Jared Bartman has the beautiful ability of matching poetic lyrics with lush arrangements and heartfelt, folk vibes.With the upcoming release of his new album Misery Makes Strange Bedfellows coming out on November 19th, A Music Blog, Yea? had the opportunity of catching up with him. Have a read as we spoke to this songwriter, composer, and bandleader about the record, the pros and cons of touring, and meditations on YouTube.
AMBY: Hello Jared, cheers for speaking with AMBY. How are you doing today, and what have you been up to lately?
Jared Bartman: I’m doing well, thanks! I’ve mainly been preparing my new record for release this fall, booking and rehearsing for shows, and spending time with my wife and son. I also work as an orchestra librarian, so I’m doing a lot of orchestral music preparation.
AMBY: Your new album Misery Makes Strange Bedfellows comes out on November 19th. What are your plans for the album’s release?
Jared Bartman: I’m self-releasing the record with the idea that hopefully a label will be interested in re-releasing it at some point. I’m touring the east coast and Midwest for the first couple weeks of November, and I’m getting started on booking a west coast tour for March. Those are my plans for now. I imagine I’ll tour even more than what I’m currently planning for, and then I’ll start working on the next record.
AMBY: Misery Makes Strange Bedfellows carries a very harmonious and tropical vibe to me. Who inspires your sound?
Jared Bartman: Most of my inspiration for the record was actually literary, not musical. My best friend Tom introduced me a few years ago to the work of the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, and I’ve been enamored with his collected short stories ever since. I also read a lot of poetry by the Spanish writer Federico Garcia Lorca, and I think that readings of Lorca really informed my lyrics on this record. I’ve also been avidly consuming anything I can get ahold of by the Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño. His novel 2666 is a horrifying masterpiece. I was listening to a lot of Astrud Gilberto, MIA, Caetano Veloso, David Byrne, Taken By Trees, piano works by Maurice Ravel, and various 60’s girl groups produced by Phil Spector while writing the record.
AMBY: Which songs off the album are your favourite?
Jared Bartman: “Garden Gate” is my favorite song I’ve ever written so far.
AMBY: The vocals on the record’s opening track (The Cool Of Your Temple) are gorgeous. What inspired the strong harmonies on the song?
Jared Bartman: There’s a collection of songs by the Hungarian composer Béla Bartók called Twenty-Seven Choruses that I became somewhat obsessed with while writing this record. It’s a collection of twenty-seven folk poems that Bartók set as very brief songs for two and three part female voice. These songs hold a minor place in Bartók’s oeuvre, but they’re some of my favorite compositions of his. I love how Bartók was able to distill the musical information down to the bare essentials and still retain such inventive vocal harmony. I wanted to approach this style through my own compositional sensibilities, and “The Cool Of Your Temple” is what came of it.
AMBY: The new single Garden Gate is lovely. What’s the story behind it?
Jared Bartman: The actual narrative of the song is fictitious, but I think most people can relate to the “unrequited love” theme. The device in the choruses of saying a certain object wants to be another object came straight from Lorca’s poetry. The narrative acts as a vehicle for these metaphors. I wanted to evoke a series of images like those in the Bob Dylan song “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”, but with more of a Latin American approach.
AMBY: You have some shows coming up in the states. What are the best and worst parts of being on tour?
Jared Bartman: The best parts are the camaraderie comes from traveling with bandmates, the friendships that are made on the road that I don’t make anywhere else, and just having the opportunity to play my music all over the US. The worst part of touring is getting sick after weeks on end of little sleep and not eating very well. Being sick on tour is no fun.
AMBY: If you could invite any three people to record an album with, who would you pick?
Jared Bartman: Aside from Scott Solter, who produced Misery Makes Strange Bedfellows, I’d say Nigel Godrich, David Longstreth, and Rostam Batmanglij.
AMBY: Who would be in your ultimate concert line-up?
Jared Bartman: The Beatles (assuming it was the early 60’s), Dirty Projectors, and John Vanderslice.
AMBY: What’s the best song of the year?
Jared Bartman: Maybe “Slow Motion” by Phox? I’m never good at giving a definitive best-of list.
AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about Jared Bartman that nobody knows yet?
Jared Bartman: I listen to Deepak Chopra guided meditations on YouTube sometimes when I want to relax.
Thank you Jared Bartman, for giving us your answers!
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Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout