About to Pop: Jonas Sees in Color
By Ashley Iasimone Posted Dec 3rd 2009 09:35AM
Who: Jonas Sees in Color
Album: 'Jonas Sees in Color'
Song: 'Loose Threads'
Hails From: Greensboro, N.C.
For Fans Of: The Academy Is..., Jimmy Eat World
Why They're About to Pop: Before Jonas Sees in Color were signed in early 2009, they had already made a strong presence throughout the Southeast on their own. The hard-working North Carolina band -- vocalist Ryan Downing, guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Owens, guitarist Jonathan Albright, keyboardist Meagan Beth Plummer, bassist Michael Deming and drummer John Chester -- booked as many shows as possible, and sold 1,000 copies of their self-released EP, 'Avalanche.' Often, they played their pop-rock tunes in small towns, and became the first real band many soon-to-be fans would get to see live.
"We played a show once outside in Mississippi on a concrete slab during a lightning storm," Downing tells PopEater. "Everyone was drenched with rain and covered in mud; we kept having to stop because we were getting electric shocks from our equipment. The thing was, no one cared that they were wet or dirty -- they just wanted to hear some music."
With a growing fan following in tow, Jonas Sees in Color signed a record deal with Glassnote Records, who hooked them up with the Fray producer Aaron Johnson. The band's self-titled debut album was released in September. Find out more about Jonas Sees in Color and listen to their catchy single, 'Loose Threads,' after the jump.
Seven Questions With Jonas Sees in Color's Ryan Downing:
How did Jonas Sees in Color initially meet and form as a group?
Most of us had been in bands together growing up in small towns, and when we came to Greensboro, N.C. for college, we thought it would be fun to make some more noise. Now we're pretty much inseparable.
Your band name comes from Lois Lowry's 'The Giver.' What is the significance of the phrase to you?
In 'The Giver,' Jonas sees in color after he is chosen to carry the thoughts and memories of his entire village. We took that as a metaphor for what we try to do with our art. We try to convey our songs in such a real and honest way that the listener can take the song as their own. We want people to be able to understand our songs, and see the story and message as clearly as if it was theirs to begin with.
Who are your musical influences?
Good songs are good songs, no matter what genre of music they're in, so our influences are all over the place. If you ride in the van with us, you're probably going to hear something from Otis Redding, My Morning Jacket, the Black Crowes or Kings of Leon. During our last tour, we listened to the entire Beatles catalogue from front to back -- that was quite an adventure.
Which song from your debut album is your favorite, and why?
'Devil in the City' is one of my favorites off the album. It's a quirky, eccentric track about Charles Manson's dreams to become a rock 'n' roll star that sounds like the soundtrack to some crazy haunted carnival. I dig it.
As former music majors in school, and now professional musicians, what do you think makes a great song?
A great song has music that can stand alone without lyrics, and lyrics that can stand alone without music. It also needs a sense of realness and authenticity. I think that's what makes great songs so universal.
You've said that you'll play anywhere and any time. What's the most memorable place you've played a show at?
We played a show once outside in Mississippi on a concrete slab during a lightning storm. Everyone was drenched with rain and covered in mud; we kept having to stop because we were getting electric shocks from our equipment. The thing was, no one cared that they were wet or dirty -- they just wanted to hear some music. And, more than anything else in the world, we wanted to play it for them. So we did.
What's the best career advice you've been given?
"Ignore the holes in your shoes." If you're going to be a musician, you're going to be poor and life is going to be hard. It's part of the deal. If your music is important enough to you, and you want it bad enough, you'll keep going. So, I guess that's the other half of the advice: "Just keep going." Oh, and don't piss off the sound guy.
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