On the brink of releasing the CJ Eiriksson (U2, Matchbox Twenty) produced CD "Now Is The Winter", I recently sat down with Jason Poe in Austin, Texas.
A lot of great music comes out of Austin Texas. Are you one of the many musicians that moved there with the hopes that living in the "Live Music Capital of the World" would help your career?
Yes, I moved to Austin from Springfield, Missouri. At the time, I was in a band called The Professional Americans, and we had about reached our limits in the music scene there. We also had friends who moved down a couple years prior to start a church in Austin, so relocating to the “Live Music Capital” made sense on a number of levels.
What has been your biggest challenge so far as aspiring independent artist?
More than anything, the hardest challenge for me is the business side of music and becoming profitable. I've been in bands for almost a decade, and we've hardly ever seen a profit. Like any business, it takes a ton of hard work, and capital to really get a good product off the ground. I've always put my efforts into the songs first, and business second. That has been a rough approach so far, but in the end I think it can reap the most rewards. You can spend a ton of money recording and promoting songs that just don't connect. I've learned to wait until you have the right songs before getting too deep in expenses.
Your focus, as your bio states, is to craft the perfect pop song. How does that creative process work for you?
It's all about melody and staying to the point. Focusing the listener on the chorus. A great lyrical idea doesn't hurt either. I think musicians often write off pop music because they focus more on the image surrounding songs, rather than the song itself. It is very difficult to write a great pop song.
I always use Radiohead as an example. I know they are really sick of the song “Creep” but I'm sure they also understand that without “Creep” not as many listeners would've latched onto The Bends, OK Computer, or Kid A. Imagine if Radiohead had started their careers with Amnesiac instead.
Tell us about the new album and the inspiration, musicianship and production behind it.
The new album is called “Now is the Winter”. It's produced by CJ Eiriksson, who has worked with U2, Matchbox Twenty, and a bunch of other great bands. I'm playing all the instruments except for the drums, which were played by CJ, and my friend Josh Rodgers (of Austin band The Canvas Waiting).
I'm really proud of the songs on the album, and feel like they're the best set I've ever penned. Lyrically, they all deal with discontent in the now, and hope for the future. The songs seem to connect well with my circle of friends, so I am hoping they will connect with the rest of the world also.
The new CD comes out on Sept. 25th, what else can we expect from Jason Poe in the near future?
I'd love to tell you that I'm getting ready to start on my gangsta rap project, but really I'll just be up to more of the same. Once the album is released I will probably dive back into writing more songs. I'll also be performing more and hope to expand on the small amount of production work and co-writing opportunities I've encountered lately. Although, if you do have a great name for my rap project, message me on twitter or on my website.