The 2019 standard for Indie Pop has been set. By Ronny Tibbs. ‘Lone Fry’ is HUGE!
Looks like you were able to turn 10 ‘good reasons’ into 10 great songs. Does that make sense?
Yeah, if by that you mean each song is really its own thing, its own entity – then yes I did. I worried a little about the continuity of using songs that spanned years of writing, and a few different genres of music. However, at the end of the day, I wanted to put my best foot forward and deliver the best possible songs that I felt I had to share – which is Lone Fry. Also, I realized that the one constant throughout all of them is in the time and space in which I recorded them. It didn’t really matter if one song was written 6 years before another, the fact that they were performed in the same month on the recording gave it the constant thread that makes up the record.
You go all over the place (please, take that as a compliment). Everything was allowed?
Nothing should be off limits. If the song has a hook, conveys a feeling, sparks something for someone, then it is fair game. The reaction so far has been really positive and I love hearing which track people enjoy the most – it says something about them to me. Picture of Us is this Midwestern country tune in some respects, and Sunlight is a total 360 – it has this sort of droning Blade Runner (original) feeling to it, so it’s cool to hear which track people resonate with initially. And then I hope some of those other tracks start to bleed into their playlists/heads as well. All it takes is a hook!
The outro of Watching Annie Over is a thing of beauty in itself. How?
I’m guessing you mean the intro? The beginning of that song itself is so powerful that I wanted to build a little bit of tension before it takes off. When we were previewing it beforehand, the song prior would barely be ending, and Annie would kick in while you were still singing the song before. So, I did some searching and found some mid-50’s teaching tutorial videos and pulled a sample from that. When I cut it into the opening it made when the actual song kicks in even more jarring – which was perfect.
Can you elaborate a bit on how the record came together?
It started with 30-Year-Old Boy, I recorded that song with my great friend and producer, Ryan Castle in LA. We had worked together on other projects in the past, but this was the first set of songs we’ve done together solely us. We spent 2 months or so recording all the parts on weekends. From there I started digging back into songs, new and old, literally hundreds of demos – many of them in a crude voice-memo form, and just pulled out hooks and favorites and started re-working them. Some were obvious, and some were shelved again. From there I picked the best 15 or so, tracked all the drums, then got to work filling in all of the instruments and cut it to 10 tracks. Every week I’d send Ryan some updates in LA while I tracked here in Detroit. The album came together across the country one emailed track at a time.
Now it’s out in the big wide world. Scary?
Not scary, no. More like a relief. As a songwriter, it can be really frustrating trying to put out content without any type of support – and I’m not just talking about financial support. You need a team to design your cover, shoot promo pictures, email venues, and writers, edit, mix, master, pick colors and fonts, the concept a music vid, shoot the music vid, find an outlet to release it, upload to all of the streaming platforms, etc… At the end of it all, writing the damn song was the easiest part – and the most fun. But you do it for the challenge, I want to leave this piece of art that 100 people might like, or hell a million. It doesn’t really matter to me, it exists now and forever, and nobody can take that away.
How many questions about Justin Timberlake do you expect?
Expect or get? I usually get it once a day, and it’s been that way since the 90’s so it’s all good. And I’ll say, in the bleach-blonde N’SYNC days I was a little worried, not really into the comparisons at all. But he’s really turned out to be a pretty lovable dude, whether you like his music or not, so keep up the good work JT! Let’s grab a beer next time you play LCA and confuse some people.
Writing, recording … is one thing, getting it heard is not that easy nowadays. Is your marketing machine fired up?
Marketing machine, I suppose so. It feels like it’s the last leg of the race and you really need to kick yourself in the ass and finish strong, which I’ve been trying to do, but I’m sure you can see how it can feel overwhelming. Writing a song (let alone a good one) is probably 20% of the whole process for most artists right now – and that’s the best part! But hey, Detroit wasn’t built in a day, right?