In this exclusive interview,I had a chance to talk with Alex Jordan about his new single "Remedy," which you will be the first to hear, his top musical influences and his upcoming show with The Honor Society and All Star Weekend!
Susannah Prewitt: "Remedy" is your newest single, what's it about?
Alex Jordan: Remedy is probably the most personal song I've ever written. It's also one of the simplest. I'd really like people to find their own meaning in it, but it's basically a pick me up for anyone who's ever felt down about anything. It's pretty dark, but it's also got an element of light throughout it. Just like a yin yang. One can't exist without the other, and I just want people to know whatever they are going through, it's okay. Cause going through hell can often bring beautiful results. This song being an example of that.
SP: Which bands were you most influenced by while writing and recording this album/ EP?
AJ: I've actually been working on the album for about a year and a half now, so my influences are pretty far flung, as it's been a great deal of time spent on this particular album. That, and each song has it's own unique set of influences that I tried to bring out in the music. I guess if we are looking for some all encompassing ones though, and to be frank, you might not see these in my music, but I always feel inspired after listening to The Gaslight Anthem or Frank Turner. I just love the honesty and emotional earnesty with which they present themselves. I've dug into some 80's songs for a couple of the songs on the album, and even some country, motown, and do-wop artists. I also draw from modern radio pop like One Direction, but I would say my favorite song of the last year, and the one that's gotten the most consistent play time would be "Rockstar" by this U.K. artist named Dappy ft Brian May from Queen. To me, that is a perfect pop song. A combination of rap, pop, rock, and an intense lyricism that makes music great. A lot of people might think it's superficial on the surface, but it's actually a pretty deep and meaningful song about the 27 club. The vast amount of famous musicians that pass away at age 27, most recently Amy Winehouse. I highly suggest checking it out. I also think that most people have this conception that pop music can't be meaningful. That's ridiculous. The very reason a lot of songs get popular is that it effects a lot of people. Just because something is cool, doesn't mean it is absent depth. Some songs are, but a lot aren't.
SP: You’ve worked with Nick Jonas's crew before, is there a possibility for a future collaboration?
AJ: I worked with his drummer Michael Bland who's also in Soul Asylum and was in the New Power Generation, Prince's backing band. I haven't met Mr. Jonas yet but I'd love to work with him at some point. As for Michael, we still chat and he advises me on songs and other matters. I consider him a good friend. He and I will definitely be working on something together at some point in the future again.
SP: If you could pick any artist, dead or alive, to collaborate with on your next single, who would it be and why?
AJ: I'd love to do a song with Paul McCartney. It's funny, I'm actually only 3 people away from meeting him, if you do that Kevin Bacon six degrees of separation thing. I just hope one day I'm able to, and that I'm able to thank him for his contribution to music. I also think we'd write one hell of a jam. But more realistically, the producer J.R. Rotem. Every song he touches turns to gold. I love the way he makes his artists sound. He's the one behind Sean Kingston, Jason Derulo, and The Ready Set-Love Like Woe. Fantastic songwriter and producer.
SP: You write your own songs, what is that process like for you?
AJ: Basically I just sing the thoughts in my head. Those thoughts turn into melodies. It's usually just a small line of thought, and then I take and build an entire song's structure, melody, and lyrics around that one thought. Once that's done, I send it over to my co-writer Phil Solem of The Rembrandts (who did the 1995 #1 hit and Friends theme song "I'll Be There For You), with some ideas of the direction I want things to go musically. We get together, lay down some chords over the vocals I have already written, and then he goes to town and crafts the music. Sometimes I contribute piano melodies or I sing what I think he should be playing on a various instrument, and he can transpose that to whatever I need it to be. It's amazing the things he can do with so little and an absolute treasure to work with him at this early point in my career.
SP: You were in the local band The Fast Track, how has your music style evolved since then?
AJ: Stylistically it's an entirely different arena. The Fast Track was a rock band, and that's what we focused on coming across as. We wanted loud in your face guitars, and just an incredibly driven sound. Very high energy. We also wrote songs completely differently. I'd write melodies and lyrics to already written music, and then we'd formulate what would become the song from there. With my project, all progress begins with me. It's a blank canvas, so I can do a lot more things with the melody as I'm not confined to already written chords. This is never more evident than in a song like "Hate Me (Throw Up Your Hands)" where there is a key change from verse to prechorus, and then another key change for the chorus. I also have incorporated a lot of lighter instruments such as piano, synths, and even a melodica. It's just a crazy diverse selection, and stuff like that would've been hard to make them come across well over the driving guitars of my last band, because we wanted to be a live band. With this, it started as a studio project and has morphed into the performance aspect, so it's just a different approach.
SP: As a musician, what has been your biggest challenge? How have you overcome it?
AJ: Not getting too discouraged from all the "No's" you hear in this business, because you hear A LOT of them. I have come to understand that each one I've heard has forced me to become a better musician and businessman, and has led me to the place I am today. At the time you hear them though, it's like your world is falling apart because you put so much of yourself into everything, and it's like them saying they don't like you as a person; which isn't the case. So I've had a lot of good friends and bandmates pick me up in all of those instances. I wouldn't be here without them, and they have no idea how much I appreciate it.
SP: How has the support been from your hometown of Fountain City, Wisconsin?
AJ: Absolutely fantastic. It's not a big town, but they really can hold a guy up. I think a lot of them think that I'm a lot bigger of an artist than I am, or maybe they just see things about myself that I can't. Regardless, they are a big reason I'm still around today.
SP: What is your ultimate goal for “Alex Jordan?”
AJ: I think the endgame is just making a career out of giving people the same thing that my favorite artists gave me growing up. The feeling that I wasn't alone in whatever I was going through. If I can do that, then I've made it.
SP: You’re about to play your first ever show with The Honor Society and All Star Weekend, how did you get hooked up with them? Any expectations or worries for your first show?
I've been friends with the guys and their management team for a long time and things had finally hit a point where I was ready to play live shows. So I contacted Richard Reines and told him that I'd love to have their latest tour be my first show. He acquiesced, and then we got everything set up. There's always little things you're worried about, but for the most part, I'm just more ready than ever to be on stage again. It's been about a year and a half, so I just want to get up there and do my thing.
SP: Any last words?
Thanks to buzznet for the exclusive, and make sure you all keep up with my various social media platforms so you're never out of the loop. Links to all of them can be found on my website, lots of big things coming up, so you'll definitely want to be watching out for them. There you have it, Buzznet, from Alex Jordan himself! If you're in the Twin Cities area, make sure to check out Alex at his first solo show with The Honor Society and All Star Weekend