What inspired you to start making music?
Jason: My mom had me taking piano lessons when I was pretty young. I had been a fan of rock music (the Beatles, the White Stripes, Steely Dan) all along because of my parents, but I was only playing stuff like “Puff the Magic Dragon” and the Star Wars theme song on piano. Then when Guitar Hero III came out, I was playing that NONSTOP like “why the hell am I playing piano” and was immediately influenced to pick up my friend’s guitar and start plucking away. He taught me “Smoke on the Water” and the rest came from there.
What influences your songs?
Jason: When a song of mine is conceived from a lyrical stance, it’s usually inspired by a single event, like a weird party or something that someone says to me that makes me go “that could be a song.” I am somewhat selective though; if someone walks up to me and hands me a grapefruit I’m not gonna go “holy sh*t, a concept album about grapefruits!” If a song of mine is conceived musically, it’s usually at the most inconvenient time. I’ll be about to fall asleep or miles away from a guitar and a riff or chord progression will pop into my head. I’ll either end up remembering it for later or lazily singing it into my phone to try and decipher it when I have a guitar handy. Often I’ll just think, “if it’s really that good, I’ll remember it later.”
What is your fanbase like?
Jason: Well there’s my mom…Most of my fanbase is made up of Facebook friends/real friends who are also music fans or just want to support me, but I rely heavily on word of mouth and written reviews to spread my music (I feel really weird about going to someone and saying “Hey listen to me!” but sometimes I need to…). Also from Spotify stats, a weird percentage of my listeners are in the Philippines; it’s my second most popular country and I have no idea why.
“If a song of mine is conceived musically, it’s usually at the most inconvenient time. I’ll be about to fall asleep or miles away from a guitar and a riff or chord progression will pop into my head.”
-Jason Ebbs (7/12/2018)
Most of your songs in Familiar Villains focus on an introverted-like person, does that reflect the type of person you are?
Jason: Definitely. Sometimes I’ll tell people I’m an introvert and they’ll disagree completely. I wanted to use the songs on Familiar Villains to tell people “this is who I really am, I’m not trying to disguise myself as an alpha extrovert.” The two main “introvert” songs on the record (‘Stone in the Road’ and ‘Brick Wall’) were both written on a couch in my basement and my dorm room on Friday nights. I kept thinking to myself “I really want to party right now, but I don’t want to go to a party” and I feel like ‘Stone in the Road’ captures that pretty accurately. ‘Brick Wall’ basically shows the kind of person I am at a party; I hang out off to the side and don’t say much, but I have a lot of thoughts about the people around me.
Who is the girl you’re referring to in your song Average Joe?
Jason: This is the question people have asked me the most about the record and I always tell them that it’s not about anyone specific, it’s more just a fictional version of myself having regrets. But I mean… it’s obviously about someone, she knows who she is. It was never my intention to try to win her back or anything, and as the song suggests, she probably won’t ever hear it and I am content with that.
“I wanted to use the songs on Familiar Villains to tell people ‘this is who I really am, I’m not trying to disguise myself as an alpha extrovert.'”
What kind of gigs have you played so far?
Jason: JUST ONE. We played a gig last night and had a 45 minute set and it was a great time, but a bunch of our songs were covers. Before I start gigging regularly, I really need to build a stronger “base” in terms of trusted band mates and usable content to create a decent show. No one is going to house shows to hear Green Day covers.
What are you going to do differently in the future with your music?
Jason: In terms of songwriting and musical content, I am really trying to make my songs more intricate because I’ve been playing music for over ten years now, but I admit some of my writing isn’t as mature as that. I think I’m capable of a lot more but that’s not worth very much if I don’t do anything about it. I’d also like to be better acquainted with my demos before I record them in the studio because I feet like with some of the songs on Familiar Villains, I’d go into the studio days after finishing a demo and find myself relearning parts or thinking about what I could change; at that point to me, it’s too late to make changes when using valuable studio time.
Where do you see the band in 5 years? (Optional question)
Jason: I’m a bit of a realist but I’ve been trying to ditch that mindset. I can’t even see myself one year into the future, but five years from now, I want to have a name for myself. I want to be playing shows that people won’t just stumble into; they’ll deliberately come to hear my music and jam along. Hopefully…
What are your plans for the future?
Jason: I just take things one day at a time. Everyday I try to do at least one thing that contributes to my music or my overall presence. I’m just enjoying myself every step of the way and hoping it all adds up.
When are you planning to release the future tracks?
Jason:My first full length album is being heavily planned at the moment, I’m doing a lot of writing and really getting in touch with my influences. I hate to force my writing and I like it to come naturally so I’m just trying to collect experiences and thoughts to write about. The first single should be recorded and released within a few months.
I would like Jason Ebbs for answering these questions, and I’m sorry that I didn’t get to do a double proper review. I’ve been extremely busy lately and when I’ve come home I’ve just been VERY tired to much of really anything. Maybe it’s me needing to drink more caffeine… or maybe it’s me needing to get adjusted to my schedule. Either way this will be the only interview post for at least this month. I want people and the musicians I review know what I think about their music, and I’m very aware that posting an interview isn’t how you go about doing this. If you like what you hear on his Spotify then you can find him on both Facebook and Instagram. You can follow Unedited Music Blog on Facebook (@uneditedmb) and Instagram (@unedited_music_blog), and listen to my favorites on Unedited’s Spotify Playlist. Have a great rest of the week and weekend, and happy holidays to everyone!!!!