Interview With: Jimmy Gnecco of Ours

Popwreck(oning) was recently blessed to be able to catch up with Jimmy Gnecco, front man of the group Ours, via telephone. Turns out as well as being a generous and talented person, Gnecco also happens to be very, very chatty. So chatty in fact that our interview had to be split into two parts. You can catch part one of two below:

Joshua, PopWreckoning: Hey Jimmy.
Jimmy Gnecco: Hey Josh! How ya doing?
PW: Outstanding actually.
JG: Where you calling from today?
PW: Kansas City!
JG: Kansas City! We just played there actually.
PW: That’s true, with Marilyn Manson. I sadly missed that show. Kevin Devine was playing in Lawrence. I promise to catch you next time. But let’s get this going! What were the last three concerts you attended as a spectator, not a musician?
JG: Huh. I’ll have to think about that one. I go to so many shows that I just can’t remember. You’ve got me stumped. I can’t even remember! Hang on, maybe the other guys will know.
PW: No problem.
JG: ‘Cause I mean we’ve been touring for like two years straight, and just catch shows between. [A door opens, followed by a load of guitar sounds] (to band:) do you guys remember the last three shows that I may have gone to, you guys may have gone to? As a spectator. [laughs] nothing comes to mind, right? We go to everything!
Band: [mumbles]
JG: I feel like there is something.
Band: (mumbles)
JG: That’s really wild: I just can’t remember.
Band: [mumbles]
JG: Yes! The Wailers show. That’s one of them; The Wailers.
PW: Good stuff.
JG: Yeah, there’s a reason that I don’t remember any before that. We went to the Wailers show, that’s why! Oh! We saw Heart.
Band: Yes!
PW: That’s awesome!
JG: Heart was amazing! Um… The Black Crows.
PW: I love the Black Crows.
JG: So there! Yeah, that’s three. We’ve been on tour non-stop and I think last year at the Milwaukee Fest we got to see some of the bands. Heart was one of them. The Black Crows were another. The Wailers were in New York. Um…
PW: Yeah, I can certainly relate to not being able to remember. Hell, I just cover shows all the time, they just blend together, and I don’t even travel from city to city like you do.
JG: Yeah. Time becomes completely blended together. Oh! I forgot! You’re going to love this one man. I just took my daughter to see The Jonas Brothers band.
PW: Actually there were here recently with Rooney and completely shut the downtown area down. We were trying to get to a venue in a similar area to the Sprint Center, and had to go quite a ways out of the way. That’s cool for your daughter.
JG: Yeah, they’re like the Monkees, man. It was just crazy!
PW: [laughs]
JG: That youngest one, man, he can play the drums. It blew me away. I couldn’t believe it!
PW: It’s odd. I was actually having this discussion with the boys from Matt Pond PA the other night. Disney has a white knuckle grip on the freaking music industry. They have They Might Be Giants now, as well as that girl from Letters to Cleo, um… Kay Hanley. And Stacey Jones and some of the other boys from American Hi-Fi are Hannah Montana‘s backing band.
JG: It’s pretty amazing.
PW: Four years have passed between the release of your second and third album. That’s a pretty large chunk of time, with that said, do you anticipate such a pause between your third and fourth albums?
JG: I would hope at some point to record it and release it in 2009. That’s what I would hope. This record, we got hung up in the business aspect of things. It wasn’t so much…it wasn’t fully in the recording process, as much as it was that we were changing hands a lot. But we did take over time and utilized that time to our advantage, y’know? Because there were a lot of moments over the last few years that I didn’t even want to hear from a label.
I had time to really take advantage of every minute. If it was going to take three months for the company to get back to us about what they wanted us to do then we really utilized that time. So I hope that we can get into a more frequent recording schedule, because it really doesn’t take us all that time to records. The first record took four years, but we actually only worked for like four months…
PW: Wow!
JG: But that four years, again, was all logistics.
PW: Label people shuffling their feet and such.
JG: Exactly, just trying to figure out… they’ll spend six months deciding if they like the song with the bridge or without the bridge. Luckily those decisions weren’t made by a label, they were made by us. Not for us. It wasn’t so much that they were made for us on the first two albums, it’s that they would hold up shop if they didn’t like it.
This time we made the record, as music people, the decisions weren’t coming from the label. When we started to make the record, our producer wasn’t coming to us from a label standpoint, because we started to make the record for Geffin, and so it wasn’t even for his label.
PW: Well that’s great that you actually got to go ahead and take your time to record the album as you intended it, instead of how a third party wanted it. That’s pretty rare.
