Back in 2001, JIP was a one man project, just Chicago musician James Gwynn and his vision. Over the last three years however, JIP had grown into a three piece rock band. James Gwynn had a quick chat with Our Town about his influences and the group’s style.
Our Town JIP started as a solo project and grew to a three piece band. How did that evolution work?
James Gwynn Everything changed with the 2011 release JIP: Year X. I took that record into the Million Yen Studios (home of my favorite band Local H). After that record and a successful double acoustic tour I knew the band needed to be bigger and louder. I met drummer, Mike Charbonneauvia, a friend and bassist Joe D'onofrio is my wife's cousin. It came together to be a loving family. [We’re sharper] with every practice and show.
OT Who are your influences and how do they inform your work?
JG My influences run from Local H to Ben Folds to Tracy Bonham and Bush. The nineties alternative rock scene really hit me--how different the same genre of music could be. I didn't play cover songs until we started touring Year X so those influences [relate] to emotion and lyrics rather than song style.
OT What inspires you as a songwriter?
JG The pursuit of happiness and relaying a message in a simple form. Music is great because you can talk over really serious topics in a fun way. My mission as JIP has always been to make simple songs with a strong message. So that inspires me and life experiences find their way to become themes. For example Sparks,
OT How has your writing process evolved knowing you’re writing for a group rather than solo work?
JG It's oddly similar. I've always written lyrics first and pieced them together by singing and finding guitar [parts]. Now I'll bring that same process to the guys and they add their layers. It's important to me that the guys make these songs their own and we adjust until we are all happy.
OT What can audiences expect from your upcoming gig at Hard Rock Chicago?
JG Fun. A great set of new and old JIP songs. We want you to have a great time and be part of our set. We have a special guest set for the show and it's going to be a blast. We understand how great of an opportunity we have to play Hard Rock and plan on making the most of it.
Check out JIP's show this Friday October 12th at Hard Rock Chicago.
A writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum freelances for a number of web sites and print publications. Her debut novel, “Herself When She’s Missing," (Soft Skull press) is available for pre-order here. She is also a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago’s StoryStudio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She's kind of looking forward to it actually.
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