August 05, 2013

Interview with band Aaron and Jane

Aaron and Jane are quite possibly the cutest duo of all time.  I wanted to do an interview with them and share their music with you.   Boy/girl duos are my favorite next to bands with clapping, and their CD Color Outside the Lines is my new summer favorite.  Their music is extremely sweet and their lyrics are heartfelt and honest. I hate to say their music is "simplistic" because it has such a negative connotation, but I love simplistic music with very few instruments that are minimalist and, for a lack of a better word, cute.  After you read the interview, go check out their ridiculously adorable website as well as their facebook page

You can also purchase their latest album on itunes:

How did you two become a duo and when did you first start creating music together?

When we initially met we didn't have any intention of forming a band.Aaron had gone through an intense breakup and had created some songs. He wanted to see how a cello sounded with it and asked some friends if they knew a cellist. We met through a mutual friend and had our first jam session in Fall 2009. Since the first meeting we just kept creating and motivating each other. It was one of those things where bad circumstances created something even better. 

What inspires you when you are working on music?

Other artists and creative people inspire us. It doesn't have to be a musician. For example, for me (Jane), I am inspired by books I read and lives of creative people. The intensity or focus that they have despite seasons of drought or difficulties inspires me to create no matter where I am at in my life. Aaron is usually inspired deep within himself! He has a gift of constantly thinking up new ideas and new music. We're very different. He looks within whereas I look without. 

What are your top 5 favorite bands/music artists?

Damien Rice
Griffin House
The Daylights
Joshua Radin

Have you done any tours and are you planning any for the future?

We did a tour a couple years ago to promote our first album. It was a west coast tour and we drove from Los Angeles to Washington doing a bunch of shows along the way.  I think we did 9 shows in the span of 11 days. It was crazy! It was exhausting! It was a great experience though. We learned that we really need to have days of rest in between the traveling & performing since we don't have any roadies helping us out. The rest also needs to not involve staying with people we know every night. Not that we didn't enjoy staying with family and friends, but sometimes you just need to have solitude to recuperate and be rejuvenated. We are definitely thinking about touring again but we're not quite sure if we want to do another west coast tour or go more inward. We'd also like to wait until our third album comes out, hopefully next year! 

What has been your favorite venue to play so far?

Our favorite venue has to be South Pasadena's "Wine and Song."   The South Pasadena community has embraced us and supported us in amazing ways since we first played at their Wine & Song. They have invited us back so many times for their local Art Walk, Music Festival, and individuals from the community have hired us to perform for outdoor parties. When you attend their "Wine and Song" every night it is the whole community that comes out to eat dinner, drink wine and just have a blast listening to live music. The food is also amazing.  If you are ever in Los Angeles you need to check it out! We are really drawn to the intimate, personal aspects of playing music which is why I think this is one of our favorite venues. 

Also what was your favorite band that you played with?

We have played with a lot of bands at shows, but during a show in San Diego we met this guy named Jarrod Dickenson. He was amazing. And as luck would have it he was going to play in Los Angeles the following week so we went to support him. My favorite song from him is called "Come What May."  He has gone off to do some great things since we met him. 

Was there ever a time when you felt discouraged about making music?  How did you deal with it and get back on your feet in the creative process?

Yes! Discouragement is a natural part of being creative, whether a musician, artist, writer, etc. You go through ups and downs and seasons of productivity and seasons of drought. Sometimes you also need to focus on paying your bills so you can lose focus of the music. There hasn't been one specific time of discouragement because it's something that happens every now and then. The nice thing about being in it with someone is that we help each get back on our feet. (I can't imagine how individual artists and writers and actors do it - you really need a support system.) I'll list some practical tips that have helped us get back in the creative process:

- Go see some live music. There are a ton of wonderful indie bands and so getting out to hear them motivates us.
- Meet up with other musicians/artists. The LA scene is full of people who are willing to meet up and share ideas - even with new acquaintances. This has helped us a lot too. 
- Read blogs (Jane). For me, I love to read lifestyle blogs like yours. Seeing the simple ways people add beauty and creativity to their lives inspires me. It sounds cheesy, but you can't imagine how late at night when I feel blah, I read through blogs and am just inspired! 
- Read books about people who overcame. The amount of people who struggled in life to overcome is numerous! People like U2, Madeleine L'Engle, Viola Davis, Joni Eareckson Tada, etc. It doesn't even have to be about people in your field. Being reminded of determination, drive and perseverance in any individual is a great motivator. 
- Journal goals. I'm a real goal oriented person (not Aaron so much). I like to make goals for the year and seasonal goals. Having these helps me keep focused and have deadlines. Otherwise, sometimes you're constantly talking about something and never see it to fruition. 

