You Blew It interview Orlando music
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Grown-Up Dude: You Blew It’s Tanner Jones On His Development as an Artist/Person

I’m speaking with You Blew It frontman Tanner Jones in Greenwood Cemetery on a warm Tuesday morning in February. This isn’t the first time we’ve met or even the first time we’ve had a long conversation together. No, that day was almost five years ago in a Subway parking lot across the street from the University of Central Florida. We had been in two conjoining car accidents — I collided with the guy in front of me, and he was hit by the girl in front of him — and struck up a conversation about our shared advertising/public relations major, music, and his band, who had just released their debut album Grow Up, Dude via Massachusetts emo-revivalists, Topshelf Records.

Present day, the two of us — sitting on a small bench feet away from the grave of Orlando pioneer Joseph Bumby — are evolved forms of the people who met that day. Tanner and lot released their third full-length Abendrot this past November and have tremendously expanded their fanbase with continuous touring, both as headliners and support for rock icons like Taking Back Sunday and Coheed and Cambria. (And I’m interviewing him for Orlando Weekly. Our Advertising Copywriting professor Joan McCain would be proud.) Enjoy. 

Upcoming Appearances:

3/11 @ Will’s Pub w/ All Get Out & Free Throw

3/12 @ Will’s Pub w/ All Get Out & Free Throw


You Blew It interview Orlando music

matthew warhol: I wanted to start with talking about how we met because I think that’s pretty interesting. That was four, five years ago? I was a Sophmore in college so that was like four years ago.

Tanner Jones (You Blew It): Yeah, because it was right when I started dating the girl I’m still dating.

matthew warhol: And we were in a car accident together, two conjoining car accidents. I hit someone, and then there was a gap, and someone hit you, right?

Tanner Jones: Yeah, yeah.

matthew warhol: We were talking because we were both into music. I don’t know if I’d started the blog at that point.

Tanner Jones: I don’t think so. You definitely didn’t mention it.

matthew warhol: But we were talking about You Blew It. I hadn’t heard of you at the time. But that was right after Grow Up, Dude came out. A lot has changed since then.

Tanner Jones: I remember being really h-angry. I was so close to going to that Subway.

You Blew It interview Orlando music

matthew warhol: I did get the Subway.

Tanner Jones: Did I too?

matthew warhol: I think we all did. It was almost like a movie where people are stranded on an island together, so they start to bond. No one was angry with each other.

Tanner Jones: Everyone was really nice.

matthew warhol: That was probably the best car accident I’ve ever been in.

[laughs]

matthew warhol: And we met so that was cool. Since then, You Blew It has gone to a completely different level. The second album came out. And personally, I thought the second album tightened everything from the first album. The production was better. The songwriting was better. But it was very much on the same path. Then going from there, a friend of mine had said something like, “I really like this new album, but I’m afraid that with the next one … if they don’t do something different, they’re going to disappear as a band.” Was that something that you were aware of?

Tanner Jones: Yeah, but it wasn’t so much a conscious conversation. You put out two records that sound mostly the same; then at that point, a certain boredom or type of anxiety starts to set in. We could have written that record four times, you know? And it would have been easy because it’s what we were used to. But at the time of writing Keep Doing What You’re Doing, it was hard and it was challenging. You want to keep challenging yourself. Naturally, to challenge yourself you want to go to new directions, through new creative processes. So yeah, that’s the long answer but in short, we knew we had to do something different.

You Blew It interview Orlando music

matthew warhol: What do you mean by challenging yourself? How did you do that, specifically?

Tanner Jones: One crutch we have as a band is that we like to use alternate tunings and time signatures. So if a part isn’t there yet, instead of changing it around and maybe putting it through a different instrument, we’ll just put it in 7/4 and it’ll be fine. Instead of doing that — this record we just put out — it was more of a struggle to try to do new things and to try to solve problems in different ways we haven’t before. For example, putting a guitar part on a vibraphone. Or maybe even scrapping a song altogether because it wasn’t up to par.

matthew warhol: And when you say that, do you mean that you were sinking back to the older music? Were you consciously trying to make it new? Because to me, it sounds like to push forward, you were pulling back a little bit. You guys were restraining yourselves from doing these really heavy songs.

Tanner Jones: Yeah, yeah for sure. Previously we were very maximalists. It was always three guitars playing different parts all at once. So yeah, that’s another big hurtle we had to get over, trying to scale the mountain with less equipment — if that makes sense. And it just ended up being really fun. It’s kind of one of those things where you hate doing it until you grasp how to do it the right way. Then it becomes rewarding.

