Paint A Picture is my humble attempt to bridge the eccentric and artistic realms of music, art, and film. Essentially it is a series that asks musicians, painters, graphic designers, local film directors, and other artistic individuals what external factors influence their art. It’s rooted in the concept that we, as musicians and artists, are not just driven by what we see in our own internal communities. Everything in the creative world influences us; whether it’s filming a backdrop so that it resembles a famous painting, or carelessly throwing vivid colors onto a canvas in an improvisational manner so as to improvise with paint like a jazz musician does with notes, we’re all intrinsically tied together in a strangely holistic and artistic community.
The first guest on Paint A Picture is my friend Graham Yoder. Graham is a part of an art rock group called the Jungol that’s been around for years. He and his brother and bandmate Josh always have very positive things to say about the local music scene and come from a very artistic family. I told Graham to pick a picture that he felt represented Jungol’s music and what they represent.
Which picture and song did you choose?
I chose “Places” from our last album and some Ansel Adams photographs. I actually picked a couple photographs.
How did you end up choosing that picture?
When I was thinking about what kind of picture describes the album or embodies the same vibe, I immediately thought about Ansel Adams photography. I have one of his pictures hanging in the house. His stuff is mostly black and white landscapes. There is some real intense emotion in is photographs, kind of moody too. And I think the album has a similar vibe…we were going for a warm, more natural sound opposed to our last record which is a lot busier and more in your face rocking. We even wanted the electronic stuff to have a more organic feel. I also did a lot of recording outside. There is a little mic in my sampler and I would take it outside and record rustling leaves and people talking, running water etc… all kinds of random sounds. Then I mixed some of those sounds in the record.
What was the songwriting process behind the ep “Places” like?
Every song is written a little differently. I usually write by making short loops and just filling up my hard drive with all kinds of little ideas, Josh writes mostly on his acoustic, and then we combine our ideas and experiment with different ways of playing the same thing until we find the best way to do it. “Places” started with a synth loop and a short guitar loop that I put over some electronic drums. It was originally a quirky electronic tune. Then Josh wrote some melodies and a chorus. Then we took those ideas to Jason (the drummer), and Zack (former rhythm guitarist, keys player and sax) and they wrote their parts. The song pretty much finished itself from there. I feel like my favorite tunes of ours always feel like they write themselves. There’s a good balance between forcing ideas and then getting out of the way of the song and letting the ideas show themselves.
How long did it take to write and record “Places”?
“Places” was actually written quickly compared to most of our tunes. I think we were in the middle of recording the album and we were not even originally planning to put “Places” on it, but we finished writing it half way through the recording, and immediately knew that we had to put it on the album. We were all super excited about the song and we even named the ep after it.
Does art or even film/theatre influence your songwriting and how you approach your music?
Yeah, art and film are definitely big influences. Josh and I’s dad is an artist. So art has always been an important thing in our household. Josh and I both paint too. I haven’t done too much lately though. We definitely feel like art goes hand in hand with our music. We have a good friend named David Hale who is an amazing artist out of Athens. His stuff has always been inspiring. He has also done our last two album covers, definitely check him out. Film is also a big influence. Woody Allen and David Lynch are two big film inspirations. We are always talking about the similarities in making a record and making a movie and it is an interesting process to me. I would love to make a short film someday. I think Josh has some screenplay he has been working on. On “Places,” we were going for a continuous flow with all the songs segueing into each other. We really wanted it to tell a good story. There wasn’t any major overall theme, but we just wanted to take time picking the right songs and making sure it was a cohesive piece instead of a bunch of random songs that could be on any album. I think the influence of film has definitely inspired that aspect of making the record.
Any last words?
Jungol will be performing a free show at the North River Tavern on Halloween. To hear some of “Places,” check www.myspace.com/jungolband