Artist Interview Series: The Ready Set

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A rising pop star who relishes creative control

Artist Interview Series: The Ready Set

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Jun 21, 2013 —  For the most recent installment of the Party Earth Artist Interview Series, we had the privilege of speaking with Jordan Witzigreuter of the one-man band The Ready Set in anticipation of his upcoming album release.

Q. Who were your biggest musical influences growing up?

A. Growing up I was really into punk bands and things like that. Bands like Green Day, Blink 182, and bands like that. That was pretty much my childhood. And I kind of grew up playing in that type of thing, playing drums in those kind of bands, and I played in metal bands. A lot heavier stuff than anything I do now. It’s weird that I ended up doing, I guess, pop stuff. But now my influences are everything. I just try to be as open-minded as possible with all kinds of music. And I try to listen to as much as possible. I guess that’s kind of the case with growing up.

Q. When did you know you wanted to write and perform music? Was it right before you joined a band or was it when you were really young?

A. I always thought playing music would be a hobby – I didn’t think I could ever do anything real with it. So I never really took it too terribly seriously, I don’t think, until I actually started writing songs when I was 17, and I started putting stuff up on the internet just to kind of see what happened, and the reaction was good. So, I was like, well, maybe I can, you know, do something with this. I think once I actually just started doing it – I think I just started doing it before I knew I could do it really. So it was kind of like, it happened rather than realizing I wanted to. It just kind of fell into place.

Q. You started recording music in your own basement. What kind of websites did you find most useful in encouraging you to keep doing this? What kind of feedback on those sites? I know there’s a lot of people who use Band Camp and MySpace, but I was wondering what you found the most useful and what advice you would give to young artists like yourself?

A. When I first started doing this I kind of caught the tail end of the MySpace thing, so it was that and Twitter, and a little bit of Facebook and all of that. I was really, really adamant about building a big social-network following because that was the way to get to go on tour. It was like, if I can get fans in enough places fast enough, I’d be able to draw a crowd and be able to get on the road. So that was kind of my intention to kind of get on tour as fast as possible. That was always my game plan and it worked out. And I still spend most of my year on the road. So I guess to anyone trying to do the music thing, do everything you can online – YouTube, or Facebook, or Twitter, or anything like that – and then as soon as it’s possible, get out on tour because there are always going to be people who are going to want to come and see you. And that’s how it works.

Q. Did you find it important to build that fan base online? Or did you find it easier to build it on tour?

A. They kind of combine a little bit. The fans that you build online will be the ones that are likely to come on tour. And you know, the other ones that come might not know about you and you can try to engage those people. You can build your fan base both ways, they both kind of combine, and they’re both equally important for different reasons.

Q. You’re touring all the time and I’m sure you’ve shared the stage with a lot of really cool performers who are loved in America and internationally as well. Who is the coolest person you performed with, or what is the coolest backstage story you might have to share with us?

A. Bruno Mars. He was a super nice dude. We did a show with him right after he started getting kind of bigger, at this little iTunes event in San Francisco in wine country in a little wine tasting lodge that iTunes has or something. So that was pretty crazy and he’s a nice dude. The show was for 20 people. It was us, Bruno Mars, and The Doobie Brothers. It was a bunch of super random winos… it was kind of amazing.

Q. Going off that, do you have any crazy fan stories? Or what was your weirdest fan interaction?

A. There’s been some crazy stuff. A couple people have rushed the stage and kind of grabbed on, sort of. Which is kind of more fun anything – it’s kind of funny. But there’s a girl who had me sign her leg one time and then I came back – next time we were in the area – and had that tattooed. And she had me draw a picture of my face on her leg and she got that tattooed as well. So that’s kind of crazy. Probably the craziest thing I’ve seen.

Q. If you could do a completely different kind of music – if you had the power to wake up the next day and do a different kind of music altogether – what kind of music would that be?

A. I’d probably do a little bit more like – I don’t know – I love writing pop stuff, so something kind of still in that line. Maybe just a little more indie-ish. And maybe less… electronic. I mean, the good thing about what I do now is that I can kind of switch to whatever I want to do. And for a given time it was just me. Pop is kind of a super vague category so I can use all kinds of different styles. I don’t know, it might be fun to be in a metal band again, too. That was what I was doing before this. Playing drums in it. That was a good time.

Q. You started recording music on your own and were able to go with your gut and instinct. How was the transition to working with a bunch of different producers and songwriters? Was it a shock to the system? Did it start making sense when you began to go through it?

A. Yeah. It kind of took me a minute. I was really against the whole working with other writers… it was really hard for me to kind of agree to do that. But then once I actually started doing it, it started to seem a little more natural. There’s a lot more to be gained whenever you have other people who can give input on some things. But, I think, it’s always been really important for me to maintain complete control of the thing. And to always have the final say. I still trust my instincts on pretty much everything and I’ve kind of learned that’s what it still boils down to. If I don’t like something, or there’s something the label wants to do that’s not my thing, I’ll just be like “Yeah, not so much.” It’s still a pretty good situation that I don’t really have to give in too much to anything. It’s still kind of up to my discretion, which is really good.

Q. What was your favorite venue to perform at? And also, what’s a place that you’d like to travel and perform at that you haven’t been to yet?

A. I think my favorite show that we played was at the Target Center in Minneapolis. It was a radio show and there were 14,000 people there, so that was the biggest show we ever played. That was pretty cool. I really want to play in Japan really bad, and we actually haven’t gone over to the U.K. yet. So those are definitely both on my list.

Q. If you could cover one song and put your own spin on it, what would it be? Or if not one song, what artist would you most like to cover?

A. I think it would be awesome to cover a bunch of Ben Folds songs.

Q. Would you try to honor the original, or make it your own and more pop-y?

A. I don’t really know. Anytime I’ve ever done a cover before it has kind of been my goal to make it sound like it’s a Ready Set song. But it depends. There are certain songs that you can’t take away the characteristics that make it what it is. You can’t put too much of a spin on it to make it anything different. There’s always a fine line. It’s a song-by-song basis. Some songs warrant a lot of changes and some don’t. I guess it depends. It would be a fun little test, I think.

Q. What’s your favorite song that you’ve written? Or if you can’t pick one, what work are you most proud of doing?

A. That’s tough. I think honestly everything that I’m most proud of now is pretty much on this album that I just finished. But I actually have an acoustic EP that is coming up really soon. I’m really proud of that because it’s a complete departure from anything I’ve done before. It’s all completely real instruments. So I’m really excited about that. It’s almost more rockish. I’m really excited to get to do something that’s completely not what I’ve done in the past. I’m really proud of that.

Q. If you could score one movie with a director or actor you like, what kind of movie would that be? Who would it be with?

A. I don’t know… I think my music might be a little too pop-y for it, but I think it would be amazing to have anything to do with a Wes Anderson movie. I think I’m definitely way too much in the pop realm for that, but it’d be so sick. But if not that, then maybe some kind of really dramatic, crazy action movie that’s completely off-course. The soundtrack that really makes it uncomfortable for people to watch.

What's your favorite The Ready Set song?

Deepak H. Jun 21, 2013
Time to check out some of this guys songs!
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