You Blew It interview Orlando music

matthew warhol: On the new one … it’s weird because I was reading what you were saying in another interview. You were saying that was about a very difficult time in your life. Can you go into detail about that — as much as you want of course?

Tanner Jones: A lot of it was self-induced as I’m realizing now. Having the whole third record looming, it’s kind of like a big. There’s a lot of pressure … I guess that’s just an easy way to put it. So I kind of stopped taking care of myself, physically and mentally. I let things kind of bore into my skin and stay there. And then the door opened for a lot of mental issues and past problems that I had never solved. They all kind of came out at once. So the writing was both the therapy and the cause, you know? So yeah, I guess that’s pretty much the brunt of it. For example, the song “Greenwood,”  a lot of times to calm myself I’d come ride around here on my bike and take time to let everything sink in. As you know, it’s just quiet here. You can hear the birds chirping. There’s no one yelling, no on talking. It’s just a nice place to be alone. And that’s how that song came about, just coming hear and letting everything overtake. And those lyrics just came out.

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matthew warhol: So the songs are coming from the issues that you’re dealing with, but in this case, how you’re dealing with them. That’s interesting. Was there anything else inspired by the healing process?

Tanner Jones: Not necessarily in the same way “Greenwood” was written, but there’s a certain thing that a lot of the songs tap that’s dealing with mental issues and whether or not they’re self-induced. I’d say “Greenwood” is the unique one, in the way it was written. The other ones are just kind of … more confessional.

matthew warhol: You’re very much looking in on the entire record. Where like, the previous albums were definitely pushing out. When I listen to it, it just sounds like you’re getting older. Where things that bother you when you’re younger, you’re just pushing it onto other things and other people. Saying, “You’re the problem. You’re the problem. You’re the problem.”

Tanner Jones: Exactly. I’m sure you feel the same way where it’s like, you’re 18 to 22 and it’s like, “Aw, I hate my classes; it’s got to be because of my classmates. Look at these jocks and these weirdos! Fuck them!” But really it’s just, you’re looking at it from the wrong perspective. I guess getting older is gaining perspective.

matthew warhol: Was that a conscious thing in your writing?

Tanner Jones: It was one of those things where I realized it, but I wasn’t aware of it until after the record came out. After a record, I’ll listen to our stuff before it and see how it transitions into what we’re about to release. And I think that’s when I realized it. There’s definitely a perspective shift.

You Blew It interview Orlando music

matthew warhol: Do you think you’re happier?

Tanner Jones: Yeah, for sure. It’s a weird solace knowing that you’re the problem, ya know? Because then you can fix it. Where as, othertimes, putting blame on other people for things is just so unhealthy and terrorizing for the mind.

matthew warhol: That’s deep. [laughs] That’s a real one. So … you guys have been very supportive of Orlando. You haven’t strayed away from being an “Orlando band,” and so thank you for doing that. Because I feel like there have been other bands that have gotten big and ditched Orlando for LA …

Tanner Jones: … for bigger ponds.

matthew warhol: Did you ever think about doing moving?

Tanner Jones: No, we kind of always expected to stay here just because I don’t think that the place that you’re from should have that kind of hold, or that kind of baring, on your art. I feel like a lot of people assume that if they go to New York or LA that there are more opportunities and therefore, there are more chances to get bigger. When really, the big opportunity is that you’re doing it. And Orlando is an incredible place for culture, for people, for art. So just being here and having this base to build on just seemed like the perfect spot.

You Blew It interview Orlando music

matthew warhol: Do you feel embraced by Orlando?

Tanner Jones: Sometimes it’s hot and cold. But I feel like that’s kind of a good thing. Sometimes we feel like outsiders, but I think that’s just a product of where we are now. New artists come in and new people come in so the focus is going to be on them. We can’t expect to have the spotlight on us the entire time.

matthew warhol: What do you mean by hot and cold, specifically?

Tanner Jones: The Orlando Weekly one is a really good one. We weren’t in the “Here are bands that represent Orlando of 2016” list. And it’s completely reasonable to not be in there, since we were there before. But in the moment, that’s one of those things that’s like, “Oh man, I didn’t win the popularity contest this time.”

matthew warhol: But you have to think you’ve outgrown it to an extent, don’t you? Because there is no band in that list that is on the same level as you guys — not that that’s a slight to anyone.

Tanner Jones: I always hate to say that we have outgrown Orlando because I never want to outgrow Orlando. But sometimes, I think feeling like outsiders is a good thing because we’ll always strive to be better. It can only be good for us. It can only be good for our art. And it can only be good for the city. Because as soon as we get comfortable, why put out a Pulse EP or why thank Orlando or why even live here?

