Interview: Pet Envy
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What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
My family got me into music, so when I was really young, I started singing, and then they gave me a guitar. When I was a kid I used to want to be a paleontologist or a biologist, so maybe if I didn't have music I'd be doing something like that.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I like being outside, hiking and camping with my fella, i love going to see live music when I'm not working, and watching other people’s creative hustle inspires me all the time. Also, I am really into food so I'm probably cooking or trying to find the newest “spot” to try out. food is weirdly inspirational to me.
How long has music been your career?
Music is not my career, I pay the tab every month from working as a bartender and serving tables. Someday I hope music has me busy enough to set that down for a while.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We’re based out of Nashville Tn, which is a totally unique place. Some of the best musicians in the world live and work here and are approachable and ready to work with new artists. People are ready to collaborate and just create cool stuff together here like no other city I’ve ever lived in.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
I think our best show we ever played was probably our first real show as Pet Envy in chicago. The music was still really raw but the energy in that room was wild. The worst show we ever played was probably at my parents' annual dock party at their marina a few summers back. Everyone was already exhausted from a few days on the road and our keys player Jordan cut his hand extremely badly right before we were supposed to play two separate two hour sets and on the way to the second we left a bass behind at the first venue. it was a shitshow, but we sounded exactly how we felt.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I'm never gonna get tired of playing the exit/in. and I pretty much haven’t played most of the places i dream of playing. red rocks would be extremely cool.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
This question is throwing me through a loop! It would have to be a week-long festival to fit in every last fantasy combination I'm coming up with. But honestly probably Pet Envy, Theo Katzman and Prince (bless).
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into music?
Listen to your gut feeling, if it feels wrong it probably is wrong.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
This answer changes all the time but probably “the fountain”. I wrote it in a state of heartbreak in a black out stream of consciousness blur just before my 30th birthday, there’s a lot hidden in there.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I love playing some of our older stuff like “get over it” and watching people sing along. it’s like “wow” every time. And more recently i love playing “heavy” for the same reason but also i just love the way that song builds and creates energy in a crowd.
What is the creative process for you, and what inspires you to write your music?
My creative process is all over the place. I can sit down and really concentrate and hash out a tune all I want to but I'll never really be happy with it. I stopped trying to write daily because a lot of my songs were sounding derivative of each other. The best things come to me when I'm busy doing something else— then I have to rush to get it on paper or get the melody straightened out or I'll feel like a crazy person. I've found a group of people to surround myself with who are on a similar path and that definitely helps keep your focus on creating.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I think that’s ever changing for this band too. But more recently we’ve been writing a lot of songs that came directly from my own experiences—so I guess this new stuff is about taking breath, smaller steps, and appreciating small victories, and forgiving yourself.
Do you ever have disagreements when collaborating and how do you get past them?
This whole band is one long evolving collaboration and lot of people say Jake and i bicker like siblings sometimes—and in the process of songwriting we’ve surely had conversations in the moment where we weren't able to communicate what we felt was right for that project/song/etc. but we always manage to take a step back and try to come up with several ways we can compromise. As far as disagreements in collaborations in the past, I feel it’s more helpful to not think of them so much as disagreements than misunderstandings because, I'll talk it out and I want all parties involved to be 100% happy with a finished product.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Get through this wave of the pandemmie, hit the road, “the fountain”, a collaboration with our good friend Luthi comes out october 1st to be followed up with a bunch of other new tunes we wrote and recorded this summer.
Social Media: www.petenvyband.com