New End Original / Onelinedrawing
Silent Uproar: You keep really close contact with your fans through your website. Is this closeness important to you?
Jonah: Yes, almost to a weird degree. I tend to focus so much on that that I miss other things. I really appreciate the direct contact, keeps me grounded in the face of critics, sycophants and other weird rock things.
SU: Would you ever let yourself get big enough (popular wise) that you aren't able to maintain this type of relationship?
Jonah: Informal, direct communication will always be a priority for me. I've always loved artists that make it a priority, still do. No reason to lose it, regardless of scale.
SU: What are your thoughts on the internet? It is obviously important to you since it has basically created the opportunity for you to talk to your fans on a regular basis.
Jonah: Yea, it's been a good fit. In general, the internet is just like any other toy we've made. Lots of good uses, lots of abuse.
SU: I have to ask about the whole sliding scale prices thing. Do you think that you could be making a lot more money if you just placed your records at say $9 rather than letting the purchaser choose their price?
Jonah: I'm not sure. I think it works out fine. There are really funny nights where I'll sell a bunch of stuff super-cheap, losing-money cheap, and then someone will walk up and drastically overpay. I'm much more interested in keeping commerce interesting than in money lost for the sake of it.
SU: I realize that you have said that it isn't about the money to you, as much as it is the music. But you do have to eat, and I am sure you would like to not have to worry about money.
Jonah: Yea, it's important to be clear that I'm fine with money; I have rent and child support and school loans and insurance and all of it. When I say it's not about money that just means it's not THE priority. Money is very important, it's just not something that I want to base decisions on. I'm one of those people that believes in the money can't buy you happiness cliché. I don't mean to confuse people with it, just playing really.
SU: I know when I bought some of your OLD stuff I was so impressed with the idea of offering a sliding scale that I paid the maximum. do you think this happens a lot?
Jonah: I think it happens some. It definitely seems to turn some heads around, that I'm actually selling stuff like that. I just think that sort thing encourages trust and interaction and other things that I like.
SU: Changing gears here, how did the relationship with Jade Tree come about?
Jonah: Mostly through Norman. I knew of them before then, and they knew of me, but their history with Norman really helped. They're very much a community, and it's nice to have been let in.
SU: Have you been happy with them?
Jonah: Yes. I'm pretty insecure and wary in general, so that can be problematic, but I just try to stay open with them, and them with me.
SU: So why have Jade Tree put out the New End record? and the new OLD?
Jonah: Just sort of worked out. I thought about keeping stuff separate, but that seemed a little silly. And you really can't mess with Jade Tree. They're as good as an indie label gets, really, and I'm in a place right now where being independent of a lot of the crap that's going on right now in rock marketing is important to me, and Tim & Darren at Jade Tree seem to be in the same place. I'm not knocking other people, for real, I'm just trying to sort out where I'm happiest.
SU: I would think that distribution would have a factor in it. With Jade Tree, you can get your music to a lot more people and you still have the kind of indie relationship.
Jonah: Yes. They combine ideals and being nice with working really hard and making sure their stuff is good. I've never really done a onelinedrawing record with anyone else, just distro stuff, so I'm interested to see if they can find people to tell that I haven't.
SU: What made you decide to start a new band (New End Original)?
Jonah: The way it sounded when we played. Up until that moment, I wasn't planning on being in a rock band again.
SU: I noticed you didn't really spend a whole lot of time promoting the New End record before you started back working on the new onelinedrawing record. Was there a reason for this? Was it a direct result of Charlie & Scott leaving the band?
Jonah: Yes. Also, New End was and is a thing where we don't want to drown ourselves in it. I'm interested in keeping things exciting, and part of that means not overdoing it.
SU: Anything more you want to say about their leaving?
Jonah: It's sad and confusing. That said, Norman and I are very ready to do tour more on Thriller, and to write new stuff together. New End started with us, and it will end with us. We just want to find a couple people that we get along with on all the necessary levels.
SU: Do you want to keep onelinedrawing as your main focus, or do both bands have an equal weight in your schedule?
Jonah: I'd place them as equals. It's nice having (at least) two outlets, I'm really thankful for that.
SU: I know you just got done with some dates with New End and now you are heading back out with onelinedrawing. How is the preparation for the shows different from one band to the next?
Jonah: Neither band prepares very much, really. Playing live is my favorite form of practice. There's much less to do with onelinedrawing, cos it can really be anything, but both involve the average rock logistics re: merch. and junk.
SU: IDo you find that you have the same basic kind of crowd come out for both bands?
Jonah: Yes, in that they don't seem to be scene-centric. I like that. It just seems like a bunch of different types of people that like music. I'd like more of that.
SU: How do you deal with having a kid (I believe you have a daughter) and still being one of the most relentless touring acts in the US?
Jonah: I just make sure to get home a lot. With onelinedrawing, I can just fly out and play for a week in the Southeast or something, it doesn't cost too much. I'm actually home quite a lot, but I'm always playing little handfuls of shows. I get a bit dizzy sometimes, and then I settle.
SU: I know that you have some connection with Buddyhead. Would you care to tell us more about that?
Jonah: I've just known Travis and Aaron for a while now. It's funny, cos on the surface we're so different, but there's stuff in the intention of what we do that's pretty similar. I worry about them sometimes. I worry about me too.
SU: Also, in the same vein I know you sang backup on the acoustic "Be Quiet And Drive" a while ago. How did that come about?
Jonah: Far and Deftones grew up together as bands, and I've always loved Chino's voice. I just had this idea for a quiet version of that song, and I made a demo of it, and played it for him, and he loved it. We recorded that in my room, it was a fun night.
SU: What kind of music are you listening to these days?
Jonah: Latest musical crushes: Cat Power, Wheat, Mirah, Red Tape, Dylan(always, but esp. lately), Low, Gigi. There's a page on the site where I put up songs of mine and other stuff, I like telling people about music.
SU: Speaking of your site, you mentioned in your news something about scoring a movie. Is that still happening? Any specifics?
Jonah: Working on it right now. The movie is called 'Broken'. Darren Doane made it, and it stars Michael Madsen. It's fun to work outside of song lines. We'll see when it gets out.
SU: Do you have any advice for DIY people out there? You have been one of the most successful people out there at this, and I am sure people could use your advice.
Jonah: Yea, you'd think I could give better advice. I've thought about trying to get thoughts down about this, actually look at what I've done and how it's worked (or not) and why. Ironically, I always choose to do other things that need doing in my odd DIY world. I certainly don't have a lot of discipline, so I think it really has to do with seriously thinking about what you enjoy and want, and then choosing to keep doing the stuff it takes to make that happen, whether that's stuffing envelopes or booking shows or making recordings.
I read Ian de Fugazi talking about how the way he does it isn't for everyone, I think I'm the same way. I just want people to figure out what's important to them, and let their decisions about what they do, how they do it, and who they do it with come from a pure place. I don't mean pure by my standards, I mean pure by theirs.
One equation I've thought about lately when bands ask for the major/indie/whatever advice: When you're thinking of dating someone, or making friends, you talk about shared values, likes/dislikes, all that. Do the same with managers, lawyers, labels, booking agents, all of it. Why would you want to be in business with someone that you aren't okay with personally? I've been in a lot of different situations, and I sort of wish I'd thought of that obvious parallel earlier.
SU: Cool. Well, that's all I have. Any shout-outs, shameless self promotion, or thank you's?
Jonah: Shout-outs to anyone trying to stay nice and do stuff they're proud of. Mostly just thanks to you for preserving. So yea, visit onelinedrawing.com, and tell your friends, um...