(July 20, 2008)
Q: Hey Jim, how have you been?
A: Hey Koen, I’m doing really well. Thanks for asking! How have YOU been?
Q: Can you tell a little bit about yourself and the kind of music that you make?
A: Well, I’m a 24 year old singer/songwriter from Hamilton, NJ. I love music and really can’t imagine my life without it. It’s not like I want to write–which I do, I feel like I HAVE to write..if that makes any sense. It’s hard for me to describe. I enjoy playing guitar, piano, bass and drums, and I love recording and playing out live. Right now I work in NYC full time for a music publishing company and the second I get home it’s writing, recording, performing until I go to bed. The best way for me to describe my music is like an acoustic pop/rock journey. I truly believe that I was put on this Earth to make a positive difference–and music is something that has the ability to make a difference in people’s lives.
Q: You recently released your CD “Closer To Heart”. What is the CD about and what inspirations led you to write and record these songs?
A: Well, sorry to have to correct you, but it’s actually “Close to Heart”. The CD is really a collection of songs that I’ve written over the past 2 years that mean a lot to me. It’s not like a concept album or anything–just happens to be my 10 favorite songs. Lately, I’ve been inspired by many things–relationships, of course; nature (sunsets, sunrises, thunderstorms), God, and a close friend that has gone through some life-changing events. I record everything in my basement using a program called Acid Pro with one microphone (for guitar and vocals), an M-Audio Interface, and a keyboard that has amazing string sounds on it (except for January Fever and Stay, which were recorded at a local studio in Hamilton).
On a side note, I’m not sure if anyone really knows this, but I actually have 3 full-length albums for sale on my myspace site right now and a really, really old EP that I recorded back in 2003 I believe.
Q: Which of the songs on your album is the most fun to perform live? And are there certain songs on the album that have a special meaning to you?
A: I would say that January Fever is the most fun to perform live. It’s just really upbeat and fun. Yes, like I sad before, every single song has a special meaning to me…and I really mean that–EVERY single song.
Q: You are also in a band called “Postmark Twain”. How different is that from being a solo artist?
A: Being in a band is different than being a solo artist mainly because you have to deal with other people. Ha, that’s a pretty basic observation, but it’s true. You have to deal with other people’s schedules and if we can do a show on this day, or if we can practice on that day. When I’m dealing with just my solo project, I can do that whenever and wherever I want without having to worry about others schedules. Another difference is that a live show definitely sounds fuller (is that even a word?) with a full band than just me being up there with my guitar. It all depends on what you’re going for though.
Q: With “Postmark Twain” you also recently released an album. How would you describe “Cause & Effect”?
A: Cause & Effect is amazing to me. It is a CD that showcases brilliant lyrics with killer harmonies and the most powerful conviction musically/vocally I’ve heard in a while. Yes, I am biased because it’s my band, but I even get the chills listening to the bridge of ‘Graduation’ and the entire song, ‘Our Escape’.
Q: What plans do you have for yourself and your career in the (near) future? Do you have anything exciting coming up?
A: I would really love to go on a couple national tours and see the country–it would be great to travel internationally and perform as well. I’m going to try and release an album every year–whether it be on Itunes or not. Actually, I’m in the final stages of submitting a new album to Itunes that will hopefully go live somewhere around the middle of September called, “The Important Things in Life”.
Q: Your music has been compared to several bands and musicians, but I’m curious, who would you compare yourself to when it comes to your sound?
A: I would compare my music to a John Mayer meets a Dashboard Confessional.
Q: And who are your main influences when it comes to your sound and songwriting?
A: Dashboard Confessional immediately comes to mind. I would say that I pull from all sorts of music–but I really feed off of the environment around me (nature, friendships, relationships) I really try to find the positive in every situation and bring that to the forefront when I write.
Q: You have been writing songs and playing shows for quite some time now. What is the weirdest thing you’ve experienced in your career?
A: I can’t remember a really weird thing ever happening to me in my career so far, but the coolest thing was a fan of my solo project and my band invited me to her birthday party in NYC which included a dinner at a really nice restaurant, the AP Tour concert, and then 2 CD’s of music with a I Heart Jim mug (Jim Halpert from the office’s face was on it) The reason she gave me presents at her party was that she remembered it was my birthday a week before.o
Q: If you could play a show anywhere in the world, is there a specific place you would love to play?
A: I would really love to play Madison Square Garden.
Q: If you could also pick any band or musician in the world to play that show with, who would it by, and why?
A: Dashboard Confessional, because Chris Carabba is one of the main reasons why I started playing guitar and writing songs. I also think that he is an amazing singer/songwriter and his live show is unbelievable. Every time I see him it’s better and better.
Q: If people want to find out more about you and your music, where should they go?
A: You can head right to my myspace page at www.myspace.com/jimgaven.
Q: Okay a few random questions now.
Q: Are you a reader? If so, what books would you recomend?
A: Lately I have been reading a lot more than in the past. I highly recommend reading, “The Purpose Driven Life” and “A Bright Red Scream”.
Q: Day or night?
Q: Club venue or arena venue?
A: It really depends–I like the intimacy of a club, but I’ve never experienced an arena where thousdands of people are screaming for you. I would say that I would enjoy playing a club more than an arena though.
Q: CDs or digital music?
A: Digital music that I can burn onto a CD.
Q: Okay, final question. What are your thoughts on people downloading music, both legally & illegally?
A: I think that downloading music legally is a great thing. Let’s face it–it’s no secret that the present and future of music has moved and will continue to move digital. As long as you are downloading music legally, I have no problem with that. It’s when you get into downloading music illegally–that’s a problem. I mean, don’t you feel bad downloading music and not paying for it? It costs a lot of time and money for musicians to record an EP or an album, so by default, you should really be paying for the time and money that was put into giving you such a stellar product. And, it’s only a dollar a song too! I don’t know, I guess I just feel that we all need to be more aware of how much effort is put into creating music–it is a full time job in itself..not to mention all the other stuff you have to worry about as an independent musician–booking, marketing, promoting, replying to messages on myspace, e-mails/IM’s, etc. The long and short of it is that downloading music illegally hurts musicians–whether it be Coldplay or some unknown band trying to make a career out of the music they write. But, it definitely hurts independent musicians the most. Wow, that was a long rant there. With regards to my music, I would love for you to download it any way you can just to get the word out there…but it is nice to get paid for all the time I spend writing, recording, and promoting.
Thank you Jim for answering our questions. It is very much appreciated!