Robert Jon and the Wreck is a quintet that really rocks. Southern California native Robert Jon found a passion for music through the piano when he was six years old and learned guitar and drums soon after. Eager to share his music with others, he played in several bands and began writing songs before finding four other guys with a similar vision in February 2011. The combined result was a harder, more rockin’ sound with the same great singer/songwriter influences on the previous Robert Jon Band albums. Their latest album Fire Started is a blues-heavy full-length album with a soft country feel to “Look in Your Eyes” and edgy classic-rock nuance driving “Run Away” and “Love Roulette.” Check out my exclusive interview with Robert Jon, who talked to me about Fire Started, touring, and classic rock below…
Candace Butler: I love your genre-bending sound: you have all the great elements of classic rock, blues, even some country. Is this the mixture of music you generally listen to? Did you grow up listening to these genres of music?
Robert Jon: I’d say pretty close. I listen to a bit of everything, but I guess a mixture of those three genres is what I’m usually listening to (I’m currently listening to Irish Folk songs, so you never know). I grew up listening to country and gospel quartets thanks to my dad, but, when I figured out how to listen to music myself, I got really into classic rock and from then it spread.
CB: You got together with Andrew, Kyle, Derrick, and Steve back in February—how did you all meet? Were you all looking for others with a similar vision?
RJ: I started off playing as a solo artist, and Andrew, Derrick, and Steve were a part of that project. We started working on music together, and we wanted to make it more of a band than just a solo project, so we went with Robet Jon and the Wreck. And right when we added the name, Kyle kind of just fell into our lap. We all found each other at the right time, and we all work great together.
CB: What is your songwriting process? Do you write lyrics the same way you write the instrumental portion?
RJ: Everyone’s songwriting process is different. I think that every songwriter approaches it in different ways, and whatever goes on in someone’s head is only for them to know. As for myself, I think the music and melody kind of come together all at once, then I go back to the lyrics and define them. So the music of the song comes first for me, then the lyrics.
CB: What’s the story behind Fire Started? I mean, what inspired you to write this album?
RJ: Fire Stated is a mix of songs that we had all been playing for years and songs that we wrote the night before we started recording the album. My inspiration comes from a multitude of things: from family to friend struggles, to personal struggles, to relationships, to the need to write—‘cause that’s what I know best. Fire Stated is what we want people to listen to when they ask, “what do Robert Jon and the Wreck sound like?”
CB: You’re a Los Angeles native. What do you miss most when you’re touring?
RJ: I miss the weather. We went all over the country this summer, and the weather in Southern California is the best by far. Seattle is a close second, but sometimes it’s nice to see the sun. Although, some things in L.A. I didn’t miss at all: the amount of people that are always around, traffic, and the assholes.
CB: What is your favorite part of touring?
RJ: Our favorite part of touring is meeting new amazing people everywhere we go. Not only that but seeing the look in a person’s face when we are playing 3,000 miles away from home and seeing a connection with that person through our music. It’s a great feeling.
CB: What’s your dream venue to play at?
RJ: I think it would be awesome to play at Red Rocks in Colorado. (laughs) I emailed them on our last tour; they never responded. But honestly, my dream venue could be anywhere that people are there to listen to music. I’d rather play at a small with 50 people who care about music than a huge venue with 1,000-some odd people that couldn’t give a shit. Don’t get me wrong—I still want to play Red Rocks.
CB: What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
RJ: Play music for yourself—not for anyone else. Once you lose the passion for your own music, you lose the music.
CB: And lastly, working on anything new? (Albums, videos, et cetera)
RJ: We are trying to figure out how to get a decent music video together. We’re gonna push this album for a while until we come out with another.
First published at BeatCrave, where readers voted Robert Jon and the Wreck their “BeatCrave Fav” for the month of September 2011.