interview: jon lindsay on ‘summer wilderness program’

jon lindsay @ slim's

The lovely Jon Lindsay indulged a few of my nosy questions about his new record, Summer Wilderness Program, and his life, this week.

Behind the jump, read about his writing style, what he’s excited about, and the new new record. Buy Summer Wilderness Program at any of your favorite digital outlets!

What are the differences between Summer Wilderness Program and Escape To Plaza-Midwood? In subject, in sound, in how you put them together?

where to begin! sound-wise, the first thing that comes to mind is that for SWP we used and repeated more consistent processes when tracking. like, if we dug a certain compressor or signal chain or effects chain or mic sound for instruments or vox, we repeated it several times in various spots on the record, using only minor variations of the basic sound. that happened a little bit for EFPM, but much more on SWP. since i knew SWP would be a little shorter (about 39 or 40 minutes vs 51), i wanted to do things like that where possible to accent it’s slimmer, sleeker feel, moods and running time. i do like for all of my work, when taken in context of the other records, to have some sonic consistency AND plenty of new sounds happening, and i feel pretty good that that’s the case with this new record. in subject, SWP is more focussed on confessional narratives about love and loss, and there’s still some multiple POV storytelling and vignetes/character portraits, but all of them are injected with my autobiographical experiences; whereas on EFPM there were a few tracks that were 99% me as the writer asking “what if”. EFPM made clear to me early on that it had other places it wanted to go that were super ambitious and with wider parameters than heaps of love and loss, which was cool. though i mentioned i like to bring back some familiar elements of my focus from record to record, for that part of me that places equal importance on deviation from the past record(s), it was essential that i found new ways of pushing the limits of these SWP songs sonically and lyrically, without invoking as big of a textural and lyrical pallet, because I had just done that. so in many ways, to me, SWP adheres to a logic that is governed by a little more global unity from end to end in subject and sound. lastly, EFPM was written in the recording studio. SWP and everything i’ve done since has been written completely in advance of tracking, demoed (sometimes repeatedly), then recorded proper. that’s a pretty huge difference. both approaches are valid and awesome, but i think i’m at my best when i write a record, revise the shit out of it, then go “make it for real”. but i’m sure i’ll wing it again soon! 
 
SWP feels like a particularly frozen slice of time, like a moment caught in amber. I know you said you wrote it in a month, I think. Do you feel distanced from it now? How are you the same person who made the record, and how are you changed?

yeah you’re correct. those songs all came to me very quickly and largely as a group. except Gray Camaro. that’s a song i used to do with the my old band The Young Sons way back in 2007-2008, and i included it the sequence because i felt the album needed an anthemic sort of mellow acid pep rally sephia number right there toward the end to start bringing it all back home; but other than that, the songs presented themselves to me in a pretty obvious package. i will say this. a lot of the reviews (and they have been awesome and i’m very thankful and humbled by them) even the most favorable of the favorable, seem to miss the fact that this is a breakup album. it definitely covers more ground than a typical breakup album, in that it has confessional tracks that pre and post-date the central injury event for me or the other speakers/characters i explored; but even with the prologue and epilogue tracks, at its core, it’s a breakup album. i just think people miss that because they expect breakup albums to be all RazorBladeJunction like Sea Change by Beck. that album and tons like it already exist, so this was my move. a bigger breakup album. which to me is pretty lifelike and still lets the light in thru the cracks… i’ve definitely changed in that i’m not hurting as much anymore. i’m happy again, for the most part, i’ve moved on. i’m seeing someone new, i’m feeling very up. but of course i’ll always have love for that person, and i’ll always carry all that stuff with me, and in many ways i’m still totally the same guy.

Are you working on something new now? Do you write on the road? What’s the difference in your mindset when you’re home, and when you’re on the road?

so glad you asked! yes! I’m onto LP #3. it’s got the working title of Deeper Into Madness. i’m so excited about it it’s crazy. i’m at the stage right now where all i want to do is play people these new demos and i’m giddy as a school gurl. my home life is better than it’s ever been, in that right now, i actually have one. this is the first time in almost 3 years where i’ve been home in CLT, NC, with at least a month or so of breathing time, where i know i won’t get called away for tour or other JL biz. everyone that helps me do this is giving me a much needed bit of downtime to write and just have some fun. believe it or not, touring is super super hard work. it’s very taxing emotionally and physically. the highs and lows are both extreme, and the poles change everyday, and lots of times several times a day. so… yeah, it’s great to be home for a bit and exploring new inspiration. there will be more 2012 touring for sure – mostly in the fall. but i feel like i’ve lived 10 lives in the past 3 years, and it’s great to sit back for a minute and just think about everything. it’s flying by, man. but i wouldn’t have it any other way, ya know? this is my dream, making records and touring and not having to do anything else. whatever else happens in the future, i’m already fulfilled beyond believe with the good fortune i’ve had so far.

You’ve spent a lot of time on the road in the last year; what has been your favorite city to play in, outside of the state of North Carolina?

this is soooo tough. i can’t pick one but i’ll make you a top 10 list in no particular order of our favorite towns.
-Savannah, GA
-Nashville, TN
-Charleston, SC
-New York, NY
-Los Angeles, CA
-Portland, OR
-Seattle, WA
-Austin, TX
-Asheville, NC

What do you miss most about Charlotte when you’re gone? What do you miss least?

most: my dog, my house, my family, my bed, my records, cooking tasty snacks, sleeping, not sleeping in cat beds (i’m allergic).
least: the worries and stresses of daily home life. on tour, i go into a completely different mindset. nothing back home is very real to me on tour. which is liberating as hell. we get very guerilla it’s-us-against-the-world style out there. which is way rad.

What are you excited about right now?

ah man. just life. i’m not old but i’ve been thru a lot. i’m just stoked to be happy, healthy, alive, and waking up everyday being creative, able to make art. i feel very, very lucky. i do work super hard, but i don’t mind that either. it’s never a drag to work hard on your dreams, at least for me. and especially when you can see/feel/hear them becoming something of a reality, it doesn’t feel like “work”. specifically, i’m stoked on this new record i’m writing, spending time with my family, reading books, watching films, going to weddings, hanging out with dear friends, goofing off, seeing bands i like – normal stuff that would seem really mundane to folks, but given the past few years, i’ve missed out on tons of that stuff. lately, i will text my girlfriend (she lives in another town) and tell her to be proud of me for hanging out with actual humans, when i’m able to do that in my free time. i’m a mega dork.

What’s your own summer wilderness program?

no way man, i already gave it to you! now you show me yours;)

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