspiration to create," sounding as if contemplating a new musical motive as we speak. Right now what's next for You Blew It! is as wide open as the ocean that borders their home state, but leave no doubt whatever form it takes, the music will remain vital, meaningful and unique. And really, what else can you ask for from a rock band these days?
Singles Club is a subscription record club and digital music journal published quarterly. This single contains an exclusive A-Side recording from the artist along with an interview on the B-Side featuring the artist's description of the project and track.
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