Jarrod Gorbel of The Honorary Title
When Jarrod Gorbel started playing under the name The Honorary Title he was just one man and a guitar singing songs that reached deep. Soon after, Aaron Kamstra joined forces with Gorbel and before they knew it the duo was touring the country. Their debut disc “Anything Else But The Truth” was a favorite among critics and music lovers alike.
Fast forward to 2007, The Honorary Title has transformed into a full band (Jarrod Gorbel on vocals and guitar, Aaron Kamstra on bass, Jon Wiley on guitar and keys, Adam Boyd on drums) and have just released their follow up cd Scream And Light Up The Sky. The disc is sure to please fans of the band and will undoubtedly win over a few new ones. This album is truly Gorbel’s coming out as a premiere songwriter, his biting sarcastic lyrics that explore relationships of all levels mixed with beautiful harmonies throughout. Having a full band has added a lot more texture and depth to the overall impact of the songs. According to Gorbel “Our intention with Scream and Light Up the Sky was to communicate pessimism and the darkest of emotions but at the same time not take ourselves too seriously. It’s heartfelt, but expressed with a sarcastic tone.” Well Mr. Gorbel – Mission Accomplished.
Originally the band started out as just you and Aaron, can you tell me how it evolved into a four piece band?
Basically, we played with different drummers all the time, and we met Adam when we opened up for Switchfoot and The Format. He played drums with The Format. We hooked up with him then and he started playing with us. Aaron’s friend Jon plays guitar and keyboards, also, so he just started playing shows with us. It kind of evolved like that.
You are days away from the release of Scream and Light Up The Sky – you worked with producer Rob Schnapf on it…can you tell us what he brought to the album for you?
Beautiful colors. Beautiful, beautiful flavors. Fruit smoothies! He always brought us smoothies, wraps and pitas full of different little ethnic chicken spice platters. His big heart and love, he has added a lot of love to the record and he’s a good producer. He’s helpful. He has a good ear for instruments and guitar sounds, stuff like that.
There are a few songs that are reminiscent of the sound fans are use to (Untouched and Intact, Apologize) and then there are others that are really show how much the band has come together as a whole. Was it important to you to show this kind of growth?
Of course I wanted to demonstrate where the band was going. It’s just kind of something we would have done anyway. I wasn’t consciously thinking like “I really want people to see how different we are”. This is what it is. Time has passed and we’ve evolved, the songs are different, and of course I’m proud, too.
I’m going to throw out a few of my favorite songs, can you tell me how they came together both lyrically and musically and how you would describe them?
-Along the Way
Lyrically, Along the Way was from a bunch of lyrics that I had written a long time ago, actually. I was just kind of filing through some stuff and it was about a relationship I had about ten years ago. My perspective on that is kind of “well, yes, I’m in love with you but I’m not quite ready to give all of myself to you. I kind of need to fix some stuff along the way.” Musically, I think the lyrics and the guitar just came together naturally, and then the whole end instrumental part was more of a band thing. We were jamming, playing it out, and it happened naturally in our rehearsal space.
-The City’s Summer
The lyrics were a bunch of different kind of lyrics put together. I spent a lot of time on them. Especially that “na na na” part, each “na” was really… I just realized how that sounded. Lyrically, it took years to evolve that “na”. When I was coming up with the second “na”, followed by a third and fourth, I would cry. You know? Like, memories would just come back. By the fifth “na”, I was on the floor. I couldn’t deal with life. What I had become and what I had gone through. I was just like… no.. um….really that was the melody I liked. But the verses span from memories of being a child to two summers ago, on a rooftop of somebody’s building at a party on the fourth of July, and being on drugs. Because you’re not going to be on the rooftop of a building on the fourth of July without being on drugs. [laughing].
No, a little dangerous, but alright! [laughing]
-Stuck At Sea
It’s a kind of a cheesy fucking metaphor for being on tour. Instead of being compared to something, being sent out to sea, trapped, making mistakes. A sexual kind of situation where you’re just kind of, like, tying together situations of “I truly wanted to make things work” with trying to rekindle the flame, but it wasn’t working, so I guess we’ll have to try something new – like being stuck at sea.
It was somebody else’s perspective, someone close to me, and the story of their father dealing with mental illness and leaving the family while the kids were at a very young age. And then, years later, the kids meeting back up with the father, but he had started a new family, and kind of the way that made those kids feel. Trying to understand without being hurt, the mental illness, and trying to understand losing a father, if that makes sense.
Your album covers are always very artistic and thought provoking, the new one is no different, can you tell us a little about it? – Where did it come from and why did you choose it?
You’re reading that off of a page, aren’t you? [laughs]
Yeah! [laughs] I can’t memorize all these questions!
[laughs] Good presentation though. All the covers are from the same artist, a friend of mine named Paul Paddick. He lives in New York City. I’ve known him for years, I just love his artwork. There’s something very innocent about his artwork, yet fucking twisted, and I think that kind of coincides with the lyrical content of my music. They’re so detailed, that’s why I chose him.
I read somewhere that you wrote a lot of the album while you were on tour, how does a song come together for you?
Yeah, I’ll compile lyrics while we’re on tour and then when I get home, I add to those lyrics and come up with more of the music. Then the band will get together in the rehearsal space and play some stuff. Also, we’ll be on tour and we’ll play stuff out at soundcheck. All those things kind of combine and that’s how it comes out.
There are some amazing harmonies on these tracks, does everyone in the band sing?
Yeah, everybody does. John and Adam like to sing on their own as well, so we’re kind of really good at adding the harmonies. They’ve been adding stuff to harmonies that didn’t even have harmonies before! There’s harmonies everywhere! Its harmonious, or hormonious as we call it.
A lot of your lyrics are very deep and tell very personal stories but at the same time, have an air of sarcasm attached. We’re big fans of sarcasm and satire. Are you a sarcastic guy in general or does that just come across in your songs?
Yeah, I’m very sarcastic, can’t you tell? God! [laughs] Are you not like paying attention to me as a person? [laughs] You’re reading off that sheet, it’s not even like, two people exchanging here! Nooo, but I’m very sarcastic. I’m not very good at expressing emotions directly without splicing them with some bit of humor. It’s my own insecurity and how I have grown comfortable doing things.
The new album – Scream And Light Up The Sky
For people who may not be familiar with the band and this is their first exposure to you, what would you want them to know about your music?
That’s a tough one. That it’s actually pretty honest and real. There’s a lot of emotion in it, but not in an emo sense. You know? It’s just true and honest, and real, and it’s good. So listen to it. [laughs].
Can you tell us how you found music? Has it been something you’ve always been into or what are your roots?
I found it in the backyard. No, I just found it probably through MTV. Hearing bands like Motley Crue when I was little.
Your song Stay Away ended up on a One Tree Hill Soundtrack. Are you a fan of the show or how did that come about?
I’m not sure how it came about. I don’t know the show that well, so I can’t even say. But I’m very excited for the opportunity.
You’ve recently started a tour with Cartel, how has that been going? How’s the chemistry between the bands and how have the crowds been?
We’re only a few shows in, but they have lots of young teenage girl fans. Those types of fans are very responsive to our music. I’m excited, it’s cool.
Can you tell us what songs on the new album are part of your set list?
Stuck At Sea, Untouched and Intact, Along The Way, Stay Away, Far more. I don’t know, all of them? Most of them.
Sounded like you were reading that off of a piece of paper!
[laughs] yeah, I know!
Do you have any last words?
I hope everyone checks out the new record!