JP Anderson Interview
Phoenix Always Rises: You just released “Lucid Summations” and “What Doesn’t Kill You Will Make You a Killer”; the first in a series of new Rabbit Junk tracks. What was the recording process like for these songs?
JP Anderson: It was fun! Same studio set up as all my tracks: Put the songs together on a Roland Fantom and then import into Pro Tools 8. This time I brought in my buddy Jesse to do the mixing. Then I finished the track up with an updated mastering rig I put together while Jesse was mixing.
Phoenix Always Rises: You spoke of taking more time with the mastering process with these songs. What does mastering consist of?
JP Anderson: Mastering is the process of establishing the over all eq, track volume, compression dynamics, and stereo signature for a track. The difference between an un-mastered track and mastered track is substantial. Before mastering, any song is quiet, narrow, and flat sounding. Putting together a new mastering rig (basically new plug-ins for pro tools) and taking my time to get it right really made the difference this time. These tracks are bangin’!
Phoenix Always Rises: Lucid Summations has a bit of a different vibe to it than previous RJ tracks. What was your inspiration?
JP Anderson: I just needed to explore the less angry, poppy side of Rabbit Junk for a bit – I’ve been on summer vacation from school and have been concentrating on enjoying myself and my family. I also was feeling very inspired by the soundtrack to Inception. I wanted to play around with combining poppy techno rock with epic sound tracks. Sum Grrl and I wrote the lyrics together, and they reflect a positive change in our relationship.
Phoenix Always Rises: I also noticed a “special thanks” to Chris Vrenna (formerly of Nine Inch Nails) in the credits to WDKYMYAK. What was his role in these tracks?
JP Anderson: He had no official role, but Jesse Holmes, who mixed both tracks, is Chris’s roommate and works in his studio. Chris gave some great advice and was just generally supportive of the project. I felt he deserved a thank you.
Phoenix Always Rises: You said that there will be four tracks released in total. Lucid Summations and What Doesn’t Kill You Will Make You a Killer were the first two. Can you tell us more about the next two tracks?
JP Anderson: The next two are almost done as of the time of this interview. One has been titled “Bubble”, and as far as looking into this poppy side of RJ, its my best work to date. The other track doesn’t have a title yet, but it’s very exciting – uber 80’s inspired hardclash.
Phoenix Always Rises: In the days of The Shizit, you toured with Alec Empire in the UK. Next month, you are opening for Atari Teenage Riot in Portland Oregon. How did you cross paths with them again?
JP Anderson: Dereak Moore, who books and promotes shows in Portland Oregon, was asked to find an opener. We had worked with him before and he suggested us. The ATR tour folks agreed. It was a privilege to open for ATR, one of my favorite bands!
Phoenix Always Rises: Are you planning any more shows for the near future?
JP Anderson: I’m heading back to school late September – that will make national shows difficult, though not impossible. I hope to do some shows around the Pacific Northwest throughout the year. I want to experiment with different stage setups.
Phoenix Always Rises: What kind of stage set ups were you thinking of experimenting with?
JP Anderson: I’m enjoying just going purely electronic with rabbit junk now. So it occurred to me to go live with no drummer and instead haul a light show with us. Hitting the stage as a standard rock band plus electronics has always been really difficult, expensive, and stressful. Maybe it’s time for just three peeps on stage, me/guitar/vox, sum grrl/keyboard/vox, and an additional guitar player. That set up was confusing to people back in the Shizit days, but audiences would get it now. Plus, our experience opening for ATR (mad props to one of my fave bands!! Loved seeing you guys), made me really want my own lights. I hate playing with static house lights, feels like your at band practice.
Phoenix Always Rises: What has been your most memorable moment onstage?
JP Anderson: When I walked out onto the stage in London in 2001, and saw a crowd of about 1000 people. I thought my heart stopped.
Phoenix Always Rises: Several months ago, I saw a post by Sean Payne, mentioning a pair up between you two. I believe the project was called Stabbed x5. Is this still a project that’s in the works?
JP Anderson: Hell yeah! Stabbed 5x is awesome, sabbath meets chopped and screwed hip hop. Definitely worthwhile. No release dates yet, but we have a few tracks and it’s really great stuff.
Phoenix Always Rises: You also just announced that you are working with animator M Dot Strange on a project called “Heart String Marionette”. What can you tell us about this project?
JP Anderson: It’s a computer animated film and I play (voice act) the lead role “Samhain”. Check it out here: mhttp://youwilldieinside.blogspot.com/ and here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1527821/
Phoenix Always Rises: Is there an anticipated release date for it?
JP Anderson: I was told it was going to be out in August. I haven’t heard anything though : (
Phoenix Always Rises: You’ve said that the new tracks are experimenting more with the poppy side of RJ, what other directions would you like to see RJ move towards, in the future?
JP Anderson: I really loved the direction of Ghetto Blasphemer II, on the album “Project Nonagon”. It was epic black metal meets spoken word short stories in the HP lovecraft universe. I could do an entire album of that. But first I need to make some dance music ; )
Phoenix Always Rises: Are you going to be releasing any new Wolves Under Sail tracks soon?
JP Anderson: I just released “The Castaway”. Nab it here (for free!): http://wolvesundersail.bandcamp.com/track/the-cast-away
Phoenix Always Rises: The Named is a project that is very angry and very serious, whereas Rabbit Junk is more lighthearted and fun, with some very introspective moments mixed in. Wolves Under Sail seems to be an even balance between the two. Do you see your projects as different sides of yourself?
JP Anderson: Yes, these projects all represent different emotional and musical interests of mine. I used to try and make Rabbit Junk the home for every single musical curiosity I had. But then I decided and I needed to focus in order to gain the satisfaction I was looking for.
Phoenix Always Rises: In our last interview, you spoke of your need to find some new music to listen to. How goes the quest? Have you heard anything new that you think your listeners would enjoy?
JP Anderson: I’m really into (along with everybody else) the new wave of Dub Step and Deep House that’s been hitting the raves. I just went to Identity Fest and was very inspired.
Phoenix Always Rises: What in particular about Identity Fest inspired you? Was there a particular act that caught your ear?
JP Anderson: It was really hard to keep up with what artists the DJ’s were playing, and the event is really about the DJ’ing rather than the cuts themselves. What I loved about the event was the general sense of goodwill the crowd had towards eachother. It wasn’t aggressive at all, people were there to feel good. And the music was incredibly heavy. Right now, totally mainstream dubstep (that people love to hate on) just simply out performs the dynamic impact of metal or industrial, to my ears anyway. The heavy music scenes (both electronic and analog) seriously need to catch up to these dance music producers, who just see themsleves as making “rave music”. It was practically shaking the flesh off of peoples bones. You don’t get that sort of hit at a metal show, sorry.
Phoenix Always Rises: As an independent artist, what would you say is the obstacle to getting your music out to new listeners?
JP Anderson: Promotion. It’s an overcrowded market and it’s difficult to get someone to listen.
Phoenix Always Rises: I see your music as unique, innovative and groundbreaking. How would you like your music to be remembered 30 years from now?
JP Anderson: I hope it can be appreciated outside the frame of music marketing and genre pigeon holing, and be seen as an small expression of the revolution that eventually overwhelmed the increasingly corrupt and dis-functional capitalist system that was driving humanity towards cataclysm at the time. That would be great.