An interview with August Rising
Tonight, I had the pleasure of getting to know one of my new favorite bands, August Rising, featuring Jeff Stauning on vocals and acoustic guitar, Jarod Woznik on lead guitar and vocals and Patrick Stephens on bass and vocals and Matthew Thrift on drums.
Few artists on the LA scene have influences as diverse as August Rising, and it shows in the finer nuances or their freshman album. The first time I heard their local hit Lay Your Hands On Me, I was shocked to see a small constellation of goosebumps raising the individual hairs on my arms. To put it succinctly, their sound is nothing short of inspired.
Read on to get to know more about this fine local attraction.
DT: How long have you been together?
Jeff: We’ve been together a couple years now. I’ve been playing with Patrick for quite a long time, and then Jarod joined us in 2008.
DT: Have you gone out on the road yet?
Jeff: We’ve been on some small mini tours but not on a major tour where we’ve been on the road for months. But we’ve done a couple of west coast tours up and down the coast.
DT: What’s your favorite place to play so far?
Patrick: Uh, OC Fair was fun this last month. It was a big venue, professional stage. We got treated like any really big name act would be treated and we just had a lot of fun.
Jeff: I had a good time playing Valencia actually. A really great sound company a sound guy named Matt did a really great job for us at the Rockin’ Summer Nights and it was a really good set up. They actually blocked off three sections of the street, which was cool, but it was a really big venue.
DT: Do you like playing for large venues or small?
Jeff: Um, we’ve played to 1500 people and, you know, we’ve played to just a few people in a bar before. That’s kind of the story of every band, you know, you’ll play something really small, try to work your way up into large venues, but yeah, we’ve played in an audience where there was just a couple people there. We try to approach every show the same. We’ll really try to give it our all. It may be more challenging but you can’t approach it from any other mindset. You never know who is sitting in the audience.
DT: What’s your favorite kind of crowd?
Patrick: Crazy, fun.
Jarod: Me personally at least, and I think collectively, we just kind of like it when everyone is feeding off each other’s energy and we all are having a good time I think. I think we all really enjoy that the most.
Jeff: There’s nothing like when you are singing a song on stage and everyone is singing along with you. That’s a really great feeling.
DT: I notice when I was researching your website, that you have a very unique marketing plan for your free MP3s. Can you tell me more about that?
Jarod: New Groove Music. I actually I’m more on the business side of everything.
Jeff: Yeah, he’s Mr. Technical
Jarod: Yeah, um New Groove Music has a very interesting marketing plan that I found. I’m the nerd of the band. I’m on the computer 24/7 I just look for these cool things to find us more to network and stuff. I found new groove music and their marketing plan was to um, offer free music to download for people to come to their website, and in return, you know you know ’cause we’ve obviously got all our hard work invested in the song, you know, we have to eat, we have to sleep, we have to change our guitar strings, you know, they can download for free and on top of them downloading for free, our sponsor that sponsors that page, whatever they put in as a sponsor we split the profit from the sponsors, so it’s kind of like a win win situation.
DT: What is the biggest thing a fan can do to help your band?
We actually do have a fan that is helping us named Joy in Australia. and she is running our street team in Australia. Jarod stays in close contact with her
Jarod: I think the biggest thing though is to stay in contact with us cause obviously we like uh making the music we create and uh you know when the fans appreciate that that’s also another reason why we create the music.
DT: You wrote a blog entry titled “Alive: on your Myspace. It says:
Have you ever dreamt of floating over New York city during a summer night?
Where you can land amongst a rooftop party and all its imagery
To simply to absorb the atmosphere
And truly feel all the drama and excitement and complexities surrounding all these random people who’s lives are somehow mysteriously and beautifully connected
Its amazing who we do and don’t let in
DT: What were you thinking about when you said “it’s amazing who you do and you don’t let in”
Jeff: Yeah, I was actually thinking about… Have you ever seen that movie “Good Will Hunting”? Where he’s talking about, how um, when his wife passed away and he said, its weird how we let people into our weird little worlds, you know, cause each of us, we all have our kind of quirky ways about us and have something about us that, you know, only our close friends and family know about us, you know, our idiosyncrasies more or less, and that’s what it really means. It’s amazing who you do and don’t let in from a perspective maybe as an associate to a really close friend or someone that knows everything about you and just how many levels you let someone into your life and the fact that it takes a long time to grow that kind of trust. It is, it’s amazing who we do and don’t let in to life.
