We had the pleasure of interviewing Jarrod Gorbel when he was in Atlanta recently. Jarrod talked about his new solo album with us, his decision to go solo, and his take on American Idol.
Tell me what happened with Honorary Title and what made you decide to go solo?
Jarrod Gorbel: Well it really wasn’t that far-fetched of an idea. The Honorary Title started as a solo project, built a band around it, and all the members changed. By the time I did the last Honorary Title tour, it was all new members. So the band that people began to know as the Honorary Title wasn’t even the same Honorary Title. I was always the core song writer. And it was a decision I made after I recorded this album which isn’t out yet. I put together a whole new band and thought it could still be Honorary Title. F** it. Then halfway through, I just wanted to change and mark a period of maturity. So then I decided it was going to be a Jarrod Gorbel record. And that was it. The Honorary Title was a real band, but it was also kind of an illusion of a band….
Have you encounter any difficulties in going solo as compared to when you were with the band?
Jarrod Gorbel: It’s just playing shows – not as many people are going to show up off the bat. Though I haven’t had an official release yet. If I just came to Atlanta as Honorary Title, a lot more people would come. So just getting my name out there… I still have the hardcore Honorary Title fans who know Jarrod, but not everyone gets so into a band that they would know.
When does the new album come out?
Jarrod Gorbel: September
I know you’ve done a number of cover songs. I really love the Alicia Keys one you did. When your touring, this tour in particular, are you doing any covers?
Jarrod Gorbel: I’ve been doing a bunch of covers. Been f***ing them all up. Can’t finish any of them. They’re strictly for my own pleasure. I’ve been doing ‘Home Sweet Home’ by Motley Crue some Phoenix… some ‘Umbella’ by Rhianna.
You need to do some Lady Gaga.
Jarrod Gorbel: You know, people have said that. I just don’t get her music. I like pop music. That’s why I did the Alicia Keys song. I like that song. I don’t know… maybe it’s the techno side of Lady Gaga that makes it harder to grasp for me. I would take Madonna over Lady Gaga any day. ‘Like A Prayer’… that’s an awesome song.
Musically, do you feel you’ve had more freedom going solo?
Jarrod Gorbel: I think it’s helping open different people’s ears that didn’t know the Honorary Title that might have thought it was some punk band or associate it with something that it’s not. With this being a different project, and being just me… different people are listening than would have listened before.
What has been the die-hard Honorary Title fan response to your solo material?
Jarrod Gorbel: Really good. It’s such a tangible, physical reaction that I get. How else would I know if I wasn’t playing these shows. It feels like people are understanding it and liking it. It’s not some weird dance or post-hip-hop project. People that liked Honorary Title will it. I think it’s more mature.
Are you doing any of the Honorary Title music at these shows as well?
Jarrod Gorbel: Yeah. I always said I considered those songs like my children. I can’t just leave them out yet. Ideally, I liked to push them out, because I slowly get sick of them. But they’re still like my songs.
So lyrically, have you have different inspirations since going solo? Or is it still the same?
Jarrod Gorbel: My lyrics are always pretty influenced by life situations or situations that come close to mine so I can understand them. As my life has changed, the material has changed. Overall, I think it’s still relationships. It goes with the narrative of my life. But overall I think it’s still emotional, sappy bulls***.
In your opinion, do you write your best music when you’re in a bad place – maybe a heartbreak? Or when you’re in love and really happy?
Jarrod Gorbel: You know I’ve never been 100% all happy [laughs]. I might have that moment where I am in love and I’m psyched, but then everything else goes wrong. I’ve never had everything great, so it’s hard to really judge that. I do find that myself and the type of music that I play, I’d rather hear myself play about more emotional or more somber rather than lalala happy land topics. The most feelgood things I would write about would be how good drugs or good sex feels [laughs]. And that can seem dark and twisted too.
When I interviewed you before, I asked you about your favorite TV shows. You mentioned ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’. I was wondering what you’re watching now?
Jarrod Gorbel: ‘Curb’ is great. ‘True Blood’ I got really into. ‘Celebrity Rehab’… I love Dr. Drew. ‘Intervention’, ‘Celebrity Rehab’, ‘Sober House’, there’s a new one called ‘Addicted’. Then really bad s*** on Bravo like ‘Millionaire Matchmaker’. Oh and ‘The Soup’.
Kinda on that topic, you have two major fans from the TV show ‘Lost’. Were you aware of that?
Jarrod Gorbel: I’ve heard that. I’ve watched every season of ‘Lost’ but this one. I usually watch them after they’re done.
That’s the way to do it.
Jarrod Gorbel: Yeah, just like mass consumption. I just sit there for like 80 hours straight watching the DVDs. And just feel like s***, like eating 12 value meals in a row or something. But you just keep indulging.
Now on Twitter, you made a comment about ‘American Idol’ and how it was driving you mad. What’s your take on that setup. With the contestants and the competing – is that they way to do it or should they do it solo?
Jarrod Gorbel: No, I mean it’s worked really well for those people. If you’re on that show and you make the top 10 – you’re set. You have a music career. So that seems really easy. My route has been really slow and torturest. I don’t even know what the f*** I’m doing. So in that case, if you can do that, and that’s you’re thing – then that’s great and that’s good for you. But every time I watch it… I get violent. I get really angry. Because it’s just so cheesy, and I think everyone knows that…. And I think Kelly Clarkson is hot. She’s like a hamster. A little sexy hamster. And I like sexy hamsters. But yeah ‘American Idol’ annoys the f*** out of me, but I still watch it. I can’t watch it all the way through, but I’ll watch pieces of it. It’s like watching the ‘Jerry Spring Show’, it’s like how much can you take? But you can’t look away [laughs].
What’s your thoughts on social media as promotional tools for artists? A lot of bands don’t do their own twitters. And you do your own right?
Jarrod Gorbel: Yeah. I mean I’m such a small indie artist. I have management help out with announcement of shows and such, and then I just tweet about boners, turds, and ‘American Idol’ [laughs]. I think it’s really great, makes things a long easier. But technology is hard to keep up with. One year it’s MySpace, then it’s Facebook, now it’s Twitter. I don’t know what will be next. If we could just condense it together with one tool and them stream… it makes it super easy to communicate with anyone who is interested in what you do.
Interview By: Emma Loggins
Jarrod Gorbel Official Site: http://jarrodgorbelmusic.com/