Last week we called up Jarrod Gorbel of Night Terrors of 1927 to talk music videos, Tegan and Sara, and Elton John. Catch them next Wednesday March 11th opening for Bleachers at The Fillmore. Tickets here
SF Culture Shock: Hi Jarrod! How are you doing?
Jarrod Gorbel: Doing good – have lots of exciting things planned, you know like a haircut, stuff like that.
SFCS: Sounds great! Your debut full-length album, Everything’s Coming Up Roses, came out just over a month ago – what’s changed since then?
JG: Definitely the amount of fame [laughs] and the recognizability of my face. I can’t eat in public without being swarmed by the paparazzi! But in all seriousness, it’s been really positive. We’ve been able to show the world what we’ve been working on for so long and our fans can respond – through Facebook messages and tweets – and we get their feedback on what songs they like. And it’s been a reality check on our work, like will this connect with people, and so far, it’s been really positive.
SFCS: That’s fantastic to hear, especially since the first album is when you get to broadcast your ideas to the music world, and you’ve definitely jumped out of the gates. You’ve even done a song featuring Tegan and Sara, very popular artists in their own right. It’s titled “When You Were Mine” and it is a gorgeous piece of work — the four of you sound awesome together. How did this collaboration come about?
JG: Well, originally it wasn’t a duet, but as we were working on it, we had an idea that something was missing from the song, and we thought about it… What if we twisted the lyrics a bit and split it in half? and we immediately thought of Tegan and Sara. We were big fans of them and thought they would be ideal – we had played a few shows with them, we knew them. We weren’t BFFs or anything, but we sent them the song and they loved it. So we sent some stuff back and forth, worked with them to record it, and made it happen.
SFCS: So now you’re BFFs?
JG: Oh most definitely!
SFCS: [Laughs] Well another great song off your new album is “Always Take You Back.” I watched the music video and found the water imagery to be very evocative — what was it like working underwater artist Scott Rhea?
JG: We’ve always been fans of his work and knew that anything he created would be amazing, but it was definitely a new experience being thrown into the water. Having to do stuff physically was rigorous. I have to be honest, I loved the stuff he shot that wasn’t us; it feels strange to look at yourself.
But it was cool — the pool was in the desert and the house was submerged really deep, like at scuba-training levels. There were guys in scuba gear surrounding us to make sure we didn’t drown. I was scared some times that I was gonna drown. Also it was freezing. The pool wasn’t heated and it was nighttime in the desert, so there were some shivers, but the end result was amazing.
SFCS: For people who haven’t heard your music before, what three songs would you tell them to listen to in order to get a good feel of who you are?
JG: “Always Take You Back” “When You Were Mine” and “Dust and Bones”
SFCS: Who’s on your current playlist?
JG: I listen to a lot of stuff and it’s always changing. Like my cardio playlist [laughs]. Gotta have one of those, but most of my stuff is kinda sad and depressing. DJ Koze, The Twilight Sad, Foals, Ben Howard. Stuff that makes you want to cry and reminds you of Scotland on a rainy day. The new Decemberists stuff, Broods, Purity Ring, Patsy Cline.
SFCS: That’s quite the list. If you could take credit for any song throughout history and claim it as your own, which one would it be and why?
JG: There are so many great epic songs — something from the 70s like Billy Joel or Elton John or Elvis Costello. “Rocket Man.”I love the songs that tell stories but have equally compelling melodies and complex chords, ones that take a knowledge of music theory and an ability to play. “Alison” by Elvis Costello for the same reasons. “Try a Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding has all those traits while being extremely soulful.
SFCS: Being on the road, I’m sure you’ve seen it all when it comes to food – the good, the bad, the questionable. What has been your favorite place so far?
JG: I’m addicted to Yelp – I’m actually obsessed. I’ll spend an hour or so at the hotel, looking at Yelp and I’ll look at the menus and tell a band mate what they’re going to have and what I’m gonna have. But there’s some places, like Austin Texas with Tex-Mex and barbecue everywhere. Or just the random small places in Alabama.
San Francisco and Portland and Seattle — cool cities all have amazing restaurants. I’m from Williamsburg, New York and any chance to go back, I’ll take it. I’m biased, but it’s definitely the best.
SFCS: Final question. If you could be any kitchen utensil, what would you be and why?
JG: Dishwasher scrubber that actually looks like a person. Being shaped like a person, it’s easy to connect with. She’s got blond bristly hair – looks like Robin or a punk rocker – she’s a powerful lady and I’d like to be her – powers through grime and sludge – let’s call her Suzy the Power Scrubber.
Photo Credit: Jess Ewald, Atlanic Records