Q&A with Jarrod Gorbel
Brooklyn native Jarrod Gorbel is a new face in the music scene after the debut of his self-titled solo project released after splitting from his former band, The Honorary Title. Following the release of his new album, Devil’s Made a New Friend, Gorbel is headlining his own U.S. tour and making a stop in Arizona on Feb. 15.
The Lumberjack had the pleasure of chatting with Gorbel for a few minutes and getting the scoop on his tour, the inspiration behind his music and his plans for the future.
The Lumberjack: You just started your headlining tour on the 28th. How’s it going so far?
Jarrod Gorbel: Good so far. I played in Philly and in New York — the hometown show. Both of those were really good.
LJ: It’s been said that your concerts are part musical performances and part stand-up comedy. Can you explain this?
JG: Ummm. I guess depending on my mood, they can be like that. I just tend to go off on subjects, whatever’s on my mind. My songs are really kind of melodramatic and sad. But that’s only 1 percent of how I perceive things, so I spend the rest of my time — if I’m in a good mood and the crowd is receiving me well — just kind of being myself, which is just sarcastic and joking around and messing around with people in the audience, the fun way.
LJ: So if your songs, like you say, are pretty melodramatic, why don’t you have more upbeat and fun songs?
JG: I do have songs that are supposed to be not so serious, but they’re usually expressed, I guess, in a very dry way. Not all the time do people realize that some of them are that way, so I do have some that are just dry. I just feel more comfortable with writing more serious and darker stuff. I try to interpret my humor in my songs, but sometimes it just sounds a little too hokey for me. I do admire musicians, like British bands, who are good at using their humor in their songs, you know?
LJ: What were your inspirations for the new album, Devil’s Made a New Friend, both lyrically and musically?
JG: I guess, musically, whatever I’m listening to at the moment. I wanted to create something kind of mellow overall, not very loud, and just kind of more orchestral and lush sounding. Yet, lyrically, it’s more personal. The subject matter is always people that are close with me, things that I’m going through, whatever’s happening that day.
LJ: What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs?
JG: I feel most comfortable writing about love and relationships with girlfriends, ex-girlfriends, females in general.
LJ: I understand that The Honorary Title started out as a solo act. Do you think you will eventually form a band again, or are you going to stick with the solo gig?
JG: Um, I’m sure I will play with a band again. Like for example, at my New York show, I had a violinist, a cellist and a drummer. It was a band, but it was just for that show. I plan on mixing it up and playing with different members here and there. I don’t have any solid plans for doing The Honorary Title again, which kind of became a very solidified group of people. I’m not planning on that. But I wasn’t planning on that when The Honorary Title evolved, because I was solo. It kind of just happened. So it could just happen again. I don’t know. So yeah, natural evolution vs. dating online. I don’t know.
LJ: So what’s next? What are your plans for later this year?
JG: Well, right before I left, I was recording an EP, a five-song EP. That will come out in February, in the middle of the tour, so I will continue to promote that. I will probably play more shows in March and April, maybe make another video; those are the immediate plans.
LJ: Where would you like to see yourself go, say, in five years from now?
JG: I don’t know. That changes every year — where I want to be and what’s the realistic place. There’s a wish list of where I’d really love to be, then there’s a realistic goal and then there is stuff like trying different things out. I would like to just continue to tour and record and hopefully, as a solo artist, get as much notoriety as The Honorary Title did, which wasn’t a huge amount — you know, it was a very underground band — but kind of gain an audience solely using my name. And surpass, hopefully, what I was doing with The Honorary Title and capture a wider audience.
LJ: You’re playing a show in Scottsdale Feb. 15. What can fans expect?
JG: They can expect to see me, in all my glory. I will be playing in the nude, first of all. It’s not what I usually do, but Scottsdale calls for that. No, I’m not going to be doing that. I don’t feel comfortable naked. Haha. [I will] wrap myself in a hundred blankets, sweat profusely. It’s a detox thing. Crawl up in a fetal position, wrap myself in a super winter sleeping bag and sweat to death till I feel healthy again. No, I feel healthy already. But you never know, it’s all hypothetical.
But really, I’m going to play most of my solo record. I’ve had fans vote online for the top five The Honorary Title songs they want to hear, so whatever is voted the most popular I will play. If I’m in a good mood, I will be funny, hopefully. Maybe. Or maybe I will just be silent. And mysterious.
LJ: Any parting words?
JG: Well, I look forward to seeing all of you. Look out for the EP. It will be out actually, right when I get there. Good timing. The EP is called Bruises From Your Bad Dreams.
LJ: Bruises From Your Bad Dreams?
JG: Yeah, it sounds really emo, but it’s not. It’s actually a reference to a song, where, uh, the girl that I’m sleeping with complains that I’m all elbows and knees and she has bruises from my bad dreams, because I take up the entire bed. That’s simply all that it means.