PEBS talks "Sweet Surrender"
Thu, 15 Sep 2011 11:06:07
On his new solo album, Sweet Surrender, PEBS [Jon Pebsworth] doles out folk fortified by his soulful delivery and mesmerizing acoustic guitar. It's a truly deep, diverse, and delicate collection of tunes that's simultaneously cinematic and cryptic. PEBS is the architect of on unforgettable sonic story after another.
In this exclusive interview, PEBS spoke to ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick FLorino all about Sweet Surrender and so much more…
Did you have one overarching vision for Sweet Surrender?
Definitely! I've been thinking about this for a while. Some of those songs were written at different times over the past four, five, or six years. Once it came down to actually making a record, what I wanted it to sound like was pretty clear from beginning to end. Some of the music was thought up in the studio. However, for everything we did, the whole idea was to serve the song. The song was the centerpiece in every situation. All of the other things like accordions or organs were there if they helped the song. We didn't want to do anything to take away from the song though. It was always meant to be a singer-songwriter style record.
Are there any themes carried throughout the album?
The main theme is the life of Jon PEBS, I suppose. There's really no storytelling or anything like that. It's mostly experiences. There have been a lot of changes in my life, especially in the past year which led to the recording of the record and ultimately where I'm at now. It's the theme of my life.
How do songs usually start for you?
A lot of times, it begins with me strumming out a guitar chord progression. Then, I'll hum a melody to it. The words seem to work their way into it. The words come last, but I don't sit around and go, "I'm going to write a song about this today". It seems to flow from the sound or the feel of the progression.
What's the story behind "Lay Down Your Life"?
I just got a tattoo on my arm that says, "Lay down your life". That's probably one of my favorites. It was the last one I wrote before going into the studio. If you're going to do something, you have to go for it full force. It's a song of hope. No matter what happens, you have to push through and throw your balls on the line to continue on. That song felt like a big finale. It became clear that I wanted it to be last once I laid down the vocals on it. Some of the lyrics are dark and others have lights of hope throughout. That one says it's not all that bad.
Did playing music help you when you worked in publicity?
I worked at Side One Dummy for ten years. Before I worked at Side One Dummy, I was in a touring band for years. That's how I started in the music business. I flipped over to the business side and now I'm back on the music side. It feels great. It helped me be a better publicist. I was more understanding of what the artists were going through.
If you were to compare Sweet Surrender to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
That's a good question! Maybe Barfly? [Laughs] Crazy Heart is obviously a rad movie. I don't know if I'm quite at that level. It's one of the recent music movies I thought was awesome. Those two are the closest to the vibe of this record.
Have you heard PEBS yet?