Expansive, Introspective & Strictly Effective: An Interview With Tanner Jones Of You Blew It!

You Blew It! have just released their third full-length Abendrot. A true and unique piece of work delivered in a really impressive way. We talked to frontman Tanner Jones about everything that surrounded the band during the whole process, what Abendrot exactly means and why Orlando is such a special place for them.

You were recently on tour with Taking Back Sunday and Mammoth Indigo. How did that go?
As far as tours go, it was the perfect case scenario. You don’t get to go out with just one other band that often, you know? It was very nice to be playing with a band that we look up so much with such intimate setting. That’s the long answer, and the short answer is that it was wonderful. We had a blast.

Any funny story you wanna share with us about that tour?
[laughs] We always like to do a tour prank. You have to do a tour prank in the last show and so our idea was to deliver to Taking Back Sunday a pizza on stage, but we couldn’t get any delivery guy to actually deliver the pizza on stage, and so I had to do it. [laughs] I had to pretend to be a delivery boy and deliver them a pizza on stage and they humiliated me, all in good gest. [laughs] As far as crazy stories go, there aren’t a ton, we just hang out with Taking Back Sunday and did our thing. That’s definitely one story that I remember and I’ll take to the grave for sure.

Last June you released an EP of demos and rarities for the benefit of the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting. All proceeds went directly to The Center Orlando, a haven for the LGBT community offering free counseling for those affected by this tragedy. Those 5 songs just go really well together, why did you pick those ones in particular?
The simple answer is that we owned those master recordings. My house is a block away from the Pulse Nightclub and so that morning I woke up to helicopters and things like that. It was such a very rude awakening literally. Waking up to that and just being so close to that, knowing people that were there… knowing people that knew people that were there and having it so close to home, it just felt like something that we had to do. We felt like it was our duty as an Orlando band. We knew that we owned all those recordings that we wouldn’t run into an illegal red tape putting those out, at least for benefit. To us, they were just interesting demos and interesting versions of songs that we have released and so it kind of worked out that way.

You have just released your third full-length, Abendrot. When did you start working on it?
A very long time ago. [laughs] We started writing it officially probably back in March 2015. We had planned on getting into the studio much earlier than we did. We wanted to get in and record it around the summer of 2015, but the pressure of releasing a third album was such a drastic difference from previous releases. The pressure to perform was much higher and more intense than it has ever been. Being a perfectionist myself and a band full of perfectionists, we spent a lot of time almost literally driving ourselves insane thinking about the songs and trying to do the right thing, or at least what we thought it was the right thing. We had to cancel the first recording and then we had to cancel the second recording because we were just writing and then revising, writing and then revising… At some point, we just figured that we had to drop all the extra-curricular thoughts and just go with our instincts. That was a really tough learning process – learning how to do that – but luckily we went down that path and we got to the end, and here we are. [laughs]

According to a press release, this new album was written in roughly four days after you guys spent months apart, each having moved away from Orlando for various reasons. Can you tell me more about how was it like the whole creative and writing process for this album?
We went into the cabin in Florida, in the middle of nowhere, and we spent four days just writing. We came out of there with eight to ten songs, and then for the next probably year or rather eight months we would sit separately because everyone went back home and we would revise the songs and try to get them into a place where we felt comfortable. And then there were a couple that I wrote on my own and then Trevor [O’Hare, guitarist] wrote on his own as well, and then we would send to each other revised drafts, pick out what we liked or what we didn’t like and tried to make it better over email or phone or whatever. It was definitely a different process, but I think is one that worked out and is sustainable for the future.

What’s the meaning behind the album’s title, Abendrot?
First off, we’ve been told that it means the red glow of the sky right before sunset. We’ve also been told that is also translated to English as afterglow and afterglow is kind of a metaphor for transition and things like that, and that just felt like a very good metaphor for personifying the record and going through all these changes as a band, and not just musically but physically. This is the first time we’ve started writing a record and then finishing recording our record with the same line up, which is insane to say, but I think just the whole idea of sunset, afterglow and transition really fit for us, and it wasn’t really a great word in English that really got that message across as well as the word Abendrot, at least so we thought. It’s a beautiful word.


“I’m always inspired by other music, like driving around and listening to music that I love is just a great source of inspiration. But for this record, I found myself being more influenced by things like film… that inspiration comes in a form of emotions or moves and that was sort of a different creative process.”

Does this word have some connection with the album’s artwork?
Yeah. First of all, a guy called Charles Miller really helped us out with it. He was the one that designed the cover art. An explanation for the cover art is the dark blue background with that white radiance square in the middle and a hand coming up. That square in the middle we refer it as a paddle, we like to see it as reflection of the Abendrot sky. We thought it was a very good metaphor for external stimuli and the way a body takes that in and then reflects it back out.

Your hometown Orlando, Florida was an important influence on this new album. What can you tell me more about that and what’s so special about Orlando?
I think Orlando is perpetually misunderstood and professionally seen as kind of an underdog city. A lot of people just like it or really disdain as a synonym for Orlando seems like these days, which that’s fine, but there’s such a thriving culture here that no one really knows about. We have a very big Latin of population, so being able to go out and experience all these different cultures through music and art is very influential, both on us as people and on us as musicians. Being exposed to that kind of different music and culture has started to rub off on me. Taking certain leaps that you wouldn’t have if you hadn’t been exposed to those kind of different techniques and styles, I don’t think that would have happened without us leaving here.