Patrick: Yeah, like, never give this guy coffee after nine!
DT: I would feel remiss if I didn’t ask the obligatory questions. So, in the spirit of cheesy promotions:
DT: What is your favorite book:
Jarod: I don’t really read (laughs) Uh, Donald Passman’s all you need to know about the music business.
Jeff: I don’t actually read much fiction believe it or not, but I read this book called Rich Dad Poor Dad; it taught me a lot about business actually. It was really good
Patrick: I’ll say Green eggs and ham
Matt: My favorite book is probably â€œBlackâ€, by Ted Dekker. He is a phenomenal writer.
DT: Favorite movie:
Jarod: Uh, Dumb and dumber probably
Jeff: It’s kind of a tie for me I really love Scent of a woman with Al Pacino and the first Matrix
Patrick: Anger Management, I like
Jeff: Anger Management? Is that how you work out your aggressions? (both laugh)
Matt: Favorite Movie: I have tons! Happy Gilmore
DT: Favorite song:
Matt: Favorite song is (I have thousands of them) â€œPull me Underâ€ by Dream Theater
Patrick: You know what comes to mind, it’s way on the other spectrum, it’s a gospel… Hark the Herald Angels Sing. It just reminds me of everything beautiful, you know, as far as, from childhood to now. The things that are really simple in life
Jeff: In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel
Jarod; Ah Lord, I have no answers tonight… no comment, I don’t know
Jeff: If you put Jarod in front of a computer, he’d be able to answer you
How bout favorite Steve Miller song Jarod?
Jarod: Uh, Rock me Baby or um, The Joker’s a cool one too, I like the Joker.
Jeff: Um yeah, we actually play that as a cover sometimes.
DT: Favorite album:
Jarod: I can’t answer that, I don’t even know…
Jeff: Do you have any specific answers? August and Everything After by Counting Crows.
Patrick: Lenny Kravitz, Five
Matt: The Album that goes with Pull Me Under. Images and Words by Dream Theater.
DT: Favorite Artist:
Jeff: C’mon Jarod, you can do it…
Jarod: Classic rock, anything.
Jeff: Slash, he loves Slash! and Jimmy Hendrix. I’m gonna answer for you!
Jarod: I like the Steve Miller band because, Kenny actually taught me how to play. Um, well not actually how to play, but he was my guitar teacher for a couple years from 2004 to 2006. Um, Kenny Lee Lewis from the Steve miller band was a really cool experience. On top of going to his house like once or twice a week I actually talked to him, that’s how I learned a lot about the business. He actually taught me a lot and of course… classic rocker… he’s been through everything, he’s been through it all, you know he’s seen everything on tour and what not. And you know, I’m kind of like his surrogate son, kind of like, I’m not really his son but kind of like, he says, “you’re the son I never had” (laughs). I just saw him again at the Greek Theater a couple of months ago. He invited me out and I brought him the first record he ever worked on with Steve Miller, you know, 28 years ago, it was the, uh, Abracadabra album and I thought it would be funny to have the actual vinyl record with him on it. He’s like, you know, my age, and he’s like sitting on there and I thought it would be funny to bring it as like a gift type thing and have him sign it, and what he signed on it was “Jarod, you’ll be successful in this fucked up business.” He’s kind of a musical father figure for me.
Jeff: I hate to sound redundant, but Counting Crows.
Matt: Dream Theater and Opeth
Patrick: I’d say King’s X
Jeff: I never even heard of them
Patrick: Hard rock band… Texas
Clearly this group has a great chemistry and diversity, and it shows in the music. I have to agree with Jeff; it really is amazing who you do and don’t let in, and this applies to the music we know and love as well as the people. I think it is safe to say that if you decide to let August Rising into your musical world, you will enjoy getting to know them as much as I have.