JG: Yeah. We were so blessed in whole experience and how it was done. And, y’know, we’re very grateful that it’s been very rewarding for us.
PW: Following that, I’m going to ask a very similar question. Please tell me about the recording process of Mercy. Is there anything that you would like to add that you haven’t already stated?
JG: Yeah, we worked on songs for a long time. We pulled back from the business and I kind of reformed. Well, I don’t want to say reformed because I never had a set lineup for the band.
We actually formed a band this time, and started to work with the songs in the most infant stages, and started to build them up as a unit, with everybody contributing parts and stuff to songs. You know, when it started that way as a totally naturally process as a group of people putting together a record. So we did that for all of 2003 and most of 2004. We got into the studio in the fall of 2004. I guess we didn’t really get into the studio, we got into pre-production, working on songs, going to Rick’s house, working up songs with my acoustic guitar.
Then we got into the studio in December of 2004 and we were pretty much done by the summertime of 2005. But being that the process was taking so long with charging labels and whatnot, we were able to actually go back and say, “You know what, there’s no reason to rush this out. Let’s make sure that we love everything.” So I go back and mix something. I mean, I had the luxury of time which was the greatest thing out of anything. Well, the luxury of time and the ability to work on those recordings in that time, because in the past the label controlled and masters. So I could just go into the studio and say, “Hey I want to change this.” But, with the label, everything was a process. But with this, I had all the files, and all the track, and all the equipment to make the recordings. And if i thought, “You know what? I think I want to go back and rerecord this song.” Bam! I did it! “I want to record another song.” Boom! We did it.
So, in that time that we were waiting when we actually thought that we were done, we recorded another song, and then spent like a year mixing that song. “Ran Away to Tell the World” took a year to mix because I just kept going back to it. I kept thinking, “Nah, it’s not right. I don’t want to settle. And there was no one pounding down our door to release it, so why not get it right?
PW: Yeah! That’s awesome that you actually got to perfect a song rather than have someone push you out the door just to get CDs on the shelf. I think that that’s how music should be. And, I mean, I understand that it is a business, but honestly I think they would do better as a business if they took the time to make sure that the quality of their product was as its peak. They damage a lot of potential stellar songs by not allowing a natural growth process.
JG: Oh yeah. I like to slow cook things. With me, and songs, it’s like, sometimes you have to live with it for some time. Sometimes. Sometimes you write it and right anyway you’re like, “Wow. That just presented itself.” But other times it’s a little bit different. It’s “let’s see where we can push it and how we can grow it.” And like I said, the luxury of time is just the greatest gift.
PW: Wonderful insight. After that, I had a question regarding the album, it seems that Mercy had somehow leaked to the internet, and I noticed that many of your fans have already listened to it. However, they’ve also promised publicly to purchase the album, as well. How do you feel about the album being present prior to it’s release date, and do you care that people have heard your music early, if they plan to buy it once it drops?
JG: Absolutely not. I’m fine with it. The only thing that would bum me out is the quality that they’re hearing it. It is not typically as quality, because the internet stuff is seldom full quality. But it’s okay. They’re excited to listen to it and I should be thrilled that they’re that excited.
PW: They totally are. They seemed completely stoked. You have a really good fan base.
JG: We have great fans in that way. I feel like you either love us or you can’t stand us. So the people who are fans, I think they want to own the record.
PW: Yeah, they were being very cool about it. Like there were talks among them that they were going to buy two and three copies in order to make up for those who don’t. and I thought that that was really cool. That’s loyalty.
JG: That’s amazing. You know, for every bad egg out there, there are 3 or 4 good ones. That’s really inspiring to hear that.
PW: It really is.

To be continued…
Check back for part 2!

Ours: website | myspace

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One Response

  1. Awesome interview, can’t wait for part 2

    Looks like Joshua paid a visit to KillTheBand.com huh? =P

    PS – the band’s official myspace is http://myspace.com/oursmusic

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