Americana on Wheels: An Interivew with Jared & The Mill
Americana sextet Jared & The Mill are hitting the road currently in preparation nearly three-and-a-half months of touring, with Houston being one of the first cities to stop through. The band is also getting ready to release their new EP, Orme Dugas, on September 9. While on a drive from their home state of Arizona to Oklahoma, vocalist Jared Kolesar was able to chat with Free Press Houston.
Free Press Houston: You are about to set off a massive tour, and set to play Houston on August 14, so have you had any special preparation for these dates? As in, when setting up these long tours, do you have to get into a right mindset of being away from home for so long?
Jared Kolesar: Honestly, we’ve been doing [tours] for so long that we need more mental preparation while at home. Once you fall into this, it turns into such an orderly lifestyle where you wake up, drive to the show, drive again, sleep, find washrooms. You have those days when you have fifteen hour drives, like today. I think you just have to dip into it, you know? It’s like a videogame; you don’t want to think about going into a tougher scenario, you just go with the moment. We continue and it gets a little easier each time.
FPH: Being from Arizona, have you guys played with some of the larger bands of that scene (like Kongos)?
Kolesar: Yeah, totally! We’ve played a couple of times with Kongos around the area while they were still on the up-and-up. We played a couple of times at the Sail Inn, which was on old music venue, that is unfortunately deceased now in Tempe, and it was one of the flagships of the music scene. We’ve also played with bands like Gin Blossoms, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers. We’ve played with a fair amount of established Arizona bands.
FPH: Jared & The Mill can be classified as an Americana band, which is a very broad term, but usually similar to folk, so what do you think labels like Jack White’s Third Man Record’s has done for those genres?
Kolesar: I think that labels have always had an integral role in swaying the atmosphere of the musical form in American music culture. I’d like to think that the Americana trend is still lasting, but I don’t know if its existence is due to record labels. My favorite record labels are the ones that want to serve a combo of having a bit more of a folky-er vibe to their music. Some record labels, especially smaller ones, get those kinds of bands more exposure out on the road and on the records. I’m not sure how different it would be for bands if there was not a space for that [on] the labels.
FPH: What do you think of these Americana and folk groups from other countries? Is the authenticity of bands like early Mumford and Sons as true as Jared & The Mill?
Kolesar: Yeah, it could be. It’s hard to say because the spectrum of Americana is so broad, you know, that it doesn’t necessarily have a definition, so it is definitely subject to change. I don’t know if the revival will ever not be considered Americana. That’s what people consider Americana to be on a grand scale now, and I think that the opinion of what Americana is will probably change at some point.
FPH: Are you familiar with any of the breakthrough artists of those genres here in Texas, artists like Shakey Graves and Robert Ellis?
Kolesar: Yeah! I’ve met Shakey a few times, and it’s funny enough, Robert Ellis was playing in Phoenix and he stayed at my house two weeks or so ago. They’re all really cool dudes. I think [Ellis] is going to be jumping on stage with us at Stubb’s in Austin and play a couple of tunes with us. We haven’t played with Shakey Graves, but we’ve watched them enough times. He’s got an awesome performance! Anyone who’s not familiar should check him out.
You can catch Jared and the Mill in the Bronze Peacock Room at the House of Blues on Sunday, August 14.