You Blew It interview Orlando music

matthew warhol: So like, talking about the Pulse EP, was that an immediate thing where you just knew that you had to help in some way?

Tanner Jones: It was very immediate. It happened … and I’m sure you woke up to helicopters too. I live in Delaney Park. Not only was it a global thing, but it was something happening around the corner. So we felt like we were in a really unique position where we had these masters that weren’t owned by anyone. And I think that anyone in our position would have done the same thing — and others did — but we were fortunate enough to have a bigger platform for people to see it and donate.

matthew warhol: It’s strange. You see the city continuing honoring it; you see the memorials and the murals, and to think it’s been close to a year.

Tanner Jones: The number one interview question I get asked in cities outside of here is “How did things change after Orlando?” And my answer never gets printed because I feel like it’s not what they want to hear. My answer is like, “Nothing changed.” Because before, I feel like Orlando was already very uplifting for the LGBTQA+ community and minorities, and that happened and that feeling just came out. Everyone showed it a little bit more. I didn’t feel like there was more love or more acceptance because that was already there. It was just televised. and I think that’s an incredible thing. It’s just not a great answer for people trying to write a really good piece.

matthew warhol: That’s definitely something we’ll include [laughs] that was a good answer.

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You Blew It interview Orlando music

Orlando Musicians Make Compilation To Benefit The Center Orlando

City Beautiful: A Compilation For Pulse

Music is love in search of a word. — Sidney Lanier

In the aftermath of the Pulse Orlando strategy, members of the Orlando music community have come together for City Beautiful: A Compilation For Pulse. It is currently listed on Bandcamp under the name your price option, and every dollar paid will go The Center Orlando, an LGBTQA+ safe space that is providing free counseling for anyone who needs it. This 10-track compilation features TVW alumni Boxing At The Zoo, You Blew It, Fortune Howl, BABY!, and Pathos, Pathos, and newcomers Kinder Than Wolves’s Paige Coley, Henrietta, Europa, Mag.Lo, and Goodmorning, Love. Stay strong Orlando. We will shine brighter than ever. I love all of you so much. ❤

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, knwon suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciiation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compasssion, gentleness, and a deep lvoing concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” — Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

TVW’S TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2014 (10-6)

It’s the popular thing to do, so why not? Keep in mind that this is one person’s opinion, and I know there are many great albums I didn’t hear this year. Let me know what your favorite albums of 2014 were. Click the album titles to listen for yourself. Enjoy.

10. The Welzeins – The Welzeins welzeins

Orlando’s favorite dads kick off the list at number ten. The Welzeins animalistic debut is charged with gritty fuzz licks and tight, playful melodies. I’ll say it right now: “Zhark Attack” is one of the best songs by any Orlando band ever. This album feels like the grease burns you get while cooking bacon without a shirt. It hurts, and I love it. READ MY FULL REVIEW!

Favorite Tracks:

“Zhark Attack,” “Shit and Sugar,” “Cigarette Girls”

FKA_twigs_-_LP1 (1)9. FKA Twigs – LP 1 

FKA Twigs, the moniker of British songstress Tahliah Barnett, pulled through with the best debut of 2014. Every instrumental cascades into your ears, while Twigs voice – that emotive, emotive, voice – will shake your bones and simultaneously make you weep uncontrollably and become aroused.

Favorite Tracks:

“Two Weeks,” “Numbers,” “Kicks”

 

8. You Blew It! – Keep Doing What
You’re Doingyou blew it

You Blew It!’s second full-length cemented them as a band. Their sound is tighter, their licks fuller, their melodies brighter. Singer Tanner Jones’ lyrics are brutally honest and unforgiving. After repeat listeningsI started to feel like this album was made for me. Maybe not directly (duh), but I continuously connect with the melodramatic lyrics and sweaty group chants on KDWYD. I feel understood. I feel at home. READ MY FULL REVIEW!

Favorite Tracks:

“Award of the Year Award,” “House Address,” “Gray Matter,” “Better to Best”

Jack_White_-_Lazaretto7. Jack White – Lazaretto

2014, for me at least, was the year of Jack White. I FINALLY got to see him live at Bonnaroo, and it was an incredible three hour, career-spanning set. On his second solo record, White pulls out every one of his tricks from the gritty guitar of “High Ball Stepper” to the lovely harmonized vocal melodies on”Alone in My Home.” READ MY FULL REVIEW!

Favorite Tracks:

“Lazaretto,” “High Ball Stepper,” “Alone in My Home,” “Black Bat Licorice”

 

6. Flying Lotus – You’re DeadYou're_Dead!

Flylo is another artist who this year captivated me with a stellar live show. His walled projections are unlike anything I had ever experienced. Look it up if you want. But the audible journey of You’re Dead captivated me just as much. This album is a wild ride through jazz, hip hop, and electronic music.

