My first encounter with the music of singer-songwriter Jem Warren was through Twitter. I checked out his debut EP “Lifeblood To My Soul” and some clips through YouTube and checked out the Jem Warren homepage.
I loved what I heard, took some time to get into him and the EP – but when he hit me he hit hard. References that fell into my mind was R.E.M, Talk Talk´s Mark Hollis, Marillions Steve Hogarth and a bit of James Blunt.
I loved it so much that I decided to send him a request if he´d like to do a Q&A interview with me on my blog. I wrote a blog in my native language, Norwegian – before i started the Read And Hear music blog.
Jem Warren wanted to do this – and since I´ve read on his homepage, i knew that he was working on his debut album. Many of my questions is about the coming album.
The Jem Warren pre-“Heart Knows How” album release Q&A
Q: I saw on YouTube, you played harmonica and guitar on your version og Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice…” Do you play any other instruments?
A: I dabble in keyboards and bass guitar, particularly when I’m writing at home
Q: You also do covers of John Mayer and Jack Johnson, amongst others; Is this like artists you are influenced by? Which other artists would you say you are influenced by?
A: The Police, Tracy Chapman, Fleetwood Mac, Jose Gonzales, Tom Petty
Q: Your coming record vs the EP you’ve already have released; Is the album more of the same or is there any large changes on the album?
A: The new album is very different from the EP. I wrote all the songs for “Lifeblood To My Soul” relatively recent with a very specific sound in mind. The new album, “Heart Knows How” is much different. It’s basically an accumulation of songs I’ve written over many years with no particular vision or theme for an album. I wrote them on the fly and felt the time had come to get them out there. The result is an album that’s somehow more americana rock´n´roll (and maybe a little bit more country too).
Q: After hearing your EP my mind is full of names and references I would like to mention in my upcoming blog post. So if you should say something like “If you like Jem Warren; You should also check out…” the rest is up to you…
A: Sun Kil Moon, Jose Gonzalez
Q: If you’d like to tell; Your homepage mention both your father and mother made music, are you influenced by them? Have they released any albums? Anything I could/or should check out?
A: My parents were both very musical but didn’t really go for it in a formal sense. They were great influences on me since they provided a rich musical environment, but never put out albums themselves…
Q: And the last one; My blog is quite new, with just under 20 posts so far, but so many drafts and thoughts and ideas about what I’d like to write about. I write in Norwegian, but the blog has a translate option. I write about mainly new music, that I like myself and feel most people should listen to. I feel have a fine sense about what become or should become a hit or more people should listen to. …of all the blogs in the world why would like me to write about you!?
A: You seem pretty cool. Far be it from me to turn down anyone willing to write about my art. The honor is mine
The album that became his debut albums which he released march 2012 was named “Heart Knows How”. The Jem Warren debut was a large leap forward for the sound of Jem Warren i knew through the EP. He sounded more confident, he sings in a deeper tone, not so nasal as he was earlier. The band sounded groovy, more funky. They sounded like they had great fun while recording the album, you´ll also hear pop, americana – and wonderful timeless ballads. Jem is without doubt a singer-songwriter, he writes all his stuff himself, plays on all his songs. On the “Heart Knows How” I´ve heard references like The Black Sorrows, Hal Ketchum, The Waterboys´Mike Scott, Ryan Adams, John Mayer – but still no rip off – Jem Warren has his own voice, his own sound – and writes songs with a meaning.
A few months back I decided to hear if Jem Warren would like to do a follow-up Q&A and he liked the idea. Being a hard-working artist – who has spent most of the year on the road – it took some time before he´d answered the questions…but then he did…
The Jem Warren post-“Heart Knows How” album release Q&A
hey man. sorry it took so long. I appreciate the interest in my music and career, man.
Q: Since releasing your debut album “Heart Knows How” do you feel you life has changed?
A: i think when any artists creates and then puts out an album there’s an immediate sense of emotional release. I’m no different in that way. but like any artist you start thinking about the next album and what you want to express. career wise, the album’s had a great affect. I’ve picked up a lot of new fans. I’m set to release 2 videos from the album in february
Q; I see you play a lot live these days, tell me whats the best things about being on the road?
A: i think the best thing about being on the road and performing live is the people of course. the energy that you get from an audience (cooperative or hostile) is invaluable as a writer. seeing and feeling the reaction of people from all walks of life is both telling and inspiring.
Q: Earlier you covered John Mayer and Bob Dylan and such, are you doing any playing any new covers while touring these days?
A: i actually was doing “teenage dream” by Katy Perry which always went over well because it was unexpected and my band rock the shit out of it! “the weight” by the band has been a staple in the set lately.
Q: Last but not least, have you started thinking or planning a follow-up to your album? Where do you see your self next time? Any plans about how it will sound?
A: yes, I have a couple of ideas for albums. i would like to return to the sound of my first ‘lifeblood to my soul.’ i have a lot songs in the works. i also want put a collection of mostly acoustic songs that i record and produce in my apartment which will be pretty experimental since I’m not a producer. but I’m curious to see how people would react to it.
thanks so much man!!
I have lived with Jem Warrens great debut album for over a half-year – and have to say – Jem Warren is one of the best new singer-songwriter discoveries I´ve found in 2012.
“Heart Knows How” is a timeless album that will still live on years after we´d say goodbye to 2012.
They both released their records within a couple of weeks. John Mayer releases his 5th studio album “Born & Raised” and Jem Warren released his debut album “Heart Knows How”
The cool thing is that both artist have a quite similar genre mix; Americana, folk – with a large dash of singer-songwriter. So there is some likeness there.
They both sounded like they have the time of their life in the studio.
Jem Warren has released as mentioned earlier – his first album – and this has become a really great record, full of fabulous writing and real songwriting – all songs and lyrics by Jem himself! This has to be one of this years strongest debut-album. Give the album time – and it´ll stick like glue. I´ll never tire of the album – even if I’m listening to it time after time – even several plays per day!
This album should be a real door opener for Jems future!
I really hope people open their eyes and give him a spin or two…Do you hear radio stations?
The last album om John Mayer is probably his best ever. The man seems to be a source of non-stop writing potential singles. Not one song of the album sound out of place! It´s really fabolous!
John has had a mighty trilogy with the album “Continuum” – made his most pop and AOR album in “Battle Studies”, and comes back with av bomb of a album with “Born & Raised”
Even is both Jem and John have their own voices and their own sound – these two albums can be played back-to-back without it feeling wierd or out of place! To really high quality albums you should check out!
Jem Warrens “Heart Knows How” vs John Mayer “Born & Raised”
Since both albums is really good in their own way – this battle ends with no losers, only two winners!