been a while since I've had a chance to head back into local shows.
Been a lot of cancellations and rearrangements over the past couple
months. Which is a bit frustrating when you're trying to plan
ahead. Maybe I need to go back to being super spontaneous and just
covering whatever I feel like with no real plan? Eh, who knows. But
in a weekend filled with mostly traveling acts and venues just having poor lineups (or worse, karaoke competition night), we had one good
all-locals show in town.
Kilby Court threw an all acoustic (well, half acoustic) showcase this past Friday, featuring a couple of our old friends in the form of Swans Of Never (Matt Names playing solo) and Matt Ben Jackson which featured an almost totally new lineup. Plus two others joining in as the usual voltage driven Bobo Shand's lead singer did a solo act, and finally the punk-Americana of Mason Jones & The Get Togethers, who played as a striped down three-piece version, which is who we'll be chatting with this week. Along with over 200 pictures of all four from the show to check out here.
Mason Jones & The Get Togethers (Tyler Rasmussen, Mason Jones and Casey Frederick)
Gavin: Hey Mason, first off, tell us a little about yourselves.
Mason: Well, we're from all over the great state of Utah and there's a lot of us. The GT's are made up of; Bobby James, Casey Frederick, Kevin Schultz, Joe McCallister, Dan McCallister, Tate McCallum-Law, Steve Davis, myself, Tyler Rasmussen, Jon Butler, Kevin Lynk, Austin Frodsham, Pat Jones and Nate Moore.
Gavin: What got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?
Mason: My dad and sister were both excellent piano players. I attempted to learn and failed miserably. However, my brother came home with a black and white Strat one day and I instantly knew what it was I was going to do for the rest of my life. Play guitar. As far as the music I loved growing up, it was a lot of the standards that all parents should show their kids. The Rolling Stones, Dire Straits, The Who, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Police, Van Morisson, Bruce Springsteen and CCR.
Gavin: How did you all get together to form the group?
Mason: You know, just through all walks of life. School, work, mutual friends and family.
Gavin: What made you guys decide to go for a more Americana kind of rock, and how was it for you honing that sound and making it your own?
Mason: Americana is so broad that it allows for a lot of artistic freedom. You can mix all the country, blues, soul, rock n' roll and folk you want without anybody raising so much as an eyebrow. It allows for me to play unplugged or electric whenever without anybody really leaving dissatisfied.
Gavin: The band has gone through a couple lineup changes over time. How is it for you adjusting to switching members?
Mason: The Get Togethers is an attempt at an old school back up band, like Booker T & The MG's or Muscle Shoals' "The Swampers". We've got quite the roster going... We have piano players, violinists, saxophone players, a couple of drummers, extra guitar players... So every show it's something a little different. We're all working or going to school but we still want to play music seriously. This is all about being able to play some music but not have it interfere with other commitments. Plus, it keeps us on our toes. Besides it's always fun to come down and see us Friday and there's a violinist and on Saturday there's another guitar player and a sax.
Gavin: Last year you recorded your first full-length album, Get Electrikk. How was the recording process like and the challenges you met during it?
Mason: Get Electrikk was messy. It was a mix of three separate EP's, it was more of a compilation than a full length. The first portion was a bit loose and we were still figuring out what it was we were attempting to do. The middle section was just a set of acoustic songs, but there was a little more confidence behind it. Finally the third portion we had finally started playing like a band and had a better handle on our sound but it lacked continuity from the other two EP's. We moved away from folk and into more rock n' roll.
Gavin: Why did you choose to do a self-release rather than find a label?
Mason: Time constraints and money. None of us are in this to make a buck, it's really just for fun. We record when we can and play shows when it's convenient, we're not looking to add numbers, quotas and requirements to this. Also, I'm really a stickler for making sure the songs, "feel" right. The sonic quality is important but I'd go for atonal and emotional over pretty. So we'll record, I'll listen to what we have and a lot of the times we delete everything and start from scratch. We'll take two steps forward and six back. Needless to say, it takes a long time.
Gavin: What was the public reaction like to the album when it was finally release?
Mason: People seemed to really enjoy a good portion of it. It was too all over the map for any one person to really enjoy the entire thing, but that's understandable. It was a timeline of the progress and style changes we made.
Gavin: Are there any plans for a second album or a tour in the works, or mainly playing gigs for now?
Mason: We recently finished up recording our first and actual full length, Bibles & Basterds. It's being mastered right now and should be coming out in November.
Gavin: Going state-wide, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?
Mason: There's a lot of talent out there. There's some good venues, great bands as well as quality studios and engineers that know what they're doing. There's some promise around here!
Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it more prominent?
Mason: I think there's a handful of locals that are really going out there and really giving it all they've got. That's going to bring a lot of attention their way, which in turn will bring it to the state. A rising tide raises all ships and I think more and more bands are going to start receiving some serious attention which will inspire everyone around to work hard.
Gavin: Not including yourselves, who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?
Mason: The Lionelle's new EP Shipwreck is pretty unbelievable. Bobo Shand and Blackhounds always put on a great show. Joshua James' Build Me This is inspiring. I'm getting really excited for both Matt Ben Jackson and Disforia's full lengths... I also got to sneak a listen of Allred's All We Are and as far as recording quality, I think that's going to be one of the best records of the year.
Gavin: What's your opinion on the current airplay on community radio these days and how its affects local musicians?
Mason: Quid Pro Quo.
Gavin: What do you think of file sharing these days, both as musicians and a music lovers?
Mason: If you're a freeloader, you're a freeloader. But if you're out there, buying CD's, going to shows, buying merch and spreading the word, I don't see a problem with downloading a bootleg or two.
Gavin: What can we expect from you guys over the rest of the year?
Mason: A handful of shows, as well as Bibles & Basterds in November.
Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?
Mason: NAMI Walk.
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