Favorite Tracks:

“Never Catch Me,” “Coronus, the Terminator,” “The Boys Who Died in Their Sleep”

 

You Blew It! – “Lanai”

You Blew It! are having very productive 2014. In January, they released their second full-length LP Keep Doing What You’re Doing, an album that I reviewed and loved. Then in August, they dropped an EP of covers celebrating the 20th anniversary of Weezer’s The Blue Album. Today the band gave fans an early Christmahanakwanzika present. The Orlando foursome teased their upcoming EP Pioneer of Nothing with the release of “Lanai.” Here, the song remains the same: sugary guitar riffs, a groovin’ bass line, and Tanner’s emotive lyricism. Enjoy.

You Blew It! to release Weezer cover EP, “You Blue It” on 7/15

Still riding the wave of popularity behind their sophomore album, Orlando natives You Blew It! are set to release an EP of choice Weezer cuts from the band’s 1994 album, Weezer (The Blue Album). Two songs, “My Name is Jonas” and “Surf Wax America,” have already helped build anticipation for the EP. You can pre-order You Blue It over at Topshelf Records. Good job boys. Brilliant pun. Enjoy.



Album Review: You Blew It! – “Keep Doing What You’re Doing”

A few weeks ago, You Blew It! released their second album, Keep Doing What You’re Doing. Since then, the band has received hefty buzz after being featured on Pitchfork. I can’t describe how rad it is that an Orlando band is gaining speed in the rest of the country.  With Keep Doing What You’re Doing, You Blew It! unleash 10 new tracks in the same melodramatic vain as their debut album, Grow Up, Dude. I use that term, not as an insult, but as what I think is a fitting description. The songs on KDWYD, as with other releases in the emo-revival genre, deal with themes of rejection, isolation, and self-discovery in a raw way. These songs don’t pull any punches. Enjoy.

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It was like “The Real World”, only in a Subway parking lot.

You Blew It! and I’s origin story goes as follows: On the second day of Fall 2012 semester, my car was totaled in a four person accident, resulting in almost a year of bumming rides. Tanner Jones, lead singer and guitar player in You Blew It!, also had the pleasure of having his car wrecked on that rainy Fall day. For almost four hours we and two other miserable souls chatted in a Subway parking lot waiting for the cops. It’s safe to say it was a fairly shitty day. However, Tanner mentioned that his band had just released their first album through Topshelf Records: Grow Up, Dude, my first exposure to the emo-revival movement that is plaguing the United States. And I was infected.

Grow Up, Dude captured my speakers, and when the fellow Orlando natives were playing a show, I was there. Try listening to “Medal of Honor” and “The Fifties.” Let me know how they make you feel.

“Don’t take this the wrong way: I know you can’t relate to feelings you don’t have personally.” From the first lines of the album, Jones’ vocal delivery is downright blunt. I feel for whoever these songs are written about, because they have no chance to defend themselves from the onslaught of harsh lyrics. In “Regional Dialect” Jones doesn’t let up. “I’m typically not the type to expose my vices, but the habits you’re forming are making me sick.” Sticks and stones can’t do half the damage dealt by You Blew It! 

But other moments on KDWYD deal with internal struggles. “Strong Island” explores feelings of regret. “I’m still clutching onto things I should have said and the bonds that I’ve been ruining.” Later on in “A Different Kind of Kindling,” Jones finds “solace in anything that isn’t this.” Although he likes to point the finger, at times Jones is his own worst enemy.


Sonically, You Blew It! is a band who wears their influences on their sleeve. This unfortunately makes the music take a backseat to the quality lyrics. Many of the tracks end up melding together, which can make the album drag. However, there are standouts, and overall the album isn’t overly hurt by the similar songs. “A Different Kind of Kindling” and “House Address” have some incredibly rich guitar melodies, and the rhythm section on “You & Me & Me” and “Gray Matter” is kicking. Fans of the emo-revival sound will love You Blew It!’s latest effort, and new listeners should try my recommendations.

KDWYD‘s closing track, “Better to Best” is my favorite on the album (possibly in You Blew It!’s entire catalog). The transition from calm intro to a chorus of sweaty bearded men makes me feel empowered. Here, it’s easy to draw comparisons with Canadian duo Japandroids. The subtle yet noteworthy chorus is sung over a punchy guitar harmony. As the album winds down, the final line of You Blew It!’s second album leaves the listener with closure after an exhausting battle with others and with oneself. “Maybe things aren’t quite as bad as I let myself believe.”