Your music is so beautifully simplistic and heartfelt with just the two of you, do you think you will keep this sound or do you plan to add more people and more instruments?

Thanks! We do want to keep our simplicity as our main sound. I mean we love it and don't want to change it too much. However, when it comes to recording our next album we would definitely like to add drums and bass (like we did for "Color Outside the Lines") and possibly some piano and chimes to certain songs - but only if it would really add to the song. It's really about what would help the recording, but the essence of who we are wouldn't change too drastically. 

What's your funniest on the road or show story?

It's not really a funny story, but when we were on our west coast tour we had to drive from Northern CA to Oregon. The path we were taking was a really brutal drive at one point. It was late at night and it was a one way path. There were no street lights anywhere. We had no idea if we were even on the right road. Farm land was all around us. It was both beautiful and frightening at the same time! Aaron turned off his headlights at one point because it was so pitch black that the stars were visible and bright! Something we never see in the city! And then we saw a rattle snake on the road and wild animals. It was crazy. Not really funny :)  but memorable.  

Do you have any advice for people who are looking to make their own music but are too scared to go for it?

Being a musician is hard.  I'm (Jane) blessed because I also teach so I'm able to pay my bills and save. My teaching schedule is flexible so I can do shows late at night and on weekends without having to get up at 7am for a day job. You have to pay for your own health insurance and you have to be willing to give up certain things (little luxuries like daily Starbucks or nice vacations or nice things). People always ask me when I will stop doing the music thing. I get asked a lot, "How much longer are you going to try that music thing?" That volatile and flexible lifestyle is something you have to be okay with as well as being misunderstood. 

1. Don't put deadlines on success. You have to make your own value system for success. Even if you "make it" there is always something that you will want next. Or you have to maintain that success or up it one more. So you have to make sure that you strive for the lifestyle you want - not a checklist of success you want. 
2.  Count the risks. There are risks involved for sure. Many of them are financial and some may even be relational. You must be ready for the financial meagerness that may follow and for the people who may not always be willing to support you. Be ready to face opposition and be ready to have an answer for them if you truly believe this is the right path for you! 
3. Have a support system. Someone or someones who will be there for you during those tough times. Someone who will feed you ideas and come out to your shows and help you get better at what you do. It could be a friend, a parent, a significant other - but you can't do it alone. 
4. Be smart about finances. Especially if it's going to be a long-term musical adventure. Make a budget. Even as a musician you can still save a little each month. That savings can go towards important things like dental work in the future or your next project. Be willing to say no to expenditures you don't need. But at the same time we all need a little something! Find your balance. 
5. Be creative about income. Aaron doesn't make money through teaching music, but he finds amazingly creative ways to pay his bills that feeds his creativity. He works for a screen-printing company part-time, he works for the TV show SYTYCD a few days a week, he does weekend improv shows. I also do part-time work for an In Home Pet-Sitting company. You have to do the looking and networking to find work that will fit your lifestyle and allow you to do your music. It's out there.  You just have to find it! 
6. Keep a notebook.  At some point I looked back and couldn't recall what we did that year. I felt so fruitless! That's when I decided to make a journal of the things we did that year. I write down all the shows we do, people we connected with, etc. and that way when I look back on the year, I can see the things we did. In that notebook I also write goals. It helps when you feel like you haven't done much that year. You read it and realize you did a lot more than you thought. It also keeps you focused on the things you want to shoot for.

We thoroughly enjoyed giving you a glimpse into our lives! We are also open if any of you want to email us with more questions or want us to come do a house party or anything! We love to connect with people and always try to email back everybody who takes the time to contact us.

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