Aaron Schroeder is set to release his second album, ‘Black & Gold’, which features guest appearances by Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck, Air, Ladytron), Ben Barnett from Kind Of Like Spitting (Barsuk Records, Hush Records), Jeremy Castillo from the Los Angeles based rock band Mighty Six Ninety, and Tyler Blake from the DJ-remix duo Young Americans. Instruments used on ‘Black & Gold’ include lap-steel guitars, cellos, accordions, violins, banjos, musical saws, clarinet, mandolins, tubas and bells.
Having spent time in Los Angeles, Portland, Oregon and Boston, the 20-something singer/songwriter is currently based in Kennewick, Washington. He seems to have settled into the music scene quite nicely, after living there for the last couple of years.
After listening to tracks on Aaron Schroeder’s Myspace page, we begged him – well not really, but we would have if it had come down to that – to let us play his single, “Call Out To Me” on the Band Weblogs Podcast Show. Luckily he said yes. The track is off of Aaron’s new album ‘Black & Gold’ and could easily become a classic for not only us and I’m sure his current fan base, but if put into the “right hands”, for many more people in the years to come.
BandWeblogs.Com interview with Aaron Schroeder:
Band Weblogs: Who or what influenced you to want to become a musician?
Aaron Schroeder: Well, I was a young teenager in the midst of the grunge attack – so people like Kurt Cobain, I suppose. Truly, I really began writing music when I started getting involved in the punk rock scene. Bands like Bad Religion and Minor Threat were hugely influential on my ideology about music in general and how music should be played. Even though I don’t have the social-commentary-aspect to my music like those bands do, they always said SOMETHING. It was never just “page from your diary” type of sh*t. I still try to do that in my songs. I like telling stories, even if no one besides myself knows what the hell is going on to the characters within.
Is Washington a good place to be playing music?
Sh*t yes it is! I’ve been here only two years and I’ve released two full lengths and written about 5 albums worth of material. The scene itself is somewhat non existent, but I’ve hooked up with some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met here. Talented, creative and just good people. You don’t have to party here every night to stay connected to your friends which works out well with me. I can stay in and write more music and hang with my girlfriend. Besides that, there’s a local brewery a few minutes away that makes the best beer I’ve ever tasted. Seriously. Nothing else even comes close. I’ve asked around.
What inspires you to write a song?
Usually the music end will come from very different musical places. I’ll listen to someone like David Bowie or New Order or Bob Dylan or whatever and I’ll think, “I should’ve written a song like this!” So then I’ll turn the record off and basically rip off whatever I was just listening to. The lyrics usually come from the various books I’m reading. Sometimes they are inspired by poetry or old Yiddish folk tales. Whatever seems challenging to me – that is usually what I try to take on through my own music.
What is your favorite sport?
Mini golf, I suppose. Or pinball. I did get pretty excited about baseball a few years back when I was living in Boston. That was when the Red Sox “reversed the curse” though, so I suppose it was a pretty common thing. I also like trying to keep up with my dog when we go walking around the park. She’s fast.
Do you prefer recording in the studio or playing live shows?
Recording and writing music absolutely. Shows are fun and nice, but there’s always, always some kind of awkwardness before that I’ve just filled up my chain smoking and pacing around. Now I’m trying to quit smoking. Playing shows would only fu** that up for me.
What is your favorite cocktail or smoothie?
Not much a fan of either. I like diet coke and whiskey while sitting on my back-porch watching the sunset. Everyday should be like a vacation.
What brand of guitar do you favor?
The only guitar I own is a $60 Hohner. It’s been pretty good to me. I use it on all my demos, and I beat it up pretty good. You know what, I really should name my guitar something. If anyone who is reading this has an interesting idea for what I should name my guitar, email me.
Is the internet a good thing for musicians?
For an artist like me, living on the fringes of a small city, the internet is amazing. I am able to get my music into the hands of people all around the world. I mean, I’ve got people buying my music in Japan and Australia because of iTunes or whatever. And the unfortunate truth is that while the band (myself included) has to work 40 hours to make the car payment, the only way to establish relationships is through digital communication. I’d love to tour one day, but for now the internet is my strongest musical life support.
Who, out of all the dead musicians, would you want to jam with?
That’s an interesting one. Not really dead but his moniker is – Cat Stevens. I’m a fan of most of his music. I won’t try to say I could keep up, but I’d like to hang out with Mississippi John Hurt, I guess. We could get a cup of coffee and talk lyrical inspiration.
What was your most inspired moment?
Man, I get inspired all the time. Usually when I’m having a conversation with someone; when I’m able to verbalize a thought or an idea that I’ve had swimming around in my head – that, for me is very inspiring. When I can connect something inside my head by talking to someone else about it. That’s important to me. Reading great literature is always inspiring, particularly Bernard Malamud.
What is your idea of a vacation?
Sitting on my bed and reading will usually constitute a relaxing time. Not having to open bills on a daily basis might be nice too.
Is breakfast the most important meal of the day?
Nah, but coffee can be.
What do you think is the best festival to be seen at?
I’m not too sure about that. Festivals seem like a silly idea to me – not sure I’d care too much about being seen at any of them. Growing up going to small, rat infested, thrift store couch-ed small shows in people’s living rooms – I can’t imagine having a genuinely personal experience at a festival. There’s no “heart” in those things.
Is Elvis really the king of rock and roll?
Can’t think of anyone better, except maybe Dino?
Out of the songs that you’ve written, which is your favorite?
I’m really proud of “Fake Crimes”. It’s a story about a pair of lovers who fake a kidnapping so they can get rich, but you don’t have to know that in order to enjoy the song. That’s what I like about it.
Aaron Schroeder will be performing tracks off of ‘Black & Gold’ at his CD Release Party, taking place on Saturday, September 8th, 2007 at The Red Room in Kennewick, Washington. Other bands scheduled to perform include Lions and Eagles and Gregg Belisle-Chi.
For more information about Aaron Schroeder, listen to music and to purchase ‘Black & Gold’, go to Aaron Schroeder Official Website.