I got to sit down with the goofy and chill dudes that bring a twist to folk rock and have a mission of bringing different cultures together
reppin: phoenix, az // unsigned // 2011 - present
sounds like: busted shopping cart carrying fireworks somehow making it down a rolling hill in one piece
last album drop: orme dugas (sept 2016)
featuring: jared // michael // larry // chuck // josh
Every morning, or almost every morning, I throw a different fruit, juices, yogurt (and now finally peanut butter!) into my little Ninja blender and out comes delicious and refreshing smoothie goodness. I can feel it reenergizing my body as I am ready to start the day, talk to all sorts of people and try to make dreams come true. Jared & The MIll is your smoothie people. A clash of genres ranging from outlaw country to pop to alternative sprinkled with some soul has these five dudes doing something really different out there. Hailing from hot ass Phoenix, they have really taken it upon themselves to constantly mix up their vibes and evolve.
Having played everything from small bars to big arenas with the likes of Barry Gibbs, Allen Stone, Zac Brown Band and many others, I immediately felt a humble and friendly vibe chatting with these guys, getting a sense of what makes them go. They are as goofy as they are talented and you get the sense that they are just happy to be playing music and putting smiles of the faces of us humans. I’ll come out with straight up honesty, I never tend to venture over to the country side of things. It is just something I was never exposed to in Chicago, especially growing up on punk. But, the powerful blender of influences, personalities bring out a very unique flavor...one that you must bring your ears to listen to.
What sets them apart among anything else is that live show of theres. It is more than just playing tunes, rocking out and having a good time. Each and every night they look to bring people with different background and beliefs closer together. It really is a special thing to see...why not blanket the crowd with the soul of music when you have all sorts of humans with different taste coming to see you live. I sat down with the guys at Schubas to dig a bit deeper into their mission as a band.
How do you feel about arena shows vs. small venues like Schubas?
jared: This is probably going to be the best show of the tour.
larry: You always feel disconnected with a big crowd in arenas. For instance, last night, we played show for like 35 people and we just heckled the shit out of all of them. Jared called them out for being so nervous and was telling them, “hey you, go talk to the person next to you!”
jared: As far as arena shows, I feel like we didn’t get a good taste of it because of who we were playing with. On a recent tour, not only is the barricade so far from the stage, I feel like the fans would be receptive to our type of music either way. But this other run with Barry Gibbs, they came to see Barry Gibb so it is kind of tough. It was a good way to learn how to sway a crowd. We have to be adaptive and learn how to get people invested. Lots of good lessons.
me: When were you guys officially a band?
jared: Our anniversary is August of 2011. We’re kind of a middle aged band at this point, our midlife crisis.
me: To me, you all hit a bunch of different genres with your music so the opportunity to gain a general music listener as a fan is pretty sweet.
How did you all find the sound that lands in between all these different kind of genres? What experiences led you to become Jared & The Mill?
jared: It kind of happened by accident. At first it did at least. It wasn’t really a process, the music that we played changed over time. We went through our first couple of records and we loved our music that we were coming out with. This last record though, is where it really clicked with all of us. Oh, fuck, there it is. That’s the sound.
josh: As we first got going we were exploring the folk genre that was happening at the time. I think of folk as music of the people. I realized that music where we come from in Arizona is like dirty country, that’s what our parents listened to.
jared: Our collective music taste though is so diverse that when we cycle through ideas we kind of come up with something different. We all listen to a lot of different types of music, but one that we absolutely got down with was old outlaw country music. We always got down with each others tunes...you know we are traveling 10 hours a day with each other in a van. When people say, “you know I don’t listen to country a lot, not saying you are, but there is something different about you.” I think that comes from the air of our influences unifying us.
gabe: When I met Chuck, he had a 6 inch mohawk, playing in a ska band and all (laughs).
chuck: A lot of our new music that we’ve been writing together has been influenced a lot about contemporary stuff we’ve been listening to. I think it’s important to go back to your roots of what you listened to. We’ve never openly avoided a genre though. We can’t be too much of this or that. At the same time, we’ve all sub-consciously been like we don’t want to be one distinct vibe. We don’t have any disrespect to bands that do. We like that we are a blender of shit. That is what Arizona is like, kind of a all over the place culture.
jared: We’re gonna play a song tonight and it’s really cool how people are receiving it because when I first wrote it, I was really nervous because it is very honest and can be taken out of context. As a songwriter, it is nerve wracking being that open. From a sound perspective, it get really heaving towards the end and it’s probably my favorite song to play right now and it is so different.
What is your mission when you are playing live? What do you want those people to feel?
jared: People who come to our show, we want them to come away with the idea...it is okay to be a fuckup, to have shortcomings. We are all together within these walls. It is super cheesy and a lot of bands run that game. But there is a bit of gnarliness to how that comes across.
me: That was me in high school and punk shows for sure. That place of escape.
jared: We don’t cater necessarily to the individual, but we want everyone in the room singing together and being together in the place, in the moment.
michael: For us personally, the longer that we do this, the more that i want it to be about something that matter. On paper, being a musician and wanting people to like your music is a selfish thing. Your fans are like your greatest investment. Nothing else matters if there is no one else in the building. We want to make it more about them having a great night. There is nothing special going on here really, this is just us having an experience together.
me: I love that message and I really look up to those musicians who are just happy to be part of the scene and making music. This is why I go to so many shows.
larry: I know sometimes I go to shows with my guard up...I love that we can almost force strangers to interact and get out of their comfort zone.
Okay, so finally, if you had to pick a metaphor to describe your identity, what would it be?
jared: I feel like it differs from song to song.
chuck: Sometimes our music is kind of feeling bummed out and needing to get some air and clear your mind. Getting a cup of coffee, riding down the highway. But other times, it is like seeing someone that you haven’t seen in a long time, but at a funeral.
josh: One of our producers described our music as a busted shopping cart carrying fireworks somehow making it down a rolling hill in one piece. There is a lot going on in our music, a lot of noise. Maybe it is about feeling lonely in the middle of a crowded room.
jared: I think that our music is something that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Messengers is a tune that we play that a lot of people interpret so differently and what they think it means. Our music lyrically and sonically is something that you can take and make your own. I really don’t know if there is a way to say, “this is what our music is like,” especially with the wide age range of fans we have.
chuck: You know, when I see the reaction in the crowd when we play live, I know we have something.
suggested listening experience: out on the highway just driving // party time // in the shower getting ready for the day