How’s it like the music scene in Orland nowadays?
It’s great! It has always been great. It’s really tight and it’s really a community base. Orlando kind of cracks down on house shows very quickly, so as a music community you have to be very close with the entire community to try to figure out ways to keep on putting on shows and the smaller clubs here definitely recognize that. The people that are booking in the smaller clubs are people that were in my shoes or they’re the people that were booking house shows back in college, so they know what it is like and they definitely sympathise and empathise with that. They book shows that probably wouldn’t happen in small clubs in other cities. There’s a lot of support for the smaller bands here, which I think is really great and really important.

Do you recommend us any new bands coming out from there?
There’s a band called Kinder Than Wolves that I really like from here. There’s a band called Expert Timing and then there’s band Letters to Part. They’re all really good bands and all doing great stuff and working very hard, which is definitely the most important part. A lot of bands just write the music and don’t even really try, but those three bands I think are very good examples of bands that create great music and I think they get it, they just get it…

Back to the new album, what else did inspire you while you were writing the lyrics?
Typically and historically, I’m always inspired by other music, like driving around and listening to music that I love is just a great source of inspiration. But for this record, I found myself being more influenced by things like film. I get inspired by tiny things like I’ll hear a lyric that I really like or I’ll hear a guitar part that I really like and I’ll try to emulate that and recreate that and then build up from the bottom. Getting inspired by film and cinema was really nice and different because that inspiration comes in a form of emotions or moves and that was sort of a different creative process. You get inspired by the mood and you try to build down from the top that way, while you get inspired by the music you start from the bottom and build up, and that was a really cool and different creative process.

Which films did inspire you during the creative process?
It’s hard to pick. I didn’t really sit down with any film in particular, but one of my favorite things to do is come home from work and just put the first thing that comes up on… Just going through small indie films was something that had a big impact on me. The first thing that comes to mind is It Follows (2014) and Ex Machina (2015), just those kind of theory and science fiction movies. I think they have a really nice mood and vibe to them, which I think it was a big influence on me.

As the lyricist, which song off the album had more impact on you while writing it and why?
The first one that comes to mind is the song “Kerning”, it’s the album’s closer. That song is… When my girlfriend and I first moved in with each other, we didn’t really have anything. We didn’t have a coffee table, so one thing we did was we went down to my parent’s house and built one with my dad. That coffee table means a lot to us because we spent hours and hours building it. When we spend that time with something, it means a lot. We brought it home and we kind of thought it was a really good metaphor for our relationship because if gets a nick you have to code it and pull everything together, you have to maintain it. I used that coffee table as a metaphor to write a fictional story about my girlfriend and I breaking up. I think just hearing that song is a very moving reminder for me especially to kind of take care of our relationship and other relationships that way.

The new album was produced by Into It. Over It.’s Evan Weiss at Atlas Studios in Chicago. Why did you decide to work with him and how was the whole experience?
We worked with on our last record [2014’s Keep Doing What You’re Doing] and it was a very good working relationship. Having that turn out so well for us back then, we just wanted to dive into that a little more. Having that level of comfortability with someone, knowing someone and knowing how they work was a very big advantage for us because a lot of times you go into record and there’s a point of time when you have to learn the other person. You have to learn how they work and how they interact with other people, especially you. Going into Chicago and having that relationship already was a big plus for us. We knew that we could get the work immediately without having to figure everything out and it was exactly that. We sat down and we got to work immediately, throwing around ideas, coming to senses and really just getting the record done. It was a really nice experience to do that.

This is your first effort to be released on Triple Crown Records. How did you guys got in contact with them and how’s it going?
I don’t really remember how we got in contact with them. Fred [Feldman, founder] has been around for a long time. We met him before and he’s a very nice person. One day he just reached out of nowhere to see if we would be interested in putting the record out on Triple Crown Records. At first it was a bit weary, we had such agood relationship with our old label, Topshelf Records, but at some point we realized it was good to grow and to try to see different horizons and experience different labels. After a little bit convincing from him, we decided that it was probably the right choice and we’re really happy with it. Like I said, Fred is a great guy who is very understanding.

You have been releasing full-lengths every two years, is it something that you’re going to keep on doing?
Yeah… I mean, we hope to release. I think if we were in an ideal world, we would release one every single year [laughs] but we work very slowly. We’re very intentional on our writing and so naturally that takes a little while, which is kind of a downside for us. Wewould like to release music moreoften, but it’s the best we can do right now. [laughs]

Now that you will be touring with your new album under your sleeves, what do you love the most about touring and being on the road?
I think the obvious answer is being able to travel and see different things all the time. To being able to experience different cultures, different locations and different scenery I feel that’s a very important thing for a person to do and I just feel very lucky to do that.

What have you been listening to lately?
I’ve been listening to the new The Bunny the Bear record. It’s very, very weird. I think I got into it for being very weird and intriguing, and then having listen to it so often I started learning to love it. Right now I just really can’t get away from that, I really love that record.

Words: Andreia Alves // Photos: Kayla Surico – Abendrot is out now on Triple Crown Records.
You can also read the interview here:

No Comments Yet

Comments are closed